Genesis 43

1 In the meantime hunger oppressed greatly all the land, (In the meantime the famine greatly oppressed all the land,)
2 and when the meats were wasted, which they [had] brought from Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, Turn ye again, and buy ye a little of meats to us. (and when all the corn, or all the grain. which they had brought from Egypt, had been eaten, Jacob said to his sons, Return ye, and buy ye a little food for us.)
3 (And) Judah answered, That man announced to us, under witnessing of an oath, and said, Ye shall not see my face, if ye shall not bring with you your least brother (if ye do not bring your youngest brother with you);
4 therefore if thou wilt send him with us, we shall go (down) together, and we shall buy necessaries to thee (and we shall buy all the necessities for thee);
5 else if thou wilt not, we shall not go (down); for as we said oft, the man announced to us, and said, Ye shall not see my face without your least brother (for as we have often said to you, the man announced to us, Ye shall not see my face without your youngest brother).
6 Forsooth Israel said to them, Ye did this into my wretchedness, that ye showed to him, that ye had also another brother. (And Israel, that is, Jacob, said to them, Ye did this unto my wretchedness, that ye told him that ye also had another brother.)
7 And they answered, The man asked us by order our generation, (and) if our father lived, (and) if we had another brother; and we answered followingly to him, by that that he asked (and we answered accordingly to him, by what he asked us); whether we might know that he would say, Bring ye (down) your brother with you?
8 And Judah said to his father, Send the child with me, that we go, and may live, lest we die, (and thou,) and our little children; (And Judah said to his father, I pray thee, send our youngest brother with me, so that we can go, and we can live, otherwise we, and thou, and our little children shall die;)
9 I (shall) take the child, require thou him (again) of mine hand; if I shall not bring him again, and betake him to thee, I shall be guilty of sin against thee in all time; (I shall take our youngest brother, and thou shalt require him again from my hand; and if I shall not bring him back again, and give him to thee, I shall be guilty of sin against thee for all time;)
10 if this delay, or tarrying, had not been, we had come thence now another time. (yea, if this delay had not happened, we could already have gone there, and had come back by now, another time.)
11 Therefore Israel, their father, said to them, If it is need so to be (done), do ye that that ye will (And so their father Israel said to them, If it is so needed to be done, then do ye what ye must); (and) take ye (some) of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and bear ye gifts to the man, a little of gum, and of honey, and of storax, that is, (a) precious gum, and of myrrh, that is, a bitter gum, and of terebinth, that is, (the) best resins, and of almonds;
12 and bear ye with you double (the) money, and bear ye again that money which ye found in [the] bags, lest peradventure it be done by error, or unwitting(ly)/or (by) negligence;
13 but also take ye your brother, and go ye to the man; (and also take ye your brother, and so go ye now to the man;)
14 forsooth my God Almighty make him peaceable to you/make him pleasable, or quemeful, to you, and send he again your brother, whom he holdeth in bonds, and also this Benjamin; forsooth I shall be now as (if) made bare (and) without sons. (and may my Almighty God make him kindly disposed toward you, and send he again your brother, whom he now holdeth in prison, and also this Benjamin; but for now I shall be as if made barren, and without my sons.)
15 Therefore the men took gifts (And so the men took the gifts), and double (the) money, and Benjamin; and they went down into Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
16 And when he had seen them and Benjamin together, he commanded the dispenser of his house, and said (And when he had seen Benjamin together with them, he commanded to the steward of his house, and said), Lead these men into the house, and slay (some) beasts, and make a feast; for they shall eat with me today.
17 He did as it was commanded/as it was bidden him (He did as he was commanded), and he led the men into the house;
18 and there they were afeared, and they said together, We be brought in for the money which we bare again before in our sacks, that he put challenge against us, and make subject by violence to servage both us and our asses. (and they were afraid there, and they said together, We be brought in here for the money which we found put back in our sacks, and he shall soon challenge us about it, and by force make both us and our donkeys subject to servitude, or to slavery.)
19 Wherefore they nighed in the gates, and spake to the dispenser, (And so they went to the door, and spoke to the steward,)
20 Lord, we pray, that thou hear us; we came down now before that we should buy meats; (and said, My lord, we pray thee, that thou hear us; we came down before so that we could buy some food;)
21 (and) when those were bought, (and we headed home,) when we came to the inn, we opened our bags, and we found the money in the mouth(s) of our sacks, which money we have brought again now in the same weight (which money in the same amount we have now brought back);
22 but also we have brought other silver, (so) that we (can) buy those things that be needful to us; it is not in our knowing who put the money in our purses.
23 And he answered, Peace be to you, do not ye dread; your God, and [the] God of your father, gave to you (the) treasures in your bags; for I have the money proved, which ye gave to me (for I have the approved money, which ye gave to me). And he led out Simeon to them;
24 and when they were brought into the house, he brought (them) water, and they washed their feet, and he gave their asses meats (and he gave some food to their donkeys).
25 Soothly they made ready the(ir) gifts till Joseph entered at midday, for they had heard that they should eat bread there.
26 Therefore Joseph entered into his house, and they offered gifts to him, and held them in their hands, and worshipped low to the earth. (And so Joseph entered into his house, and they offered him the gifts that they held in their hands, and they bowed low to the ground before him.)
27 And he greeted them again meekly; and he asked them, and said, Whether your father, the eld man, is safe, of whom ye said to me? liveth he yet? (And he meekly greeted them; and he asked them, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spoke to me? yet he liveth?)
28 Which answered, He is whole, thy servant our father liveth yet; and they were bowed, and worshipped him. (And they answered, He is well, yea, thy servant, our father, yet liveth; and they bowed low before him.)
29 Forsooth Joseph raised [up] his eyes, and saw Benjamin, his brother of the same womb, and he said, Is this your young(est) brother, of whom ye said to me? And again Joseph said, My son, God have mercy on thee. (And Joseph raised up his eyes, and saw Benjamin, his brother from the same womb, and he asked, Is this your youngest brother of whom ye spoke to me? And Joseph said to him, My son, may God have mercy on thee.)
30 And Joseph hasted into (another part of) the house, for his entrails were moved on his brother (for his feelings were stirred because of his brother), and tears burst out, and he entered into a closet, and wept.
31 And again when his face was washed (And then when he had washed his face), he went out, and refrained himself from weeping, and said, Set ye forth (the) loaves.
32 Which were set forth to Joseph by himself, and to his brethren by themselves, and to the Egyptians that ate together by themselves; for it is unleaveful to Egyptians to eat with Hebrews, and they guess such a feast unholy. (And they were set forth for Joseph by himself, and for his brothers by themselves, and for the Egyptians who ate together by themselves; for it is unlawful for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews, for they believe that such a feast, or that such a meal, would be unholy.)
33 Therefore they sat before him, the first begotten by right of the first begotten, and (so on down to) the youngest by his age; and they wondered greatly, (And so they sat down before him, the first-born by right of the first-born, and so on down to the youngest by his age; and they greatly wondered,)
34 when the parts were taken which they had received of him, and the more part came to Benjamin, so that it passed (the others) in five parts; and they drank, and were [ful]filled with him. (when they received their portions from him, and the greatest portion came to Benjamin, indeed it was five times more than what any of the others received; and so they drank, and were fulfilled 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


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