Genesis 44

1 Later he commanded the man who was over his house: “Fill the bags of the men with as much food as they can carry, and place the money of each one in the mouth of his bag.

2 But you must place my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the bag of the youngest, along with the money for his grain.” So he did as Joseph had instructed.

3 In the morning when it had become light, the men were sent away with their donkeys.

4 They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to the man who was over his house: “Get up! Chase after the men! When you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid bad for good?

5 Is not this what my master drinks from and uses to read omens expertly? It is a wicked thing you have done.’”

6 So he overtook them and spoke these words to them.

7 But they said to him: “Why does my lord say such a thing? It is unthinkable that your servants would do anything like this.

8 Why, the money that we found in the mouth of our bags we brought back to you from the land of Caʹnaan. How, then, could we steal silver or gold from the house of your master?

9 If it is found with one of your slaves, let him die, and the rest of us will also become slaves to my master.”

10 So he said: “Let it be as you say: The one with whom it is found will become my slave, but the rest of you will be innocent.”

11 With that each one quickly lowered his bag to the ground and opened it.

12 He searched carefully, starting with the oldest and finishing with the youngest. Finally the cup was found in Benjamin’s bag.

13 Then they ripped their garments apart, and each of them lifted his load back onto his donkey and returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his brothers went into Joseph’s house, he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him.

15 Joseph said to them: “What is this deed that you have done? Did you not know that a man like me can expertly read omens?”

16 At this Judah replied: “What can we say to my master? What can we speak? And how can we prove ourselves righteous? The true God has found out the error of your slaves. We are now slaves to my master, both we and the one in whose hand the cup was found!”

17 However, he said: “It is unthinkable for me to do this! The man in whose hand the cup was found is the one who will become a slave to me. As for the rest of you, go up in peace to your father.”

18 Judah now approached him and said: “I beg you, my master, please let your slave speak a word in my master’s ears, and do not become angry with your slave, for you are like Pharʹaoh himself.

19 My master asked his slaves, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’

20 So we said to my master, ‘We do have an aged father and a child of his old age, the youngest. But his brother is dead, so he is the only remaining son of his mother, and his father loves him.’

21 After that you said to your slaves, ‘Bring him down to me so that I may see him.’

22 But we said to my master, ‘The boy is not able to leave his father. If he did leave him, his father would certainly die.’

23 Then you said to your slaves, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you may not see my face anymore.’

24 “So we went up to your slave my father and told him the words of my master.

25 Later our father said, ‘Return and buy a little food for us.’

26 But we said, ‘We are not able to go down. If our youngest brother is with us we will go down, for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’

27 Then your slave my father said to us, ‘You well know that my wife bore but two sons to me.

28 But one of them left me and I said: “He must surely have been torn to pieces!” and I have not seen him until now.

29 If you were to take this one also out of my sight and a fatal accident were to befall him, you would certainly bring down my gray hairs to the Grave with calamity.’

30 “And now if I return to your slave my father without the boy along with us, since his own life is bound up with this one’s life,

31 then as soon as he sees that the boy is not there, he will die, and your slaves will indeed bring down the gray hairs of your slave our father to the Grave in grief.

32 Your slave gave a guarantee to my father for the boy, saying, ‘If I fail to bring him back to you, then I will have sinned against my father forever.’

33 So now, please, let your slave stay instead of the boy as my master’s slave, in order that the boy may return with his brothers.

34 How can I return to my father without the boy along with me? I could not bear looking on when this calamity befalls my father!”