What does Genesis 44:32 mean?
ESV: For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’
NIV: Your servant guaranteed the boy's safety to my father. I said, 'If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!'
NASB: For your servant accepted responsibility for the boy from my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then my father can let me take the blame forever.’
CSB: Your servant became accountable to my father for the boy, saying, 'If I do not return him to you, I will always bear the guilt for sinning against you, my father.'
NLT: My lord, I guaranteed to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.’
KJV: For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.
NKJV: For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever.’
Verse Commentary:
The Egyptian leader to whom Judah speaks is secretly Joseph: the other son of Rachel (Genesis 35:24) who was lost from his father Jacob (Genesis 44:18–31). That loss is what Judah has been explaining, including how the loss of Rachel's other son, Benjamin, would simply kill their elderly father. Judah makes clear that he himself will be responsible for the loss of Benjamin for the rest of his life. He made himself a pledge of safety for the return of Benjamin. This pledge was a serious and binding agreement. Judah would be formally responsible all his days for the loss of the boy and the resulting death of his father.

This impassioned plea is not without a purpose. Judah has acknowledged his own guilt—at least in an indirect way (Genesis 44:16)—and knows he is being punished for what he did to Joseph many years before (Genesis 37:24–28). Demonstrating that he has learned something from all this, Judah makes a selfless proposition in the following verse (Genesis 44:33).
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.
Accessed 5/21/2024 12:39:33 PM
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