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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 44

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1Joseph gave the steward these instructions: ‘Fill the men's packs with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's silver at the top of his pack. 2And put my goblet, the silver one, at the top of the youngest brother's pack along with the silver for the grain.’ He did as Joseph had told him. 3At first light the brothers were allowed to take their donkeys and set off; 4but before they had gone very far from the city, Joseph said to his steward, ‘Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say, “Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Why have you stolen the silver goblet? a 44:5 Why … goblet?: so Gk; Heb. omits. It is the one my lord drinks from, and which he uses for divination. This is a wicked thing you have done.” ’ 6When the steward overtook them, he reported his master's words. 7But they replied, ‘My lord, how can you say such things? Heaven forbid that we should do such a thing! 8Look! The silver we found at the top of our packs we brought back to you from Canaan. Why, then, should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9If any one of us is found with the goblet, he shall die; and, what is more, my lord, the rest of us shall become your slaves.’ 10He said, ‘Very well; I accept what you say. Only the one in whose possession it is found will become my slave; the rest will go free.’ 11Each quickly lowered his pack to the ground and opened it, 12and when the steward searched, beginning with the eldest and finishing with the youngest, the goblet was found in Benjamin's pack. 13At this they tore their clothes; then one and all they loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.

14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they threw themselves on the ground before him. 15Joseph said, ‘What is this you have done? You might have known that a man such as I am uses divination.’ 16Judah said, ‘What can we say, my lord? What can we plead, or how can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our crime. Here we are, my lord, ready to be made your slaves, we ourselves as well as the one who was found with the goblet.’ 17‘Heaven forbid that I should do such a thing!’ answered Joseph. ‘Only the one who was found with the goblet shall become my slave; the rest of you can go home to your father safe and sound.’

18Then Judah went up to him and said, ‘Please listen, my lord, and let your servant speak a word, I beg. Do not be angry with me, for you are as great as Pharaoh himself. 19My lord, you asked us whether we had a father or a brother. 20We answered, “We have an aged father, and he has a young son born in his old age; this boy's full brother is dead, and since he alone is left of his mother's children, his father loves him.” 21You said to us, your servants, “Bring him down to me so that I may set eyes on him.” 22We told you, my lord, that the boy could not leave his father; his father would die if he left him. 23But you said, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not enter my presence again.” 24We went back to your servant my father, and reported to him what your lordship had said, 25so when our father told us to go again and buy food, 26we answered, “We cannot go down; for without our youngest brother we cannot enter the man's presence; but if our brother is with us, we will go.” 27Then your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One left me, and I said, ‘He must have been torn to pieces.’ I have not seen him since. 29If you take this one from me as well, and he comes to any harm, then you will bring down my grey hairs in misery to the grave.” 30Now, my lord, if I return to my father without the boy—and remember, his life is bound up with the boy's—31what will happen is this: he will see that the boy is not with us and he will die, and your servants will have brought down our father's grey hairs in sorrow to the grave. 32Indeed, my lord, it was I who went surety for the boy to my father. I said, “If I do not bring him back to you, then you can blame me for it all my life.” 33Now, my lord, let me remain in place of the boy as my lord's slave, and let him go with his brothers. 34How can I return to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the misery which my father would suffer.’

Notes:

a 44:5 Why … goblet?: so Gk; Heb. omits.

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