Genesis 42 - Chapters 21 (cont.) - 38

Key Phrase: And they said one to another; Before they went out of the prison or at least while

in the presence of Joseph.

Key Phrase: we are verily guilty concerning our brother; Meaning Joseph, whom they had

sold for a slave. Who they supposed was dead through grief and hard servitude.

Note: Now being in trouble themselves, it brings to mind the sin they had been guilty of.

That occurred, twenty two years ago, was still fresh in their memories and lay heavy on

their consciences. For length of time neither makes sin less nor the conscience lighter,

when it is revived and brought home to those who perpetrated it.

Key Phrase: in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not

hear; when in the utmost agony of betrayal with trembling limbs, floods of tears

as they stripped him of his coat. He most earnestly and importunately requested

of them they would not put him into the pit and leave him there. In the same

manner entreated them they would not put him into the hands of strangers but

restore him alive to his father. They turned a deaf ear to all his cries and requests

and hardened themselves against him.

Key Phrase: therefore is this distress come upon us; They are saying that the same measure

of fear and emotional pain that was measured by them to him, was now measured

to them in the same manner and deaf ears to their pleas.

Verse 22. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin

against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is

required.

Key Phrase: And Reuben answered them; Being the eldest and who had been most concerned

for the life of Joseph, and most concerned at the time in the care of him.

Key Phrase: saying, spake I not unto you, saying, do not sin against the child, and ye would

not hear? It seems that Reuben endeavored to dissuade his brethren from selling

Joseph, when they first proposed it, to which they would not listen. It is certain

they did hearken to him as not to kill him directly when they first consulted. They

agreed with him to cast him into a pit, where he did not intend he should stay. At

least until he had an opportunity of taking him out and returning him to his father.

Key Phrase: therefore, behold, also, his blood is required; The Targum of Jonathan adds, "of

us". They were accessary to his death and guilty of it. Reuben believed he was

most likely dead and now they must suffer for it. As a just retaliation when being

threatened with death unless they could clear themselves.

Verse 23. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an

interpreter.

Key Phrase: And they knew not that Joseph understood them; What is above related they

spoke in his presence and hearing. Speaking to one another in the Hebrew

language and he being an Egyptian, as they took him to be. They did not imagine

that he could understand them and therefore were not worried at all in what they

said.

Key Phrase: for he spake unto them by an interpreter; Which he chose to do so that they

might have no suspicion of him and who he was. It also shows that though there

some similarities between the Hebrew language and the Egyptian in many things,

yet in some they differed. The difference was such that there was need of an

interpreter, where the parties did not understand both languages.

Verse 24. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again,

and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before

their eyes.

Key Phrase: And he turned himself about from them, and wept; Hearing his brethren confess

their sin and guilt to one another in selling him. Reuben's affectionate concern for

him. It was hard on his own emotions, being naturally of a tender spirit, that he

could no longer act the part he had. To keep up the sternness and severity of his

countenance and position. Therefore, he turned his face from them that they

might not discover or see it. His back to them and or went into another room and

after he had given vent to his passion and composed himself.

Key Phase: and returned to them again, and communed with them; Talked with them on the

same subject, of going with their corn to Canaan. Bringing their youngest brother

with them upon their return. Also offering for their encouragement, free traffic or

travel in the land of Egypt.

Key Phrase: and took from them Simeon; Who perhaps was the most cruel and hardhearted

among them. Simeon’s history from the affair of Shechem, that he was a man of a

fierce and bloody disposition. Joseph might have chosen to detain him as being

not so much in his father's affection because of the affair of Shechem. So it would

be a less painful to Jacob than if it was another of the sons of Jacob.

Note: Joseph may have also have feared that Simeon being of a perverse and boisterous

disposition would vehemently oppose the sending of Benjamin into Egypt. Which Joseph

was so very desirous of seeing his little brother.

