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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
1-2Joseph ordered his house steward: “Fill the men’s bags with food—all they can carry—and replace each one’s money at the top of the bag. Then put my chalice, my silver chalice, in the top of the bag of the youngest, along with the money for his food.” He did as Joseph ordered.
3-5At break of day the men were sent off with their donkeys. They were barely out of the city when Joseph said to his house steward, “Run after them. When you catch up with them, say, ‘Why did you pay me back evil for good? This is the chalice my master drinks from; he also uses it for divination. This is outrageous!’”
6He caught up with them and repeated all this word for word.
7-9They said, “What is my master talking about? We would never do anything like that! Why, the money we found in our bags earlier, we brought back all the way from Canaan—do you think we’d turn right around and steal it back from your master? If that chalice is found on any of us, he’ll die; and the rest of us will be your master’s slaves.”
10The steward said, “Very well then, but we won’t go that far. Whoever is found with the chalice will be my slave; the rest of you can go free.”
11-12They outdid each other in putting their bags on the ground and opening them up for inspection. The steward searched their bags, going from oldest to youngest. The chalice showed up in Benjamin’s bag.
13They ripped their clothes in despair, loaded up their donkeys, and went back to the city.
14Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers got back. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him.
15Joseph accused them: “How can you have done this? You have to know that a man in my position would have discovered this.”
16Judah as spokesman for the brothers said, “What can we say, master? What is there to say? How can we prove our innocence? God is behind this, exposing how bad we are. We stand guilty before you and ready to be your slaves—we’re all in this together, the rest of us as guilty as the one with the chalice.”
17“I’d never do that to you,” said Joseph. “Only the one involved with the chalice will be my slave. The rest of you are free to go back to your father.”
18-20Judah came forward. He said, “Please, master; can I say just one thing to you? Don’t get angry. Don’t think I’m presumptuous—you’re the same as Pharaoh as far as I’m concerned. You, master, asked us, ‘Do you have a father and a brother?’ And we answered honestly, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother who was born to him in his old age. His brother is dead and he is the only son left from that mother. And his father loves him more than anything.’
21-22“Then you told us, ‘Bring him down here so I can see him.’ We told you, master, that it was impossible: ‘The boy can’t leave his father; if he leaves, his father will die.’
23“And then you said, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come with you, you won’t be allowed to see me.’
24-26“When we returned to our father, we told him everything you said to us. So when our father said, ‘Go back and buy some more food,’ we told him flatly, ‘We can’t. The only way we can go back is if our youngest brother is with us. We aren’t allowed to even see the man if our youngest brother doesn’t come with us.’
27-29“Your servant, my father, told us, ‘You know very well that my wife gave me two sons. One turned up missing. I concluded that he’d been ripped to pieces. I’ve never seen him since. If you now go and take this one and something bad happens to him, you’ll put my old gray, grieving head in the grave for sure.’
30-32“And now, can’t you see that if I show up before your servant, my father, without the boy, this son with whom his life is so bound up, the moment he realizes the boy is gone, he’ll die on the spot. He’ll die of grief and we, your servants who are standing here before you, will have killed him. And that’s not all. I got my father to release the boy to show him to you by promising, ‘If I don’t bring him back, I’ll stand condemned before you, Father, all my life.’
33-34“So let me stay here as your slave, not this boy. Let the boy go back with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? Oh, don’t make me go back and watch my father die in grief!”