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Genesis Chapter 43

Genesis 43 King James Version (KJV)

Verse 01. And the famine was sore in the land.

Note: This verse is to tie the two chapters together in context. We are still in the land of

Canaan in the area that Jacob occupied. The famine has continued to a point that it is

difficult for all creatures to exist.

Verse 02. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out

of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.

Key Phrase: And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought

out of Egypt; no doubt they lived sparingly on it in such a time of scarcity, to

make it last as long as they could. Perhaps only he (Jacob), his children and

grandchildren, might eat of it.

Note: The servants, as Calvin (See Handout #1) observes, might live on meaner food, as acorns,

herbs, and roots. It must not be thought that all this corn was eaten up entirely and

none left. But that the far greater part of it had been consumed and but very little

remaining. Otherwise, how should Jacob, and his sons' wives and children be supported

until the return of his sons from Egypt with fresh provisions?

Note: In so numerous a family as Jacob's was, having so many children, grandchildren and

servants. The amount of corn that nine men on so many asses could bring with them

must have been consumed in a short time, how long cannot be said though.

Key Phrase: their father said, go again, hoping that the famine would be over quickly, and

therefore orders them to go once more to Egypt, and buy some provisions.

Key Phrase: buy us a little food; Either to show that he took no thought to satisfy his or their

curiosity or luxury, but only their necessity. Jacob believes a little would suffice,

and that they must all moderate their appetites, especially in a time of such

scarcity in the land.

Verse 03. And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying,

Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Key Phrase: And Judah spake unto him saying; Judah, with the consent of his brethren,

undertakes to manage the affair with him, who had doubtless an interest in him,

as well as authority among his brethren, was a prudent man and could speak well.

Note: Reuben the eldest son had met with a repulse already, Genesis 42:36. Simeon the next

was now in Egypt, Genesis 42:24, and Levi, perhaps on account of the affair of Shechem,

Genesis 34:25, did not yet stand well in his father's favor and affection.

Key Phrase: saying, the man did solemnly protest unto us; Meaning Joseph, though he then

knew not that it was him. Whom he calls "the man", not by way of contempt or as

thinking and speaking unkindly of him, but in the reverse as the great man or the

honorable man, the governor of Egypt. He in the strongest terms, and in the most

solemn manner, protested by the life of Pharaoh.

Key Phrase; saying, ye shall not see my face; That would be with acceptance or should not be

admitted, to come near him or have conference with him to purchase any corn

from him.

Key Phase: except your brother be with you; This is their youngest brother Benjamin.

Verse 04. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:

Verse 05. But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall

not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Note: This is the second time Jacob has heard it said by his sons the exact same words.

Note: That Judah makes it plain that they the sons would not go to Egypt without Benjamin.

Judah is in essence saying it is your decision to make.

Verse 06. And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye

had yet a brother?

Note: First we see Jacob addressed as Israel in this verse. He is now talking as the leader or the

father of Israel. The fact that he alone is responsible for the continued existence of what

is to become the nation of Israel.

Key Phrase: wherefore dealt ye so ill with me; Now we see Him cast blame on the sons they

done that which brought so much evil upon him, gave him so much grief and

trouble, and threw him into such perplexity and distress. He knew not what to do,

or course to take.

Key Phrase: as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? The reason for Israel (Jacob)

which he thought was done imprudently and unadvisedly and that there was no

need of it. Which, had it not been done, would have prevented this anxiety of

mind he was now in, and the mischief he feared would follow.

Note: Hind site is always 20/20 when you look in the past. Still does not change it though.

Verse 07. And they said, The man asked us straitly 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?

Key Phrase: And they said; We see that the brothers of Judah are present and supporting the

statement that follows.

Key Phrase: The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, is your father

yet alive? have ye another brother; The word straitly would be translated today

as directly and or with authority.

Key Phrase: and we told him according to the tenor of these words; Judah states, we gave

answers suitable to his questions, or such as his words required.

Note: Remember they are in a foreign country being questioned by the second in charge of all

of Egypt. The thought of not answering this man’s questions and his tone of words

would have been intimidating to begin with. Because they said we are honorable men.