Key Phrase: and he bound him before their eyes; In their presence to terrify them to let them

know what they must expect if they did not obey his orders. Really more to

humble them for the sin they had been guilty of and was now upon their minds.

Verse 25. Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's

money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto

them.

Key Phrase: Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn; Which was what they had

came for.

Key Phrase: and to restore every man's money into his sack; The money paid by each for his

quantity of corn delivered to him. Not into the person's hands but to be put into

each person’s sack privately and unknown to him.

Key Phase: and to give them provision for the way; Sufficient both for themselves and for

their beast of burden (ass or donkey) that they might carry the whole of what corn

they bought to their families.

Key Phrase: and thus did he unto them; That is, not Joseph but his steward or deputy or

however the servant that he gave the above order to.

Verse 26. And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.

Verse 27. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied

his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth.

Key Phrase: to give his ass provender in the inn; Which probably occurred the first night of

their Journey. A good man regards the life of his beast and takes care of them as

well as of himself when on a long journey.

Key Phrase: he espied his money; The money which he paid for his corn in the original sack.

Key Phrase: for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth; Placed so he would it just as he opened

it.

Verse 28. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack:

and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is

this that God hath done unto us?

Key Phrase: And he said unto his brethren, my money is restored; The money paid for the

corn is returned. Is here can you imagine the look on their faces.

Key Phase: and, lo, it is even in my sack; The first part of this verse put them all upon opening

their sacks, where every man found his money. Though not expressed here.

Key Phrase: and their heart failed them; Through surprise and fear of what they saw. And

they were afraid.

Note: With their consciences being awakened by being imprisoned in Egypt, and loaded with

the guilt of their former sins. They were afraid that more evil was coming upon them

for them. They think that this was a scheme laid to entrap them and that they would be

pursued and seized. Taken back and charged with a fraud and trickery for going off with

their corn without paying for it.

Key Phrase: saying one to another, what is this that God hath done unto us? For whatever

the reason was he overruling hand of divine Providence was in it. For the chas-

tisement and correction of them for their iniquity. Their fear did not allow them

suspicion of Joseph. He was the person they had been conversing with. That he

had done this in kindness to them. Their minds were so pressed with the guilt of

their sin, they were possessed of nothing but fears. They put the worst construc-

tion upon them as men in such circumstances usually do. Fear where no fear is

appropriate or the occasion for it.

Verse 29. And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all

that befell unto them; saying,

Verse 30. The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of

the country.

Key Phrase: The man, who is the lord of the land; Of Egypt; not the king, but the deputy

governor of it, whose authority under Pharaoh. Which was very great and reached

to the whole land. All political affairs between nations and especially what related

to the corn, and the sale of it.

Key Phrase: spake roughly to us; He gave them hard words, stern looks and used them in a

very rough manner. Treated us like criminals.

Key Phrase: and took us for spies of the country; laid such a charge against them and treated

them as spies. Then when he committed them to prison as such.

Verse 31. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:

Key Phrase: And we said unto him, we are true men; Honest, upright men, not treacherous

and or treasonable practices, either in the country where they lived or any other.

They stated that they came to Egypt with no ill design upon the country, only to

buy corn for the relief of their families in necessity.

Key Phrase: we are no spies; Never were and they had never been guilty of such practices,

and never charged with anything of that kind. They denied the charge and

detested the character assumption.

Verse 32. We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day

with our father in the land of Canaan.

Note: Again stating that they are brethren by the father's side, though not by the mother's.

That there had been twelve, supposing that one was dead, as is next observed.

Verse 33. And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are

true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of

your households, and be gone:

Key Phrase: And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, hereby shall I know that you

are true men; This will be a proof and demonstration of it.

Key Phrase: leave one of your brethren here with me; As an hostage. They do not say "bound

in the prison", as Joseph did. Because they would not grieve their father, at least

would not tell him of it at once, lest it should too much for him.

Key Phrase: and take food for the famine of your household, and be gone; That is, corn for

The relief of their families, being distressed with a famine.

