Genesis 44

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English: American Standard Version         

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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.

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

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

4 [And] when they were gone out of the city, and were 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 that in which my lord drinketh, and whereby he indeed divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.

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

7 And they said unto him, Wherefore speaketh my lord such words as these? Far be it from thy servants that they should do such a 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, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.

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

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

12 And he searched, [and] began at the eldest, and left off 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.

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

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

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 bondmen, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found.

17 And he said, Far be it from me that I should do so: the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my bondman; but as for you, get you up in peace unto 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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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, expect our youngest brother be with us.

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 have not seen him since:

29 and if ye take this one also from me, and harm befall him, ye will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.

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

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

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

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

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

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Word/Phrase Explanations

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

steward
A steward (or manager) is someone who handles and oversees someone else's possessions. They're responsible for them and their use, but they don't own them,...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

Sack
'A sack' in Genesis 42:25, means a receptacle, and here 'a receptacle' on the natural level, because it is a story about the truths and...

food
To give food, as in Genesis 41:48, signifies to store up.

much
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Money
'Money' relates to truth.

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

Cup
"Cup" in the Bible is often used as synonym for wine, and the meaning is essentially the same: Cups represent true ideas on the spiritual...

silver
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

youngest
In general, birth order in the Bible reflects the progression of spiritual states, but the specifics of those states depends greatly on context: who the...

Grain
Grain signifies inner goods and truths.

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

Joseph
'The tribe of Zebulon' signifies the conjunction of people in the third heaven with the Lord, 'the tribe of Joseph,' the conjunction of people in...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

sent away
To "send away" means creating a separation of spiritual states. This phrase is used a great deal in Exodus, when Moses repeatedly calls on Pharaoh...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

city
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

follow
To go after or to follow, as in Genesis 24:8, signifies to be separated from the natural, and conjoined to the rational principle.

Overtake
'To overtake' denotes communication and influx.

rewarded
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

drinketh
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

speaketh
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

servants
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

Steal
In a natural sense, the commandment 'Thou shalt not steal,' in Exodus 20:15, means, according to the letter, not stealing, robbing, or committing piracy in...

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

die
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

bondmen
Freemen and bondmen, as in Revelation 6:15, signifies those who know and understand from themselves, and those who know and understand from others.

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

ground
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

began
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

clothes
'To rend the garments' signifies mourning for truth lost or destroyed, or the loss of faith.

Judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

Brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

iniquity
In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

Pharaoh
'Pharaoh' signifies scientific ideas, or the natural principle in general. 'Pharaoh' signifies false ideas infesting the truth of the church. Pharaoh,' in Genesis 40, represents...

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

child
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

age
“Age” is used in slightly different ways in natural language, and those differences are reflected in the word’s spiritual meanings. All the variations, though, reflect...

Little one
'A little one,' or 'a little child' in the Word, signifies innocence and charity, because true innocence cannot possibly exist without charity, nor can true...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Dead
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Come down
To come down (Gen. 11:5), is predicated of Jehovah, by reason of his being called the Highest. This is spoken according to appearance.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

go down
To go up and to go down: in the Word, mention is made of going up and going down when speaking of going from one...

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Torn
'Torn,' as in Genesis 31:38, signifies death caused by another, so evil without blame. 'Torn' relates to good, which falsity is injected into, which means...

pieces
The two sticks, in Ezekiel 37:16-22, signify the celestial and spiritual kingdom of the Lord.

harm
To do “harm” in the Bible specifically means attacks and injury by evil and falsity against what is good and true. The reverse is never...

Sorrow
'The woman condemned to 'bring forth sons in sorrow' denotes the anxieties and combats in the production of truths.

seeing
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

Bound
Being bound, as in Genesis 42:16, denotes to be separated, for he who is kept b. is separated, viz., from the spiritual good, which is...

Surety
To be 'surety' for someone, signifies being joined to him, as in Genesis 43:9.

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Dramatize the Story of Joseph Receiving His Brothers
Retell the story or read selected portions from the Word as the children dramatize the story of the brothers going to Egypt and being reunited with Joseph. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Food for the Soul
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Joseph's Cup Found - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: make a special cup for Joseph, have your own feast with some foods that were eaten in ancient Egypt, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Joseph's Cup Found - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: make a special cup for Joseph, play Brothers Bingo to help you learn the names of all Joseph's brothers, sing a song to learn the names of the sons of Israel (video), scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Joseph's Cup Found - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: service activity of preparing food for your congregation, explore the idea of what honesty is in the Joseph story and in your own life with skits, read and reflect on a door handle sign about being honest and shunning deceit, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Joseph's Cup Found - Level D
Complete lesson with activity choices: service activity of making care bags for a person or family in need, explore how taking responsibility for one's actions in 4 different stages can be a turning point in "Turn and Live", read and reflect on a door handle sign about being honest and shunning deceit, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 15 - 17

 Joseph Welcomes His Family
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Overview of Joseph a Man of Integrity Levels A B C D for Ages 3-18
Overview of the Youth Journey Program "Joseph: a man of integrity", Levels A, B, C, and D for ages 3-18.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 18


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