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Genesis: 44

The missing cup.  Gn.44.1-17

1Joseph gave his steward this order: 'Fill the men's packs with as much food as they can carry and put each man's silver at the top of his pack. 2And put my goblet, my silver goblet, at the top of the youngest brother's pack with the silver for the corn.' He did as Joseph said. 3At daybreak the brothers were allowed to take their asses and go on their journey; 4but before they had gone very far from the city, Joseph said to his steward, 'Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say, "Why have you repaid good with evil? Why have you stolen the silver goblet? 5It is the one from which my lord drinks, and which he uses for divination. You have done a wicked thing." ' 6When he caught up with them, he repeated all this to them, 7but they replied, 'My lord, how can you say such things? No, sir, God forbid that we should do any such thing! 8You remember the silver we found at the top of our packs? We brought it back to you from Canaan. Why should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9If any one of us is found with the goblet, he shall die; and, what is more, my lord, we will all become your slaves.' 10He said, 'Very well, then ; I accept what you say. The man in whose possession it is found shall be my slave, but the rest of you shall go free.' 11Each man quickly lowered his pack to the ground and opened it. 12The steward searched them, beginning with the eldest and finishing with the youngest, and the goblet was found in Benjamin's pack.

13At this they rent their clothes; then each man loaded his ass and they returned to the city. 14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in. They threw themselves on the ground before him, 15and Joseph said, 'What have you done? You might have known that a man like myself would practise divination.' 16Judah said, 'What shall we say, my lord? What can we say to prove our innocence? God has found out our sin. Here we are, my lord, ready to be made your slaves, we ourselves as well as the one who was found with the goblet.' 17Joseph answered, 'God forbid that I should do such a thing! The one who was found with the goblet shall become my slave, but the rest of you can go home to your father in peace.'

Judah pleads for Benjamin.  Gn.44.18-34

18Then Judah went up to him and said, 'Please listen, my lord. Let me say a word to your lordship, I beg. Do not be angry with me, for you are as great as Pharaoh. 19You, my lord, asked us whether we had a father or a brother. 20We answered, "We have an aged father, and he has a young son born in his old age; this boy's full brother is dead and he alone is left of his mother's children, he alone, and his father loves him." 21Your lordship answered, "Bring him down to me so that I may set eyes on him." 22We told you, my lord, that the boy could not leave his father, and that his father would die if he left him. 23But you answered, "Unless your youngest brother comes here with you, you shall not enter my presence again." 24We went back to your servant our father, and told him what your lordship had said. 25When our father told us to go and buy food, 26we answered, "We cannot go down; for without our youngest brother we cannot enter the man's presence; but if our brother is with us, we will go." 27Our father, my lord, then said to us, "You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One left me, and I said, 'He must have been torn to pieces.' I have not seen him to this day. 29If you take this one from me as well, and he comes to any harm, then you will bring down my grey hairs in trouble to the grave." 30Now, my lord, when I return to my father without the boy—and remember, his life is bound up with the boy's—what will happen is this: 31he will see that the boy is not with us and will die, and your servants will have brought down our father's grey hairs in sorrow to the grave. 32Indeed, my lord, it was I who went surety for the boy to my father. I said, "If I do not bring him back to you, then you shall hold me guilty all my life." 33Now, my lord, let me remain in place of the boy as your lordship's slave, and let him go with his brothers. 34How can I return to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the misery which my father would suffer.'


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