Joseph tests his brothers
1Joseph gave commands to his household manager: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they’ll hold, and put each man’s silver at the top of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, on top of the youngest brother’s sack, together with the silver for his grain.” So he did just as Joseph told him to do.
3At dawn, the men and their donkeys were sent off. 4They had left the city but hadn’t gone far when Joseph said to his household manager, “Get ready, go after the men and catch up with them! Ask them, ‘Why have you repaid hospitality with ingratitude?#44.4 LXX adds Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5Isn’t this the cup#44.5 Syr; MT lacks cup. my master drinks from and uses to discover God’s plans?#44.5 Or uses for divination What you’ve done is despicable.’”
6When he caught up to them, he repeated these words. 7They replied, “Why does my master talk to us like this? Your servants would never do such a thing. 8The silver that we found at the top of our sacks, we’ve just brought back to you from the land of Canaan. We didn’t steal silver or gold from your master’s house. 9Whoever of your servants is found with it will be put to death, and we’ll be my master’s slaves.”
10He said, “Fine. We’ll do just as you’ve said. Whoever is found with it will be my slave, and the rest of you will go free.” 11Everyone quickly lowered their sacks down to the ground and each opened his sack. 12He searched the oldest first and the youngest last, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13At this, they tore their clothing. Then everyone loaded their donkeys, and they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers arrived at Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground in front of him. 15Joseph said to them, “What’s this you’ve done? Didn’t you know someone like me can discover God’s plans?”#44.15 Or can practice divination
16Judah replied, “What can we say to my master? What words can we use? How can we prove we are innocent? God has found your servants guilty. We are now your slaves, all of us, including the one found with the cup.”
17Joseph said, “I’d never do such a thing. Only the man found with the cup will be my slave. As for the rest of you, you are free to go back to your father.”
Judah appeals for Benjamin
18Judah approached him and said, “Please, my master, allow your servant to say something to my master without getting angry with your servant since you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My master asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or brother?’ 20And we said to my master, ‘Yes, we have an elderly father and a young brother, born when he was old. His brother is dead and he’s his mother’s only child. But his father loves him.’ 21You told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him.’ 22And we said to my master, ‘The young man can’t leave his father. If he leaves, his father will die.’ 23You said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come down with you, you’ll never see my face again.’
24“When we went back to my father your servant, we told him what you said. 25Our father told us, ‘Go back and buy for us a little food.’ 26But we said, ‘We can’t go down. We will go down only if our youngest brother is with us. We won’t be able to gain an audience with the man without our youngest brother with us.’ 27Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave birth to two sons for me. 28One disappeared and I said, “He must have been torn up by a wild animal,” and I haven’t seen him since. 29And if you take this one from me too, something terrible will happen to him, and you will send me—old as I am—to my grave in despair.’ 30When I now go back to your servant my father without the young man—whose life is so bound up with his— 31and when he sees that the young man isn’t with us,#44.31 Sam, LXX; MT lacks with us. he will die, and your servants will have sent our father your servant—old as he is—to his grave in grief. 32I, your servant, guaranteed the young man’s safety to my father, telling him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, it will be my fault forever.’ 33Now, please let your servant stay as your slave instead of the young man so that he can go back with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father without the young man? I couldn’t bear to see how badly my father would be hurt.”
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A silver cup in a sack
1Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: ‘Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.’ And he did as Joseph said.
3As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, ‘Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, “Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.” ’
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7But they said to him, ‘Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.’
10‘Very well, then,’ he said, ‘let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.’
11Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, ‘What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?’
16‘What can we say to my lord?’ Judah replied. ‘What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves – we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.’
17But Joseph said, ‘Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.’
18Then Judah went up to him and said: ‘Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though 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 aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.”
21‘Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.” 22And we said to my lord, “The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.” 23But you told your servants, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.” 24When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25‘Then our father said, “Go back and buy a little more food.” 26But we said, “We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.”
27‘Your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One of them went away from me, and I said, ‘He has surely been torn to pieces.’ And I have not seen him since. 29If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my grey head down to the grave in misery.”
30‘So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the grey head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, “If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!”
33‘Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.’
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