6 “When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” 10 He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.” (Genesis 44:6–13 (ESV)
Joseph’s plan was set into motion. He initiated a set up to test his elder brothers’ integrity and loyalty: not only to Benjamin and their father Jacob but also to the LORD. The question remained as to whether the elder brothers would pass the test.
When Joseph’s steward overtook the brothers they were dumbfounded. They protested that they would never have stolen silver or gold from the governor’s home. They then confidently added, “Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” The steward replied, ““Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.”
Each brother then opened their respective sack. The search began with the eldest brother, Reuben, and continued to the youngest, Benjamin. Moses then recorded the following stark statement: “And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.”
The brothers were shocked and in great grief. This is indicated by the statement, “Then they tore their clothes.”
Dr. John Walvoord explains, “When the steward … caught up with them and accused them of theft, he deliberately created tension among them by opening the sack of the oldest first and ending with the youngest. He knew, of course, that the silver cup was in Benjamin’s sack. The sudden threat to Benjamin was like a sword thrust through their hearts (cf. Solomon’s plan, 1 Kings 3:16–28). All the conditions were present for another betrayal when Benjamin was accused. Yet this time their response shows how well the chastening had done its work. They tore their clothes in grief (cf. Job 1:20), a response which they had earlier caused their father to make over Joseph’s loss (Gen. 37:34).”
With the incontrovertible evidence before them, the brothers repacked their sacks, loaded their donkeys and returned to the Egyptian city to face the governor. They would return to face their long, lost brother Joseph.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “We all know we are sinners. We all know that we are not perfect. Any Bible believing Christian would admit that. But what are you really capable of in your sinful condition? When the sons of Jacob were accused of stealing the silver cup from Joseph, they protested on the grounds that stealing was morally unthinkable for them. But was it? And what about us? What are we capable of?”
With these thoughts in mind, how does the providence of God bring each believer in Christ to the end of themselves as He prepares them to face their sin? More to come from the Journey of Joseph. Have a God minded day.
Soli deo Gloria!