ESV - 5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.'
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The conversation between Joseph and his stewards indicates they were already aware he practiced divination with the cup and most likely had also witnessed it in the past. Joseph was immersed in Egyptian culture and no doubt would have adopted many of their customs and practices. The Bible describes Joseph as a man of high character, so I believe this was done in ignorance and that Joseph was not fully aware of the spiritual implications and dangers. Much like a Christian today dabbling or deeply involved in the occult. Moses was raised by the Egyptians and also well knew of their practices. After fleeing the Egyptians the first time he spend much quiet time in the desert. During this extensive period he contemplated all he knew and experienced in the past while also intensely seeking God. Moses went on to give us a clearer understanding of the source of divination and how it is contrary to God.
It is unlikely that Joseph used divination; rather, this statement (made to attach special significance to the cup) was part of the situation Joseph contrived/schemed to test his brothers. Would they seize on this opportunity to get rid of Benjamin, or had their hearts indeed been changed so that they would stand with him? No, Joseph did not practice divination because he followed God’s commands in everything. Joseph said this about divination as to not be recognized by his brothers at that moment. Since the first time when Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt, he knew them, but he concealed his identity because he intended to do well and give them a lesson. The Scripture says so: Just to make his brethren believe even more that he was Egyptian, Joseph had the house steward say this about divination. God forbids divination. And about divination God commands this in the Scriptures: "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 18:10-13)(NASB) Joseph was not saying that he practiced divination. Remember he hadn't revealed his identity to his brothers, and they regarded him purely as an Egyptian official who had the power of life and death over them. Moreover, Joseph had also manipulated events to "frame" his brother Benjamin. I know that Joseph led an exemplary life before the Lord during his time in Egypt. Consequently, the "frame" was something that he was doing specifically to serve a certain purpose. It didn't reflect the conduct of his life in anything else. Therefore, these verses don't indicate that Joseph used occult divination at all; they merely record what Joseph told his steward to say to his brothers upon overtaking them on their journey home. From what I know of Joseph, according to the Scriptures, I can't imagine that this man who had said that "interpretations belong to God" (Gn 40:8, 41:16) could engage in this occult practice. God, save us from divination, magicians, horoscope, and everything related to them, and help us walk in faithfulness to You as Joseph did.
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