Genesis 44:1-17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Final Test For Joseph's Brothers

Genesis 44:1-17

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Lesson Number 96

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Reconciliation and fellowship are not possible when there is self-righteousness.
  2. Reconciliation and fellowship are not possible when there is a guilty conscience.

Practical Application

  1. Have we failed the test of the master’s cup?


  1. What was Joseph’s strategy to determine if his brothers had changed?
  2. Joseph had been the favored son of his father. Now Benjamin was the youngest and favorite son of Jacob. How did Joseph test the brothers to see if they would be jealous of Benjamin the way they had been of him?
  3. Were Joseph’s brothers righteous as they claimed (Genesis 44:7-8)?
  4. How do we know that the brothers’ consciences were awakened?
  5. What was the test of the master’s cup?


  1. At first, he treated them roughly. Then he showed kindnesses to them.
  2. First, he gave Benjamin five times the amount of food. Then he put the silver cup into his sack so it would appear that he was guilty. Joseph wanted to see if the brothers would betray Benjamin to save themselves.
  3. No. They were the ones who massacred and plundered the whole town of Shechem (Genesis 34), and they were the ones who hated and betrayed their brother Joseph (Genesis 37).
  4. See Genesis 42:21 and Genesis 44:16. They not only acknowledged their guilt, but they brought God into the picture.
  5. This was the supreme test for Joseph’s brothers. When the cup which Joseph placed in Benjamin’s sack was discovered, would they blame Benjamin to justify themselves? Would they forsake him to save their own lives? They passed the test.


  1. Are you sometimes self-righteous? Do you try to justify yourself by your good works? Remember, the brothers had to acknowledge their sin before they could be reconciled to Joseph. When we reject Christ, there can be no fellowship with Him.
  2. Only when we are rid of self-righteousness and a guilty conscience can sin be removed. Have you confessed your sin and been cleansed by the blood of Christ?


  1. Read 1 John 3:16-17. This is the test of the Master’s cup at the deepest level. Have you forsaken a brother or sister in Christ to save your own reputation? If so, make it right.

Key Verses

  • “They fell before him on the ground.” Genesis 44:14
  • “What shall we say? What shall we speak? How shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants.” Genesis 44:16
  • “Go up in peace....” Genesis 44:17

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