Genesis 44 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Joseph Sets a Trap
44 Then Joseph gave a command to the servant in charge of his house. Joseph said, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much grain as they can carry. And put each man’s money into his sack with the grain. 2 Put my silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother. Also put his money for the grain in that sack.” The servant did what Joseph told him.
3 At dawn the brothers were sent away with their donkeys. 4 They were not far from the city when Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Go after the men. When you catch up with them, say, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? 5 The cup you have stolen is the one my master uses for drinking. And he uses it for explaining dreams. You have done a very wicked thing!’”
6 So the servant caught up with the brothers. He said to them what Joseph had told him to say.
7 But the brothers said to the servant, “Why do you say these things? We would not do anything like that! 8 We brought back to you the money we found in our sacks. We brought it back from the land of Canaan. So surely we would not steal silver or gold from your master’s house. 9 If you find that silver cup in the sack of one of us, then let him die. And we will be your slaves.”
10 The servant said, “We will do as you say. But only the man who has taken the cup will become my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
11 Then every brother quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 The servant searched the sacks, going from the oldest brother to the youngest. He found the cup in Benjamin’s sack. 13 The brothers tore their clothes to show they were sad. Then they put their sacks back on the donkeys. And they returned to the city.
14 When Judah and his brothers went back to Joseph’s house, Joseph was still there. The brothers bowed facedown on the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Didn’t you know that a man like me can learn things by signs and dreams?”
16 Judah said, “Sir, what can we say? And how can we show we are not guilty? God has uncovered our guilt. So all of us will be your slaves, not just Benjamin.”
17 But Joseph said, “I will not make you all slaves! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safely to your father.”
18 Then Judah went to Joseph and said, “Sir, please let me speak plainly to you. Please don’t be angry with me. I know that you are as powerful as the king of Egypt himself. 19 When we were here before, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we answered you, ‘We have an old father. And we have a younger brother. He was born when our father was old. This youngest son’s brother is dead. So he is the only one of his mother’s children left alive. And our father loves him very much.’ 21 Then you said to us, ‘Bring that brother to me. I want to see him.’ 22 And we said to you, ‘That young boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves him, his father would die.’ 23 But you said to us, ‘You must bring your youngest brother. If you don’t, you will not be allowed to see me again.’ 24 So we went back to our father and told him what you had said.
25 “Later, our father said, ‘Go again. Buy us a little more food.’ 26 We said to our father, ‘We cannot go without our youngest brother. Without our youngest brother, we will not be allowed to see the governor.’ 27 Then my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel gave me two sons. 28 One son left me. I thought, “Surely he has been torn apart by a wild animal.” And I haven’t seen him since. 29 Now you want to take this son away from me also. But something terrible might happen to him. Then I would be sad until the day I die.’ 30 Now what will happen if we go home to our father without our youngest brother? He is the most important thing in our father’s life. 31 When our father sees that the young boy is not with us, he will die. And it will be our fault. We will cause the great sorrow that kills our father.
32 “I gave my father a guarantee that the young boy would be safe. I said to my father, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, you can blame me all my life.’ 33 So now, please allow me to stay here and be your slave. And let the young boy go back home with his brothers. 34 I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I couldn’t stand to see my father that sad.”
Genesis 44 New International Version (NIV)
A Silver Cup in a Sack
44 Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.
3 As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4 They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5 Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’”
6 When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7 But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8 We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”
10 “Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.”
11 Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14 Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?”
16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”
17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”
18 Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21 “Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23 But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot 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 One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29 If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’
30 “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31 sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32 Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’
33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”