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Genesis 44

44
Joseph Detains Benjamin
1#Ge 42:25; 43:16Then 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 the mouth of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, along with his grain money.” And he did according to what Joseph had spoken.
3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4#Ps 35:12When they were gone out of the city, but not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5#Ge 30:27; 44:15Is this not the one from which my lord drinks and uses as he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’ ”
6So he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words. 7They said to him, “Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing. 8Look, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money that we found in the top of our sacks. Why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9#Ge 31:32Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”
10He said, “Now let it also be according to your words. He with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you will be blameless.”
11Then every man hurriedly took down his sack to the ground, and every man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13#Nu 14:6; 2Sa 1:11Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”
16#Ge 44:9; Da 9:7And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Here we are, my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose possession the cup was found.”
17But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
Judah’s Plea for Benjamin
18#Ex 32:22; Ge 18:30Then Judah approached him and said, “O my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant, for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19#Ge 43:7My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20#Ge 37:3; 42:38And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.’
21#Ge 42:15; 42:20“You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23#Ge 43:3; 43:5You said to 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 the words of my lord.
25#Ge 43:2“Our father said, ‘Go again and buy us a little food.’ 26We 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, unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27#Ge 46:19“Your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28#Ge 37:33And the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he was torn in pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29#Ge 42:38; 42:36; 44:31And if you take this one also from me and he is harmed, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.’
30#1Sa 18:1“Now therefore when I come to your servant, my father, and the boy is not with us, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31#Ge 44:29; 37:35when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to the grave. 32For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I shall bear the blame to my father forever.’
33“Now therefore, please let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34#Est 8:6For how can I go up to my father if the boy is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would find my father?”
44
The Missing Cup
1Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack. 2Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother's sack, together with the money for his corn.” He did as he was told. 3Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? 5Why did you steal my master's silver cup?#44.5 One ancient translation Why did you steal my master's silver cup?; Hebrew does not have these words. It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination. You have committed a serious crime!’ ”
6When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words. 7They answered him, “What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? We swear that we have done no such thing. 8You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10He said, “I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my slave, and the rest of you can go free.” 11So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12Joseph's servant searched carefully, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there. They bowed down before him, 15and Joseph said, “What have you done? Didn't you know that a man in my position could find you out by practising divination?”
16“What can we say to you, sir?” Judah answered. “How can we argue? How can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our guilt. All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found.”
17Joseph said, “Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, allow me to speak with you freely. Don't be angry with me; you are like the king himself. 19Sir, you asked us, ‘Have you got a father or another brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy's brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's children still alive; his father loves him very much.’ 21Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him, 22and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die. 23Then you said, ‘You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.’
24“When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said. 25Then he told us to return and buy a little food. 26We answered, ‘We cannot go; we will not be admitted to the man's presence unless our youngest brother is with us. We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.’ 27Our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons. 28One of them has already left me. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left. 29If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would cause me would kill me, old as I am.’
30-31“And now, sir,” Judah continued, “if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with me, he will die. His life is wrapped up with the life of the boy, and he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him. 32What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy. I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. 33And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father.”