-Joseph commands that his brother’s sacks be filled with as much grain as they could carry and each man’s money was returned to them in the mouth of the sack. He also had his house steward put his silver cup in Benjamin’s bag because he had a plan to retrieve them probably in an effort to keep his younger, biological brother.
-It is fascinating and perplexing the references to this cup as being used for divination (Genesis 44:5, 15). Divination is clearly outlawed in the Law of the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:9-13, 1 Samuel 15:23, 2 Kings 17:17; 21:6, Jeremiah 14:14, Acts 16:16) It is reasonable to say that Joseph is using these statements as a gimmick to play his role as the Egyptian so that they would not suspect him to be their brother. Why Joseph carried this play acting out to such an extent is unknown and should be considered a sin on his part again in the realm of dishonesty. Joseph would not have ever needed an omen like this silver cup to predict the future because of his relationship with God. He had already clearly and courageously stated that every interpretation belongs to the LORD (Genesis 40:8; 41:16).
-The brothers are of course dumbfounded when they are questioned about the cup and welcome any search for the missing item. They agree to the grievous nature of stealing from this high official and the penalty of slavery if caught never suspecting that it would be Benjamin who would be found with the good.
-When the cup is found in Benjamin’s bag, the brothers tear their clothes as a sign of terrible anguish and returned to the city worried and afraid. They fall to the ground before Joseph and plead mercy.
-It is here that Judah takes his stand as one of the greats of the sons of Israel. He takes the responsibility for his brother as he said he would do (Genesis 43:8-9). He relates the story of his old father and how news of Benjamin becoming a slave in Egypt would more than likely destroy the earthly life of Israel in sorrow. Judah claims his surety for the lad, Benjamin, and wants to bear the blame for his supposed misconduct for the fear that evil would overtake his father if his youngest son did not return. *Application* We see heroic action here on the part of Judah in wanting to take the punishment for his brother. The giving of his life, the innocent for the guilty, is the mark of the Messianic line, which he would be blessed with soon (Genesis 49:10). When Shiloh comes, Jesus tells that there is no greater love than that one give his life for his friends (John 15:13). This self-sacrificing attitude should not only be demonstrated by our Savior, but us as well. Who are you willing to lay your life and good times down to?
-One final thought, Israel is referred to as the servant of Joseph three times in this passage (Genesis 44:24, 27, 30). This is simply fulfillment of the prophetic dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:9-11).
Verse to memorize: Genesis 44:32