Verse 34. And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies,

but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in

the land.

Note: They relate what Joseph has asked of them that they bring their brother Benjamin. And

it would be proof that they are not spies, but that you are true men.

Key Phrase: so will I deliver your brother; Their brother Simeon, who was left bound, though

for this circumstance they also here conceal this fact from their father.

Key Phrase: and ye shall traffic in the land; This would not only be for corn, but for any other

commodity Egypt furnished its neighbors with and be welcome.

Verse 35. And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle

of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of

money, they were afraid.

Note: They convey to Jacob about finding the money in the feed and grain sacks. That, behold,

every man's bundle of money was in his sack. The same purse and the same pieces of

money, gold or silver, they had paid to the steward.

Key Phrase: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were

afraid; Fearing that they should he charged with theft or fraud, and that Simeon

would be put to death.

Note: They had put the money up again as it was in there sacks, in order to open them in their

father's presence. Lest he should blame them for not returning to the governor with

their money upon the first notice of it when they had travelled but one day's journey.

Verse 36. And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph

is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are

against me.

Note: And Jacob their father said unto them, me have ye bereaved of my children. Which is his

way of saying I have lost Joseph and morn form him and now Simeon.

Key Phrase: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not: Neither of them were with him, both were

given up by him as dead. Especially as Simeon’s release depended upon sending

Benjamin, which he was determined at present not to do.

Key Phrase: and ye will take Benjamin away; He knew they were desirous of it and what their

real design was he could not tell. He seems to have a strong suspicion that it was

not good.

Key Phrase: all these things are against me; Jacob is saying all of this is against his will, his

peace, comfort, and happiness. Though they were all working and would work as

they did for his good, for the good of his family and for the preservation of it

during the seven years of famine. He is saying it is to many burdens or too heavy

for him to bear.

Verse 37. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to

thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.

Key Phrase: And Reuben spoke unto his father; Being the eldest son, it would be proper for

him to make an offer to his father in the name of his brethren, and to offer a word

of comfort to him.

Key Phrase: saying, slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee; Meaning Benjamin, whom it

was proposed to take to Egypt. Who Jacob was very resistant to part with him.

So Reuben in an attempt to persuade him offers to him and gives him leave to slay

his two sons, since he had four as we will see later in Genesis. This he purposed if

he did not bring Benjamin back to him.

Note: This would seem a strange proposal, but Reuben's meaning was, not that his children

should be slain, but this he says, to show that he would be as careful and solicitous for

the return of Benjamin as if the life of two sons of his lay at stake. That he was so

confident of it that he could risk the life of them upon it, who were as dear to him as

Benjamin was to his father.

Key Phrase: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again; He undertook to be

responsible for him. Since Reuben felt he had failed Joseph so long ago that he

would not fail with Benjamin.

Verse 38. And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is

left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring

down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

Key Phrase: And he said, my son shall not go down with you; He gives a peremptory denial.

This was his then present resolution and determination.

Key Phrase: for his brother is dead; Meaning Joseph, Benjamin's own brother by father and

mother's side. Him believing him to be dead, such circumstances being related

and produced, earlier in Genesis, which made it highly probable. And the fact that

no one heard anything of him for twenty-two years.

Key Phrase: and he is left alone; 1st; Meaning Benjamin being the only surviving child of his

dearly beloved Rachel, as he thought. 2nd; That Benjamin had to deal with the loss

of his only brother Joseph from of his mother Rachel who died giving birth to him.

Key Phrase: If mischief befall him by the way in which ye go; That is on the way to Egypt, or

on the return. Whether by thieves and robbers, fatigue of the journey or by any

means whatever that he loses his life.

Key Phrase: then shall ye bring down my gray heirs with sorrow to the grave; The sense is,

should this be the case he should never lift up his head or have any more comfort

in this world. That he should pass his time with continual sorrow until his gray

head was laid in the grave, or till he died.


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