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Genesis 44

44
The Final Test
1 He instructed the servant who was over his household, “Fill the sacks of the men with as much food as they can carry and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put#tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express Joseph’s instructions. my cup – the silver cup – in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” He did as Joseph instructed.#tn Heb “and he did according to the word of Joseph which he spoke.”
3 When morning came,#tn Heb “the morning was light.” the men and their donkeys were sent off.#tn Heb “and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.” This clause, like the preceding one, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action. 4 They had not gone very far from the city#tn Heb “they left the city, they were not far,” meaning “they had not gone very far.” when Joseph said#tn Heb “and Joseph said.” This clause, like the first one in the verse, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action. to the servant who was over his household, “Pursue the men at once!#tn Heb “arise, chase after the men.” The first imperative gives the command a sense of urgency. When you overtake#tn After the imperative this perfect verbal form with vav consecutive has the same nuance of instruction. In the translation it is subordinated to the verbal form that follows (also a perfect with vav consecutive): “and overtake them and say,” becomes “when you overtake them, say.” them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5 Doesn’t my master drink from this cup#tn Heb “Is this not what my master drinks from.” The word “cup” is not in the Hebrew text, but is obviously the referent of “this,” and so has been supplied in the translation for clarity. and use it for divination?#tn Heb “and he, divining, divines with it.” The infinitive absolute is emphatic, stressing the importance of the cup to Joseph. You have done wrong!’”#tn Heb “you have caused to be evil what you have done.”
6 When the man#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity. overtook them, he spoke these words to them. 7 They answered him, “Why does my lord say such things?#tn Heb “Why does my lord speak according to these words?” Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!#tn Heb “according to this thing.” 8 Look, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Why then would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If one of us has it,#tn Heb “The one with whom it is found from your servants.” Here “your servants” (a deferential way of referring to the brothers themselves) has been translated by the pronoun “us” to avoid confusion with Joseph’s servants. he will die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves!”
10 He replied, “You have suggested your own punishment!#tn Heb “Also now, according to your words, so it is.” As the next statement indicates, this does mean that he will do exactly as they say. He does agree with them the culprit should be punished, but not as harshly as they suggest. Furthermore, the innocent parties will not be punished. The one who has it will become my slave,#tn Heb “The one with whom it is found will become my slave.” but the rest of#tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. you will go free.”#tn The Hebrew word נָקִי (naqi) means “acquitted,” that is, free of guilt and the responsibility for it.sn The rest of you will be free. Joseph’s purpose was to single out Benjamin to see if the brothers would abandon him as they had abandoned Joseph. He wanted to see if they had changed. 11 So each man quickly lowered#tn Heb “and they hurried and they lowered.” Their speed in doing this shows their presumption of innocence. his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the man#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity. searched. He began with the oldest and finished with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13 They all tore their clothes! Then each man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14 So Judah and his brothers#sn Judah and his brothers. The narrative is already beginning to bring Judah to the forefront. came back to Joseph’s house. He was still there,#tn The disjunctive clause here provides supplemental information. and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What did you think you were doing?#tn Heb “What is this deed you have done?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question. A literal translation seems to contradict the following statement, in which Joseph affirms that he is able to divine such matters. Thus here the emotive force of the question has been reflected in the translation, “What did you think you were doing?” Don’t you know that a man like me can find out things like this by divination?”#tn Heb “[is] fully able to divine,” meaning that he can find things out by divination. The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis, stressing his ability to do this.
16 Judah replied, “What can we say#tn The imperfect verbal form here indicates the subject’s potential. to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves?#tn The Hitpael form of the verb צָדֵק (tsadeq) here means “to prove ourselves just, to declare ourselves righteous, to prove our innocence.” God has exposed the sin of your servants!#sn God has exposed the sin of your servants. The first three questions are rhetorical; Judah is stating that there is nothing they can say to clear themselves. He therefore must conclude that they have been found guilty. We are now my lord’s slaves, we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”
17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose hand the cup was found will become my slave, but the rest of#tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. you may go back#tn Heb “up” (reflecting directions from their point of view – “up” to Canaan; “down” to Egypt). to your father in peace.”
18 Then Judah approached him and said, “My lord, please allow your servant to speak a word with you.#tn Heb “Please my lord, let your servant speak a word into the ears of my lord.” Please do not get angry with your servant,#tn Heb “and let not your anger burn against your servant.” for you are just like Pharaoh.#sn You are just like Pharaoh. Judah’s speech begins with the fear and trembling of one who stands condemned. Joseph has as much power as Pharaoh, either to condemn or to pardon. Judah will make his appeal, wording his speech in such a way as to appeal to Joseph’s compassion for the father, whom he mentions no less than fourteen times in the speech. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young boy who was born when our father was old.#tn Heb “and a small boy of old age,” meaning that he was born when his father was elderly. The boy’s#tn Heb “his”; the referent (the boy just mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left,#tn Heb “he, only he, to his mother is left.” and his father loves him.’
