When Joseph sends them away, he has his steward once again place their money in their sacks. But this time, he has his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s bag and he has them followed, accused of theft, and brought back. The brothers who have carried the burden of their guilt for so long are convinced that God himself has brought this on them for what they did to Joseph so many years ago.
Joseph tells them that the rest of them can go, but Benjamin will remain as his slave. The brothers are purposely placed in the position of losing their younger brother – and facing Jacob’s (Israel’s) devastation. Judah begins a passionate plea of repentance in verse 18, offering himself in his younger brother’s place. Remember, it was Judah’s idea to have Joseph sold instead of killing him in Gen 37:26-28.
The change that has taken place in his brothers is no doubt what Joseph was looking (and hoping) for.
(Side note: Here is a link to a lengthy, but very interesting article from the publishers of “Bible and Spade” magazine called “The Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39–50)” that includes information about Egyptian captives from Canaan)
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
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