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Genesis 44

44
1Joseph ordered his household supervisor, “Fill the men's sacks with as much grain as they can hold and put each man's money at the top of his sack. 2Then put my special silver cup at the top of the sack of the youngest, along with the money for his grain.” He did as Joseph told him. 3At sunrise they were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had hardly left the city when Joseph told his household supervisor, “Go after those men, and when you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you paid back good with evil by stealing my master's silver cup?#44:4. “By stealing my master's silver cup”: Septuagint addition, used for clarity. 5This is the cup he personally drinks from, and which he uses for divination.#44:5. “Divination”: a way of discovering secrets or hidden knowledge. Sometimes this is close to magic, but, in this case, it may be that Joseph is using a common superstition to cover up his plan. What you've done is really evil!’”
6When he caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had said.
7“My lord, what are you saying?” they replied. “We your servants wouldn't do anything like that! 8Remember that we brought back the money we found at the top of our sacks when we returned from Canaan. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9If any one of us is found with it, he shall die, and all of us will become your slaves.”
10“Whatever you say,” the man replied, “but only the one found with it will become my slave since the rest of you will be free of any blame.” 11They all unloaded their sacks and put them on the ground. They each opened their own sacks. 12The household supervisor searched the sacks, beginning with the oldest and working his way down to the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes in grief. Then they loaded their sacks back on their donkeys and headed back to the city.
14Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. 15“Why did you do this?” Joseph asked. “Don't you know a man like me can find out things through divination?”
16“My lord, what can we say?” Judah replied. “How can we explain this to you? In what way can we prove our innocence? God has exposed the guilt of your servants. My lord, we are your slaves—all of us, including the one who was found with the cup.”
17“I wouldn't do anything like that!” Joseph replied. “Only the man who was found with the cup will become my slave. The rest of you are free to return to your father.”
18Judah came closer and said to him, “If you please, my lord, let your servant just say a word. Please don't become angry with your servant, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself. 19My lord, previously you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20We told you, my lord, ‘We have an elderly father, and a younger brother, born when our father was already old. The boy's brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother's children left, and his father loves him dearly.’
21Then you ordered us, ‘Bring him here to me so I can see him.’ 22We told you, ‘The boy can't leave his father; if he did, his father would die.’ 23But you told us, ‘If your youngest brother doesn't come with you, you won't see me again.’
24So when we went back to your servant, our father, we explained to him everything you had told us. 25However, later on, our father told us, ‘Go back and buy some more food.’ 26But we said, ‘There's no way we can go back unless Benjamin our youngest brother goes with us, because we won't be able to see the man if Benjamin isn't with us.’
27Then my father said to us, ‘You realize that my wife#44:27. “My wife”: referring to Rachel. Evidently Jacob considered her as his one true wife. had two sons for me. 28One is no more, ripped to pieces no doubt,#44:28. See 37:33. for I've never seen him since. 29If you take this one away from me too, and something bad happens to him, you'll send this old man to his grave in grief.’
30So if the boy isn't with us when I go back to my father, whose life depends on the life of the boy, 31as soon as he sees the boy isn't there he'll die, and we will really send this old man, our father, to his grave in grief. 32In fact I gave myself as the guarantee for the boy to my father. I told him, ‘If I don't bring him back to you, then I will always carry the blame!’
33So please let me stay here as my lord's slave instead of the boy. Let him go back home with his brothers. 34For how could I ever go back to my father if the boy wasn't with me? I couldn't stand seeing the anguish that would cause my father.”
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.”