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It's In The Bag!

by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards

Joseph loved God and he looked after his family

Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian

Shanika opened the door, dropped her backpack on the floor, and ran straight to her room without saying a word to anyone. She climbed into bed, pulled the covers over her head, and started crying. “It's not fair! It's just not fair!” she whined. “I just don't know why I always get blamed for everything!”

Crying alligator

Her brother Marcus was in his room trying to do his homework when he heard her sobbing. He tapped on her door and asked to be allowed to come in. Shanika then blurted out the whole story in between sobs.

In art class that day, one of the boys had gotten into the teacher's supply closet. He had taken out a tub of paint and accidentally dropped it, spilling it all over the floor and on Shanika's desk, which was right beside the closet. He had hurriedly walked away, leaving the mess. Mrs. Johnson had come into the room and she had seen Shanika standing there wondering what to do. Since Shanika was the only one in the room at the time, Mrs. Johnson had falsely assumed she had made the mess and had made her clean it up.

Marcus felt very sorry for his sister. Since he was older, he knew what it was like to be blamed for something he didn't do. He put his arm around her and tried to comfort her. Then he told her he would go with her the next day to talk to Mrs. Johnson.

Shanika quit crying and began feeling a whole lot better. She was glad she had a big brother and she was glad to know he would stand up for her.

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Joseph and his brothers had eaten a delicious feast together Joseph and his brothers had eaten a delicious feast together. They talked, laughed, and enjoyed one another's company, even though the brothers had no idea that it was their own brother, Joseph. They were still quite puzzled about the good treatment they were receiving. Imagine their surprise when, after the meal, they were invited to stay and spend the night there in the house with the man in charge of all Egypt!

Joseph commanded them to put his very own silver cup into Benjamins sack Joseph commanded his servants to fill their sacks with as much food as they could carry. He also commanded them to put the money back into each one's sack. Then he commanded them to put his very own silver cup into Benjamin's sack.

In the morning at the crack of dawn, the brothers loaded all the sacks on their donkeys and started toward home. They couldn't help talking about the strange turn of events, and they were glad that this time the trip was a happy one.

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Joseph told the servant to go after them and speak harshly to them to see why they rewarded his goodness with evil Joseph had one of his servants watch them leave. He told the servant, “When they are just outside the city, go after them. Speak harshly to them and ask why they rewarded my goodness to them with evil. Ask why they stole my special silver cup.”

The servant did just as he was told. Since he had a chariot and it wasn't loaded down with heavy bundles of food and supplies, he was easily able to catch up with them. “Why have you done evil after we treated you so well?” he asked the brothers, speaking roughly. “Why have you stolen the special silver cup that belongs to the ruler?”

The brothers were speechless. They didn't know what to think or what to say.

We returned the money that was found in our sacks and we have no idea what you are talking about concerning a silver cup “What do you mean?” they questioned. “We returned the money that was found in our sacks, and we have no idea what you are talking about concerning a silver cup. None of us would dare to steal from the ruler, especially after the kindness he has shown us! If you find the silver cup among any of our supplies, then we will all be slaves in the ruler's house.” All the brothers nodded in agreement because they were absolutely positive that none of them had the ruler's silver cup.

small sack

“All right,” the servant said. “It shall be just as you say, except that only the person who has the silver cup will return to the ruler and become his slave. The rest of you will be allowed to return home.”

It was quite a chore to unload all the donkeys. The sacks had been filled to the brim and they were very heavy. The servant searched through all their supplies. Then he made them open all the sacks of food, and he searched them, starting with the bags belonging to oldest and going down to the youngest. The brothers were sure of themselves and were feeling quite relieved when one bag after another was searched and the silver cup was not found. . . . But then . . .

