What does Genesis 44:28 mean?
ESV: One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since.
NIV: One of them went away from me, and I said, 'He has surely been torn to pieces.' And I have not seen him since.
NASB: and the one left me, and I said, 'Surely he is torn to pieces,' and I have not seen him since.
CSB: One is gone from me--I said he must have been torn to pieces--and I have never seen him again.
NLT: and one of them went away and never returned. Doubtless he was torn to pieces by some wild animal. I have never seen him since.
KJV: And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
NKJV: and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn to pieces”; and I have not seen him since.
Verse Commentary:
These are the words of Jacob, speaking to nine of his oldest sons. They returned from Egypt, with one brother held as security, with a command to bring their youngest brother, Benjamin (Genesis 42:19–20). Judah is explaining this conversation to the Egyptian ruler who made that demand. He is pleading for leniency, so that Jacob is not deprived of yet another son (Genesis 44:18–27). Judah does not realize that the ruler is Joseph, the brother the oldest ten sold as a slave twenty years ago (Genesis 42:21–23).

Even though he is testing his brothers, Joseph must have been deeply moved by Judah's account. This was very likely the first time he heard what had happened at home after he had been carried away by the slave traders (Genesis 37:24–28).

Jacob had described Joseph as one of two sons born to him by his wife (Genesis 35:24). One of them had "left him," Jacob had said, after being "torn to pieces" by a wild animal (Genesis 37:31–34). Then, with heartbreak, "I have never seen him since." Joseph learned at last how deeply his father had mourned him. Painfully, he also learned his father had assumed him to be dead for the last two decades.
Verse Context:
Genesis 44:14–34 explains how Joseph's brothers reacted to another test of character. The youngest, Benjamin, was discovered to have Joseph's own silver cup in his bags. This was secretly put there on Joseph's orders—and the brothers still do not know his identity. Joseph's intent seems to be a test of his brothers' growth: are they still as cruel and selfish as when they sold Joseph, himself, into Egyptian slavery? Benjamin's sentence is to become Joseph's slave while the rest are free to go. Instead, Judah offers to take Benjamin's place in order save his youngest brother and their old father, who will surely die of grief if Benjamin is lost.
Chapter Summary:
Eleven of Jacob's sons enjoyed a meal as honored guests of an Egyptian governor. They are sent off the next morning with full sacks of grain. All seems well until the governor's house steward overtakes them on the road and accuses them of stealing the ruler's personal and valuable silver cup. The brothers don't know this governor is Joseph, their long-lost brother. Nor do they know he ordered the steward to place the cup in Benjamin's sack. This is part of Joseph's final test of his brothers and their moral growth. Seeking to rescue Benjamin from slavery, Judah makes a powerful speech to Joseph, offering to take Benjamin's place as a slave to save the boy and avoid grieving their father, Jacob.
Chapter Context:
Joseph maintained his hidden identity when his estranged brothers first arrived in Egypt (Genesis 42). When they returned a second time, he continued to test them and treated them to a fine meal (Genesis 43). Genesis 44 describes Joseph's final scheme to test the character of his brothers. Will they once again abandon a sibling into slavery? After a successful scheme by Joseph, Benjamin seems doomed to become a slave in Egypt. Judah boldly begs Joseph to keep him, instead. He offers himself in Benjamin's place. This finally overwhelms Joseph, who will break down and reveal himself in the next chapter.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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