Genesis 44

Genesis 44

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Joseph Tests His Brothers

44 Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.

As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’”

When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.’

“When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.’

“Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”


Genesis 44 Commentary

by Hank Workman

As soon as the morning dawned, the brothers were sent on their way. Unbeknownst to them, Joseph had had his chalice placed in Benjamin’s sack. They wouldn’t go far before they were overtaken by Joseph’s steward where they were confronted for stealing and after the opening of their bags were mortified to see the missing cup was in the youngest brothers. Joseph’s actions in doing so were not toward cruelty or revenge but as the story reveals, would be the final statement of if his brother’s hearts had changed.

It would be Judah who spoke for all his brothers that truly shined and showed the state of their hearts. 20 years before it was Judah who suggested the selling off of Joseph. 20 years before he didn’t care about life of his brother or truly even his father Jacob. But something has changed to the point of even being willing to lay his life down for this favored remaining brother. As he spoke for all of the men standing, much transformation had taken place within. They didn’t resent Benjamin being favored. They trusted one another when the accusation came down knowing not one of them had stolen or taken the cup. They stuck together as they traipsed back to Egypt. They humbled themselves. They knew their predicament was a result of their sin 20 years prior to Joseph. They offered to become slaves themselves. They were concerned for their father and how he would take the news. Judah stepping forward to take Benjamin’s punishment was a courageous act and showed he and all of them had changed dramatically.

The refining work of God in our lives is a slow methodical work. He slowly molds and shapes us through circumstances as we come face to face over and over again of parts of us He’s working on; things He’s not pleased with; sin in our life. This work is something He stays at as His desire is for us to become turned into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. He burns away the chaff on so many areas of our lives, which the fires of difficulty are part of that process. It’s a solid reminder it took Judah 20 years and plenty of missteps for God to work in this slow process of his work. Let’s keep this in mind as we interact with others and as we look upon ourselves. Trust the slow work of God.

Genesis 44 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Judah goes from schemer to savior. He goes from loving himself to understanding pure, unconditional love. He was the first to suggest selling Joseph years before but now he is the first to offer his life for Benjamin.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13 ESV

“Judah’s proposal to give himself instead of Benjamin reminds us of Him who freely gave Himself up for us all. It was with such love, but of infinite intensity, that Christ loved us. In Judah’s words we find the loftiest type of pleading which man has ever put forth for man. It is extraordinary to get this glimpse of the strong and noble emotions that slumber in hearts where we should least expect them!”

F.B. Meyer

This type of sacrifice is a noted character trait of faith-filled believers. Moses offered his life for Israel. Paul offered his life for his Jewish brothers. We are called to the same standard.

“Let us see in Judah how Christ pleads for us, and with what power. Certainly he excelled in his appeal, in wisdom, boldness, eloquence, tenderness, and self-sacrifice. How much more should we not praise Jesus for his power, his life, his love, sufferings, death, and present intercession.”

Pulpit Commentary
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