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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
CHAPTER 44
1Forsooth Joseph commanded the dispenser of his house, and said, Fill thou their sacks with wheat, as much as they may take, and put thou the money of each in the height [or the top] of the sack;
2forsooth put thou in the sack’s mouth of the youngest my silver cup, and the price of the wheat which he gave; and it was done so.
3And when the morrowtide arose, they were delivered with their asses.
4And now they had gone out of the city, and had gone forth a little; then Joseph said, when the dispenser of his house was called, Rise thou, pursue the men, and say thou when they be taken, Why have ye yielded evil for good?
5The cup, which ye have stolen, is that in which my lord drinketh, and in which he is wont to divine; ye have done a full wicked thing.
6He did as Joseph commanded, and when they were overtaken, he spake by order these things;
7the which answered, Why speaketh our lord so, that thy servants have done so great a trespass?
8We brought again to thee from the land of Canaan the money that we found in the height [or the top] of our sacks, and how is it pursuing [or following] that we have stolen from thy lord’s house gold or silver?
9At whomever of thy servants this that thou seekest is found, die he, and we shall be servants of my lord.
10Which said to them, Be it done by your sentence; at whom it is found, be he my servant; forsooth ye shall be guiltless.
11And so they did down hastily their sacks on the earth, and all they opened them,
12the which he sought through; and he began at the most till to the least, and he found the cup in Benjamin’s sack.
13And when they had rent their clothes, and had charged again their asses, they turned again into the city.
14And Judah entered with his brethren to Joseph; for Joseph had not gone yet from the place; and all they fell together on the earth before him.
15To whom he said, Why would ye do so? whether ye wot not, that none is like me in the knowing of divining?
16To whom Judah said, What shall we answer to my lord, or what shall we speak, either what may we justly against-say? God hath found the wickedness of thy servants; lo! all we be the servants of my lord, both we and he at whom the cup is found.
17Joseph answered, Far be it from me, that I do so; he be my servant that stole the cup; forsooth go ye free to your father.
18Soothly Judah nighed near, and said trustily, My lord, I pray thee, thy servant speak a word in thine ears, and be thou not wroth to thy servant; for after Pharaoh thou art my lord.
19Thou askedest first thy servants, Have ye a father, or a brother?
20And we answered to my lord, An eld [or old] father is to us, and a little child that was born in his eld age, whose brother of the same womb is dead, and his mother hath him alone; forsooth his father loveth him tenderly.
21And thou saidest to thy servants, Bring ye him to me, and I shall set mine eyes on him.
22We made suggestion to thee, my lord, the child may not forsake his father; for if he shall leave his father, his father shall die.
23And thou saidest to thy servants, If your youngest brother shall not come down with you, ye shall no more see my face.
24Therefore when we had gone up to thy servant, our father, we told to him all things which my lord spake to us;
25and our father said, Turn ye again, and buy ye to you a little of wheat;
26to whom we said, We may not go; only if our least brother shall go down with us, we shall go forth together; else, if he is absent, we dare not see the lord’s face.
27To which things our father answered, Ye know that my wife childed two sons to me;
28one went out, and ye said, A beast [hath] devoured him, and hither-to he appeareth not;
29if ye take also this son, and anything befall to him in the way, ye shall lead forth mine hoar hairs with mourning to hells [or to hell].
30Therefore if I enter again to thy servant, our father, and the child fail to be with us, since his life hangeth of the life of the child,
31and he see that the child is not with us, he shall die, and thy servants shall lead forth his hoar hairs with sorrow to hells [or to hell].
32Be I properly thy servant, which received this child on my faith, and I promised, and said, If I shall not bring again him to thee, I shall be guilty of sin against my father in all time;
33and so I shall dwell thy servant for the child into the service of my lord, and the child go up with his brethren;
34for I may not go again to my father, if the child be absent, lest I stand a witness of the wretchedness that shall oppress my father.