Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 44

44
Final Test.#Joseph’s pressure on his brothers and Judah’s great speech. Judah has the longest speech in the Book of Genesis; it summarizes the recent past (vv. 18–29), shows the pain Joseph’s actions have imposed on their aged father (vv. 30–32), and ends with the offer to take the place of Benjamin as servant of Joseph (vv. 33–34). The role of Judah in the entire story is exceedingly important and is easily underrated: he tries to rescue Joseph (37:26–27), his “going down away from the brothers” is parallel to Joseph’s (chap. 38) and prepares him (as it prepares Joseph) for the reconciliation, his speech in chap. 44 persuades Joseph to reveal himself and be reconciled to his brothers. Here, Judah effectively replaces Reuben as a spokesman for the brothers. Jacob in his testament (chap. 49) devotes the most attention to Judah and Joseph. In one sense, the story can be called the story of Joseph and Judah. 1Then Joseph commanded his steward: “Fill the men’s bags with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his bag. 2In the mouth of the youngest one’s bag put also my silver goblet, together with the money for his grain.” The steward did as Joseph said. 3At daybreak the men and their donkeys were sent off. 4They had not gone far out of the city when Joseph said to his steward: “Go at once after the men! When you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why did you repay good with evil? Why did you steal my silver goblet? 5Is it not the very one from which my master drinks and which he uses for divination?#Divination: seeking omens through liquids poured into a cup or bowl was a common practice in the ancient Near East; cf. v. 15. Even though divination was frowned on in later Israel (Lv 19:31), it is in this place an authentic touch which is ascribed to Joseph, the wisest man in Egypt. What you have done is wrong.’”
6When the steward overtook them and repeated these words to them, 7they said to him: “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money that we found in the mouths of our bags. How could we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If any of your servants is found to have the goblet, he shall die, and as for the rest of us, we shall become my lord’s slaves.” 10But he replied, “Now what you propose is fair enough, but only the one who is found to have it shall become my slave, and the rest of you can go free.” 11Then each of them quickly lowered his bag to the ground and opened it; 12and when a search was made, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest, the goblet turned up in Benjamin’s bag. 13At this, they tore their garments. Then, when each man had loaded his donkey again, they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers entered Joseph’s house, he was still there; so they flung themselves on the ground before him. 15“How could you do such a thing?” Joseph asked them. “Did you not know that such a man as I could discern by divination what happened?” 16Judah replied: “What can we say to my lord? How can we plead or how try to prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt.#Guilt: in trying to do away with Joseph when he was young. Here we are, then, the slaves of my lord—the rest of us no less than the one in whose possession the goblet was found.” 17Joseph said, “Far be it from me to act thus! Only the one in whose possession the goblet was found shall become my slave; the rest of you may go back unharmed to your father.”
18Judah then stepped up to him and said: “I beg you, my lord, let your servant appeal to my lord, and do not become angry with your servant, for you are the equal of Pharaoh. 19My lord asked his servants,#My lord asked his servants: such frequently repeated expressions in Judah’s speech show the formal court style used by a subject in speaking to a high official. ‘Have you a father, or another brother?’ 20So we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and a younger brother, the child of his old age. This one’s full brother is dead, and since he is the only one by his mother who is left, his father is devoted to him.’#Gn 42:13. 21Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that I might see him.’ 22We replied to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; his father would die if he left him.’ 23But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see me again.’#Gn 43:3. 24When we returned to your servant my father, we reported to him the words of my lord.
25“Later, our father said, ‘Go back and buy some food for us.’ 26So we reminded him, ‘We cannot go down there; only if our youngest brother is with us can we go, for we may not see the man if our youngest brother is not with us.’ 27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife bore me two sons. 28One of them, however, has gone away from me, and I said, “He must have been torn to pieces by wild beasts!” I have not seen him since.#Gn 37:20, 33. 29If you take this one away from me too, and a disaster befalls him, you will send my white head down to Sheol in grief.’
30“So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, whose very life is bound up with his, he will die as soon as he sees that the boy is missing; 31and your servants will thus send the white head of your servant our father down to Sheol in grief. 32Besides, I, your servant, have guaranteed the boy’s safety for my father by saying, ‘If I fail to bring him back to you, father, I will bear the blame before you forever.’#Gn 43:9. 33So now let me, your servant, remain in place of the boy as the slave of my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34How could I go back to my father if the boy were not with me? I could not bear to see the anguish that would overcome my father.”
