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Genesis 44

44
1 Then Joseph instructed the steward of his house, saying: "Fill their sacks with grain, as much as they are able to hold. And place each one's money at the top of the sack.
2 But place my silver bowl, and the price that he gave for the wheat, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest." And so it was done.
3 And when morning arose, they were sent away with their donkeys.
4 And now they had departed from the city and had set out a short distance. Then Joseph, sending for the steward of his house, said: "Rise up and pursue the men. And when you have overtaken them, say: 'Why have you returned evil for good?
5 The cup that you have stolen, it is that from which my lord drinks, and in which he is accustomed to discern signs. You have done a very sinful thing.' "
6 He did as he had been ordered. And having overtaken them, he spoke to them according to the order.
7 And they responded: "Why does our lord speak in this way, as though your servants had committed such a shameful act?
8 The money, which we found at the top of our sacks, we carried back to you from the land of Canaan. So in what way does it follow that we would steal, from the house of your lord, gold or silver?
9 Whichever of your servants will be found to have what you seek, may he die, and we shall be the servants of my lord."
10 And he said to them: "Let it be according to your verdict. With whomever it will be found, let him be my servant, but you will be unharmed."
11 And so, they quickly placed their sacks down to the ground, and each one was opened.
12 And when he had searched, beginning with the oldest, all the way to the youngest, he found the cup in Benjamin's sack.
13 But they, tearing their garments and burdening their donkeys again, returned to the town.
14 And Judah, first among his brothers, entered to Joseph (for he had not yet departed from the place) and together they all fell down before him to the ground.
15 And he said to them: "Why would you choose to act in this way? Could you be ignorant that there is no one like me in the knowledge of discerning signs?"
16 And Judah said to him, "What could we answer to my lord? And what would we be able to say, or to justly claim? God has discovered the iniquity of your servants. See, we have all become servants to my lord, both we, and he with whom the cup was found."
17 Joseph responded: "Far be it from me that I should act in this way. He who stole the cup, he will be my servant. But you may go away free to your father."
18 Then Judah, approaching closer, said confidently: "I beg you, my lord, let your servant speak a word in your ears, and do not be angry with your servant. For you are next to Pharaoh.
19 My lord, you questioned your servants before: 'Do you have a father or a brother?'
20 And we answered you, my lord: 'There is our father, an old man, and a young boy, who was born in his old age. His brother of the same womb has died, and he alone is left to his mother and father, who truly love him tenderly.'
21 And you said to your servants, 'Bring him to me, and I will set my eyes on him.'
22 We suggested to my lord: 'The boy is not able to leave his father. For if he sends him away, he will die.'
23 And you said to your servants: 'Unless your youngest brother arrives with you, you will not see my face any more.'
24 Therefore, when we had gone up to your servant our father, we explained to him all that my lord had spoken.
25 And our father said: 'Return and buy us a little wheat.'
26 And we said to him: 'We cannot go. If our youngest brother descends with us, we will set out together. Otherwise, in his absence, we do not dare to see the face of the man.'
27 To which he responded: 'You know that my wife conceived twice by me.
28 One went out, and you said, "A beast devoured him." And since then, he has not appeared.
29 If you take this one also, and anything happens to him on the way, you will lead my grey hairs down with grief to the grave.'
30 Therefore, if I would have gone to your servant, our father, with the boy not present, (though his life depends upon the life of him)
31 and if he were to see that he is not with us, he would die, and your servants will lead his grey hairs down with sorrow to the grave.
32 Let me be your very own servant, for I accepted this one into my trust, and I promised, saying: 'Unless I lead him back, I will be guilty of a sin against my father for all time.'
33 And so I, your servant, will remain in place of the boy, in ministry to my lord, and then let the boy go up with his brothers.
34 For I cannot return to my father without the boy, lest I appear as a witness to the calamity that will oppress my father."
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Joseph’s Plan to Trap His Brothers
1Joseph commanded the man in charge of his house,
“Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry. Put each man’s money in his sack. 2Then put my silver cup in the youngest brother’s sack along with the money for his grain.” He did what Joseph told him.
3At dawn the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to the man in charge of his house, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you paid me back with evil when I was good to you? 5Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and that he uses for telling the future? What you have done is evil!’ ”
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7They answered him, “Sir, how can you say such things? We would never think of doing anything like that! 8We brought the money we found in our sacks back from Canaan. So why would we steal any silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If one of us has it, he will die, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10“I agree,” he said. “We’ll do what you’ve said. The man who has the cup will be my slave, and the rest of you can go free.”
11Each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the man made a thorough search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13When they saw this, they tore their clothes in grief. Then each one loaded his donkey and went back into the city.
14Judah and his brothers arrived at Joseph’s house while Joseph was still there. Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground. 15Joseph asked them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out because he knows the future?”
16“Sir, what can we say to you?” Judah asked. “How else can we explain it? How can we prove we’re innocent? God has uncovered our guilt. Now all of us are your slaves, including the one who had the cup.”
17But Joseph said, “I would never think of doing that! Only the man who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Defends Benjamin
18Then Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, let me speak openly with you. Don’t be angry with me, although you are equal to Pharaoh. 19Sir, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother born to him when he was already old. The boy’s brother is dead, so he’s the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21“Then you said to us, ‘Bring him here to me so that I can see him myself.’ 22We replied, ‘The boy can’t leave his father. If the boy leaves him, his father will die.’ 23Then you told us, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come here with you, you will never be allowed to see me again.’ 24When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said.
25“Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little more food.’ 26We answered, ‘We can’t go back. We can only go back if our youngest brother is with us. The man won’t see us unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Then our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife ⌞Rachel⌟ gave me two sons. 28One is gone, and I said, “He must have been torn to pieces!” I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take this one away from me too and anything happens to him, you’ll drive this gray-haired old man to his grave.’
30“Our father’s life is wrapped up with the boy’s life. If I come ⌞home⌟ without the boy 31and he sees that the boy isn’t ⌞with me⌟, he’ll die. The grief would drive our gray-haired old father to his grave.
32“I guaranteed my father that the boy would come back. I said, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, then you can blame me the rest of my life, Father.’ 33Sir, please let me stay and be your slave in the boy’s place, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34How could I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father’s misery!”