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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
1And Joseph commanded the steward of his house, saying: Fill their sacks with corn, as much as they can hold; and put the money of every one in the top of his sack.
2And in the mouth of the younger's sack put my silver cup, and the price which he gave for the wheat. And it was so done.
3And when the morning arose, they were sent away with their asses.
4And when they were now departed out of the city, and had gone forward a little way, Joseph sending for the steward of his house, said: Arise, and pursue after the men. And when thou hast overtaken them, say to them: Why have you returned evil for good?
5The cup which you have stolen is that in which my lord drinketh, and in which he is wont to divine: you have done a very evil thing.
6He did as he had commanded him. And having overtaken them, he spoke to them the same words.
7And they answered: Why doth our lord speak so, as though thy servants had committed so heinous a fact?
8The money, that we found in the top of our sacks, we brought back to thee from the land of Chanaan: How then should it be that we should steal out of thy lord's house, gold or silver?
9With whomsoever of thy servants shall be found that which thou seekest, let him die, and we will be the bondmen of my lord.
10And he said to them: Let it be according to your sentence. With whomsoever it shall be found, let him be my servant, and you shall be blameless.
11Then they speedily took down their sacks to the ground, and every man opened his sack.
12Which when he had searched, beginning at the eldest, and ending at the youngest, he found the cup in Benjamin's sack.
13Then they rent their garments, and loading their asses again, returned into the town.
14And Juda at the head of his brethren went in to Joseph (for he was not yet gone out of the place): and they altogether fell down before him on the ground.
15And he said to them: Why would you do so? Know you not that there is no one like me in the science of divining.
16And Juda said to him: What shall we answer my lord? Or what shall we say, or be able justly to allege? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: Behold, we are all bondmen to my lord, both we, and he with whom the cup was found.
17Joseph answered: God forbid that I should do so. He that stole the cup, he shall be my bondman. And go you away free to your father.
18Then Juda coming nearer, said boldly: I beseech thee, my lord, let thy servant speak a word in thy ears, and be not angry with thy servant; for after Pharao thou art
19My lord. Thou didst ask thy servants the first time: Have you a father or a brother?
20And we answered thee, my lord: We have a father an old man, and a young boy, that was born in his old age; whose brother by the mother is dead: and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him tenderly.
21And thou saidst to thy servants: Bring him hither to me, and I will set my eyes on him.
22We suggested to my lord: The boy cannot leave his father; for if he leave him, he will die.
23And thou saidst to thy servants: Except your youngest brother come with you, you shall see my face no more.
24Therefore when we were gone up to thy servant our father, we told him all that my lord had said.
25And our father said: Go again, and buy us a little wheat.
26And we said to him: We cannot go. If our youngest brother go down with us, we will set out together; otherwise, without him we dare not see the man's face.
27Whereunto he answered: You know that my wife bore me two.
28One went out, and you said: A beast devoured him. And hitherto he appeareth not.
29If you take this also, and any thing befall him in the way, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow unto hell.
30Therefore if I shall go to thy servant our father, and the boy be wanting (whereas his life dependeth upon the life of him):
31And he shall see that he is not with us, he will die, and thy servants shall bring down his gray hairs with sorrow unto hell.
32Let me be that proper servant, who took him into my trust, and promised, saying: If I bring him not again, I will be guilty of sin against my father for ever.
33Therefore I thy servant will stay instead of the boy in the service of my lord, and let the boy go up with his brethren.
34For I cannot return to my father without the boy, lest I be a witness of the calamity that will oppress my father.