Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 42

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-38

The First Visit of Joseph’s Brethren to Egypt

1. When Jacob saw] The caravans which travelled from Egypt to Syria would bring the news to Hebron.

3. Dr. Thomson, in ’The Land and the Book,’ says he has often met large parties with their donkeys going from Palestine to Egypt in time of drought for food. Jacob’s sons no doubt took servants with them and many asses.

8. Joseph, now a middle-aged man, was dressed as an Egyptian, and spoke in Egyptian through an interpreter (Genesis 42:23). His brethren, on the other hand, would not have changed in appearance.

9. Ye are spies] Egypt was always liable to attack from Asia, and fortresses were built along that frontier to repel invasion. By suggesting that they were foreigners who were spying out the nakedness of the land, i.e. how far it was open to attack from hostile nations, Joseph had an opportunity of enquiring about his family. We may believe also that, though well-intentioned towards his brethren, he sought to bring their sin home to them.

11. We are all one man’s sons.. thy servants are no spies] This was a strong argument. No father would have risked the lives of all his children at once on such dangerous work as that of spies.

13. Is not] i.e. is not alive, meaning Joseph.

14. Joseph perseveres in this charge in order to have a pretext for getting Benjamin to Egypt. He hoped too, perhaps, that his father would follow when his favourite son had left him.

15. By the life of Pharaoh] a common Egyptian oath: cp. ’As I live saith the Lord,’ also 2 Kings 2:4.

18. I fear God] ’and so will not punish on mere suspicion’ (D.).

21. Conscience arouses in the brethren the fear that the day of reckoning, so long delayed, has come at last.

27. The inn] This would be no more than a mere shelter or camping place. Even now, when journeying in out-of-the-way parts in the East, travellers take their own food and bedding with them.

36. All these things are against me] So Jacob thought; but Providence was working out a merciful provision for the welfare of himself and his family.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 42". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/genesis-42.html. 1909.
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