Joseph tests his brothers
1 Joseph told the servant who took care of his house, ‘Fill the men's bags. Give them as much food as their animals can carry. Put each man's money back in the top of his bag. 2 Then take my silver cup and put it in the top of the youngest man's bag. Put it with the money that he brought to pay for his food.’ The servant did what Joseph had told him to do. 3 When morning came, the men started their journey with their donkeys. 4 They had travelled only a short way from the city. Then Joseph said to his servant, ‘Go now and follow those men. When you find them, say to them, “My master was kind to you. So why have you done this bad thing against us? 5 You have taken my master's own special cup. It is the cup that he drinks from. He also uses it to find out about future things. You have done a very bad thing!” ’
6 So Joseph's servant followed the men and he reached them. He told them Joseph's message. 7 But the brothers said to him, ‘Sir, why do you say these things? We are your servants. We would not do anything like that! 8 When we found the money in our bags last time, we brought it back to you from Canaan. So we would never take valuable silver or gold things from your master's house. 9 If any one of us has this silver cup, he must die. We others will become your slaves, sir.’ 10 The servant said, ‘What you say is fair. Whoever has the cup, will become my slave. The rest of you will go free.’
11 Each of the brothers quickly put his bag on the ground and opened it. 12 Then the servant began to look in the bags. He began with the oldest brother's bag and he finished with the youngest brother's bag. Then he found the cup in Benjamin's bag! 13 When this happened, all the brothers were very upset. They tore their clothes. Then they put their bags back on their donkeys. They returned to the city.
14 Joseph was still in his house when Judah and his brothers arrived. They threw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph. 15 Joseph said, ‘Why have you done this bad thing? You should have known about an important man like me. I can use magic to find out what people do.’ 16 Judah said, ‘We do not know what to say to you, my lord. We cannot say that we did not do this. God has shown that we are guilty of this sin. Now we are your slaves. We are all your slaves, as well as the one who had your cup in his bag.’
17 But Joseph said, ‘I would not do a thing like that! Only the man who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can return to your father. You may go as my friends.’
18 Then Judah went and he spoke to Joseph. He said, ‘Please, my lord. Let me speak to you. You have all of Pharaoh's authority, but please do not be angry with me, your servant. 19 You asked us, “Do you have a father or another brother?” 20 And we replied, “We have a father who is very old. He has a young son who was born when our father was already old. That son's brother is dead. He is the only son of his mother who still lives. His father loves him.” 21 Then you said, “Bring your youngest brother to me so that I can see him.” 22 And we said, “The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves him, his father will die.” 23 But you said to us, “Your youngest brother must come with you. If he does not come, I will not let you see me again.” 24 We returned to our father and we told him what you said. 25 After some time, our father said, “Go back to Egypt and buy some more food for us.” 26 But we said, “We cannot go back there. We can only go if our youngest brother goes with us. If he is not with us, we will not be able to see the man again.” 27 Then my father said to us, “My wife gave birth to two sons. 28 One of them went away and he never returned. So I said, ‘A wild animal must have eaten him.’ I have not seen him since that happened. 29 If you take my youngest son away from me too, something bad may happen to him. I am already an old man. If I lose Benjamin, I would be so sad that I would die.” ’
30 Judah continued and he said, ‘So, my lord, I could not go back to my father without his youngest son. My father stays alive because of this boy. 31 If my father sees that his son is not with us, he will die. Because we did not bring the boy back to him, he will be sad enough to die. 32 I promised my father that I would take care of the boy. I said, “I will bring the boy back. If I do not, then you can say that I am guilty. I will be guilty for all of my life.” 33 Please sir, let me stay here as your slave, instead of the boy. Let the boy return home with his brothers. 34 I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I never want to see how upset my father would be.’
44:34In chapter 44, Joseph wants to see if his brothers have changed. Will they leave Benjamin in Egypt, so that they can return to Canaan? Judah shows that he has changed. He says that he will stay in Egypt, as a slave. He will stay so that Benjamin can go home to his father.