7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: 8 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? 9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen. 10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
I find it very interesting that Jacob’s sons are so confident in declaring their innocence. Yes, they know that they have done no wrong, but they also didn’t put the money into their sacks the first time they came to Egypt, yet there it was even so. I would think an abundance of caution, and suspicion of treachery would be warranted, but apparently it doesn’t cross their minds that they might be walking into a trap.
For if it did cross their minds, why on earth would they stake their very lives on the matter? Their own suggestion is that if one of them has committed the crime then that brother should be killed, and all the others will be made into slaves!
The steward cools down their fervor somewhat. They won’t all be punished if only one of them has committed the crime, and the thief won’t be killed, but he will have to become Joseph’s slave. Given that they are willing to the higher punishment, the brothers are agreeable to this lesser one as well. And so, they willingly commit themselves to their own ruin.