And Reuben spoke unto his father
Being the eldest son, it most property lay upon him to make answer to his father in the name of his brethren, and to offer a word of comfort to him: saying, slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee;
meaning not Simeon, who was in Egypt, but Benjamin, whom it was proposed to take thither, and whom Jacob was very loath to part with; and to persuade him to it Reuben offers to him, and gives him leave to slay his two sons, or rather two of his sons F7, since he had four, ( Genesis 46:9 ) ; if he did not bring Benjamin again to him: this was a strange proposal, for what were two sons of his to his own son, so exceedingly beloved by him? besides, to lose his own son, and to have two of his grandchildren slain, would have been an increase of his sorrow and grief, instead of being an alleviation of it; but Reuben's meaning was, not that his children should be slain, but this he says, to show that he would be as careful and solicitous for the return of Benjamin as if the life of two sons of his lay at stake, and was so confident of it that he could risk the life of them upon it, who were as dear to him as one Benjamin was to his father: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again;
he undertook to be responsible for him.
F7 (ynb ynv ta) "duos filiorum meorum", Piscator; so Ainsworth.