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Genesis 44

44
Joseph’s Plan to Trap His Brothers
1Joseph commanded the man in charge of his house,
“Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry. Put each man’s money in his sack. 2Then put my silver cup in the youngest brother’s sack along with the money for his grain.” He did what Joseph told him.
3At dawn the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to the man in charge of his house, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you paid me back with evil when I was good to you? 5Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and that he uses for telling the future? What you have done is evil!’ ”
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7They answered him, “Sir, how can you say such things? We would never think of doing anything like that! 8We brought the money we found in our sacks back from Canaan. So why would we steal any silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If one of us has it, he will die, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10“I agree,” he said. “We’ll do what you’ve said. The man who has the cup will be my slave, and the rest of you can go free.”
11Each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the man made a thorough search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13When they saw this, they tore their clothes in grief. Then each one loaded his donkey and went back into the city.
14Judah and his brothers arrived at Joseph’s house while Joseph was still there. Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground. 15Joseph asked them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out because he knows the future?”
16“Sir, what can we say to you?” Judah asked. “How else can we explain it? How can we prove we’re innocent? God has uncovered our guilt. Now all of us are your slaves, including the one who had the cup.”
17But Joseph said, “I would never think of doing that! Only the man who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Defends Benjamin
18Then Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, let me speak openly with you. Don’t be angry with me, although you are equal to Pharaoh. 19Sir, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother born to him when he was already old. The boy’s brother is dead, so he’s the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21“Then you said to us, ‘Bring him here to me so that I can see him myself.’ 22We replied, ‘The boy can’t leave his father. If the boy leaves him, his father will die.’ 23Then you told us, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come here with you, you will never be allowed to see me again.’ 24When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said.
25“Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little more food.’ 26We answered, ‘We can’t go back. We can only go back if our youngest brother is with us. The man won’t see us unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Then our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife ⌞Rachel⌟ gave me two sons. 28One is gone, and I said, “He must have been torn to pieces!” I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take this one away from me too and anything happens to him, you’ll drive this gray-haired old man to his grave.’
30“Our father’s life is wrapped up with the boy’s life. If I come ⌞home⌟ without the boy 31and he sees that the boy isn’t ⌞with me⌟, he’ll die. The grief would drive our gray-haired old father to his grave.
32“I guaranteed my father that the boy would come back. I said, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, then you can blame me the rest of my life, Father.’ 33Sir, please let me stay and be your slave in the boy’s place, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34How could I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father’s misery!”
44
The Brothers Are Brought Back
1Then he commanded his house steward, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph had told him. 3As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. 4They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’ ”
6So he overtook them and spoke these words to them. 7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing. 8Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” 10So he said, “Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?” 16So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” 17But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18Then Judah approached him, and said, “Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20We said to my lord, ‘We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.’ 21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22But we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, however, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25Our father said, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ 26But we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’ 30Now, 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, 31when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?”