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Genesis 44

44
1He commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in his sack’s mouth. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, with his grain money.” He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, ‘Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5Isn’t this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.’” 6He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them.
7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord’s house? 9With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”
10He said, “Now also let it be according to your words. He with whom it is found will be my slave; and you will be blameless.”
11Then they hurried, and each man took his sack down to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city.
14Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Don’t you know that such a man as I can indeed do divination?”
16Judah said, “What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? How will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and he also in whose hand the cup is found.”
17He said, “Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18Then Judah came near to him, and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and don’t let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20We said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.’ 21You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22We said to my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.’ 24When we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25Our father said, ‘Go again and buy us a little food.’ 26We said, ‘We can’t 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.’ 27Your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces;” and I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to Sheol.’#44:29 Sheol is the place of the dead. 30Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; since his life is bound up in the boy’s life; 31it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the grey hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol.#44:31 Sheol is the place of the dead. 32For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I don’t bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.’ 33Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, my lord’s slave; and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn’t with me?—lest I see the evil that will come on 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!”