44
1Afterward he commanded his steward, saying, Fill the mens sackes with foode, as much as they can carry, and put euery mans money in his sackes mouth. 2And put my cup, I meane the siluer cup, in the sackes mouth of the yongest, and his corne money. And he did according to the commandement that Ioseph gaue him. 3And in the morning the men were sent away, they, and their asses. 4And when they went out of the citie not farre off, Ioseph sayd to his stewarde, Vp, follow after the men: and when thou doest ouertake them, say vnto them, Wherefore haue ye rewarded euill for good? 5Is that not the cuppe, wherein my Lord drinketh? and in the which he doeth deuine and prophecie? ye haue done euill in so doing. 6And when he ouertooke them, he sayde those wordes vnto them. 7And they answered him, Wherefore sayeth my lorde such wordes? God forbid that thy seruants should do such a thing. 8Behold, the money which we found in our sackes mouthes, wee brought againe to thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steale out of thy lordes house siluer or golde? 9With whomesoeuer of thy seruants it bee found, let him dye, and we also will be my lordes bondmen. 10And he said, Now then let it be according vnto your wordes: he with whome it is found, shall be my seruant, and ye shalbe blamelesse. 11Then at once euery man tooke downe his sacke to the grounde, and euery one opened his sacke. 12And he searched, and began at the eldest and left at the yongest: and the cuppe was found in Beniamins sacke. 13Then they rent their clothes, and laded euery man his asse, and went againe into the citie. 14So Iudah and his brethren came to Iosephs house (for he was yet there) and they fel before him on the ground. 15Then Ioseph sayd vnto them, What acte is this, which ye haue done? know ye not that such a man as I, can deuine and prophecie? 16Then sayd Iudah, What shall we say vnto my lord? what shall we speake? and howe can we iustifie our selues? God hath found out the wickednesse of thy seruants: beholde, we are seruants to my Lord, both wee, and he, with whome the cuppe is founde. 17But he answered, God forbid, that I should doe so, but the man, with whome the cuppe is founde, he shalbe my seruant, and go ye in peace vnto your father. 18Then Iudah drewe neere vnto him, and sayde, O my Lord, let thy seruant nowe speake a worde in my lordes eares, and let not thy wrath be kindled against thy seruant: for thou art euen as Pharaoh. 19My Lord asked his seruants, saying, Haue ye a father, or a brother? 20And we answered my Lord, We haue a father that is olde, and a young childe, which he begate in his age: and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loueth him. 21Now thou saidest vnto thy seruants, Bring him vnto me, that I may set mine eye vpon him. 22And we answered my lord, The childe can not depart from his father: for if he leaue his father, his father would die. 23Then saydest thou vnto thy seruants, Except your yonger brother come downe with you, looke in my face no more. 24So when we came vnto thy seruant our father, and shewed him what my lord had sayd, 25And our father sayde vnto vs, Goe againe, bye vs a litle foode, 26Then we answered, We can not go downe: but if our yongest brother go with vs, then will we go downe: for we may not see the mans face, except our yongest brother be with vs. 27Then thy seruant my father sayde vnto vs, Ye knowe that my wife bare me two sonnes, 28And the one went out from me, and I said, Of a suretie he is torne in pieces, and I sawe him not since. 29Nowe yee take this also away from me: if death take him, then yee shall bring my graye head in sorowe to the graue. 30Nowe therefore, when I come to thy seruant my father, and the childe be not with vs (seeing that his life dependeth on the childes life) 31Then when hee shall see that the childe is not come, he will die: so shall thy seruants bring the graye head of thy seruant our father with sorowe to the graue. 32Doubtlesse thy seruant became suertie for the childe to my father, and said, If I bring him not vnto thee againe, then I will beare the blame vnto my father for euer. 33Nowe therefore, I pray thee, let me thy seruant bide for the childe, as a seruant to my Lord, and let the childe go vp with his brethren. 34For how can I go vp to my father, if the childe be not with me, vnlesse I woulde see the euil that shall come on my father?