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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Genesis 42

 

 

Introduction
1Jacob sends his ten sons to buy corn in Egypt.
16They are imprisoned by Joseph for spies.
18They are set at liberty, on condition to bring Benjamin.
21They have remorse for Joseph.
24Simeon is kept for a pledge.
25They return with corn, and their money.
29Their relation to Jacob.
36Jacob refuses to send Benjamin.

Verse 1
Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?
when Jacob
41:54,57; Acts 7:12
saw
i.e, heard, from the report of others, that there was plenty in Egypt. The operations of one sense are frequently put for those of another in Hebrew; (see the Parallel Passages.)
2; Exodus 5:19; 20:18; 1 Kings 19:3; Hosea 5:13; Galatians 2:7
Why do ye
Joshua 7:10; 2 Kings 8:3,4; Ezra 10:4; Jeremiah 8:14

Verse 2
And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
get you
43:2,4; 45:9
that we
43:8; Psalms 118:17; Isaiah 38:1; Matthew 4:4

Verse 3
And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
5,13

Verse 4
But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
Benjamin
35:16-19
Lest
38; 3:22; 11:4; 33:1,2; 43:14,29; 44:20-22,27-34

Verse 5
And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
for
12:10; 26:1; 41:57; Acts 7:11; 11:28

Verse 6
And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
governor
Shallit, an intendant, protector, ruler, from shalat, to be over or a protector, to rule: hence the Arabic salita, to obtain and exercise dominion, rule; and sultân, ruler, lord, prince, and king.
41:40,41; 45:8,26; Psalms 105:16-21; Acts 7:10
he it was
41:55,56
bowed
18:2; 19:1; 37:7,9; 44:14; Revelation 3:9

Verse 7
And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
roughly unto them
Heb. hard things with them.
9-12,14-17,19,20; Matthew 15:23-26

Verse 8
And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
but they knew
Luke 24:16; John 20:14; 21:4

Verse 9
And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
remembered
37:5-9
Ye are spies
Persons who, under the pretence of wishing to buy corn, desire only to find out whether the land be so defenceless that the tribes to which you belong may attack it successfully, drive out the inhabitants, and settle themselves in it; or, having plundered it, retire into their deserts. This is a frequent custom among the Arabs to the present day.
9,16,30,31,34; Numbers 13:2,16-20; Joshua 2:1; 6:23; Judges 1:24; 1 Samuel 26:4; Luke 20:20; Hebrews 11:31
nakedness
Exodus 32:35

Verse 10
And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
27:29,37; 37:8; 44:9; 1 Samuel 26:17; 1 Kings 18:7

Verse 11
We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
We are, etc
We do not belong to different tribes; and it is not likely that one family would make a hostile attempt upon a whole kingdom; nor, if any serious design had been intended, that one man would have sent his sons on so hazardous an expedition.
true men
19,33,34; John 7:18; 2 Corinthians 6:4

Verse 12
And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
nakedness

Verse 13
And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
Thy servants
11,32; 29:32-35; 30:6-24; 35:16-26; 43:7; 46:8-27; Exodus 1:2-5; Numbers 1:1-54; 10:1-36; 26:1-65; 34:1-29; 1 Chronicles 2:1-8
one is not
36,38; 37:30; 44:20,28; 45:26; Jeremiah 31:15; Lamentations 5:7; Matthew 2:16,18

Verse 14
And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:
9-11; Job 13:24; 19:11; Matthew 15:21-28

Verse 15
Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
By the life
7,12,16,30; Deuteronomy 6:13; 1 Samuel 1:26; 17:55; 20:3; Jeremiah 5:2,7; Matthew 5:33-37; Matthew 23:16-22; James 5:12
except
20,34; 43:3; 44:20-34

Verse 16
Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.
kept in prison
Heb. bound.

