And the famine was sore in the land.
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.
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.
If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:
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.
And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?
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?
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.Genesis 43:8. Judah said unto his father — He, on account of his age, prudence, and penitent carriage for his youthful follies, was much beloved and regarded by his father, and, on this occasion, was likely to have the greatest influence in persuading him. Send the lad with me — So he terms him, because he was the youngest of all, though he was now thirty years old, and a father of divers children.
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:Genesis 43:9. Let me bear the blame for ever — Hebrew, Be an offender to thee: let me bear the guilt, and shame, and punishment due to so great an offender — Judah’s conscience had lately smitten him for what he had done a great while ago against Joseph; and as an evidence of the truth of his repentance, he is ready to undertake, as far as a man could do it, for Benjamin’s security. He will not only not wrong him, but will do all he can to protect him. This is such restitution as the case will admit: when he knew not how he could retrieve Joseph, he would make some amends for the irreparable injury he had done him, by doubling his care concerning Benjamin.
For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
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:Genesis 43:11. If it must be so now, take your brother — If no corn can be had but upon those terms, as good expose him to the perils of the journey, as suffer ourselves and families, and Benjamin among the rest, to perish for want of bread: it is no fault, but our wisdom and duty, to alter our resolutions, when there is a good reason for so doing: constancy is a virtue, but obstinacy is not: it is God’s prerogative to make unchangeable resolves.
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:Genesis 43:12. Take double money — As much again as they took the time before, upon supposition that the price of corn might be risen, or that, if it should be insisted upon, they might pay a ransom for Simeon: And he sent a present of such things as the land afforded, and were scarce in Egypt, the commodities that Canaan exported.
Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
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.Genesis 43:14. God Almighty give you mercy before the man! — Jacob had formerly turned an angry brother into a kind one with a present and a prayer, and here he betakes himself to the same tried method. Those that would find mercy with men must seek it of God. He concludes all with this, If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved — If I must part with them thus, one after another, I acquiesce, and say, The will of the Lord be done.
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.
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.
And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house.
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.
And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,
And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.
And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.Genesis 43:23. And he said, Peace be to you — No harm shall come to you for that matter. God hath given you treasure in your sacks — By his power and providence secretly putting it there. He speaks thus, because Joseph had instructed him, as well as others of his family, in the knowledge and worship of the true God. By this he meant to show that he had no suspicion of dishonesty in them: for what we get by deceit we cannot say God gives it us. He silences their further inquiry about it: ask not how it came thither; Providence brought it you, and let that satisfy you. We must own ourselves indebted to God as our God, and the God of our fathers, (a God in covenant with us and them,) for all our successes and advantages, and the kindnesses of our friends; for every creature is that to us, and no more, than God makes it to be.
And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.
And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.Genesis 43:28. When they brought him the present, they bowed themselves before him, and again, when they gave him an account of their father’s health, they made obeisance, and called him, Thy servant, our father — Thus were Joseph’s dreams fulfilled more and more; and even the father, by the sons, bowed before him. Probably Jacob had directed them, if they had occasion to speak of him to the man, the lord of the land, to call him his servant.
And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.Genesis 43:29-30. God be gracious to thee, my son — So he terms him, not from special affection, which he did not yet intend to discover; but because it is a courteous appellation, whereby superiors were wont to salute those below them. Joseph’s favour, although he was the lord of the land, would do Benjamin little good, unless God were gracious to him. His bowels did yearn — His heart and inward parts were vehemently moved, as they commonly are upon occasion of any excessive passion of love, pity, grief, or joy.
And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.
And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.Genesis 43:32. That is an abomination to the Egyptians — The most generally received opinion has been, according to the paraphrases of Onkelos and Jonathan, that the reason of this was the Hebrews eating the animals which the Egyptians held sacred. To this must be added, however, that the Egyptians were addicted to such superstitious ceremonies in dressing and eating their victuals, that they could not endure to sit at table with persons of other nations. According to Herodotus, it was not only to the Hebrews that they had such an aversion, for he assures us they would not use the pots or knives of the Grecians about their food, lest these utensils should have been defiled with cutting or containing the flesh of those animals which they accounted sacred. There is some reason, notwithstanding, to think that these superstitions had not begun to prevail in Joseph’s days, and that the cause of this abhorrence must be sought for in the difference of the civil rather than the religious manners of the two nations.
And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.Genesis 43:33. The men marvelled one at another — They were greatly surprised how he should know their respective ages, so as to place them, or cause them to sit down, exactly according to their seniority, as if he could certainly divine. Some, indeed, think they placed themselves so, according to their custom; but if so, why should particular notice be taken of it? And why should they marvel at it? This was, as it were, a preparative to the discovery of himself.
And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.