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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 44

Verses 1-34

The Final Test of Joseph’s Brethren

2. Put my cup.. in the sack’s mouth of the youngest] Joseph evidently did this as an excuse for keeping Benjamin with him. Perhaps, too, it was a test of the brethren whether they would act as cruelly in deserting their youngest brother as they had dealt with himself. However, they came nobly out of the trial, and a complete reconciliation took place.

5. Whereby indeed he divineth] Divination by means of bowls of water was very prevalent among the ancients. They appear to have had a superstitious fancy that if one gazed long into a cup, he would see future events reflected in its contents. Bowls have been found in Babylon, inscribed on the inner surface with magical words and exorcisms against evil spirits. In the method of divination called hydromancy ’water was poured into a glass or other vessel and pieces of gold, silver, or precious stones might be thrown in; then observations were made of the results, of the figures, etc., which appeared, with the expectation of learning the future or the unknown by this means’ (D.). At the storming of Seringapatam, during the Indian mutiny, the notorious Tippoo Saib is said to have consuited the divining cup just prior to his death in battle.

18-34. Nothing could be more affecting and generous than Judah’s words, especially if the brethren believed that Benjamin had stolen the cup, and yet refused to accuse him, and took the blame on themselves.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 44". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.