Genesis 44:1-13


Verse 1-2, And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. {2} And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.

I.    Joseph's commands.

A.     The quantity of food.

1.       The brothers are to carry as much food as they possibly can.

2.       They are thinking, "This is a lot of food, therefore, it'll be a long time before we have to come back.  We'll have enough food for some extra eating."

3.       Joseph knows he will call the brothers back, but nobody else does.

B.     Put the money in the sack's mouth.

1.       I have no doubt that this money was put in each sack's mouth.

2.       There is no mention of the money when the sacks are opened in verse 11,12.

3.       They are not looking for the money, they are looking for the silver cup.

C.     The silver cup.

1.       The cup goes in Benjamin's sack.

2.       This will give circumstantial evidence that he is a thief.

3.       Joseph's purpose is to discover what his brothers will do, not to harm Benjamin or his father.


II.    The steward obeyed.

A.     The steward is the same man that replaced the money the first time.  (Compare Gen. 42:25 and 43:23.)

1.       This is the same man of Gen. 43:16,17.

2.       Joseph was making many "strange" requests concerning these Hebrews, but his servants always did what he told them to do.

3.       His business was not to understand, but to obey.

B.     Our business is to obey the commands of God, not to understand why He wants a certain thing done.


Verse 3-6, As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. {4} And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? {5} Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. {6} And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.

I.    The brothers leave.

A.     They leave at first light.

B.     They were sent away.

1.       The words send away seems to indicate they were allowed to leave.

2.       We might think they would be anxious to be gone from this place that had caused them so many troubles.

C.     They might be thinking it would be better to find food some other place rather than come back to Egypt when this food runs out.

1.       They do have a lot of unpleasant memories of Egypt.

2.       It just might be that Joseph understands what they are thinking, and he doesn't want to lose contact with them.

D.     Before they travel very far:

1.       Joseph issues new commands concerning them.

2.       The brothers barely have time to get to feeling good about leaving Egypt with food and Simeon and Benjamin.


II.    Joseph's new commands.

A.     He is commanded to overtake the brothers.

B.     His first words to them are words of accusation.

1.       He is to explain to them that Joseph's silver cup is missing.

2.       This is the cup he uses to divine.

a.      Divine is fortune telling by examining the contents of a special cup.

b.      This is witchcraft, and I personally don't believe Joseph would do it.

c.      Joseph was very faithful to personal holiness because he knew a holy God.  This would prohibit him from heathen practices.

d.      I think this phrase simply means that the cup was Joseph special cup that he used at meals.

C.     Notice that Joseph instructed the steward in the exact words to say.

1.       When we consider that the book of Genesis covers some 2300 years, (more than any other book of the Bible) this conversation must be very important.

2.       Masters are supposed to be very particular in carrying out their duties, understanding the details their servants must be engaged in.

3.       Servants are to be very careful in carrying out the smallest details of their instructions.

4.       When we sin, and are not punished immediately, we may think we will avoid punishment.  But at the very moment we think we are getting away with evil, the words of judgment are being spoken against us.

D.     The steward obeyed without question, although he didn't understand.


Verse 7-9 - The brothers reaction. And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: {8} Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? {9} With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.

I.    Their shock at hearing the words.

A.     They certainly don't understand why such things should be said, for they are innocent.

B.     They appeal to God (Elohim).

II.    Their only line of defense.

A.     They have already returned the money previously found in their sack's mouth.

1.       We must remember that the brothers are speaking to the same man they spoke to at Joseph's door, Genesis 43:19-23.

2.       They remind the steward that they brought the money all the way from Canaan.

B.     Since they have returned that other money, that proves their honesty in not stealing Joseph's cup.


III.    They pass sentence on themselves.

A.     This is a very rash statement.

1.       The brothers know they haven't stolen the cup.

2.       The brothers trust one another.

3.       Each brother is willing to put his life on the life, based on the truthfulness of the others.

B.     I know their sentence would be different if they had the slightest thought that the cup would be found.


Verse 10-13 - The search.  And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless. {11} Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. {12} And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. {13} Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.

I.    The agreement on the sentence.

A.     The servant changed the sentence a little.

1.       The one with the cup would be a servant.

2.       The others would go free.

B.     It is amazing that the steward said this.

1.       What is obvious to the steward is not seen by the brothers.

2.       The steward knows that Joseph has a special interest in Benjamin, but he doesn't yet understand why.


II.    The search.

A.     The quickness of the search.

1.       There is no hesitation at all to allow the steward to search them.

2.       It seems to me that each of the brothers took down their own sacks, and began to open them.

B.     The procedure of the search.

1.       Only the steward could search.

2.       Evidently the brothers didn't look into their sacks.

3.       If they had, you would think they would immediately see the money.

4.       The steward searched from the eldest to the youngest.

a.      It is amazing that he remembered which brother was which from the day before.

b.      I believe he searched in this order on purpose.

c.      He was not instructed to search in this order.

d.      His goal was to build suspense until the very last, then find the cup.

e.      If he had gone immediately to Benjamin's sack, the brothers would have suspected that they were "framed".

C.     The money in the sacks.

1.       I personally believe the steward found the money in each sack.

2.       He said nothing about it because that wasn't what he was looking for.

3.       The brothers also said nothing.

4.       I would imagine that seeing the money and the steward overlooking it would almost make their heart stop!

5.       It would seem that the brothers would know that there was a divine intervention, and probably not for their advancement.

6.       It was for this reason that none of the brothers said anything about Benjamin's guilt.


III.    Returning to the city.

A.     They rent their clothes.

1.       They tore their outer garments.

2.       This is an outward sign of an inward, unspeakable grief.

B.     They didn't leave Benjamin to fight it out for himself.

1.       They knew they would have to face their father when they get home.

2.       They are in this thing together, for better or worse.

3.       This is a big change from 22 years ago, when they let Joseph face a strange country alone.