Verse 17
And he put them all together into ward three days.
put
Heb. gathered.
Isaiah 24:22; Acts 5:18
ward
40:4,7; 41:10; Leviticus 24:12; Psalms 119:65; Acts 4:3; Hebrews 12:10

Verse 18
And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
I fear God
20:11; Leviticus 25:43; Nehemiah 5:9,15; Luke 18:2,4

Verse 19
If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
house
40:3; Isaiah 42:7,22; Jeremiah 37:15
carry corn
1,2,26; 41:56; 43:1,2; 45:23

Verse 20
But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.
bring
15,34; 43:5,19; 44:23
And they
26; 6:22; John 2:5

Verse 21
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
they said
41:9; Numbers 32:23; 2 Samuel 12:13; 1 Kings 17:18; Job 33:27,28; 34:31,32; Job 36:8,9; Hosea 5:15; Matthew 27:3,4; Mark 9:44,46,48; Luke 16:28; Acts 19:18
we saw
37:23-28; Judges 1:7; Proverbs 21:13; 24:11,12; 28:17; Jeremiah 2:17,19; 4:18; Jeremiah 34:17; Matthew 7:2; 1 John 1:9; James 2:13
this distress
Proverbs 1:27,28

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.
Spake I
37:21,22,29,30; Luke 23:41; Romans 2:15
his blood
4:10; 9:5,6; 1 Kings 2:32; 2 Chronicles 24:22; Psalms 9:12; Ezekiel 3:18; Luke 11:50,51; Acts 28:4; Revelation 13:10; 16:9

Verse 23
And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
he spake unto them by a interpreter
Heb. an interpreter was between them. The mailitz does not seem to have been an interpreter in our sense of the term; as we have many evidences in this book that the Egyptians, Hebrews, Canaanites, and Syrians, could understand each other in a general way; and it appears from several passages in this very chapter, (particularly ver. 24,) that Joseph and his brethren understood each others' language, as his brethren and Joseph's steward also did (ch. 43:19, etc; compare ch. 39; 49.) It seems to denote an officer who is called in Abyssinia, according to Mr. Bruce, Kal Hatzé, "the voice or word of the king," who always stands at the side of a lattice window of a balcony, within which the king sits; who is never seen, but who speaks through a hole in the side of it, covered in the inside with a curtain, to this officer, by whom he speaks to the persons present.
John 16:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:20

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.
wept
43:30; Isaiah 63:9; Luke 19:41; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 12:26; Hebrews 4:15
Simeon
34:25; 49:5-7; Jude 1:22,23

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.
commanded
44:1,2; Isaiah 55:1
to give them
45:21; Matthew 6:33
and thus
Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9

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.
the inn
43:21; 44:11; Exodus 4:24; Luke 2:7; 10:34
inn
Malon, from loon, to stay, abide, lodge, denotes any place to stay and lodge in, particularly a place where travellers usually stop to lodge, which is generally near a well, where they fill their girbehs, or leathern bottles, with fresh water, and having unladen and clogged their camels, asses, etc., permit them to crop any little verdure there may be in the place, keeping watch over them by turns. Our word inn here gives us a false idea, there were no such places of entertainment in the desert which Joseph's brethren had to pass; nor are there any at the present day. The only accommodation such a place affords is either a well, or a khan, or caravanserai, which is generally no more than four bare walls, perfectly exposed, the place being open at the top, and furnishing a wretched lodging: and even these, it is probable, were not in use at this early period.

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?
their heart
36; 27:33; Leviticus 26:36; Deuteronomy 28:65; 1 Kings 10:5; Psalms 61:2; Song of Solomon 5:6; Luke 21:26
failed them
Heb. went forth. This refers to the spasmodic affection which is felt in the breast at any sudden alarm or fright.
What is
Isaiah 45:7; Lamentations 2:17; 3:37; Amos 3:6

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

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

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.
twelve brethren

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:
15,19,20

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.
traffick
34:10,21; 1 Kings 10:15; Ezekiel 17:4

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.
every man's
27,28; 43:21

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.
Me have ye
37:20-35; 43:14
all these things are against me
Alay hayoo cullanah, literally, "upon me are all these things:" rendered by the Vulgate, in me hæc omnia mala reciderunt, "all these evils fall back upon me;" they lie upon me as heavy loads, hastening my death: they are more than I can bear.
45:28; 47:12; 1 Samuel 27:1; Job 7:7; Psalms 34:19; Ecclesiastes 7:8; Isaiah 27:9; 38:10; Isaiah 41:10,13,14; Matthew 14:31; Romans 8:28,31; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:17; James 5:7-11

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.
Slay my
43:9; 44:32-34; 46:9; Micah 6:7

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.
his brother
13; 30:22-24; 35:16-18; 37:33,35; 44:20,27-34
if mischief
4; 44:29
bring
37:35; 44:29,31; 1 Kings 2:6; Psalms 71:18; 90:10; Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:26; Isaiah 38:10; Isaiah 46:4

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 42:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-42.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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