Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1-2 Joseph ordered his house steward: "Fill the men's bags with food—all they can carry—and replace each one's money at the top of the bag. Then put my chalice, my silver chalice, in the top of the bag of the youngest, along with the money for his food." He did as Joseph ordered.
3-5 At break of day the men were sent off with their donkeys. They were barely out of the city when Joseph said to his house steward, "Run after them. When you catch up with them, say, 'Why did you pay me back evil for good? This is the chalice my master drinks from; he also uses it for divination. This is outrageous!'"
6 He caught up with them and repeated all this word for word.
7-9 They said, "What is my master talking about? We would never do anything like that! Why, the money we found in our bags earlier, we brought back all the way from Canaan—do you think we'd turn right around and steal it back from your master? If that chalice is found on any of us, he'll die; and the rest of us will be your master's slaves."
10 The steward said, "Very well then, but we won't go that far. Whoever is found with the chalice will be my slave; the rest of you can go free."
11-12 They outdid each other in putting their bags on the ground and opening them up for inspection. The steward searched their bags, going from oldest to youngest. The chalice showed up in Benjamin's bag.
13 They ripped their clothes in despair, loaded up their donkeys, and went back to the city.
14 Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers got back. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him.
15 Joseph accused them: "How can you have done this? You have to know that a man in my position would have discovered this."
16 Judah as spokesman for the brothers said, "What can we say, master? What is there to say? How can we prove our innocence? God is behind this, exposing how bad we are. We stand guilty before you and ready to be your slaves—we're all in this together, the rest of us as guilty as the one with the chalice."
17 "I'd never do that to you," said Joseph. "Only the one involved with the chalice will be my slave. The rest of you are free to go back to your father."
Joseph was still testing his brothers. He sets up Benjamin, his full brother, to be the patsy. His stewards place his money and Josephs silver cup in his bags. After the group leaves the steward chases them down and confront the brothers, and they find the "lost" items. Side-bar; Since the brothers had a "situation" with money turning up in their baggage the first time, wouldn't it make sense for them to check their bags before they left Egypt this time?
They were hauled back before Joseph, but instead of being selfish and letting their little brother rot in jail, the brothers are acting as one. Did they learn from their past mistakes with the young Joseph?, or did they just fear Jacob that much? These questions and other may be answered next week.
Prayer-Lord, Help us act like a unified family as we do your work. When one of us is unjustly accused, we are all accused. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.