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Joseph’s Plan to Trap His Brothers

44 Joseph 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. Then put my silver cup in the youngest brother’s sack along with the money for his grain.” He did what Joseph told him.

At dawn the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. They 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? Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and that he uses for telling the future? What you have done is evil!’”

When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. They answered him, “Sir, how can you say such things? We would never think of doing anything like that! We 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? If 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.”

11 Each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the man made a thorough search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 When they saw this, they tore their clothes in grief. Then each one loaded his donkey and went back into the city.

14 Judah and his brothers arrived at Joseph’s house while Joseph was still there. Immediately, they bowed with their faces touching the ground. 15 Joseph 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.”

17 But 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

18 Then 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. 19 Sir, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We 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.’ 22 We replied, ‘The boy can’t leave his father. If the boy leaves him, his father will die.’ 23 Then you told us, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come here with you, you will never be allowed to see me again.’ 24 When 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.’ 26 We 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. 28 One is gone, and I said, “He must have been torn to pieces!” I haven’t seen him since. 29 If 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 31 and 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.’ 33 Sir, please let me stay and be your slave in the boy’s place, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 How could I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father’s misery!”

A Silver Cup in a Sack

44 Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house:(A) “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack.(B) Then put my cup,(C) the silver one,(D) in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.

As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.(E) They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward,(F) “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?(G) Isn’t this the cup(H) my master drinks from and also uses for divination?(I) This is a wicked thing you have done.’”

When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants(J) to do anything like that!(K) We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan(L) the silver(M) we found inside the mouths of our sacks.(N) So why would we steal(O) silver or gold from your master’s house? If any of your servants(P) is found to have it, he will die;(Q) and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.(R)

10 “Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it(S) will become my slave;(T) the rest of you will be free from blame.”(U)

11 Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the steward(V) proceeded to search,(W) beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest.(X) And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.(Y) 13 At this, they tore their clothes.(Z) Then they all loaded their donkeys(AA) and returned to the city.

14 Joseph was still in the house(AB) when Judah(AC) and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him.(AD) 15 Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done?(AE) Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?(AF)

16 “What can we say to my lord?(AG)” Judah(AH) replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence?(AI) God has uncovered your servants’(AJ) guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves(AK)—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.(AL)

17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing!(AM) Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave.(AN) The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”(AO)

18 Then Judah(AP) went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord,(AQ) let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry(AR) with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants,(AS) ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’(AT) 20 And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age.(AU) His brother is dead,(AV) and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’(AW)

21 “Then you said to your servants,(AX) ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’(AY) 22 And we said to my lord,(AZ) ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’(BA) 23 But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’(BB) 24 When we went back to your servant my father,(BC) we told him what my lord(BD) had said.(BE)

25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’(BF) 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’(BG)

27 “Your servant my father(BH) said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons.(BI) 28 One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.”(BJ) And I have not seen him since.(BK) 29 If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave(BL) in misery.’(BM)

30 “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father,(BN) and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life,(BO) 31 sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die.(BP) Your servants(BQ) will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave(BR) in sorrow. 32 Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’(BS)

33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave(BT) in place of the boy,(BU) and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery(BV) that would come on my father.”(BW)

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