This chapter is about Joseph setting Benjamin up for failure. He does this by putting his silver drinking cup into Benjamin’s bag. The brothers try to do loads of begging to make sure Benjamin doesn’t get into trouble, due to the deception. Enjoy the read!
Now Joseph gave specific instructions to his house-steward. He told the steward to give the men as much food as they can carry & to put the men’s silver in the mouth of their bags. Plus he told the steward to put his silver drinking cup into Benjamin’s bag, right on top. The steward did as Joseph had said.
As the morning dawned, the men were sent on their way. They hadn’t got to far from town when Joseph told his steward to go after the brothers & ask them why they’ve repaid good with evil. He was also told to say, “Isn’t this the cup my master uses to drink from & uses for divination?” The steward went in pursuit of the brothers.
When the steward caught up to the brothers, he said what Joseph had him say. The brothers reply with “What are you talking about?! If any of us, your servants, have the cup, he’ll die. The rest of us will become your master’s slaves.” The steward searched their bags & told them that whoever has it will become the slave. The rest will be free to go. Everyone’s bag was clear, until the steward gets to Benjamin’s bag. The cup was in Benjamin’s bag. (Because he was set up!)
When the brothers saw this, they tore their clothes. They then loaded everything back up & went back to the city. Joseph was still in his house when the brothers came in. They threw themselves on the ground before Joseph. Joseph asks them what they’ve done. And that a man like him could find things out through divination. (This divination thing gets me. Isn’t the Hebrew God against using divination?)
Judah tells Joseph that they’re all Joseph’s slaves now, all 11 of them. Joseph tells them that only the man who had the cup will be Joseph’s slave. The rest of them had to go. Judah then tells Joseph that if Benjamin isn’t with them when they go back home, “whose life is closely bound to the boy’s life,” that his dad will die. Judah then tells Joseph that Judah personally guaranteed Benjamin’s safety. Then Judah asks to switch spots with Benjamin, so that he didn’t have to see his dad in misery.