The Moment of Confession

[Judah said,] "How can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants."
GENESIS 44:16
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The Moment of Confession
We can offer nothing for our justification," they say; "we are guilty and at fault; we confess our sin." This is the epitasis [the main action] in the comedy. Joseph has now brought them to the final outburst of emotion, so that they say: "We are thieves and scoundrels. How can we purge or excuse ourselves with at least some pretext? If we say that a theft has been committed in your house, we shall be accusing either you yourself or your domestics." Yet they are innocent, and they know that an injustice is being done them. But they dare not and cannot support their innocence. Nor can they offer anything else as an excuse except to say: "We have sinned. God has found out our iniquity." Thus they do not have the courage to accuse either God or Joseph. This is at last the confession of sin which Joseph has wrung from them. For now they are delivering themselves into slavery, and they will confess more than they have committed, in order that with this humility they may somewhat soften the heart of him whose kindness they had previously experienced.
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