Genesis 43

1 And the famine was sore in the land.
2 And it came to pass when they had eaten up the wheat which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
3 And Judah spoke unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.
4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:
5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down; for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.
6 And Israel said, Why did ye such evil unto me as to tell the man that ye had another brother?
7 And they said, The man asked us expressly of our state and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? Have ye another brother? And we told him according to the tenor of these words. Could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?
8 Then Judah said unto Israel, his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live, and not die, both we and thou and also our little ones.
9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him; if I do not bring him unto thee and set him before thee, then let me bear the sin for ever;
10 for if we had not lingered, surely by now we would have returned this second time.
11 Then their father Israel answered them, If it must be so now, do this: take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and take the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, aromas, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds.
12 And take double money in your hands and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks; carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight.
13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man.
14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may let your other brother go, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my sons, I am bereaved.
15 Then the men took the present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin, and rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home and slay an animal and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
17 And the man did as Joseph bade, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
18 And the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house, and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time we are brought in here that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us and take us for slaves and our asses.
19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they spoke with him at the door of the house
20 and said, my lord, we came indeed down the first time to buy food;
21 and it came to pass when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight; and we have brought it again in our hand.
22 And we brought down other money in our hands to buy food; we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.
23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not; your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.
24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet, and he gave their asses fodder.
25 And they made ready the present waiting until Joseph came at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which they had in their hand in the house and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
27 And he asked them of their welfare and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spoke? Is he yet alive?
28 And they answered, Thy slave our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads and made obeisance.
29 And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spoke unto me? And he said, God be merciful unto thee, my son.
30 Then Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother; and he sought where to weep, and he entered into his chamber and wept there.
31 And he washed his face and went out and refrained himself and said, Serve bread.
32 And they served for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, who ate with him, by themselves; because the Egyptians may not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men marvelled one at another.
34 And he took and sent portions unto them from before him; but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were drunk 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 43

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

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