Genesis 42:1

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt

1 When 1Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?"

Genesis 42:1 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 42:1

Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt
That is, to be sold there, or otherwise it being there, unless it could be bought, would have been of no avail to foreigners; wherefore the Septuagint version is, that there was a sale F23 there, a sale of corn; the word has the signification of "breaking" F24 in it, because that bread corn is broke in the mill, or is broken from the heap when sold or distributed, or because when eaten it breaks the fast. Now Jacob had either seen persons passing by with corn, of whom he inquired from whence they had it, who replied, from Egypt; or he understood by the report of others that corn was to be bought there; though some of the Jewish writers would have it, as Jarchi observes, that he saw it by the revelation of the Holy Spirit: Jacob said unto, his sons, why do ye look one upon another?
like persons in surprise, distress and despair, at their wits' end, not knowing what to do, what course to take, and which way to turn themselves, and scarce able to speak to one another, and consult with each other what was proper to be done; for it seems not so agreeable that they should be charged as idle persons, careless and unconcerned, indifferent and inactive; but rather, if the other sense is not acceptable, the meaning may be, "why do ye look?" F25 here and there, in the land of Canaan, where it is to no purpose to look for corn; look where it is to be had.


F23 (rby) (prasiv) Sept. "frumentum venale", Schmidt; so Ainsworth, and the Targum of Jonathan.
F24 "Fractio", Montanus, Munster, Piscator.
F25 (wartt hml) "ut quid circumspicitis", Schmidt.

Genesis 42:1 In-Context

1 When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?"
2 And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die."
3 So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt.
4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him.
5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

Cross References 1