“Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” Genesis 44:9
After more than 20 years, Joseph’s brothers show up in Egypt. Joseph needs to know if they have changed. Will they still grieve the father? Do they still hate the dearly loved son?
Joseph devises a test that will show if these brothers have changed. The brothers hated Joseph because he was so greatly loved by the father. Did they also hate Benjamin? Would they sell him out like they did Joseph, bringing even greater grief to their father, or had there been some change?
The test came in two parts. First, the brothers were brought to a banquet in Joseph’s house. “Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs” (43:34). No doubt Joseph was watching. Would they start complaining? “Why did Benjamin get more than us?” But nothing like that happened. So far, so good.
Second, Joseph had his steward place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack, and soon after the brothers left the city, Joseph’s men went after them and confronted them, “Why have you repaid evil for good?” (44:4). They accused the brothers of taking the silver cup.
The brothers were confident that they had done nothing wrong. “How… could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants” (44:8, 9).
One by one they open their sacks. Nothing in Reuben’s sack. Nothing in Simeon’s. Nothing in the sack of Levi or of Judah. Then finally “the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack” (44:12). This is the turning point of the story.
Are you being tested by God? Has someone close to you been given more than you? How have you responded? Have you been accused of some wrong?