Today we begin Genesis Chapter 44.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
So the brothers have just finished dining with the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt.
And although the general atmosphere was one of merriment and joy, I’m sure behind the smiles on the brothers’ faces was a taut nervousness due to knowing they were under the complete mercy of this ruler who might at a whim’s notice throw them in prison again or do something worse.
This is in addition to the series of strange occurrences that had only served to add to their confusion.
-Their sacks of money being returned to them on their first return from Egypt
-The baffling coincidence of their being seated in the exact order of their birth
-the mysterious offering of the royal portion of food (5 times as much) to Benjamin
The whole situation must have seemed quite surreal.
So once they got the grain they were seeking, packed up their donkeys and were finally on their way back to Canaan, I’m sure the brothers had all breathed a huge sigh of relief thinking their ordeal was over.
Turns out no such thing.
Joseph again had his servant secretly return each brother’s money back into their sacks of grain.
However, this time, Joseph’s silver divination cup was also planted inside Benjamin’s sack.
No sooner had the brothers begun their journey that they were stopped by Joseph’s servant who accused them of stealing Joseph’s fortune-telling cup.
Of course the brothers are dumbfounded and deny the accusation.
Let’s talk about this cup for a minute.
First of all, it was NOT a cup.
It was a silver bowl.
In those days, a sage or a seer was given a special bowl from which ONLY he alone drank.
After Joseph successfully interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he no doubt would have been considered the best “diviner” in all of Egypt.
So most likely Joseph’s bowl was a special gift from Pharaoh.
Usually, the bowl was filled with water, and then tiny gold or silver amulets with magic sayings written on them were put into the water.
Then, based on the patterns that would appear on the surface of the liquid, the seer would attempt to foretell the future.
Of course, Joseph had no need for such props.
God had already enabled him to have prophetic dreams himself as well as interpret the dreams of others.
Joseph’s usage of the cup was to maintain the appearance of being an Egyptian.
And as we have just read, he also used it as a tool to further test his brothers.