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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter XLIII

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Text Commentary

1And he did as Joseph had told him, and he filled all their sacks for them with food and put their money in their sacks, and he put the cup in Benjamin's sack; and early in the morning they departed. 2And it came to pass, after they had started, Joseph said to the steward of his household, Hurry after them 1 Lit. ‘Pursue them and run’. and accuse them, saying, You have repaid me evil for good: you have stolen from me the silver cup my lord drinks out of. And bring me back their youngest brother – and fetch him quickly before I go out to court. 3And he ran after them and said what he had been told to them. 4And they said to him, God forbid that your servants should do such a thing as to steal anything 2 Lit. ‘any vessel’. from your lord's house. Even the money we found in our sacks the first time, your servants brought back from the land of Canaan: how then could we steal anything? 5Behold, here are we and our sacks: search us, and in whoever's sack among us you find the cup, let him be put to death, and we and our asses will become your lord's slaves. And he said to them, No! 6I will take as a slave only the man in whose possession I find it, and the rest of you shall go home in peace. 7And he searched in their sacks, 3 Lit. ‘vessels’. starting with the eldest and finishing with the youngest; and it was found in Benjamin's sack. 8And they rent their clothes and loaded their asses and returned to the city and came to Joseph's house; and they all prostrated themselves before him with their faces to the ground.

9And Joseph said to them, You have done a wicked thing. And they said, What shall we say and how shall we defend ourselves? Our lord has discovered his servants' sin: behold, we are our lord's slaves and our asses also. 10And Joseph said to them, No! 4 Lit. ‘No, I am afraid’. You shall go home, and your brother shall be my slave (for you have done a wicked thing). Did it not occur to you that a man could be as fond of his cup as I am of this cup? 5 Lit. ‘Do you not know that a man delights in his cup as I with this cup’. – and yet you stole it from me. 11And Judah said, Let the blame be on me; and let your servant explain to your lordship. 6 Lit. ‘and let your servant speak a word in my lord's ear’. Your servant's mother bore to our father two brothers: one went away and was lost, and has not been found, and this one 7 Lit. ‘he’. is his mother's only remaining child, and your servant our father loves him, and his life is bound up with this lad's life. 12And if we go back to your servant our father, and the lad is not with us, then he will die, and we shall bring down our father with sorrow to the grave. 13Let me, your servant, remain instead of the boy as my lord's slave, and let the lad go with his brothers; for I went surety for him with your servant our father, and if I do not take him back our father will hold your servant guilty for ever.

14And Joseph saw there was a common bond of good-will and unity between them, and he could not control himself; and he told them he was Joseph. 15And he talked with them in Hebrew and embraced them and wept. But they did not recognize him; and they began to weep. 16And he said to them, Do not weep over me, but hurry back and bring my father to me, so that I can see him before we die and my brother Benjamin can see him too. 8 Lit. ‘and while the eyes of my brother Benjamin see’. Charles proposed a radical emendation of the whole passage, based on Gen. xlv. 12 – ‘…father to me; and you see that it is my mouth that speaks, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see’. 17For behold, this is but the second year of the famine, and there will be another five years without harvest or fruit on the trees or ploughing. 18Come down quickly, you and your households, so that you do not perish in the famine; and do not be worried about leaving your possessions, for the Lord sent me ahead of you to arrange things so that many lives may be saved. 19And tell my father that I am still alive, as you can see for yourselves, and that the Lord has made me like a father to Pharaoh, and ruler over his household and over all the land of Egypt. 20And tell my father of all my glory and all the riches and glory that the Lord has given me. 21And on Pharaoh's instructions 9 Lit. ‘And by the command of the mouth of Pharaoh’. he gave them wagons and provisions for the journey; and he gave them all clothes of many colours and silver. 22And to their father he sent clothes and silver and ten asses laden with corn; and he sent them away.

23And they went up and told their father that Joseph was alive and measuring out corn to all the nations of the earth, and that he was ruler over all the land of Egypt. 24And their father did not believe it, for he was stunned; but when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent, his spirit 10 Lit: ‘the life of his spirit’. revived, and he said, It is enough for me if Joseph is still alive: I will go down and see him before I die.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘Pursue them and run’.

2 Lit. ‘any vessel’.

3 Lit. ‘vessels’.

4 Lit. ‘No, I am afraid’.

5 Lit. ‘Do you not know that a man delights in his cup as I with this cup’.

6 Lit. ‘and let your servant speak a word in my lord's ear’.

7 Lit. ‘he’.

8 Lit. ‘and while the eyes of my brother Benjamin see’. Charles proposed a radical emendation of the whole passage, based on Gen. xlv. 12 – ‘…father to me; and you see that it is my mouth that speaks, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see’.

9 Lit. ‘And by the command of the mouth of Pharaoh’.

10 Lit: ‘the life of his spirit’.

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