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Genesis 44

44
Chapter 44
Joseph tests his brothers
1Joseph told the servant who took care of his house, ‘Fill the men's bags. Give them as much food as their animals can carry. Put each man's money back in the top of his bag. 2Then take my silver cup and put it in the top of the youngest man's bag. Put it with the money that he brought to pay for his food.’ The servant did what Joseph had told him to do. 3When morning came, the men started their journey with their donkeys. 4They had travelled only a short way from the city. Then Joseph said to his servant, ‘Go now and follow those men. When you find them, say to them, “My master was kind to you. So why have you done this bad thing against us? 5You have taken my master's own special cup. It is the cup that he drinks from. He also uses it to find out about future things. You have done a very bad thing!” ’
6So Joseph's servant followed the men and he reached them. He told them Joseph's message. 7But the brothers said to him, ‘Sir, why do you say these things? We are your servants. We would not do anything like that! 8When we found the money in our bags last time, we brought it back to you from Canaan. So we would never take valuable silver or gold things from your master's house. 9If any one of us has this silver cup, he must die. We others will become your slaves, sir.’ 10The servant said, ‘What you say is fair. Whoever has the cup, will become my slave. The rest of you will go free.’
11Each of the brothers quickly put his bag on the ground and opened it. 12Then the servant began to look in the bags. He began with the oldest brother's bag and he finished with the youngest brother's bag. Then he found the cup in Benjamin's bag! 13When this happened, all the brothers were very upset. They tore their clothes. Then they put their bags back on their donkeys. They returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in his house when Judah and his brothers arrived. They threw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph. 15Joseph said, ‘Why have you done this bad thing? You should have known about an important man like me. I can use magic to find out what people do.’ 16Judah said, ‘We do not know what to say to you, my lord. We cannot say that we did not do this. God has shown that we are guilty of this sin. Now we are your slaves. We are all your slaves, as well as the one who had your cup in his bag.’
17But Joseph said, ‘I would not do a thing like that! Only the man who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can return to your father. You may go as my friends.’
18Then Judah went and he spoke to Joseph. He said, ‘Please, my lord. Let me speak to you. You have all of Pharaoh's authority, but please do not be angry with me, your servant. 19You asked us, “Do you have a father or another brother?” 20And we replied, “We have a father who is very old. He has a young son who was born when our father was already old. That son's brother is dead. He is the only son of his mother who still lives. His father loves him.” 21Then you said, “Bring your youngest brother to me so that I can see him.” 22And we said, “The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves him, his father will die.” 23But you said to us, “Your youngest brother must come with you. If he does not come, I will not let you see me again.” 24We returned to our father and we told him what you said. 25After some time, our father said, “Go back to Egypt and buy some more food for us.” 26But we said, “We cannot go back there. We can only go if our youngest brother goes with us. If he is not with us, we will not be able to see the man again.” 27Then my father said to us, “My wife gave birth to two sons. 28One of them went away and he never returned. So I said, ‘A wild animal must have eaten him.’ I have not seen him since that happened. 29If you take my youngest son away from me too, something bad may happen to him. I am already an old man. If I lose Benjamin, I would be so sad that I would die.” ’
30Judah continued and he said, ‘So, my lord, I could not go back to my father without his youngest son. My father stays alive because of this boy. 31If my father sees that his son is not with us, he will die. Because we did not bring the boy back to him, he will be sad enough to die. 32I promised my father that I would take care of the boy. I said, “I will bring the boy back. If I do not, then you can say that I am guilty. I will be guilty for all of my life.” 33Please sir, let me stay here as your slave, instead of the boy. Let the boy return home with his brothers. 34I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I never want to see how upset my father would be.’ #44:34 In chapter 44, Joseph wants to see if his brothers have changed. Will they leave Benjamin in Egypt, so that they can return to Canaan? Judah shows that he has changed. He says that he will stay in Egypt, as a slave. He will stay so that Benjamin can go home to his 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!”