The First Book of Moses, Called Genesis

Chapter 44

Joseph's stratagem to detain his brothers, 1-5. The cup is found in Benjamin's sack, 6-13. They are brought before Joseph, 14-17. Judah's humble supplication to Joseph, 18-34.

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 each man's money in his sack's mouth. 2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, along with his grain money." And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away—they and their donkeys. 4 And when they had gone out of the city and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Arise, follow after the men. And when you overtake them, say to them, 'Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5 Is this not the cup in which my lord drinks and by which indeed he divines? You have done evil in so doing.'"

6 And he overtook them and he spoke to them these same words. 7 And they said to him, "Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do according to this thing. 8 Behold, the money which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then should we steal from your lord's house silver or gold? 9 With whomever of your servants it shall be found, both let him die and we also will be my lord's slaves." 10 And he said, "Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it shall be found shall be my servant, and you shall be blameless." 11 Then they each speedily took down his sack to the ground and each opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13 Then they rent their clothes and each loaded his donkey and returned to the city.

14 And Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house (for he was still there), and they fell before him on the ground. 15 And Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine?" 16 And Judah said, "What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold we are my lord's servants—both we and he also with whom the cup is found." 17 And he said, "Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant. And as for you, go in peace to your father."

18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, "Oh my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not let your anger burn against your servant, for you are even as Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Do you have a father, or a brother?' 20 And we said to 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 left of his mother, and his father loves him.' 21 And you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me so that I may set my eyes upon him.' 22 And we said to my lord, 'The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' 23 And you said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.' 24 And it came to pass, when we came to your servant, my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And our father said, 'Go back. Buy us a little food.' 26 And we said, 'We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down, for we may not see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.' 27 And your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 And one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces," and I have not seen him since. 29 And if you take this one also from me and mischief befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.' 30 Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us (seeing that his life is bound up in the boy's life), 31 It shall come to pass, when he sees that the boy is not with us, that he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave. 32 For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.' 33 Now therefore, I pray you, let your servant abide instead of the boy, as a slave to my lord, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 For how shall I return to my father, if the boy is not with me?—Lest perhaps I see the evil that shall come on my father."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Genesis, Chapter 44[➚]