ONE LAST TEST
A Devious Plot
The brothers must have felt as sense of relief as they made preparations for the journey home. Simeon was free, Benjamin was safe, and they had enjoyed quite the feast. Little did the brothers know that Joseph was plotting with the steward of his house. Joseph instructs the steward to fill their sacks full, replace the money as before, and to place his silver cup in Benjamin's sack. The steward covertly does what was asked of him and as soon as it was light outside the brothers set out for home. They had only traveled a short distance from the city when Joseph gives the order to overtake them and accuse them of treachery concerning Joseph's cup. The brothers proclaim their innocence and remind the steward that they returned the money that had been placed in their sacks following the previous trip. Surely this should indicate that they are honest men. They are so confident in their innocence that they make a rash vow concerning the penalty that they would submit to if such a thing were proved correct. The steward accepts their proposal and agrees that whoever is found with the cup shall become his servant. The brothers quickly lower their sacks and eagerly submit to the search. To their great surprise and grief, Joseph's cup is found with Benjamin. The brothers tear their clothes and return to the city.
The brothers fall before Joseph in great distress. Joseph chastises them for they foolishness. Judah steps forward confesses their guilt, pleads their case, and volunteers them all for servitude. Joseph insists that all are free but Benjamin and bids them to return to their father in peace. Judah asks for permission to speak, and he calls Joseph his lord. Judah explains the circumstances under which they had returned for grain. Further, he expounds that their father had already lost Benjamin's brother and if he loses Benjamin, it will kill him. He tells Joseph that he has pledged himself as guarantor for Benjamin and his father would blame him for the rest of his life. Finally, Judah implores Joseph to accept him as his servant rather than keeping Benjamin because he cannot return to his father unless Benjamin is with him.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think Joseph put his brothers to the test?
- Why would Joseph tell his brothers that he practices divination?
- Why is it unwise to make reckless oaths?
- What guilt do you think Judah believes they are being punished for when they are innocent of the theft?
- How has Judah changed since Joseph was sold?
- What are the implications for Judah when he offers himself as a substitute?
- How does this point to the work of Christ?