Genesis 44

1 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 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, with his grain money.” 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 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, ‘Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5 Isn’t this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.’” 6 He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord’s house? 9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” 10 He said, “Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my slave; and you will be blameless.” 11 Then they hurried, and each man took his sack down to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 He searched, beginning with the oldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city. 14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Don’t you know that such a man as I can indeed divine?” 16 Judah said, “What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found.” 17 He said, “Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.” 18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and don’t let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20 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 You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.’ 24 When we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 Our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food.’ 26 We said, ‘We can’t 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 Your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28 and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces”; and I haven’t seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to Sheol.’ 30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; since his life is bound up in the boy’s life; 31 it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the grey hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol. 32 For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I don’t bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, my lord’s slave; and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn’t with me?—lest I see the evil that will come on my father.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–17

Joseph tried how his brethren felt towards Benjamin. Had they envied and hated the other son of Rachel as they had hated him, and if they had the same want of feeling towards their father Jacob as heretofore, they would now have shown it. When the cup was found upon Benjamin, they would have a pretext for leaving him to be a slave. But we cannot judge what men are now, by what they have been formerly; nor what they will do, by what they have done. The steward charged them with being ungrateful, rewarding evil for good; with folly, in taking away the cup of daily use, which would soon be missed, and diligent search made for it; for so it may be read, Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, as having a particular fondness for it, and for which he would search thoroughly? Or, By which, leaving it carelessly at your table, he would make trial whether you were honest men or not? They throw themselves upon Joseph’s mercy, and acknowledge the righteousness of God, perhaps thinking of the injury they had formerly done to Joseph, for which they thought God was now reckoning with them. Even in afflictions wherein we believe ourselves wronged by men, we must own that God is righteous, and finds out our sin.

Verses 18–34

Had Joseph been, as Judah supposed him, an utter stranger to the family, he could not but be wrought upon by his powerful reasonings. But neither Jacob nor Benjamin need an intercessor with Joseph; for he himself loved them. Judah’s faithful cleaving to Benjamin, now, in his distress, was recompensed long afterwards by the tribe of Benjamin keeping with the tribe of Judah, when the other tribes deserted it. The apostle, when discoursing of the mediation of Christ, observes, that our Lord sprang out of Judah, Heb 7:14; and he not only made intercession for the transgressors, but he became a Surety for them, testifying therein tender concern, both for his Father and for his brethren. Jesus, the great antitype of Joseph, humbles and proves his people, even after they have had some tastes of his loving-kindness. He brings their sins to their remembrance, that they may exercise and show repentance, and feel how much they owe to his mercy.

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