Genesis 44:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 44:17, NIV: "But Joseph said, 'Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.'"

Genesis 44:17, ESV: "But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”"

Genesis 44:17, KJV: "And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father."

Genesis 44:17, NASB: "But he said, 'Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.'"

Genesis 44:17, NLT: "'No,' Joseph said. 'I would never do such a thing! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.'"

Genesis 44:17, CSB: "Then Joseph said, "I swear that I will not do this. The man in whose possession the cup was found will be my slave. The rest of you can go in peace to your father.""

What does Genesis 44:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In response to Joseph's test—in the form of what looks to be theft of his silver cup (Genesis 44:2–6)—Judah has chosen to beg for mercy. He knows they are innocent of that specific crime, but he also knows that ten of the brothers are guilty of offenses worthy of punishment (Genesis 42:21–23). Rather than allowing Benjamin—who wasn't involved in their earlier crime, at all (Genesis 37:24–28)—to bear this punishment alone, he offered for all eleven of them to stay (Genesis 44:16).

Joseph has not yet been recognized by his estranged family (Genesis 42:7–8). He seems determined to learn if his older ten brothers, who sold him into slavery with no remorse 20 years earlier, would allow the same to happen to Benjamin. Or had they truly repented and changed? He refuses Judah's suggestion that all of them will be his slaves. He insists that only Benjamin needs to remain and be enslaved. The rest could "go in peace" to their father (Genesis 43:14).