Genesis 44:3
As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
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44:1-17 Joseph tried how his brethren felt towards Benjamin. Had they envied and hated the other son of Rachel as they had hated him, and if they had the same want of feeling towards their father Jacob as heretofore, they would now have shown it. When the cup was found upon Benjamin, they would have a pretext for leaving him to be a slave. But we cannot judge what men are now, by what they have been formerly; nor what they will do, by what they have done. The steward charged them with being ungrateful, rewarding evil for good; with folly, in taking away the cup of daily use, which would soon be missed, and diligent search made for it; for so it may be read, Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, as having a particular fondness for it, and for which he would search thoroughly? Or, By which, leaving it carelessly at your table, he would make trial whether you were honest men or not? They throw themselves upon Joseph's mercy, and acknowledge the righteousness of God, perhaps thinking of the injury they had formerly done to Joseph, for which they thought God was now reckoning with them. Even in afflictions wherein we believe ourselves wronged by men, we must own that God is righteous, and finds out our sin.And my cup. - Besides returning each man's money as before, a silver cup of Joseph's is put in Benjamin's bag, after which, when daylight comes, they are dismissed. They are scarcely out of the town when Joseph's steward is ordered to overtake them, and charge them with stealing the cup. "And whereby indeed he divineth." Divining by cups, we learn from this, was a common custom in Egypt (Herodotus ii. 83). It is here mentioned to enhance the value of the cup. Whether Joseph really practised any sort of divination cannot be determined from this passage.3. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away—They commenced their homeward journey at early dawn (see on [10]Ge 18:2); and it may be readily supposed in high spirits, after so happy an issue from all their troubles and anxieties. No text from Poole on this verse. As soon as the morning was light,.... When it was break of day, before the sun rose:

the men were sent away, they and their asses; the men being refreshed with food, and their asses having provender given them, and saddled and loaded, they were handsomely and honourably dismissed.

As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
Verses 3-5. - As soon as the morning was light (literally, the morning became bright), the men (literally, and the men) were sent away, they and their asses. That Joseph did not make himself known to his brothers at the repast was not due to unnatural callousness which caused his heart to remain cold and steeled (Kalisch), or to a fear lest he should thereby destroy the character of his mission which made him the medium of retribution for his brothers (Kalisch), but to the fact that in his judgment either his brothers had not been sufficiently tested, or the time did not appear convenient for the disclosure of his secret. And when they were gone out of the city (literally, they went forth out of the city), and not yet far off (literally, they had not gone far), Joseph (literally, and Joseph) said unto his steward (or man over his house), Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them (literally, and overtake them, and say to them), Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? The interpolation at this point of the words, "Why did you steal my silver goblet?" (LXX., Vulgate, Syriac) is superfluous. Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? - literally, and divining he divineth, or maketh trial, in it, the verb נָחַשׁ (from which is derived nachash, a serpent: vide Genesis 3:1) originally signifying to hiss or whisper, and hence to mutter incantations, to practice ophiomancy, and generally to divine. The special form of divination here referred to (κυλικομαντεία, or divining out of cups) was practiced by the ancient Egyptians (Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' p. 39). "Small pieces of gold or silver, together with precious stones, marked with strange figures and signs, were thrown into the vessel; after which certain incantations were pronounced, and the evil demon was invoked; the latter was then supposed to give the answer either by intelligible words, or by pointing to some of the characters on the precious stones, or in some other more mysterious manner. Sometimes the goblet was filled with pure water, upon which the sun was allowed to play; and the figures which were thus formed, or which a lively imagination fancied it saw, were interpreted as the desired omen" (Kalisch). Traces of this ancient practice of soothsaying have been detected by some writers in the magnificent vase of turquoise belonging to Jam-shoed, the Solomon of Persia. Like Merlin's cup, described by Spenser ('Faery Queens,' 3:2, 19) -

"It vertue had to show in perfect sight
Whatever thing was in the world contained
Betwixt the lowest earth and heven's hight,
So that it to the looker appertaynd."
A similar account is given by Homer of the cup of Nestor; and Alexander the Great is reported to have possessed a mystic goblet of a like kind. It is said that in the storming of Seringapatam the unfortunate Tippeo Saib retired to gaze on his divining cup, and that after standing awhile absorbed in it he returned to the fight and fell (vide Kitto's 'Cyclopedia,' art. Divination). Ye have done evil in so doing. And "his (Joseph's) bowels did yearn" (נכמרוּ lit., were compressed, from the force of love to his brother), so that he was obliged to seek (a place) as quickly as possible to weep, and went into the chamber, that he might give vent to his feelings in tears; after which, he washed his face and came out again, and, putting constraint upon himself, ordered the dinner to be brought in.
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