“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”
But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”
Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself.
My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’
And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
“Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’
And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’
But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’
When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
“Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’
But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons.
One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since.
If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’
“So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life,
sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow.
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!’
“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.
How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”