Benjamin Accused

Genesis 44:1-17

Joseph secretly commands his servant to fill the brothers’ sacks with food, return their money, and plant his silver goblet in Benjamin’s sack. When the brothers leave, Joseph’s servant chases after them, accusing them of throwing Joseph’s kindness in his face: after everything he had done for them, how could they steal his silver goblet with which he performs divination? The brothers deny the charge, pointing out their honesty in having returned the money they found in their sacks after their last trip. So certain are they of their innocence, the brothers say if the goblet is found among their things, that man should be put to death. Joseph, however, is willing to “settle” for enslaving the guilty party.


A search is conducted, and the goblet is found among Benjamin’s things. Devastated, the brothers return to the city. Joseph confronts the brothers, asking if they really thought they could get away with such a thing. Judah laments that God must wish to punish them, and offers the services of all the brothers as slaves. Joseph, however, is interested in taking only the guilty party.


The Israel Bible notices a seemingly superfluous detail the brothers provide in their defense: that they brought the money back from the Land of Canaan. Apparently, by bringing the money from the land of spiritual heights, the Land of Israel, the brothers feel they have demonstrated their unimpeachable honesty.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

If he is planning to draw the brothers back to the city with his false accusations, why does Joseph tell his servant to return the brothers’ money in addition to filling their sacks with (apparently extra) food?

Comments ( 3 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • His brothers could not say (seeing back) that joseph has earned on their need. Moreover they knew by this putting their money back that it had been done by the same person .

  • I believe he also supplied them with food due to the famine and added to the theft with the return of their money to see if they would return. To see if their hearts were evil.

  • I believe this is all a part of setting the stage so that everything appeared to be in order for the brother's to set out on their journey home. Yosef treats his brothers with the utmost kindness and makes every concession for their journey home. This puts the theft of his silver cup in the worst possible light when it's discovered as it appears they have returned evil for all the good that is done to them. Their guilt is fully before them. They're just very confused as to what "sin" has come back to haunt them.
    Baruch Hashem.

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