And he turned himself about from them, and wept
Hearing his brethren confess their sin and guilt to one another in selling him, and Reuben's affectionate concern for him, it wrought so much upon his affections, being naturally of a tender spirit, that he could no longer act the part he had, and keep up the sternness and severity of his countenance; wherefore he turned his face from them, that they might not discern it, and his back upon them, and went into another room: and after he had given vent to his passion, and composed himself, and returned to them again, and communed with them;
upon the same subject, of going with their corn to Canaan, and bringing their youngest brother with them upon their return, and promising moreover, for their encouragement, a free traffic in the land of Egypt, ( Genesis 42:34 ) : and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes;
who perhaps was the most cruel and hardhearted among them; and it appears from the affair of Shechem, that he was a man of a fierce and bloody disposition. According to Jarchi, it was he that said to Levi, on sight of Joseph, behold this dreamer cometh; and that it was he that cast him into the pit; and, as the Targum says, advised to kill him: and perhaps Joseph might pitch upon him as the hostage, not only because he had used him more evilly than the rest, but because he might observe he was less concerned, and not so much humbled now for the evil he had done as the rest were; as also he might choose to detain him, as being not so much in his father's affection, because of the affair of Shechem, and so be a less affliction to him than if it was another; and besides, he might fear that being of a perverse and boisterous disposition, he would vehemently oppose the sending of Benjamin into Egypt, which Joseph was so very desirous of: and he bound him in their presence to terrify them, and let them know what they must expect if they did not obey his orders, and the more to humble them for the sin they had been guilty of, and was now upon their minds; though perhaps, as Jarchi observes, when they were gone he let him out, and gave him food and drink; or however might give him some liberty, and use him with mildness and gentleness.