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.”