What does Genesis 44:7 mean?
ESV: They said to him, "Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!
NIV: But they said to him, "Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that!
NASB: 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!
CSB: They said to him, "Why does my lord say these things? Your servants could not possibly do such a thing.
NLT: What are you talking about?' the brothers responded. 'We are your servants and would never do such a thing!
KJV: And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
NKJV: And they said to him, “Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do such a thing.
Verse Commentary:
A steward working for Joseph (Genesis 41:44) has overtaken Joseph's estranged brothers (Genesis 42:7–8) just as they began their journey back to Canaan (Genesis 44:1–3). On Joseph's orders, he has accused them of returning his master's good with evil by stealing the Egyptian ruler's own personal silver cup (Genesis 44:4–6).

As one would expect, they protest loudly. They are bewildered. They have no idea that the steward himself has placed the cup in Benjamin's sack (Genesis 44:2). The brothers even question why the steward would even make such a suggestion. They insist that they would never do such a thing. In the following verses, they will rashly offer to prove their innocence at the risk of their own lives (Genesis 44:9).
Verse Context:
Genesis 44:1–13 describes Joseph's final test of his estranged brothers, this time using a silver cup. After a merry feast, Joseph's brothers—who still know nothing of his identity—are sent out with grain and money. Joseph orders his house steward to hide his unique personal cup in Benjamin's sack. Shortly after they leave, he sends the steward to overtake the brothers on their way out of town. Once the cup is found, all the brothers return to Joseph's house in great grief and frustration.
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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