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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.”

Bereshis 44

44
1And he commanded the ish over Bais Yosef, saying, Fill the sacks of the anashim with ochel, as much as they can carry, and put kesef ish in the mouth of his sack.
2And put my cup, gevi'a hakesef (cup of silver), in the mouth of the sack of the katon, and his kesef for shever (grain). And he did according to the davar Yosef had spoken.
3As soon as the boker ohr, the anashim were sent away, they and their chamorim.
4And when they were gone out of the ir, and not yet far off, Yosef said unto the ish over Bais Yosef, Up, follow after the anashim; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded ra'ah for tovah?
5Is not this it in which adoni drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? Ye have done ra'ah in so doing.
6And he overtook them, and he spoke unto them these same devarim.
7And they said unto him, Wherefore saith adoni these words? Chalilah (far be it) that thy avadim should do according to this thing;
8Hinei, the kesef, which we found in the mouth of our sacks, we brought back unto thee out of Eretz Kena'an; how then should we be ganavim stealing kesef or zahav out of the bais adoneicha?
9With whomsoever of thy avadim it be found, both let him die, and we also will be avadim of adoni.
10And he said, Now also let it be according unto your devarim; he with whom it is found shall be to me eved; and ye shall be nekiyim (blameless).
11Then they speedily took down every ish his sack to the ground, and opened every ish his sack.
12And he searched, and began at the gadol (eldest), and ended at the katon (youngest); and the gevi'a (cup, goblet) was found in the sack of Binyamin.
13Then they tore their garments, and loaded every ish his chamor, and returned to the ir.
14And Yehudah and his achim came to Bais Yosef; for he was yet there; and they fell before him on the ground.
15And Yosef said unto them, What ma'aseh (deed) is this that ye have done? Know ye not that an ish like me can find things out as a menachesh (diviner)?
16And Yehudah said, What shall we say unto adoni? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? HaElohim hath found out the avon (iniquity) of thy avadim; look at us, we are now avadim la'adoni, both we, and he also with whom the gevi'a (cup) is found.
17And he [Yosef] said, Chalilah that I should do so; but the ish in whose yad the gevi'a is found, he shall be to me eved; and as for you, go back in shalom unto avichem.
[VAYIGGASH]
18Then Yehudah came near unto him, and said, Oh, adoni, let thy eved speak now a davar in oznei adoni, and let not thine anger burn against thy eved; for thou art even like Pharaoh.
19Adoni asked his avadim, saying, Have ye an av, or an ach?
20And we said unto adoni, We have an av, a zaken, and a yeled zekunim katan (child of his old age, a little one); and achiv is dead, and he alone is left of immo, and aviv loveth him.
21And thou saidst unto thy avadim, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
22And we said unto adoni, The na'ar cannot leave aviv; for if he should leave aviv, aviv would die.
23And thou saidst unto thy avadim, Except achichem hakaton (your youngest brother) come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.
24And it came to pass when we came up unto thy eved Avi we told him the divrei adoni.
25And avinu said, Shuvu, (go back, return) and buy us a little ochel.
26And we said, We cannot go down; if achinu hakaton (our youngest brother) be with us, then will we go down; for we may not see the face of HaIsh, except achinu hakaton be with us.
27And thy eved Avi said unto us, Ye know that my wife bore me two banim;
28And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn to pieces; and I saw him not ad-hennah (until now);
29And if ye take this also from me, and ason (evil, harm) befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hair in ra'ah (misery) to Sheol.
30Now therefore when I come to thy eved Avi, and the na'ar be not with us; seeing that his nefesh is bound up in the nefesh of the na'ar;
31It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the na'ar is not with us, that he will die; and thy avadim shall bring down the gray hair of thy eved avinu with yagon (sorrow) to Sheol,
32For thy eved became surety for the na'ar unto Avi, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame before Avi kol hayamim.
33Therefore, let thy eved, now, abide instead of the na'ar, an eved to adoni; and let the na'ar go up with his achim.
34For how shall I go up to Avi, and the na'ar be not with me? Lest I see the rah that would overtake Avi.