21 “Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see#tn The cohortative after the imperative indicates purpose here. him.’#tn Heb “that I may set my eyes upon him.” 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves his father, his father#tn Heb “he”; the referent (the boy’s father, i.e., Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. will die.’#tn The last two verbs are perfect tenses with vav consecutive. The first is subordinated to the second as a conditional clause. 23 But you said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we returned to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little food.’ 26 But we replied, ‘We cannot go down there.#tn The direct object is not specified in the Hebrew text, but is implied; “there” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go,#tn Heb “go down.” for we won’t be permitted to see the man’s face if our youngest brother is not with us.’
27 “Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave me two sons.#tn Heb “that two sons my wife bore to me.” 28 The first disappeared#tn Heb “went forth from me.” and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” I have not seen him since. 29 If you take#tn The construction uses a perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive to introduce the conditional clause and then another perfect verbal form with a vav consecutive to complete the sentence: “if you take…then you will bring down.” this one from me too and an accident happens to him, then you will bring down my gray hair#sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole – they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble. See Gen 42:38. in tragedy#tn Heb “evil/calamity.” The term is different than the one used in the otherwise identical statement recorded in v. 31 (see also 42:38). to the grave.’#tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
30 “So now, when I return to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us – his very life is bound up in his son’s life.#tn Heb “his life is bound up in his life.” 31 When he sees the boy is not with us,#tn Heb “when he sees that there is no boy.” he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father in sorrow to the grave. 32 Indeed,#tn Or “for.” your servant pledged security for the boy with my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame before my father all my life.’
33 “So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave instead of the boy. As for the boy, let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see#tn The Hebrew text has “lest I see,” which expresses a negative purpose – “I cannot go up lest I see.” my father’s pain.”#tn Heb “the calamity which would find my father.”
44
1 AND HE commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.
2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, with his grain money. And [the steward] did according to what Joseph had said.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
4 When they had left the city and were not yet far away, Joseph said to his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, Why have you rewarded evil for good? [Why have you stolen the silver cup?]
5 Is it not my master's drinking cup with which he divines [the future]? You have done wrong in doing this.
6 And the steward overtook them, and he said to them these same words.
7 They said to him, Why does my lord say these things? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!
8 Note that the money which we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Is it likely then that we would steal from your master's house silver or gold?
9 With whomever of your servants [your master's cup] is found, not only let that one die, but the rest of us will be my lord's slaves.
10 And the steward said, Now let it be as you say: he with whom [the cup] is found shall be my slave, but [the rest of] you shall be blameless.
11 Then quickly every man lowered his sack to the ground and every man opened his sack.
12 And [the steward] searched, beginning with the eldest and stopping with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
13 Then they rent their clothes; and after each man had loaded his donkey again, they returned to the city.
14 Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house, for he was still there; and they fell prostrate before him.
15 Joseph said to them, What is this thing that you have done? Do you not realize that such a man as I can certainly detect and know by divination [everything you do without other knowledge of it]?
16 And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord? What shall we reply? Or how shall we clear ourselves, since God has found out and exposed the iniquity of your servants? Behold, we are my lord's slaves, the rest of us as well as he with whom the cup is found.
17 But [Joseph] said, God forbid that I should do that; but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for [the rest of] you, arise and go in peace to your father.
18 Then Judah came close to [Joseph] and said, O my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word to you in private, and let not your anger blaze against your servant, for you are as Pharaoh [so I will speak as if directly to him].
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have you a father or a brother?
20 And we said to my lord, We have a father–an old man–and a young [brother, the] child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's [offspring], and his father loves him.
21 And you said to your servants, Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.
22 And we said to my lord, The lad cannot leave his father; for if he should do so, his father would die.
23 And you told your servants, Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you shall not see my face again.
24 And when we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25 And our father said, Go again and buy us a little food.
26 But we said, We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we may not see the man's face except our youngest brother is with us.
27 And your servant my father said to us, You know that [Rachel] my wife bore me two sons:
28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn to pieces, and I have never seen him since.
29 And if you take this son also from me, and harm or accident should befall him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow and evil to Sheol (the place of the dead).
30 Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad's life and his soul knit with the lad's soul,
31 When he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die; and your servants will be responsible for his death and will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
32 For your servant became security for the lad to my father, saying, If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.
33 Now therefore, I pray you, let your servant remain instead of the youth [to be] a slave to my lord, and let the young man go home with his [half] brothers.
34 For how can I go up to my father if the lad is not with me?–lest I witness the woe and the evil that will come upon my father.