Key Phrase: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? Judah

states it very plainly, that how could they know what the “man” was going to say.

Verse 08. And 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.

Key Phrase: And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me; Judah is making a

heart felt appeal to his father.

Key Phrase: and we will arise and go; Directly to Egypt for corn. Judah calls Benjamin a lad,

because he is the youngest brother and tenderly brought up by his father. Who

we know had an affectionate fondness for him as if he had been a child.

Note: Benjamin must be about thirty two years of age at this time. He was seven years

younger than Joseph, who was now thirty nine years of age. Most likely Benjamin might

of had children of his own. For the computation of Benjamin's age, see Genesis 30:22,

Key Phrase: that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones; Here

we can with these words that Judah is reasoning, that if they with Benjamin went

down to Egypt for corn, there was a possibility a probability that they would all

live, even Benjamin also.

Judah’s Reasoning: But if they do not go then they must all in course die, and Benjamin

likewise. Therefore it was most prudent and advisable, for the sake of all their lives, of

them and theirs, and for the sake of Benjamin among the rest, for whom Jacob was so

particularly concerned not to let him go with them to Egypt for corn. Since he must die

if they did not go and he could but die if he did go. There was great likelihood and if

not a certainty, he would not as long as he was with them. At least Judah was

confident he would not.

Verse 09. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto

thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:

Key Phrase: I will be surety for him; I will personally ensure his safe return.

Key Phrase: of my hand shall thou require him; I will be answerable for him and will give him

back to you from my procession.

Key Phrase: if I bring him not to thee, and set him before thee: If I do not return him from

Egypt and bring him to Canaan, into his father's house and presence safe and

sound.

Key Phrase: then let me bear the blame for ever; The fault of persuading his father to let him

go with him and the consequences of this action.

Note: All this he said, to show what care he would take of him, and what confidence he had

that no evil would befall him, that he would be returned with them in safety. Which he

might stand firm upon the assurance that Joseph had given, that they should not die if

they brought their brother with them, Genesis 42:20;

Verse 10. For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.

Key Phrase: For except we had lingered; Delayed going down to Egypt, through the refusal

that Jacob made of sending Benjamin with them.

Key Phrase; surely now we had returned this second time; Judah is saying that they would

have made their journey to Egypt and returned again with their corn and with

their brother Benjamin too. By this time except by these delays they were losing

time and involving themselves and families in distress for want of corn.

Verse 11. And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best

fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm,

and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

Key Phrase: And their father said unto them; Being in some measure convinced by their

words and reasonings. Also in part at least reconciled to let Benjamin go with

them, there being nothing to be done, he perceived, unless he consented to it.

Key Phrase: if it must be so now, do this; If nothing else will do but Benjamin must go, which

after all he was reluctant to, then he advises them to do as follows.

Key Phrase: take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels; Such as were the peculiar

produce of the land of Canaan and the best of it. That it was most famous and

praised for, as the word used signifies. These Jacob advises to take and put into

their sacks they carried to bring back their corn in. (continued)

Key Phrase: and carry down the man a present; This would be for the great man and governor

of Egypt, whose name was not known. This he proposed to be done, in order to

procure his friendship and that he might take it kindly and respectfully of them,

release Simeon, and send back Benjamin with them. The present consisted of the

following things.

Key Phrase: a little balm: Or rosin, a gum which drops from pine trees and the like. Since balm

or balsam grew on this side Jordan, near Jericho and Engedi and not beyond

Jordan, in the land of Gilead. The rosin was good for healing of wounds. Thus is

noted which there was great quantity in and about Gilead.

Key Phrase: and a little honey; The land of Canaan in general is called a land flowing with milk

and honey. Some parts of it were famous for the production of honey for its flavor

such as the area around Ziph. It was called from thence the honey of Ziphim.

Note: It was further observed, that Hebron alone (the place were Jacob now was) sends every

year to Egypt three hundred camel loads. or near two thousand quintals of this honey.

Leo Africanus says, there is but little honey to be found in Egypt, wherefore it made this

part of the present the more acceptable.

