44:1-34. The Dismissal Of Joseph's Brethren.
44:1-13. Feigned Dismissal.
44:14-34. Brethren's explanation to Joseph.
1-14. Feigned Dismissal.
1,2. The Cup concealed.
3. The sending away.
4-12. The Cup found.
13,14. The return.
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 orders that all the money be placed right back into their sacks again.)
2 And put my cup, the silver cup,
(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. This cup distinguishes it from the smaller cups from which it was drunk. Cp. Jer. 35:5.)
in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money." And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
(This was the 4th step to try them, and to prove whether they were the same brothers still, and would treat Benjamin as they had treated Joseph.)
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
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?
5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.' "
(This was to confirm their belief that Joseph was an Egyptian. 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.)
6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.
7 And they said unto him, 'Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
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?
9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.'
(This was the penalty in the "Code", with which they were acquainted with in Canaan, death for stealing from a palace. Property more sacred than life. Each of the brothers will regret this statement, for they have just committed their little brother to death, and themselves as slaves [bond servants].)
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."
11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
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.)
13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.
14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he 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.)
15-34. The Cup Sought.
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?"
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:
(= a course of bad conduct flowing from the evil desires of fallen nature, rather than breaches of the law as such. This confession was what Joseph had been laboring to procure.)
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.)
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."
18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said,
(He who proposed to sell Joseph and save his life-37:26,27-now proposes to remain a bondman for Benjamin. He had already become surety for his safety - 43:8,9.)
"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.
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have ye a father, or a brother?'
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 left 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.)
21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, 'Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.'
22 And we said unto my lord, 'The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.'
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.)
24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
25 And our father said, 'Go again, and buy us a little food.'
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.'
27 And thy servant my father said unto us, 'Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:
28 And the one went out from me,' and I said,
(Here Joseph learned what happened after they sold him; and how they had deceived their father - 37:31,32.)
'Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
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.'
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;
31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
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.)
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.
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."
(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.)