Bereshis 43

1 3 And the ra’av (famine) was kaved (heavy, severe) in the land.
2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the shever (grain) which they had brought out of Mitzrayim, then Avihem said unto them, Shuvu (return)! Buy for us a little ochel.
3 And Yehudah spoke unto him, saying, The ish did solemnly warn us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, unless achichem be with you.
4 If thou wilt send achinu (our brother) with us, we will go down and buy thee ochel;
5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down; for the ish said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, unless achichem be with you.
6 And Yisroel said, Why dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the ish whether ye had yet another ach (brother)?
7 And they said, The ish asked in detail about us and about our moledet (kindred), saying, Is Avichem yet alive? Have ye another ach? And we declared to him according to these words of [his inquiry]; could we certainly know that he would say, Bring down achichem?
8 And Yehudah said unto Yisroel Aviv, Send na’ar 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 yad shalt thou require an accounting for him; if I bring him not back unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame kol hayamim;
10 For if we had not delayed, surely now we had returned zeh pa’amayim (this second time).
11 And Yisroel Avihem said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of mizimerat HaAretz (the best fruits of the land) in your kelim (vessels), and carry down to the ish a minchah (present), a little balm, and a little devash (honey), nekhot (spices), loht (myrrh), batenim (pistachio nuts), and shekedim (almonds):
12 And take kesef mishneh (double money) in your yad; and the kesef that was returned in the mouth of your sacks, carry it back in your yad; perhaps it was mishgeh (mistake);
13 Take also achichem, and arise, shuvu (return) unto the ish;
14 And El Shaddai give you rachamim before the ish, that he may send away achichem acher (your other brother), and Binyamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
15 And the anashim took that minchah, and they took mishneh kesef (double money) in their yad and Binyamin; and rose up, and went down to Mitzrayim, and stood before Yosef.
16 And when Yosef saw Binyamin with them, he said to the ish over Bais Yosef, Bring these anashim home, and slaughter the tevach, and make ready; for these anashim shall dine with me at tzahorayim (noon).
17 And the ish did as Yosef said; and the ish brought the anashim to the house of Yosef.
18 And the anashim were afraid, because they were brought into Bais Yosef; and they said, Because of the kesef that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and seize us for avadim, and chamoreinu (our donkeys).
19 And they came near to the ish over Bais Yosef, and they spoke with him at the petach habayit,
20 And said, O adoni, we came indeed down at the first time to buy ochel:
21 And it came to pass, when we came to the malon, that we opened our sacks, and, hinei, kesef ish (every man’s money) was in the mouth of his sack, our kesef in full weight; and we have brought it back again in our yad.
22 And kesef acher (other money) have we brought down in our hands to buy ochel; we cannot tell who put our kesef in our sacks.
23 And he said, Shalom lachem, fear not; Eloheichem, and Elohei Avichem, hath given you matmon (treasure) in your sacks; I had your kesef. And he brought Shimon out unto them.
24 And the ish brought the anashim into the house of Yosef, and gave them mayim, and they washed their raglayim; and he gave their chamorim mispo (fodder).
25 And they made ready the minchah for bo Yosef (coming of Yosef) at tzahorayim; for they heard that they would eat lechem there.
26 And when Yosef came home, they presented him the minchah which was in their yad in the house, and prostrated themselves to the ground before him.
27 And he asked them l’shalom (about their welfare), and said, Is there shalom with avichem, the zaken of whom ye spoke? Is he still alive?
28 And they answered, There is shalom with thy eved avinu; he is still alive. And they bowed their heads, and prostrated themselves.
29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw achiv Binyamin, ben immo, and said, Is this achichem hakaton (your younger brother), of whom ye spoke unto me? And he said, Elohim be gracious unto thee, beni.
30 And Yosef made haste; for his compassion was stirred upon achiv (his brother); and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his cheder, and wept there.
31 And he washed his face, and went out, and controlled himself, and said, Serve lechem.
32 And they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Mitzrim (Egyptians), which did eat with him, by themselves; because Mitzrim could not eat lechem with the Ivrim; for that is a to’evah (abomination) unto the Mitzrim.
33 And they sat before him, the bechor according to his bechorah (birthright), and the youngest according to his youth; and the anashim marvelled one with another.
34 And he took and sent masot (portions) unto them from before him; but masat Binyamin was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank, and feasted with him.

Bereshis 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.

Bereshis 43 Commentaries