Key Phrase: spices; of various sorts, a collection of them; Though it is thought, by Bochart and

others, that the "storax" is particularly meant. The best of that sort being, as Pliny

says in Judea. The Targum and Jarchi take it to be "wax with crushed root or

leaves ", as do also other Jewish writers.

Key Phrase: and myrrh; This is a natural gum or resin extracted from a number of small,

thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora. Myrrh resin has been used

throughout history as a perfume, incense, and medicine. Myrrh mixed with wine

was common across ancient cultures, for general pleasure and as an analgesic.

Key Phrase: nuts, and almonds, the oil of nuts, and the oil of almonds: The pistachio nuts, as

Jarchi observes from R. Machir. These, as Pliny says, were well known in Syria,

and were good for food and drink, and against the bites of serpents. Bochart

observes, are frequently mentioned by naturalists along with almonds, and as very

much like them.

Note: The land of Canaan produced some corn, near springs or wells though but little. It is

confirmed here for certain that there were other fruits which were serviceable for food,

as appears from this verse.

Verse 12. And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the

mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:

Key Phrase: And take double money in your hand; Than what they carried before, either to

buy as much more as they then did. Because of the greater scarcity of corn, as

Jarchi observes, which made it doubly dearer. This is different from the money

they are also bid to take in return for that found in their sacks.

Key Phrase: and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again

in your hand; That it might be ready to pay upon demand, should they be charged

or accused with nonpayment for the corn they had before.

Key Phrase: peradventure it was an oversight; Some mistake of the governors, or those that

were under him, concerned in the sale of the corn and receiving money for it.

Jacob could not tell how it occurred, but some way or other he supposed a

mistake was made.

Verse 13. Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:

Note: Jacob finally gives his consent for Benjamin to go.

Verse 14. And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your

other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

Key Phrase: And God Almighty give you mercy before the man; Who has the control of all

men in his hands, kings, princes, governors. Even those that are the most cruel

and hardhearted, rough and severe in their tempers and dispositions. Such as the

one they had represented this man to be.

Note: Jacob therefore sent him a present to soften his mind, and now he puts up a prayer to

God, and dismisses his sons with his good wishes for them. His prayer is that God would

treat any of them badly.

Key Phrase: that he may send away your other brother and Benjamin; Release Simeon and

send him with Benjamin toward home when they returned.

Key Phrase: if I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved; This he said, not as utterly

defeated or despairing of their return, but as expressive of his patient submission

to the divine will, be it as it may be. He turns it over to God.

Verse 15. And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand and

Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

Key Phrase: And the men took the present; Their father directed them to bring as gifts.

Key Phrase: and they took double money in their hand; This is besides what they found in

their sacks of corn mouth’s, which they also carried with them.

Key Phrase: and Benjamin; They took him likewise with their father's leave.

Key Phrase: and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph; They presented

themselves to him with their petitions for more corn, as well as to answer to any

questions that should be asked them.

Verse 16. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring

these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at

noon.

Key Phrase: And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them; Whom he knew, though he had not

seen him for over twenty-two years. Though he must look very much changed,

Benjamin being but about ten years of age when Joseph was taken into Egypt. Yet

being with the rest of his brethren, whom he knew very well, concluded it must be

him.

Key Phrase; he said to the ruler of his house; This would be his steward, just as he was in

Potiphar’s home.

Key Phrase: bring these men home; To his own house, for Joseph was now at or near the

place where were the granaries of corn was distributed:

Key Phrase: and slay, and make ready; Or "slay a slaughter" that is, of beasts for food. A calf

very probably, in order it to be dressed, boiled or roasted, or both, that it might be

fit for food. It cannot be thought that Joseph could order a dinner for his

brethren, to whom as yet he did not choose to make himself known. The eating

of sheep or goat was a violation of the customs and laws of Egypt.

Key Phrase: for these men shall dine with me at noon; Which was the usual time of dining

with the eastern people, as it is now with us, though with the Romans at evening.

Verse 17. And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's

house.

Verse 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 at the first time are we

brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for

bondmen, and our asses.

Key Phrase: And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's

house. And the men were afraid, when they are told to go in-side they at once

suspect that they are about to be punished or confined.

Key Phrase: Because of the