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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Joseph Sets a Trap
1Then Joseph gave a command to the servant in charge of his house. Joseph said, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much grain as they can carry. And put each man’s money into his sack with the grain. 2Put my silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother. Also put his money for the grain in that sack.” The servant did what Joseph told him.
3At dawn the brothers were sent away with their donkeys. 4They were not far from the city when Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Go after the men. When you catch up with them, say, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? 5The cup you have stolen is the one my master uses for drinking. And he uses it for explaining dreams. You have done a very wicked thing!’”
6So the servant caught up with the brothers. He said to them what Joseph had told him to say.
7But the brothers said to the servant, “Why do you say these things? We would not do anything like that! 8We brought back to you the money we found in our sacks. We brought it back from the land of Canaan. So surely we would not steal silver or gold from your master’s house. 9If you find that silver cup in the sack of one of us, then let him die. And we will be your slaves.”
10The servant said, “We will do as you say. But only the man who has taken the cup will become my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
11Then every brother quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12The servant searched the sacks, going from the oldest brother to the youngest. He found the cup in Benjamin’s sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes to show they were sad. Then they put their sacks back on the donkeys. And they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers went back to Joseph’s house, Joseph was still there. The brothers bowed facedown on the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Didn’t you know that a man like me can learn things by signs and dreams?”
16Judah said, “Sir, what can we say? And how can we show we are not guilty? God has uncovered our guilt. So all of us will be your slaves, not just Benjamin.”
17But Joseph said, “I will not make you all slaves! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safely to your father.”
18Then Judah went to Joseph and said, “Sir, please let me speak plainly to you. Please don’t be angry with me. I know that you are as powerful as the king of Egypt himself. 19When we were here before, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we answered you, ‘We have an old father. And we have a younger brother. He was born when our father was old. This youngest son’s brother is dead. So he is the only one of his mother’s children left alive. And our father loves him very much.’ 21Then you said to us, ‘Bring that brother to me. I want to see him.’ 22And we said to you, ‘That young boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves him, his father would die.’ 23But you said to us, ‘You must bring your youngest brother. If you don’t, you will not be allowed to see me again.’ 24So we went back to our father and told him what you had said.
25“Later, our father said, ‘Go again. Buy us a little more food.’ 26We said to our father, ‘We cannot go without our youngest brother. Without our youngest brother, we will not be allowed to see the governor.’ 27Then my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel gave me two sons. 28One son left me. I thought, “Surely he has been torn apart by a wild animal.” And I haven’t seen him since. 29Now you want to take this son away from me also. But something terrible might happen to him. Then I would be sad until the day I die.’ 30Now what will happen if we go home to our father without our youngest brother? He is the most important thing in our father’s life. 31When our father sees that the young boy is not with us, he will die. And it will be our fault. We will cause the great sorrow that kills our father.
32“I gave my father a guarantee that the young boy would be safe. I said to my father, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, you can blame me all my life.’ 33So now, please allow me to stay here and be your slave. And let the young boy go back home with his brothers. 34I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I couldn’t stand to see my father that sad.”
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