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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 43

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verse 1


1. The famine was sore Or, heavy . It had now continued two years . Genesis 45:6.

Verse 3

3. Did solemnly protest He had sworn by the life of Pharaoh . Genesis 42:15-16.

Verse 8

8. Judah said The eloquent plea of Judah seems to have had more weight with Jacob than the expressed wishes of all his other sons .

Verse 11

11. Take of the best fruits Hebrews, take of the song of the land; the products celebrated in song . This suggests the answer to the objection that these fruits should be had in Canaan in such a time of dearth . The items of the present here named were luxuries, which might have been preserved from previous years . “Almost all of them,” says Kalisch, “require for their growth heat rather than moisture; and some develop themselves to the greatest advantage in dry years and in a dry soil . ” So these may have grown and been abundant when the grains all failed . On balm, spices, and myrrh, see note on Genesis 37:25, where it will be noticed that the Ishmaelite caravan carried these same articles into Egypt . The honey ( רבשׁ ) here mentioned was probably the grape honey, manufactured by art, not by the bees; a sort of molasses or syrup, called by the modern Arabs dibs .

Nuts Probably the nuts of the pistachio tree, which somewhat resembles the terebinth. The Septuagint here translates the word by terebinth. The pistachio nut is said to be of an aromatic taste, and a favourite but not common fruit in the East. The almond tree was common in Palestine, but not in Egypt; its blossoms and fruit much resemble those of the peach tree.

Verse 14

14. God Almighty Hebrews, El Shaddai . Jacob uses the divine name so sacredly associated with the covenant and promises . Compare Genesis 17:1; Genesis 35:11.

Verse 16


16. The ruler of his house His steward, who had oversight of his domestic affairs .

Verse 18

18. The men were afraid Their cold and severe treatment on the former occasion filled them with a dread of Joseph, and they were predisposed to construe every thing that looked like danger into a plot against them and their property .

Verse 19

19. Communed at the door Before they will enter the house, they resolve to have an understanding about the money that was returned in their sacks .

Verse 23

23. Peace be to you The steward’s words were admirably adapted to quiet the fears of these men . Especially would the words your God and the God of your father assure them that no harm was intended against them, and that their religion was known and respected .

I had your money Or, your money came to me. This same steward thus acknowledges the receipt of their money, and assures them that that is not charged against them.

Verse 26

26. Bowed themselves Another act fulfilling Joseph’s dream all the eleven of his brethren now bowing down . Genesis 42:6-9; Genesis 37:5-9.

Verse 32

32. For him by himself He thus maintained his distinction of rank and caste, and conformed to Egyptian ideas and customs .

Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews Herodotus (ii, 41) says: “No Egyptian, man or woman, will kiss a Grecian on the mouth, or use the knife, spit, or caldron of a Greek, or taste the flesh of a pure ox that has been divided by a Grecian knife . ” This same fear of contamination was doubtless held with regard to other nations as well as the Greeks . The Egyptians held in abomination those who slaughtered cows and oxen, animals which they held in highest reverence . Hence it was that they despised shepherds . Genesis 46:34.

Verse 33

33. According to his birthright Well might the men marvel at being arranged at the table thus according to their ages . Joseph thus prepared the way for an open recognition, and sought to impress them with the idea that he knew them better than they imagined.

Verse 34

34. Five times so much This was a special mark of honour, and furnished opportunity for Joseph to observe if his brethren envied Benjamin as they once did himself .

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 43". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/genesis-43.html. 1874-1909.
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