Genesis Chapter 44
"Joseph Tests Brethren with the Cup."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis 44:1 "And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth."
All the brothers are about to head back to Jacob in Canaan, and Joseph has order that all the money be placed right back into their sacks again.
Genesis 44:2 "And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money." And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken."
This cup to an Egyptian is very special, for it belonged to a ruler, and was considered a divining cup. To steal something of that nature is death, and Joseph is about to spring the ultimate test by putting it into Benjamin's sack. What will the brothers do when their little brother has the death sentence placed on his head. This is the exact test that Joseph went through years ago.
Genesis 44:3 "As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses."
The trap is set, and the brothers are leaving in high spirits. They had a meal with the ruler, they had Benjamin with them, and they were loaded with grains.
Genesis 44:4 "And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, "UP, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, "Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?"
Genesis 44:5 "Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing."
At the same time Joseph is still trying to hide his identity, for practicing divining. This is against God will, and so the cup is just part of Joseph's plan. To divine something through an article or an object is just plain idolatry. The trap has been sprung.
Genesis 44:6 "And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words."
The servant spoke exactly as Joseph gave him instructions.
Genesis 44:7 "And that said unto him, "Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:"
Each of the brothers knew that they did not steal anything, and this made them that much more bold. It was against their nature and upbringing.
Genesis 44:8 "Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold?"
What would be our purpose in stealing any silver or gold?
Genesis 44:9 "With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen."
Each of the brothers will regret this statement, for they have just committed their little brother to death, and themselves as slaves [bond servants].
Genesis 44:10 "And he said, "Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless."
Well the old servant said, alright we will let it be as you have spoken.
Genesis 44:11 "Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack."
Every one wanted to be first to be inspected, and they started the search from the oldest to the youngest.
Genesis 44:12 "And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack."
The trap has been sprung, and and now is the time for showing their real colors. Will the brothers leave their brother Benjamin alone to die in Egypt, or will they stick by him to the very end.
Genesis 44:13 "Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city."
The test was on, and little Benjamin was condemned by there very words. This was a sad trip back to Joseph's house.
Genesis 44:14 "And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for ye was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground."
You bet that Joseph was waiting, for Joseph wanted to see if they would cut and run, and leave his little brother Benjamin to stand the punishment alone. Once again these brothers bowed all the way to the ground. They knew they were in serious trouble.
Genesis 44:15 "And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine."
Joseph is still hiding his identity as he is asking them, do you not think that I can take you lives.
Genesis 44:16 "And Judah said, "What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found."
Judah first admits that the iniquity of selling their brother has caught up with them, and now that the cup is found with them, by their own words they have committed themselves to be his slaves.
Genesis 44:17 "And he said, "God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father."
In turn Joseph said that only Benjamin is his servant, now all you others get up off the ground, and get back to your father. There it is, all they have to do is get up and run, leave Benjamin, and go in peace. The time of truth has come, and Joseph has planned this moment for many years.
Genesis 44:18 "Then Judah came near unto him, and said, "Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh."
Judah is begging Joseph that even though you are as Pharaoh himself, listen to what I have to say on this matter.
Genesis 44:19 "My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?"
Genesis 44:20 "And we said unto my lord, 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 lift of his mother, and his father loveth him."
Judah is explaining this to his own brother Joseph, and he still doesn't know this. The one who he thinks is dead is the very one that is hearing his case. Each of these brothers know that if they return home without little brother, it will kill the old man. His heart just will not take the bad news. Judah goes on with his explanation to Joseph.
Genesis 44:21 "And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him."
Genesis 44:22 "And we said unto my lord, "The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die."
Genesis 44:23 "And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more."
If they could not see Joseph's face, it would mean no food and death to the entire family. Jacob's household was more then just the ten brothers, for each of them had their families, and the servants that many others to care for the thousands of cattle he possessed. Jacob had the entire wealth of Abraham, and Isaac, as well as the entire city of Shechem that remained alive after the men were killed.
Genesis 44:24 "And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord."
Genesis 44:25 "And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food."
Genesis 44:26 "And we said, "We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us."
Judah told Joseph that it would be a wasted trip if Benjamin does not come, for you demanded it of us.
Genesis 44:27 "And thy servant my father said unto us, "Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:"
Those two sons were Joseph and Benjamin, they were the only sons of Rachel.
Genesis 44:28 "And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:"
As Judah is telling Joseph the story of how it tore his father up when they allowed their father to believe he was torn to pieces by wild animals, Joseph is hearing first hand the events following his time in the pit, and when he was on his way to Egypt at a slave.
Genesis 44:29 "And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."
Judah is explaining that the news of Benjamin not returning will kill the old man.
Genesis 44:30 "Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;"
Genesis 44:31 "It shall come to pass, when he seeth that thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave."
Genesis 44:32 "For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, "If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever."
The answer to Joseph's question, Will they run? is becoming very clear. They will not, and not only will they not, they will sacrifice their own lives for him.
Genesis 44:33 "Now therefore, I pray thee let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren."
Keep me, Judah said, and let the lad go free. The test was a success, and Joseph heard exactly what he wanted to hear. They are not cowards.
Genesis 44:34 "For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my Father."
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