About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Silver Cup In The Sack (ch.
44:1 - 34)
If you're not convinced
yet that Joseph isn't playing with his brother's heads, you should be
now. In verses 1 and 2
Joseph tells his servants to fill the men's sacks full of grain, put the
silver back in the sacks like before.
Yet this time, Joseph adds one more thing.
He told his servant to put his own personal silver cup in
Benjamin's sack. This would
make it look like Benjamin stole the cup, which would be a disaster for
him and the brothers if that were true.
The brother's would be more afraid than ever at this point.
What would happen to Benjamin if he was caught steeling Joseph's
You might wonder just how
the steward felt, and what he thought at this time with all the things
that Joseph was asking him to do. They
probably did seem strange to him.
The next day, in verses 3
to 5 Joseph tells one of his stewards to go after his brothers.
He was to catch them in the process of steeling Joseph's special
cup. The steward was to make
it known that Joseph treated them very nicely, but they did not return
the favour. They stole from
Notice there were two
uses that Joseph had for this cup. One
is obvious, and that was to drink out of.
The other presents us with some problems.
The text says that Joseph used the cup for divining.
The practice of divination was often employed by many cultures in
the Old Testament. It is
basically the attempt to reach the spirit world to gain understanding of
things that normally could not be understood by humans.
It often had to do with foretelling the future.
There were many ways in which divination took place.
In Babylonian culture an animal was often killed.
They would retrieve the animals liver, divide it into sections.
The priests who were trained in divination say that they could
meet with the unseen world as he studied the liver.
The reason why they used the liver was because they understood
the liver to be the centre of man or animals, like we understand the
heart to be the center of man in western culture.
Another way, among many
ways, to meet with the
spirit world was to mix special liquids in a cup, which we see in this
The pagan gods themselves
practiced divination. Divination
was a higher source of power than the gods themselves.
There's other names for divination, such as magic, witchcraft,
sorcery, and other such names. The
Law of Moses, that came after the
life of Joseph forbid the practice of divination, or anything of the
The question is then
asked, "did Joseph actually divine with his cup?"
The text here, and later on in this chapter, seems to suggest
that he did. The next
question is, "why would he, a God fearing man, do such a
thing?" Divination was
such a wide spread practice in Old Testament times that it often
infiltrated Israel. King Saul in later years
drove out all of the diviners from the
There is the matter of
progressive revelation that some point out here. Some
Bible teachers say that God revealed His ways progressively, that is,
one step at a time. They
might suggest that God had not revealed to Joseph, or the family of Israel, that divination was wrong.
In verses 6 through 9 we
note that the steward approaches the brothers and suggest that they did
steal the silver cup. The
brothers were perplexed. They
said that this could not be and if the cup was found in the sack of any
of them, that person would become the steward's slave.
The steward agreed to the brothers idea in verse 10.
In verses 11 and 12 the
steward begins to search all of the sacks.
He started with the oldest and went to the youngest, probably for
emphasis sake. I would
imagine that after each sack was checked and the cup was not found, the
brothers might have felt a bit more relieved, but that relief, if indeed
they had, soon came crashing to the ground. Their
heart's would have been terrified.
The cup was found in
Benjamin's sack in verse 12. In
verse 13 the brothers tore their clothes as a gesture of distress and
return to see Joseph. Can
you imagine how these men felt on the way back to Joseph.
Benjamin, the son who their father loved best would be a slave
for life in Egypt, or perhaps even killed. What
Jacob feared would now come true.
In verse 14 the brothers
"throw themselves to the ground" in front of Joseph.
Once again, the dreams of Joseph at the age of seventeen come
true. The brothers fall to
the ground before Joseph as seen in the dreams.
But this time the fall to the ground is more dramatic.
They just don't bow their faces to the ground as seen in the last
couple of chapters. They
"throw" themselves to the ground and plead with Joseph with
all they have. This is one
In verse 15 we note that
Joseph makes himself amazed at the brothers.
He says, "don't you know that a man like me can find things
out through divination."
This doesn't really prove that Joseph did practice divination,
although I would not be surprised if he did.
The intent of this statement is to scare the brothers.
The intent of the statement was to tell the brothers that Joseph
had ways to find things out and it was stupid of them to try to steal
In verse 16
I think that
In verse 17 Joseph said
I will not comment on the
rest of the chapter.