Joseph Sets a Trap
1Then Joseph gave a command to his servant. He said, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much grain as they can carry. Then put each man’s money into his sack with the grain. 2Put the youngest brother’s money in his sack too. But also put my special silver cup in his sack.” So the servant obeyed Joseph.
3Early the next morning the brothers and their donkeys were sent back to their country. 4After they had left the city, Joseph said to his servant, “Go and follow the men. Stop them and say to them, ‘We were good to you! So why have you been bad to us? Why did you steal my master’s silver cup?#44:4 Why did … silver cup This is from the ancient Greek version. 5My master drinks from that cup, and he uses it to learn secret things. What you did was wrong!’”
6So the servant obeyed. He rode out to the brothers and stopped them. The servant said to them what Joseph had told him to say.
7But the brothers said to the servant, “Why does the governor say these things? We wouldn’t do anything like that! 8We brought back the money that we found in our sacks before. So surely we wouldn’t steal silver or gold from your master’s house. 9If you find the silver cup in any of our sacks, let that man die. You can kill him, and we will be your slaves.”
10The servant said, “I agree, except that only the man who is found to have the cup will be my slave. The others will be free.”
The Trap Is Sprung; Benjamin Is Caught
11Then every brother quickly opened his sack on the ground. 12The servant started looking in the sacks. He started with the oldest brother and ended with the youngest. He found the cup in Benjamin’s sack. 13The brothers were very sad. They tore their clothes to show their sadness. They put their sacks back on the donkeys and went back to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers went back to Joseph’s house, Joseph was still there. The brothers fell to the ground and bowed down before him. 15Joseph said to them, “Why have you done this? Didn’t you know that I have a special way of learning secrets? No one is better at this than I am!”
16Judah said, “Sir, there is nothing we can say. There is no way to explain. There is no way to show that we are not guilty. God has judged us guilty for something else we have done. So all of us, even Benjamin, will be your slaves.”
17But Joseph said, “I will not make you all slaves! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. You others can go in peace to your father.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Then Judah went to Joseph and said, “Sir, please let me speak plainly with you. Please don’t be angry with me. I know that you are like Pharaoh himself. 19When we were here before, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we answered you, ‘We have a father—he is an old man. And we have a younger brother. Our father loves him because he was born while our father was old. This youngest son’s brother is dead, so he is the only son who is left from that mother. 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 come. He cannot leave his father. If his father loses him, his father will be so sad that he will die.’ 23But you said to us, ‘You must bring your youngest brother, or I will not sell you grain again.’ 24So we went back to our father and told him what you said.
25“Later, our father said, ‘Go back and buy us some more food.’ 26We said to our father, ‘We cannot go without our youngest brother. The governor said he will not sell us grain again until he sees our youngest brother.’ 27Then my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel gave me two sons. 28I let one son go away, and he was killed by a wild animal. And I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take my other son away from me, and something happens to him, I will be sad enough to die.’ 30Now, imagine what will happen when we go home without our youngest brother—he is the most important thing in our father’s life! 31Our father will die if he sees that the boy isn’t with us—and it will be our fault. We will send our father to his grave a very sad man.
32“I took responsibility for the young boy. I told my father, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, you can blame me for the rest of my life.’ 33So now I beg you, please let the boy go back with his brothers, and I will stay and be your slave. 34I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I am very afraid of what would happen to my father.”
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The missing cup
1-2Later, Joseph told the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men's grain sacks with as much as they can hold and put their money in the sacks. Also put my silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother.” The servant did as he was told.
3Early the next morning, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4But they had not gone far from the city when Joseph told the servant, “Go after those men! When you catch them, say, ‘My master has been good to you. So why have you stolen his silver cup? 5Not only does he drink from his cup, but he also uses it to learn about the future. You have done a terrible thing.’ ”
6When the servant caught up with them, he said exactly what Joseph had told him to say. 7But they replied, “Sir, why do you say such things? We would never do anything like that! 8We even returned the money we found in our grain sacks when we got back to Canaan. So why would we want to steal any silver or gold from your master's house? 9If you find that one of us has the cup, then kill him, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10“Good!” the man replied, “I'll do what you have said. But only the one who has the cup will become my slave. The rest of you can go free.”
11Each of the brothers quickly put his sack on the ground and opened it. 12Joseph's servant started searching the sacks, beginning with the one that belonged to the eldest brother. When he came to Benjamin's sack, he found the cup. 13This upset the brothers so much that they began tearing their clothes in sorrow. Then they loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers got there, Joseph was still at home. So they bowed down to Joseph, 15who asked them, “What have you done? Didn't you know I could find out?”
16“Sir, what can we say?” Judah replied. “How can we prove we are innocent? God has shown that we are guilty. And now all of us are your slaves, especially the one who had the cup.”
17Joseph told them, “I would never punish all of you. Only the one who was caught with the cup will become my slave. The rest of you are free to go home to your father.”
Judah pleads for Benjamin
18Judah went over to Joseph and said:
Sir, you have as much power as the king#44.18 the king: See the note at 12.15. himself, and I am only your slave. Please don't get angry if I speak. 19You asked us if our father was still alive and if we had any more brothers. 20So we told you, “Our father is a very old man. In fact, he was already old when Benjamin was born. Benjamin's brother is dead. Now Benjamin is the only one of the two brothers who is still alive, and our father loves him very much.”
21You ordered us to bring him here, so you could see him for yourself. 22We told you that our father would die if Benjamin left him. 23But you warned us that we could never see you again, unless our youngest brother came with us. 24So we returned to our father and reported what you had said.
25Later our father told us to come back here and buy more grain. 26But we answered, “We can't go back to Egypt without our youngest brother. We will never be let in to see the governor, unless he is with us.”
27Sir, our father then reminded us that his favourite wife had given birth to two sons. 28One of them was already missing and had not been seen for a long time. My father thinks the boy was torn to pieces by some wild animal, 29and he said, “I am an old man. If you take Benjamin from me, and something happens to him, I will die of a broken heart.”
30That's why Benjamin must be with us when I go back to my father. He loves him so much 31that he will die if Benjamin doesn't come back with me. 32I promised my father that I would bring him safely home. If I don't, I told my father he could blame me the rest of my life.
33Sir, I am your slave. Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers. 34How can I face my father if Benjamin isn't with me? I couldn't bear to see my father in such sorrow.
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