Genesis 43

The Second Journey to Egypt

1 Now the famine was still severe in the land.
2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’
4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you.
5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ”
6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.
9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.
10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.
12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.
13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once.
14 And may God Almighty[a] grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”
17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house.
18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.
20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food.
21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us.
22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys.
25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.
26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.
27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.
29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”
30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians.
33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment.
34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Genesis 43 Commentary

Chapter 43

Jacob is persuaded to send Benjamin into Egypt. (1-14) Joseph's reception of his brethren, their fears. (15-25) Joseph makes a feast for his brethren. (26-34)

Verses 1-14 Jacob urges his sons to go and buy a little food; now, in time of dearth, a little must suffice. Judah urges that Benjamin should go with them. It is not against the honour and duty children owe their parents, humbly to advise them, and when needful, to reason with them. Jacob saw the necessity of the case, and yielded. His prudence and justice appeared in three things. 1. He sent back the money they had found in the sack. Honesty obliges us to restore not only that which comes to us by our own fault, but that which comes to us by the mistakes of others. Though we get it by oversight, if we keep it when the oversight is discovered, it is kept by deceit. 2. He sent as much again as they took the time before; the price of corn might be risen, or they might have to pay a ransom for Simeon. 3. He sent a present of such things as the land afforded, and as were scarce in Egypt, balm, and honey, &c. Providence dispenses not its gifts to all alike. But honey and spice will never make up the want of bread-corn. The famine was sore in Canaan, yet they had balm and myrrh, &c. We may live well enough upon plain food, without dainties; but we cannot live upon dainties without plain food. Let us thank God that what is most needful and useful, generally is most cheap and common. Though men value very highly their gold and silver, and the luxuries which are counted the best fruits of every land, yet in a time of famine they willingly barter them for bread. And how little will earthly good things stand us in stead in the day of wrath! How ready should we be to renounce them all, as loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! Our way to prevail with man is by first prevailing with the Lord in fervent prayer. But, Thy will be done, should close every petition for the mercies of this life, or against the afflictions of this life.

Verses 15-25 Jacob's sons went down the second time into Egypt to buy corn. If we should ever know what a famine of the word means, let us not think it much to travel as far for spiritual food, as they did for bodily food. Joseph's steward had orders from his master to take them to his house. Even this frightened them. Those that are guilty make the worst of every thing. But the steward encouraged them. It appears, from what he said, that by his good master he was brought to the knowledge of the true God, the God of the Hebrews. Religious servants should take all fit occasions to speak of God and his providence, with reverence and seriousness.

Verses 26-34 Observe the great respect Joseph's brethren paid to him. Thus were Joseph's dreams more and more fulfilled. Joseph showed great kindness to them. He treated them nobly; but see here the early distance between Jews and gentiles. In a day of famine, it is enough to be fed; but they were feasted. Their cares and fears were now over, and they ate their bread with joy, reckoning they were upon good terms with the lord of the land. If God accept our works, our present, we have reason to be cheerful. Joseph showed special regard for Benjamin, that he might try whether his brethren would envy him. It must be our rule, to be content with what we have, and not to grieve at what others have. Thus Jesus shows those whom he loves, more and more of their need. He makes them see that he is their only refuge from destruction. He overcomes their unwillingness, and brings them to himself. Then, as he sees good, he gives them some taste of his love, and welcomes them to the provisions of his house, as an earnest of what he further intends for them.

