Benjamin and the Silver Cup
1Then Joseph instructed his steward: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each one’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.”
So the steward did as Joseph had instructed.
3At daybreak, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph told his steward, “Pursue the men at once, and when you overtake them, ask, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?#44:4 LXX includes Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5Is this not the cup #44:5 Hebrew Is it not this which my master drinks from and uses for divination? What you have done is wicked!’”
6When the steward overtook them, he relayed these words to them.
7“Why does my lord say these things?” they asked. “Your servants could not possibly do such a thing. 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found in the mouths of our sacks. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If any of your servants is found to have it, he must die, and the rest will become slaves of my lord.”
10“As you say,” replied the steward. “But only the one who is found with the cup will be my slave, and the rest of you shall be free of blame.”
11So each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12The steward searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest—and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they all tore their clothes, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers arrived at Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him.
15“What is this deed you have done?” Joseph declared. “Do you not know that a man like me can surely divine the truth?”
16“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “How can we plead? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed the iniquity of your servants. We are now my lord’s slaves—both we and the one who was found with the cup.”
17But Joseph replied, “Far be it from me to do this. The man who was found with the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may return to your father in peace.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Then Judah approached Joseph and said, “Sir, please let your servant speak personally to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’
20And we answered, ‘We have an elderly father and a younger brother, the child of his old age. The boy’s brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so that I can see him for myself.’
22So we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he were to leave, his father would die.’
23But you said to your servants, ‘Unless your younger brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’
24Now when we returned to your servant my father, we relayed your words to him.
25Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us some food.’
26But we answered, ‘We cannot go down there unless our younger brother goes with us. So if our younger brother is not with us, we cannot see the man.’
27And your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28When one of them was gone, I said: “Surely he has been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29Now if you also take this one from me and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’
30So if the boy is not with us when I return to your servant, and if my father, whose life is wrapped up in the boy’s life, 31sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. Then your servants will have brought the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32Indeed, your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father, saying, ‘If I do not return him to you, I will bear the guilt before you, my father, all my life.’
33Now please let your servant stay here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy. Let him return with his brothers. 34For how can I go back to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the misery that would overwhelm him.”
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B'resheet (Gen) 44
1Then he ordered the manager of his household, “Fill the men’s packs with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money just inside his pack. 2And put my goblet, the silver one, just inside the pack of the youngest, along with his grain money.” He did what Yosef told him to do.
3At daybreak the men were sent off with their donkeys; 4but before they were far from the city Yosef said to his manager, “Up, go after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn’t this the goblet my lord drinks from, indeed the one he uses for divination? What you have done is evil!’” 6So he caught up with them and said these words to them. 7They replied, “Why does my lord speak this way? Heaven forbid that we should do such a thing! 8Why, the money we found inside our packs we brought back to you from the land of Kena‘an! So how would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9Whichever one of us the goblet is found with, let him be put to death — and the rest of us will be my lord’s slaves!” 10He replied, “Fine; let it be as you have said: whichever one it is found with will be my slave. But the rest of you will be blameless.” 11Then each hurried to put his pack down on the ground, and each one opened his pack. 12He searched, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest; and the goblet was found in the pack belonging to Binyamin. 13At this, they tore their clothes from grief. Then each man loaded up his donkey and returned to the city.
(A: Maftir) 14Y’hudah and his brothers arrived at Yosef’s house. He was still there, and they fell down before him on the ground. (S: Maftir) 15Yosef said to them, “How could you do such a thing? Don’t you know that a man such as myself can learn the truth by divination?” 16Y’hudah said, “There’s nothing we can say to my lord! How can we speak? There’s no way we can clear ourselves! God has revealed your servants’ guilt; so here we are, my lord’s slaves — both we and also the one in whose possession the cup was found.” 17But he replied, “Heaven forbid that I should act in such a way. The man in whose possession the goblet was found will be my slave; but as for you, go in peace to your father.”
Haftarah Mikketz: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15–4:1
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Mikketz: Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 11–12)
Parashah 11: Vayigash (He approached) 44:18–47:27
18Then Y’hudah approached Yosef and said, “Please, my lord! Let your servant say something to you privately; and don’t be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father? or a brother?’ 20We answered my lord, ‘We have a father who is an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one whose brother is dead; so that of his mother’s children he alone is left; and his father loves him.’ 21But you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I can see him.’ 22We answered my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father; if he were to leave his father, his father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 24We went up to your servant my father and told him what my lord had said; 25but when our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us some food,’ 26we answered, ‘We can’t go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go down, because we can’t see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I haven’t seen him since. 29Now if you take this one away from me too, and something happens to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sh’ol with grief.’ 30So now if I go to your servant my father, and the boy isn’t with us — seeing how his heart is bound up with the boy’s heart — (ii) 31when he sees that the boy isn’t with us, he will die; and your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sh’ol with grief. 32For your servant himself guaranteed his safety; I said, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33Therefore, I beg you, let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34For how can I go up to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father so overwhelmed by anguish.”
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