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.”

Genesis 44

44
1 AND HE commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.
2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, with his grain money. And [the steward] did according to what Joseph had said.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
4 When they had left the city and were not yet far away, Joseph said to his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, Why have you rewarded evil for good? [Why have you stolen the silver cup?]
5 Is it not my master's drinking cup with which he divines [the future]? You have done wrong in doing this.
6 And the steward overtook them, and he said to them these same words.
7 They said to him, Why does my lord say these things? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!
8 Note that the money which we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Is it likely then that we would steal from your master's house silver or gold?
9 With whomever of your servants [your master's cup] is found, not only let that one die, but the rest of us will be my lord's slaves.
10 And the steward said, Now let it be as you say: he with whom [the cup] is found shall be my slave, but [the rest of] you shall be blameless.
11 Then quickly every man lowered his sack to the ground and every man opened his sack.
12 And [the steward] searched, beginning with the eldest and stopping with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
13 Then they rent their clothes; and after each man had loaded his donkey again, they returned to the city.
14 Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house, for he was still there; and they fell prostrate before him.
15 Joseph said to them, What is this thing that you have done? Do you not realize that such a man as I can certainly detect and know by divination [everything you do without other knowledge of it]?
16 And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord? What shall we reply? Or how shall we clear ourselves, since God has found out and exposed the iniquity of your servants? Behold, we are my lord's slaves, the rest of us as well as he with whom the cup is found.
17 But [Joseph] said, God forbid that I should do that; but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for [the rest of] you, arise and go in peace to your father.
18 Then Judah came close to [Joseph] and said, O my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word to you in private, and let not your anger blaze against your servant, for you are as Pharaoh [so I will speak as if directly to him].
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have you a father or a brother?
20 And we said to my lord, We have a father–an old man–and a young [brother, the] child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's [offspring], and his father loves him.
21 And you said to your servants, Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.
22 And we said to my lord, The lad cannot leave his father; for if he should do so, his father would die.
23 And you told your servants, Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you shall not see my face again.
24 And when we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25 And our father said, Go again and buy us a little food.
26 But we said, We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we may not see the man's face except our youngest brother is with us.
27 And your servant my father said to us, You know that [Rachel] my wife bore me two sons:
28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn to pieces, and I have never seen him since.
29 And if you take this son also from me, and harm or accident should befall him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow and evil to Sheol (the place of the dead).
30 Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad's life and his soul knit with the lad's soul,
31 When he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die; and your servants will be responsible for his death and will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
32 For your servant became security for the lad to my father, saying, If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.
33 Now therefore, I pray you, let your servant remain instead of the youth [to be] a slave to my lord, and let the young man go home with his [half] brothers.
34 For how can I go up to my father if the lad is not with me?–lest I witness the woe and the evil that will come upon my father.