After Yusuf's brothers saw that the king's bowl was taken out of Binyamin's bag, they said,
(If he steals, there was a brother of his who did steal before.) They tried to show themselves as innocent from being like Binyamin, saying that he did just like a brother of his did beforehand, meaning Yusuf (peace be upon him)! Allah said,
(But these things did Yusuf keep in himself), meaning the statement that he said afterwards,
(You are in an evil situation, and Allah is the Best Knower of that which you describe!) Yusuf said this to himself and did not utter it aloud, thus intending to hide what he wanted to say to himself even before he said it. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah's statement,
(But these things did Yusuf keep in himself), "He kept in himself ﴿his statement next﴾,
(You are in an evil situation, and Allah is the Best Knower of that which you describe!).''
(78. They said: "O `Aziz! Verily, he has an old father (who will grieve for him); so take one of us in his place. Indeed we think that you are one of the doers of good.'') (79. He said: "Allah forbid, that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property. Indeed (if we did so), we should be wrongdoers.'')
When it was decided that Benyamin was to be taken and kept with Yusuf according to the law they adhered by, Yusuf's brothers started requesting clemency and raising compassion in his heart for them,
(They said, "O `Aziz! Verily, he has an old father...'') who loves him very much and is comforted by his presence from the son that he lost,
(so take one of us in his place.), instead of Binyamin to remain with you,
(Indeed we think that you are one of the doers of good.), the good doers, just, and accepting fairness,
(He said: "Allah forbid, that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property...''), `according to the judgment that you gave for his punishment,
(Indeed, we should be wrongdoers.), if we take an innocent man instead of the guilty man. '
(80. So, when they despaired of him, they consulted in private. The eldest among them said: "Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah's Name, and before this you did fail in your duty with Yusuf Therefore I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case and He is the Best of the judges.) (81. "Return to your father and say, `O our father! Verily, your son has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not know the Unseen!) (82. "And ask (the people of) the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned; and indeed we are telling the truth.'')
Allah narrates to us that Yusuf's brothers were desperate because they could not secure the release of their brother Binyamin, even though they had given a promise and sworn to their father to bring him back. They were unable to fulfill their promise to their father, so,
(in private), away from people's eyes,
(they consulted), among themselves,
(The eldest among them said), and his name, as we mentioned, was Rubil, or Yahudha. He was the one among them who recommended throwing Yusuf into a well, rather than killing him. So Rubil said to them,
(Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah's Name,) that you will return Binyamin to him However, you were not able to fulfill this promise and, before you caused Yusuf to be lost from his father,
(Therefore I will not leave this land), I will not leave Egypt,
(until my father permits me,) allows me to go back to him while he is pleased with me,
(or Allah decides my case) by using the sword, or, they says; by allowing me to secure the release of my brother,
(and He is the Best of the judges.), He next ordered them to narrate to their father what happened so that they could present their excuse about that happened to Binyamin and as claim their innocence before him. Rubil said to them (to say to their father),
(and we could not know the Unseen!) or, `we did not know that your son had committed theft,' according to Qatadah and `Ikrimah. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that it means, `we did not know that Binyamin stole something that belonged to the king, we only stated the punishment of the thief,'
(And ask (the people of) the town where we have been,), in reference to Egypt, according to Qatadah, or another town.
(and the caravan in which we returned), `about our truthfulness, honesty, protection and sincere guardianship,
(and indeed we are telling the truth.) in what we have told you, that Binyamin stole and was taken as a captive as compensation for his theft.'
(83. He [Ya`qub] said: "Nay, but your own selves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting (for me). May be Allah will bring them (back) all to me. Truly, He! Only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise.'') (84. And he turned away from them and said: "Alas, my grief for Yusuf!'' And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing.) (85. They said: "By Allah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.'') (86. He said: "I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not.'')