Joseph Tests His Brothers With a Silver Cup

In his retirement, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Because Jefferson trusted that students would take their studies seriously, the code of discipline was lax. Unfortunately, his trust proved misplaced when the misbehavior of students led to a riot in which pr … More


Joseph had still another test for his brothers. He had his servant fill up their sacks with grain and again put their money back in the sacks (v. 1). Then he had him put his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack (v. 2). The next morning the eleven men left to return to their father with the grain (v. 3).

1. The Conspiracy (vv. 1-3).

2. The Confrontation (vv. 4-17).

They had gone only a short distance when they were arrested (at Joseph’s command) and accused of stealing his silver cup (vv. 4-6). They quickly deny this charge and agree to serve as slaves if any stolen loot can be found on them. They searched every sack beginning with Reuben’s (the oldest)and ending with Benjamin’s where  the cup was found (vv. 7-12). Then the brothers tore their clothes as people did in those days to show sorrow and sadness (v. 13). They were all brought back to stand before Joseph who was srill at home (v. 14). They bowed down before him and he asked them what they had done (v. 15). Judah replied, “Sir what can we say and how can we prove we are innocent” (v. 16)? Joseph said that he did not plan to punish all of them but only the man with whom the cup was found shall be my servant and the rest of  you may return to your father (v. 17).    

By placing the cup in Benjamin’s sack Joseph had deliberately created a situation where if they wanted they could seize an opportunity to get rid of him. He wanted to see if their hearts had been changed. There is no record that they blamed Benjamin for getting them into trouble. They did not even scold him.


How would I pass the test if I was accused of something I didn’t do? Would I look for a way I could pass the blame on to someone else or would I try to help everyone involved?

Genesis 44:1-17 (English Standard Version)

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