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Genesis 44

44
The Brothers Are Brought Back
1Then he commanded his house steward, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the opening of his sack. 2And put my cup, the silver cup, in the opening of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.” And he did #Or according to the wordas Joseph had told him. 3#Lit The morning was lightAs soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. 4They had just left the city, and were not far away, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5Is this not that from which my lord drinks, and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this!’ ”
6So #I.e., the stewardhe overtook them and spoke these words to them. 7And they said to him, “Why does my lord say such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8Behold, the money which we found in the opening of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9With whomever of your servants it is found, he shall die, and we also shall be my lord’s slaves.” 10So he said, “Now let it indeed be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, but the rest of you shall be considered innocent.” 11Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12And he searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes in grief, and when each man had loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell down to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What is this thing that you have done? Do you not know that a man who is like me can indeed practice divination?” 16So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What words can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose #Lit handpossession the cup has been found.” 17But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose #Lit handpossession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18Then Judah approached him and said, “Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and #Lit let not your anger burn againstdo not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20And we said to my lord, ‘We have an old father and a little boy born in our father’s old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.’ 21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22But we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, #Lit he wouldhis father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, however, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24So it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25And our father said, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ 26But we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28and the one left me, and I said, “Surely he is torn to pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29If you also take this one from #Lit my faceme, and harm happens to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in #Lit evilsorrow.’ 30So now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the boy is not with us—since #Lit his soul is bound with his soulour father’s life is so attached to the boy’s life— 31when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. So your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant, our father, down to Sheol in sorrow. 32For your servant accepted responsibility for the boy from my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then #Lit I will be culpable for all the days before my fathermy father can let me take the blame forever.’ 33So now, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34For how shall I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear that I may see the evil that would #Lit findovertake my father.”
44
Joseph’s Silver Cup
1When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his palace manager: “Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into his sack. 2Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” So the manager did as Joseph instructed him.
3The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys. 4But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, “Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil? 5Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup,#44:5 As in Greek version; Hebrew lacks this phrase. which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’”
6When the palace manager caught up with the men, he spoke to them as he had been instructed.
7“What are you talking about?” the brothers responded. “We are your servants and would never do such a thing! 8Didn’t we return the money we found in our sacks? We brought it back all the way from the land of Canaan. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If you find his cup with any one of us, let that man die. And all the rest of us, my lord, will be your slaves.”
10“That’s fair,” the man replied. “But only the one who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
11They all quickly took their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them. 12The palace manager searched the brothers’ sacks, from the oldest to the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13When the brothers saw this, they tore their clothing in despair. Then they loaded their donkeys again and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. 15“What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?”
16Judah answered, “Oh, my lord, what can we say to you? How can we explain this? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves—all of us, not just our brother who had your cup in his sack.”
17“No,” Joseph said. “I would never do such a thing! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Speaks for His Brothers
18Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.
19“My lord, previously you asked us, your servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we responded, ‘Yes, my lord, we have a father who is an old man, and his youngest son is a child of his old age. His full brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him very much.’
21“And you said to us, ‘Bring him here so I can see him with my own eyes.’ 22But we said to you, ‘My lord, the boy cannot leave his father, for his father would die.’ 23But you told us, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you will never see my face again.’
24“So we returned to your servant, our father, and told him what you had said. 25Later, when he said, ‘Go back again and buy us more food,’ 26we replied, ‘We can’t go unless you let our youngest brother go with us. We’ll never get to see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Then my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife had two sons, 28and one of them went away and never returned. Doubtless he was torn to pieces by some wild animal. I have never seen him since. 29Now if you take his brother away from me, and any harm comes to him, you will send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.#44:29 Hebrew to Sheol; also in 44:31.
30“And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life. 31If he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We, your servants, will indeed be responsible for sending that grieving, white-haired man to his grave. 32My lord, I guaranteed to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.’
33“So please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see the anguish this would cause my father!”