JOSEPH wants to know if his 10 older brothers are still mean and unkind. So he says: ‘You are spies. You have come to find where our country is weak.’
‘No, we are not,’ they say. ‘We are honest men. We are all brothers. We were 12. But one brother is no more, and the youngest is home with our father.’
Joseph pretends not to believe them. He keeps the brother named Simʹe·on in prison, and lets the others take food and go home. But he tells them: ‘When you come back, you must bring your youngest brother with you.’
When they return home to Caʹnaan, the brothers tell their father Jacob everything that happened. Jacob is very sad. ‘Joseph is no more,’ he cries, ‘and now Simʹe·on is no more. I will not let you take my youngest son Benjamin.’ But when their food begins to run out, Jacob has to let them take Benjamin to Egypt so they can get more food.
Now Joseph sees his brothers coming. He is very happy to see his younger brother Benjamin. Of course, none of them know that this important man is Joseph. Joseph now does something to test his 10 half brothers.
He has his servants fill up all their bags with food. But without letting them know, he also has his special silver cup put into Benjamin’s bag. After they all leave and have gone a little distance on the road, Joseph sends his servants after them. When they catch up with them, the servants say: ‘Why have you stolen our master’s silver cup?’
‘We have not stolen his cup,’ the brothers all say. ‘If you find the cup with any one of us, let that person be killed.’
So the servants search through all the bags, and they find the cup in Benjamin’s bag, just as you see here. The servants say: ‘The rest of you can go, but Benjamin must come with us.’ What will the 10 half brothers do now?
They all return with Benjamin to Joseph’s house. Joseph tells his brothers: ‘You can all go home, but Benjamin must stay here as my slave.’
Judah now speaks up, and says: ‘If I go back home without the boy, my father will die because he loves him very much. So please, keep me here as your slave, but let the boy go home.’
Joseph can see that his brothers have changed. They are not mean and unkind anymore. Let’s find out what Joseph does now.
Genesis 42:9-38; 43:1-34; 44:1-34.