Genesis 44:1-2 Joseph again was going to test his brothers by not only putting the money back in their sacks, but setting up his brother Benjamin to make it look as though Benjamin stole his silver cup.
Genesis 44:3-5 After the brothers started their journey back to Canaan, Joseph ordered his steward to overtake them and accuse them of stealing his cup.
Genesis 44:6-9 The brothers claimed innocence to the crime for they argued, why would they steal a cup when they brought all the original money back. They were so sure of their innocence that they said that if any of the brothers had the cup he could be put to death and the rest would be slaves in Egypt forever.
Genesis 44:10-13 The steward instead insisted that the one with the cup would be the servant and the rest could go home freely. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack as planned by Joseph and all the brothers were grieved. Every one of them returned back to Egypt for judgment.
Genesis 44:14-15 Again, the brothers bowed down before Joseph. Joseph repeated what the steward said about him practicing divination.
Notes: Joseph portrays himself as having the ability to discover secrets hidden from others. This may also be a ploy on Joseph’s part in order to elicit information from the brothers. Now that he has created the impression that he can discover knowledge with divine help, his brothers may feel that they can no longer conceal their past actions.
Genesis 44:16-17 Judah, taking the lead, explains that God was punishing them for their sin (getting rid of Joseph) and offered that all the brothers be Joseph’s slaves. Joseph, still testing them, emphasized that only the brother who stole the cup would remain in Egypt. Joseph wanted to see if the other ten would say, “Okay, see ya later!”
Genesis 44:18-29 Judah explains to Joseph the entire story about Benjamin and how their father at first refused to let Benjamin come to Egypt.
Genesis 44:30-34 Judah further explains what would happen to their father Jacob if they all returned to Canaan without Benjamin. He explains that he became a pledge of safety for Benjamin. He then offered to trade his life for Benjamin’s.
Notes: Judah’s action reveals how much his character has changed from when he proposed selling Joseph into slavery. For Judah, this would be preferable to witnessing his father’s distress if Benjamin remained in Egypt. The selfless attitude of Judah stands in sharp contrast to what he previously displayed when arguing that Joseph should be sold into slavery. On that occasion, Judah cared little about the impact that this would have on his father.