And they said, thy servants [are] twelve brethren
Or rather, "were twelve", since one afterwards is said not to be: the sons of one man in the land of Canaan;
of Jacob, who dwelt there; this is said with the same view as before, to show the improbability of their being spies; and, behold, the youngest [is] this day with our father:
meaning Benjamin, whom Joseph was eager to hear of, and no doubt was glad to hear he was alive, and his father also, and that they were both together in the land of Canaan: and one [is] not;
is not in the land of the living, is dead; for so they thought Joseph was, who is the person intended, as appears from what both Reuben and Judah afterwards say, ( Genesis 42:22 ) ( 44:20 ) ; and yet he was before them, and was the person they were speaking to: this must be very striking and affecting to Joseph, who knew full well they meant himself.