. . . They were stricken with fear and disbelief when the servant searched through Benjamin's belongings. As they opened the last bag of food, all of them saw that the silver cup was right there in plain sight in the top of the bag. Hanging their heads in shame and trembling with fear, they immediately started reloading everything onto their donkeys. Following the servant, they reluctantly began the dreaded trip back to the house of the man in charge.

small sack

“We are certainly ‘goners’ now,” they said with dismay. “How did that cup end up in the sack?” they questioned.

Benjamin tried his best to defend himself. “I didn't take it! I didn't put it there!” he exclaimed. “I don't know how it ended up in my bag! Honestly, I'm telling the truth!”

The hard fact is that the silver cup was found in Benjamin's sack, and no matter how it got there, they were in B-I-GGGG TROUBLE! They had agreed with the servant that the person in whose bag the cup was found, would be left in Egypt as a slave. HOW would they ever explain THAT to their father when they had to go back home without Benjamin?

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When the brothers got back to the rulers house, they bowed down on the ground before himDid you really think you could steal my  special silver cup and not get caught

When the brothers got back to the ruler's house, they bowed down on the ground before him.

What have you done “What have you done?” the ruler asked sharply. “Surely you must know that someone as important as I am has the ability to discern the truth! Did you really think you could steal my special silver cup and not get caught?”

Judah spoke up strongly but fearfully. “Oh, Mr. Ruler! What can we do to make up for what has been done? If we become your slaves, would that be enough to make up for this great wrong?”

Receiving no response, Judah moved a little closer to the ruler. “May I have a word with you in private?” he asked.

“I know that you are second in command and no one is greater than you, except King Pharaoh. Please don't be angry with us.” Judah continued, “Remember when we first came and you asked about our father, then you asked if we had another brother, and you made us bring him to you? We told you that we couldn't bring him because his father would be grief stricken if anything were to happen to him. But you wouldn't let us buy food unless we brought him.”

“Well, we did as you required,” Judah continued to explain. “We brought him to see you and now this trouble has come upon us. If we go home without him, our father, who is very old and loves Benjamin very much, will surely die of grief. Please, please, for our father's sake, take me as a slave instead of Benjamin,” Judah pleaded.

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Joseph was overcome with emotion and could not constrain himself any longer Joseph was overcome with emotion and could not constrain himself any longer. He saw how the brothers had changed over the years and were no longer hateful. He saw the love they had for his father and for his younger brother. He began to weep openly.

“Everyone please leave the room,” he commanded his servants. “Leave me alone with these men.” The servants did as they were asked and left the room, but because Joseph was crying out loud, he could be heard even in the next room.

Then Joseph brokenly spoke to his brothers. “I am Joseph,” he said. “Is my father still alive?” he asked.

small sacksmall sacksmall sack

The brothers were astounded and could not speak. It took them some time to comprehend what he was saying.

“Come closer,” Joseph said. “I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into slavery. But don't be fearful or angry with yourself. God used your deeds to bring me to Egypt so that I could save your lives.”

Joseph went on to tell them that although there had already been two years of famine, there would be five more years. “It was not you that sent me here, but God. God has prospered me and made me an important advisor to Pharaoh and has made me the ruler of all his house, his land, and all the land of Egypt.”

The brothers stood still in awestruck amazement. They couldn't believe what they were hearing. After all these many years of believing Joseph was dead, it was difficult for them to grasp the fact that he was alive and standing right there before them. It was even more difficult for them to believe that their little brother, the one they had made fun of, called a dreamer, and sold into slavery, was now the second most important person in all Egypt.

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“This is what I want you to do,” Joseph continued. “Go back to Canaan and tell my father that I am alive. Tell him you have seen me and that I am a ruler in Egypt. Gather all your flocks and bring your families to live here in Egypt near me. There is plenty of food here and your families will never be hungry again. Hurry! Don't be slow about getting back. I want to see my father!”

Joseph hugged him and kissed Benjamin and cried tears
of joyThen he hugged and kissed each of his brothers

Joseph then reached out to Benjamin. He hugged him and kissed him, and cried tears of joy. Then he hugged and kissed each of his brothers. He was glad he was finally able to speak to them as brothers instead of pretending he didn't know them.

