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From Eternity Past

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    Final Test of Their Repentance

    Joyfully they set out on their return. Simeon and Benjamin were with them, their animals were laden with grain, and all felt that they had safely escaped the perils that had seemed to surround them. But they had only reached the outskirts of the city when they were overtaken by the governor's steward, who uttered the scathing inquiry, “Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? Ye have done evil in so doing.” This cup was supposed to possess the power of detecting any poisonous substance placed therein. Cups of this kind were highly valued as a safeguard against murder by poisoning.EP 154.1

    To the steward's accusation the travelers answered, “Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.”EP 154.2

    “Let it be according to your words,” said the steward; “he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.”EP 154.3

    The search began immediately. “They speedily took down every man his sack to the ground,” and the steward examined each, beginning with Reuben's, and taking them in order down to that of the youngest. In Benjamin's sack the cup was found.EP 154.4

    The brothers rent their garments in utter wretchedness and slowly returned to the city. By their own promise, Benjamin was doomed to slavery. They followed the steward to the palace, and finding the governor yet there, prostrated themselves before him.EP 155.1

    “What deed is this that ye have done?” he said. “Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” Joseph designed to draw from them an acknowledgment of their sin.EP 155.2

    Judah answered, “What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.”EP 155.3

    “God forbid that I should do so,” was the reply, “but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.”EP 155.4

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