Joseph tests his brothers; his brother had changed. From Genesis 44: 1-34 commented by ASV and questions

שלום חברי   אל שדי  רוח הקודש


The guilty one to death

To Joseph it could look like his brothers had changed their heart from their evil ways; however, it was possible that this change was only on the surface; Joseph wanted to know how sincere they were. He ordered his steward to put his silver bowl on top of Benjamin’s sack and sent them on their way. Then after a short while, the steward overtook them and accused them of steeling the silver bowl. All the brothers knew they didn’t steal the bowl and condemned the guilty one to death and the other’s to lives as slaves forever.

Hoped he would die

The steward, however said, “Now let it be as you say; he with whom the cup is found will be my slave, but the rest of you shall be blameless” the steward searched the sacks and found the bowl on top of Benjamin’s. The brothers could have reacted in different ways, they could have saved themselves, sacrificed Benjamin and left for home telling their father what had happened and hoped he would die, getting rid of both their father and Benjamin.

The sin exposed

Nevertheless that was not what happened, “Then they tore their clothes and after each man had loaded his donkey again, they returned to the city” Tearing clothes at that time was a sign of deep grief and distress; they obviously loved both their father and Benjamin. They arrived at Joseph’s house and stood before him, and Joseph accused them again. Now Judah took the lead and said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we reply? Or how can we clear ourselves, since God has exposed the sin and guilt of your servants? Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, the rest of us as well as he with whom the cup is found”  

Start the journey

Judah said that God had exposed their sin. When they sold Joseph as slave, it was on Judah’s suggestion, and all agreed. Judah now understood that God made them pay for what they had done to Joseph. Joseph however let them all go except Benjamin. Now once more they had the chance to save themselves. Then Judah again took the lead, asked for a private talk with Joseph, and after this conversation Joseph understood that Judah and his brothers was willing to sacrifice themselves for their father and for Benjamin. The test was over; Joseph now knew the hearts of his brothers; they could now start the journey to become the nation of Israel.


  1. What did God do towards Joseph’s brothers?
  2. What made God act on behalf of Joseph?

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