Genesis 44

Joseph’s Cup

Joseph’s brothers had come to Egypt to buy corn a second time, this time bringing Benjamin with them.

Joseph (to the steward of his house): Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each one’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my silver cup in the mouth of the youngest’s sack with his corn money.

The steward did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.

As soon as the morning was light, the men and their asses were sent away. They were gone out of the city and were not yet far off.

Joseph (to his steward): Follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, Why have you rewarded evil for good? Is this not the cup from which my lord drinks, and by which he divines? You have done evil in doing this.

The steward overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words.

And they said unto him, Why did my lord say these words? God forbid that your servants should do according to this thing. The money, which we found in the mouths o four sacks, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? With whomever of your servants the cup is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.

The steward: Let it be according to your words. He with whom the cup is found shall be my servant, and you shall be blameless.

Each man quickly lifted his sack, placed it on the ground and opened it. The steward searched, beginning at the eldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then the brothers rent their clothes (as a sign of deep sorrow and great distress). Each man loaded his ass and returned to the city.

Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house, for he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.

Joseph: What deed is this that you have done? Don’t you know that such a man as I can certainly divine?

Judah: What shall we say? How shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. We are your servants, both we and he also with whom the cup is found.

Joseph: God forbid that I should do so; but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant. As for you, go in peace to your father

Judah came near to him.

Judah: Oh my lord, let me speak a word in your ears? Let not your anger burn against me, for you are even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, Do you have a father or a brother? And we said, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him. And you said to us , Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him. And we said, The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die. And you said, Except your youngest brother come down with you, you shall not see my face. And it came to pass when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, Go again and buy us a little food. And we said, We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then will we go down: for we can not see the man’s face, unless our youngest brother is with us. And your servant my father said to us, You know that my wife bore me two sons. The one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since. If you take this son also from me and mischief befall him, you shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Now therefore when I come to my father, and the lad is not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die, and we shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. I became surety for the lad to my father, saying, If I don’t bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I beg you, let me stay instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father without the lad? Lest perhaps I see the evil that shall come on my father.

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