Design By Humans

Genesis 44. The Idiot Sons of Israel.

Genesis 44

1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.

 OK. So either Joseph is allowing them to take their money back or he is trying to to pull the exact same trick as last time they left. Surely he can't expect them not to check their sacks this time... Surely.

2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.

 Right, maybe he is giving them the money back, but what fresh trickery is this? Is he going to attempt the same trick as before but this time with a silver cup? I say again, surely he can't expect them not to check their sacks this time... Surely?

3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.

 The brothers are up and out of there, notably, with their asses. I dare say it would be a long journey without them. It almost seems superfluous to mention their transport but then again, do we not have a phrase that ends in "...and the horse you rode in on" as though it were not a given that anyone who enters a town riding a beast would leave on the very same? Either way, there is no mention of whether the brothers checked their sacks before setting off.

4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?

...

5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.

 It is evident now that they did not check their sacks. Who wrote this? Either this is the fiction of an incredibly na├»ve author or these brothers are so stupid that they'd have difficulty finding their own mouths to put food in. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say I actually can not believe that a group of grown men would fall for this trick twice.

6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.

 To which I hope they said "look Mate, you really have to be having a laugh. This again?".

7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:

 ...

8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold?

 ...

9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.

 Oh come on lads! Really? Someone rides up to you and accuses you of the very same crime that you were accused of before and you don't find it suspicious? At the very least you could have checked the sacks before offering up the life of the apparently guilty party and condemning the rest of you to servitude. You have to know this is a trick right?

10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.

 Luckily for these unparalleled dim-wits, Joseph seems to have plans for Benjamin, with whom the cup was planted, and so the steward doesn't take them up on their insane offer.

11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.

 Here it comes.

12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.

...

13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.

 I still don't know how they didn't see this coming, I might be crediting them with too much to expect that they've realised their error and that they rent their clothes in shame for their idiocy.

14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.

 My head is in my hands, why the willingness to accept guilt? I simply cannot buy this characterization.

15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?

 OK. Let's continue anyway. Joseph begins his questioning.

16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.

 Judah again offers all of the brothers into slavery. Why Judah? It is clear that Joseph is only interested in Benjamin, The steward already rejected your offer.

17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.

 See! Now Joseph has turned you down in person. He only wants Benjamin, you and the rest of your brothers can piss off home to your father.

18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.

 Oh! Wait what's this? Does Judah know he's been conned?

19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?

 Go on...

20 And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.

 Go on...

21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.

 Yes, yes. Pray continue...

22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.

 All right, we all know this but go on. Hopefully you're about to redeem yourself by revealing that you know that you've been duped.

23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.

 Right...

24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.

 Get on with it...

25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food.

 Please...

26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us.

 Bored now...

27 And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:

 ...

28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:

 Hmm, this may be the first time that any of the brothers have revealed to this Egyptian that they somehow don't recognise as their brother, that they have a missing younger brother. Never mind though, it looks as though Judah is just going to try to play on Joseph's sympathies. My hope that he might somehow redeem himself by demonstrating that he understands something of his situation was entirely unfounded. Oh well.

29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

 Yes. It seems that is all he is doing.

30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;

 Is he actually saying that it is a certainty that if Benjamin does not return, Israel will die?

31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.

 Yes. He is actually saying that. I hope that he's being somewhat dramatic, Israel only said that he'd be bereaved if Benjamin didn't come back, not that he'd die.

32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.

 Oh. That's what it's all about, Judah is not afraid that his father will die but rather he has remembered that he offered to take the blame. 

33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.

 So he is offering himself in Benjamin's place.

34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

 I guess we won't see how Joseph responds until the next chapter.

What has Genesis 44 told us?


  •  It has confirmed that with the exception of perhaps Joseph, Israel's sons are all idiots.
  •  It has also added to the evidence that like the other righteous men of this book, Joseph is a more than slightly talented con-artist.


Genesis only has fifty chapters, let us hope that the rest of them aren't taken up by further trips between Canaan and Egypt. Let's be honest, how many times can this trick work? I hope we don't find out in Genesis 45.

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GENESIS

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