Genesis 44

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1 Then he gave orders to the servant who was over his house, saying, Put as much food into the men's bags as will go into them, and put every man's money in the mouth of his bag;

2 And put my cup, my silver cup, in the youngest one's bag, with his money. So he did as Joseph said.

3 And at dawn the men, with their asses, were sent away.

4 And when they had gone only a little way out of the town, Joseph said to the servant who was over his house, Go after them; and when you overtake them, say to them, Why have you done evil in reward for good?

5 Is not this the cup from which my lord takes wine and by which he gets knowledge of the future? Truly, you have done evil.

6 So he overtook them and said these words to them.

7 And they said to him, Why does my lord say such words as these? far be it from your servants to do such a thing:

8 See, the money which was in the mouth of our bags we gave back to you when we came again from Canaan: how then might we take silver or gold from your lord's house?

9 If it comes to light that any of your servants has done this, let him be put to death, and we will be your lord's servants.

10 And he said, Let it be as you say: he in whose bag it is seen will become my servant; and you will not be responsible.

11 Then every man quickly got his bag down and undid it.

12 And he made a search, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was in Benjamin's bag.

13 Then in bitter grief they put the bags on the asses again and went back to the town.

14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house; and he was still there: and they went down on their faces before him.

15 And Joseph said, What is this thing which you have done? had you no thought that such a man as I would have power to see what is secret?

16 And Judah said, What are we to say to my lord? how may we put ourselves right in his eyes? God has made clear the sin of your servants: now we are in your hands, we and the man in whose bag your cup was seen.

17 Then he said, Far be it from me to do so: but the man who had my cup will be my servant; and you may go back to your father in peace.

18 Then Judah came near him, and said, Let your servant say a word in my lord's ears, and let not your wrath be burning against your servant: for you are in the place of Pharaoh to us.

19 My lord said to his servants, Have you a father or a brother?

20 And we said to my lord, We have an old father and a young child, whom he had when he was old; his brother is dead and he is the only son of his mother, and is very dear to his father.

21 And you said to your servants, Let him come down to me with you, so that I may see him.

22 And we said to my lord, His father will not let him go; for if he went away his father would come to his death.

23 But you said to your servants, If your youngest brother does not come with you, you will not see my face again.

24 And when we went back to your servant, our father, we gave him an account of my lord's words.

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

26 And we said, Only if our youngest brother goes with us will we go down; for we may not see the man's face again if our youngest brother is not with us.

27 And our father said to us, You have knowledge that my wife gave me two sons;

28 The one went away from me, and I said, Truly he has come to a violent death; and from that time I have not seen him,

29 If now you take this one from me, and some evil comes to him, you will make my grey head go down in sorrow to the underworld.

30 If then I go back to your servant, my father, without the boy, because his life and the boy's life are one,

31 When he sees that the boy is not with us, he will come to his death, and our father's grey head will go down in sorrow to the underworld.

32 For I made myself responsible for the boy to my father, saying, If I do not give him safely back to you, let mine be the sin for ever.

33 So now let me be my lord's servant here in place of the boy, and let him go back with his brothers.

34 For how may I go back to my father without the boy, and see the evil which will come on my father?

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Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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...

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

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...

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

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Go after
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.

reward
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....

Wine
In Revelation 18:13, 'wine, oil, flour, and wheat' signify celestial principles of worship.

knowledge
Throughout the Word, a distinction is made between wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. 'Wisdom' means from good, 'intelligence' is from truth, and 'knowledge' is in a...

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

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...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

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...

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

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...

seen
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...

Quickly
'Quickly' signifies certain and full, because 'time' signifies state and so 'quickly' and 'speedily' mean a current state of affection and thought, or what is...

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,"...

Search
'To search,' as in Revelation 2:23, signifies seeing.

Grief
Grief is anxiety of heart or will.

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.

brothers
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...

still
When something is described as quiet, still or calm in the Bible, it represents the state of peace that comes with being aligned with the...

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...

thought
Those who are 'anxious' are not content with their own lot, and do not trust the Divine, but only themselves. They only look to worldly...

Power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

Secret
'Secret' or 'hidden' signifies the inward part of a person. 'The secret place' signifies where the Lord is.

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...

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

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...

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...

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...

servant
“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...

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...

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

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

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...

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...

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

young
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

young child
'Tender of age' denotes the state of truths newly received not yet genuine.

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....

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

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

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...

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...

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...

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.

violent
The word 'straw,' as in Genesis 24:25, signifies scientific truths, because it is food for camels. Straw,' as in Isaiah 11:6, signifies the Word in...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

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

Boy
A boy (Gen. 18:7) signifies the natural man, and consequently, him who ministers and administers. Boy (Gen. 22:3) signifies the Lord's former rational principle merely...

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...

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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