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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Genesis 44



1Joseph's policy to stay his brethren.
6The cup is found in Benjamin's sack.
14They are brought before Joseph.
18Judah's humble supplication to Joseph.

Verse 1
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.
the steward
Heb. him that was over his house.
24:2; 43:16,19
Fill the
42:25; 43:2; Isaiah 3:1

Verse 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.
42:15,16,20; 43:32; Deuteronomy 8:2,16; 13:3; Matthew 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:8

Verse 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?
Deuteronomy 2:16
1 Samuel 24:17; 2 Chronicles 20:11; Psalms 35:12; 109:5; Proverbs 17:13; John 10:32

Verse 5
Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
or, maketh trial.
15; *marg:; 30:27; Leviticus 19:26; 1 Kings 20:33; 2 Kings 21:6; In the East, there is an ancient tradition, that there was a Cup which possessed the strange property of representing in it the whole world, and all the things which were then doing. The cup is called {Jami Jemsheed,} "the cup of Jemsheed," a very ancient king of Persia; and they say that it was discovered, filled with the elixir of immortality, when digging to lay the foundations of Persepolis. The Persian poets are full of allusions to this cup, which they style {Jem jehan nima,} the cup shewing the universe; and to it they ascribe all the prosperity of their ancient monarchs. Many of the Mahometan princes and governors affect still to have information by means of a cup. Now, though it cannot be admitted that Joseph practised divination, yet, according to the superstition of those times, supernatural influence might be attributed to HIS CUP.

Verse 7
And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
34:25-31; 35:22; 37:18-32; 38:16-18; Joshua 22:22-29; 2 Samuel 20:20; 2 Kings 8:13; Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1; Hebrews 13:18

Verse 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?
the money
42:21,27,35; 43:12,21,22
how then
7; Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19; Matthew 19:18; Romans 13:9; James 2:10,11

Verse 9
With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.
31:32; Job 31:38-40; Psalms 7:3-5; Acts 25:11
and we

Verse 10
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.
he with whom
17,33; Exodus 22:3; Matthew 18:24,25

Verse 12
And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
and the cup
26-32; 42:36-38; 43:14

Verse 13
Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.
37:29-34; Numbers 14:6; 2 Samuel 1:2,11; 13:19

Verse 14
And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
he was yet
37:7-9; 50:18; Philippians 2:10,11

Verse 15
And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
4,5; 3:13; 4:10
wot ye not
21:26; 39:8; Exodus 32:1
or, make trial.

Verse 16
And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
32; 43:8,9
What shall we say
Deuteronomy 25:1; Ezra 9:10,15; Job 40:4; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:3; Daniel 9:7; Acts 2:37
God hath
37:18-28; 42:21,22; Numbers 32:23; Joshua 7:1,18; Judges 1:7; Proverbs 28:17; Matthew 7:2; Luke 12:2
43:9; Isaiah 27:9; Daniel 9:7
9; 37:7,9

Verse 17
And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.
God forbid
18:25; 42:18; 2 Samuel 23:3; Psalms 75:2; Proverbs 17:15
he shall
in peace
26:29; 37:32,33

Verse 18
Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
Oh my Lord
"No paraphrase," says Dr. A. Clarke, "can heighten the effect of Judah's address to Joseph. To add, would be to diminish its excellence; to attempt to explain, would be to obscure its beauties; to clothe the ideas in other language than that of Judah, and his translators in our Bible, would ruin its energy, and destroy its influence. It is perhaps one of the most tender, affecting pieces of natural oratory ever spoken or penned: and we need not wonder to find that, when Joseph heard it, he could not refrain himself, but wept aloud. His soul must have been insensible beyond what is common to human nature, had he not immediately yielded to a speech so delicately tender, and so powerfully impressive."
let thy
18:30,32; 2 Samuel 14:12; Job 33:31; Acts 2:29
Exodus 32:22; Esther 1:12; Psalms 79:5
as Pharaoh
41:40,44; Proverbs 19:12; Daniel 3:15,19-23; 5:19; John 5:22

Verse 19
My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?
42:7-10; 43:7,29

Verse 20
And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
we said
Every word in this verse is simplicity and pathos itself. No man of the least sensibility can read it without great emotion. Indeed the whole speech is exquisitely beautiful, and perhaps the most complete pattern of genuine natural eloquence extant in any language. When we read this generous speech, we forgive Judah all the past, and cannot refuse to say, "Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise."
a child
35:18; 37:3,19; 43:7,8; 46:21
and his brother
37:33-35; 42:36,38
he alone
27-29; Luke 7:12

Verse 21
And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
42:15,20; 43:29
that I may
Jeremiah 24:6; 40:4; Amos 9:4

Verse 22
And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
his father would die
30; 42:38

Verse 23
And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.
42:15-20; 43:3,5

Verse 24
And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
we told him

Verse 25
And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food.

Verse 26
And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us.
43:4,5; Luke 11:7

Verse 27
And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:
29:18-21,28; 30:22-25; 35:16-18; 46:19

Verse 28
And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
the one
37:33; 42:36,38

Verse 29
And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
And if
42:36,38; 43:14; Psalms 88:3,4
31; 42:38; Deuteronomy 31:17; Psalms 88:4

Verse 30
Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;
When I
17,31,34; 1 Samuel 18:1; 25:29; 2 Samuel 18:33

Verse 31
It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
when he
1 Samuel 4:17,18; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13
servants shall
29; 37:26,27,35; 1 Samuel 22:22
29; 37:35

Verse 32
For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.

Verse 33
Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
What must Benjamin have felt when he heard his brother conclude his speech by a proposal which could never have been thought of if it had not been actually made! Perhaps the annals of the whole world do not produce an instance of so heroic and disinterested affection in any mere man.
I pray thee
Exodus 32:32; Romans 5:7-10; 9:3
Hebrews 7:22; 1 John 3:16

Verse 34
For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.
1 Samuel 2:33,34; 2 Chronicles 34:28; Esther 8:6; Jeremiah 52:10,11
come on
Heb. find.
Exodus 18:8; Job 31:29; Psalms 116:3; 119:143; *marg:


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 44:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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