Cross References 76

  • 1. S Genesis 12:10; Genesis 41:56-57
  • 2. Genesis 42:25
  • 3. S Genesis 42:2
  • 4. ver 8; Genesis 44:14,18; Genesis 46:28
  • 5. S Genesis 42:15; Genesis 44:23
  • 6. S Genesis 42:2
  • 7. S Genesis 42:15; Genesis 44:26; 2 Samuel 3:13
  • 8. ver 8,11; S Genesis 17:5
  • 9. S Genesis 34:30
  • 10. ver 27; Genesis 45:3
  • 11. S Genesis 42:13; Genesis 44:19
  • 12. S Genesis 42:15
  • 13. S ver 3; S Genesis 29:35
  • 14. S ver 6
  • 15. S Genesis 42:2; Psalms 33:18-19
  • 16. 1 Samuel 23:20
  • 17. Genesis 44:10,17
  • 18. S Genesis 42:37; Genesis 44:32; Philemon 1:18-19
  • 19. Genesis 45:9
  • 20. S ver 6
  • 21. S Genesis 24:10
  • 22. S Genesis 32:13; Genesis 32:20; Proverbs 18:16
  • 23. S Genesis 37:25; Ezekiel 27:17; Jeremiah 8:22
  • 24. Exodus 30:23; 1 Kings 10:2; Ezekiel 27:22
  • 25. S Genesis 37:25
  • 26. ver 15; Exodus 22:4,7; Proverbs 6:31
  • 27. S Genesis 42:25
  • 28. ver 3
  • 29. S Genesis 17:1; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11
  • 30. Deuteronomy 13:17; Psalms 25:6
  • 31. S Genesis 42:24
  • 32. 2 Samuel 18:33; Esther 4:16
  • 33. ver 12
  • 34. Genesis 45:9,13
  • 35. Genesis 47:2,7; Matthew 2:11
  • 36. S Genesis 35:18
  • 37. ver 17,24,26; Ge 44:1,4,12; 2 Samuel 19:17; Isaiah 22:15
  • 38. ver 31; Luke 15:23
  • 39. S ver 16
  • 40. Genesis 42:35
  • 41. Genesis 44:14
  • 42. S Genesis 42:25
  • 43. S Genesis 32:11
  • 44. Ge 44:9,16,33; Genesis 50:18
  • 45. Genesis 34:28
  • 46. ver 16
  • 47. S Genesis 42:3
  • 48. S ver 15; S Genesis 42:25; Genesis 42:27,35
  • 49. S Genesis 24:12; S Genesis 31:5; Exodus 3:6
  • 50. Genesis 42:28
  • 51. S Genesis 42:24
  • 52. S ver 16
  • 53. S Genesis 18:4; Genesis 24:32
  • 54. S Genesis 32:13
  • 55. ver 16
  • 56. S ver 16
  • 57. S Genesis 32:13; Matthew 2:11
  • 58. S Genesis 33:3; Genesis 37:7,10
  • 59. S Genesis 37:3
  • 60. S ver 7
  • 61. Ge 44:24,27,30
  • 62. Genesis 18:2; Exodus 18:7
  • 63. S Genesis 37:7
  • 64. S Genesis 35:18
  • 65. S Genesis 42:13
  • 66. Numbers 6:25; Psalms 67:1; Psalms 119:58; Isaiah 30:18-19; Isaiah 33:2
  • 67. John 11:33,38
  • 68. S Genesis 29:11; Genesis 42:24; Genesis 45:2,14,15; Genesis 46:29
  • 69. Genesis 45:1; Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 63:15; Isaiah 64:12
  • 70. S ver 16
  • 71. S Genesis 14:13; Galatians 2:12
  • 72. Genesis 46:34; Exodus 8:26
  • 73. S Genesis 35:23
  • 74. S Genesis 42:13; Genesis 44:12
  • 75. S Genesis 37:3; Genesis 45:22; S 2 Kings 25:30
  • 76. Luke 15:23

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


This chapter informs us how that the famine continued in the land of Canaan, and the corn that Jacob's family had from Egypt being consumed, Jacob pressed his sons to go down for more, which they refused to do, unless Benjamin was sent with them, for whose safety Judah offered to become a surety, Ge 43:1-10; Jacob with reluctance was prevailed upon to let him go, and dismissed them with a present to the governor of Egypt, and with double money to buy corn with, and with his blessing upon them, Ge 43:11-14; upon which they set out for Egypt; and when they came into the presence of Joseph, he seeing Benjamin with them, ordered his steward to have them to his house, and get dinner ready, it being his pleasure that they should dine with him that day, Ge 43:15-17; this threw them into a fright, supposing they were going to be called to an account for the money they found in their sacks; wherefore they related to the steward very particularly the whole of that affair, who bid them not be uneasy, for he had had their money; and as a proof that things would go well with them, brought Simeon out to them, and treated them very kindly and gently, Ge 43:18-24; and having got their present ready against Joseph came home, they delivered it to him with great veneration and submission; who asked of the welfare of their father, and whether that was not their younger brother they spoke of, the sight of whom so affected him, that he was obliged in haste to retire to his chamber, and weep, Ge 43:25-30; and having washed his face, and composed himself, he returned and ordered dinner to be brought, which was set on different tables, one for himself and the Egyptians, and the other for his brethren, whom he placed according to their age, to their great surprise; and sent them messes from his table to each, and to Benjamin five times more than the rest, and they were so liberally entertained, that they became cheerful and merry, Ge 43:31-34.

Genesis 43 Commentaries

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