King Pharaoh told Joseph to take wagons to Canaan to bring the children and his father so they would not have to be uncomfortable walking and riding donkeys Joseph's servants were still listening in another room, and they spread the word that Joseph's brothers had come. It didn't take long for the news to reach King Pharaoh. He was pleased because Joseph was happy and called for Joseph. “Take wagons to Canaan to bring the children and your father so they won't have to be uncomfortable walking and riding donkeys.”

The King then said, “Tell them to bring their herds but not to bother bringing other belongings. Send provisions for the trip, and tell them I will give them everything they need when they get here. I will also give them the land of Goshen to settle, which is by a river, so that their herds and flocks will have water to drink.”

Joseph did according to all that Pharaoh said. He gave the brothers wagons, provisions and new clothing, and he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver. For his father, he sent ten donkeys loaded with the finest goods of Egypt, along with ten more donkeys loaded with food and meat for the trip to Egypt.

Joseph gave the brothers wagons provisions and new clothing, and he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silverThe brothers hurried as quickly as they could along the hot dry dusty trail back to Canaan

The brothers hurried as quickly as they could, along the hot, dry, dusty trail back to Canaan. They were too excited to complain about the dry, hot, dusty traveling conditions. They talked the whole way about all that had happened in Egypt. They still didn't know quite what to think about Joseph, their own brother, being the man in charge!

They were eager to get home to their families and to their father to tell them of all their good fortune, and most importantly, that Joseph was alive!

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1. What was found in Benjamin's bag?
2. How did the silver cup get in the bag?
3. What did they all agree should happen to the person who had the silver cup?
4. Which brother spoke up and begged to be traded for Benjamin?
5. Did Joseph seek to get even with his brothers for throwing him into a pit and selling him as a slave?
6. Did Joseph cry because he was sad or because he was happy?
7. What gifts did he send home to his father?
8. How did King Pharaoh react when he heard that Joseph's brothers were in town?


Always try to be forgiving when a wrong is done to you.


“It was not you that sent me hither, but God” (Genesis 45:8a).


How about a quick contest? Let’s see who can put on the most innocent looking face. And the winner is...? Now, what if you were guilty of something and pretended that you were innocent? How long do you think you could keep an innocent face?

Joseph's brothers did that for many years, but their dirty secret was known to God and to Joseph. They were sorry for what they had done to Joseph because they saw how it hurt their beloved father. The problem was, they just couldn’t bring themselves to telling the truth that they had sold Joseph to slave traders. Do you think it’s easy to pretend you’re innocent for years, and years, and years, trying to silence your conscience, when, in fact, you’re guilty? In spite of that, God loved them so much that He worked out a plan for them to come clean.

Now, isn't it much easier to have an innocent face if you really are innocent? There would be no need to pretend. Even though Joseph's brothers were innocent of stealing the cup, they still got blamed for it. Have you ever been blamed or punished for something you didn’t do because nobody believed you were innocent? How did it make you feel? Did you feel hurt and angry?

[After discussion:] The Word of God says we must get rid of all grudges and forgive those who falsely accuse us. Let’s take a moment to think about the times we pretended to be innocent while we were, in fact, guilty. Now, think about the times you got blamed or punished for someone else's mistake while you were completely innocent.

Let’s ask God for forgiveness, and ask Him to help us to always do the right thing and be honest about our mistakes. Let’s also ask God to help us forgive those who falsely accused, or blamed, or punished us when we did nothing wrong. Let your light shine in this dark world for the Bible teaches us that it’s better to suffer unjustly for doing right, if it is God's will, than to suffer justly for doing wrong (1 Peter 3:17).


Dog and boy praying

Dear God, thank You for always being in control
and knowing what is best for us. Help us remember
to be kind and to forgive others.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Genesis 44:1 - 45:24

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Adventure Bible: Joseph The Dreamer (I Can Read)
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