Genesis 42:3
And Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy corn in Egypt.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Joseph’s ten brethren.—Either their cattle and households had been already greatly reduced by the mortality caused by the famine, or each patriarch must have taken a number of servants with him, if the corn carried home was to be enough to be of any real use. We learn, however, that they still possessed flocks and herds when they went down into Egypt (Genesis 47:1), and also households of servants (Genesis 46:5, where see Note). Joseph, moreover, besides the wagons and their contents, sends twenty loads of provisions for the use of his father by the way (Genesis 45:21-23), showing thereby that there were very many mouths to feed. Probably, therefore, there was some small amount of rain in Palestine, though not enough for the support of crops of corn. There would be, however, supplies of milk and flesh, but not much more.

42:1-6 Jacob saw the corn his neighbours had bought in Egypt, and brought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied. Shall others get food for their souls, and shall we starve while it is to be had? Having discovered where help is to be had, we should apply for it without delay, without shrinking from labour, or grudging expense, especially as regards our never-dying souls. There is provision in Christ; but we must come to him, and seek it from him.The aged Jacob is the only man of counsel. "Behold, I have heard there is grain in Mizraim:" go down and buy. The ten brothers are sent, and Benjamin, the youngest, is retained, not merely because of his youth, for he was now twenty-four years of age, but because he was the son of his father's old age, the only son of Rachel now with him, and the only full brother of the lost Joseph. "Lest mischief befall him," and so no child of Rachel would be left. "Among those that went." The dearth was widespread in the land of Kenaan.CHAPTER 42

Ge 42:1-38. Journey into Egypt.

1. Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt—learned from common rumor. It is evident from Jacob's language that his own and his sons' families had suffered greatly from the scarcity; and through the increasing severity of the scourge, those men, who had formerly shown both activity and spirit, were sinking into despondency. God would not interpose miraculously when natural means of preservation were within reach.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. They obeyed their father's orders, and immediately set out for Egypt; "ten" of them went down in a body together, all but Benjamin, so that it is easily reckoned who they were, and they are called not Jacob's sons, as they were; but Joseph's brethren, whom they had sold into Egypt, and to whom now they were going, though they knew it not, to buy corn of him in their necessity, and to whom they would be obliged to yield obeisance, as they did. And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. ten brethren] Jacob’s sons are here mentioned, not as heads of families, or as separate householders, but as the capable male members of a single family. The whole ten are needed, in order to carry back enough corn.Verse 3. - And Joseph's ten brethren went down - either it was for safety that all the ten went, or because, the corn being sold to individuals, the quantity received would depend on their numbers (Lange) - to buy corn - the word for corn, בָּר, if not a primitive, like the Latin far (Furst), may be derived from בָּרַר, to separate, sever, choose out, hence purify (Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Gesenius), and may describe grain as that which has been cleaned from chaff, as in Jeremiah 4:11 - in (literally, from, i.e. corn to be brought from) Egypt. When the years of scarcity commenced, at the close of the years of plenty, the famine spread over all (the neighbouring) lands; only in Egypt was there bread. As the famine increased in the land, and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, he directed them to Joseph, who "opened all in which was" (bread), i.e., all the granaries, and sold corn (שׁבר, denom. from שׁבר, signifies to trade in corn, to buy and sell corn) to the Egyptians, and (as the writer adds, with a view to what follows) to all the world (כּל־הארץ, Genesis 41:57), that came thither to buy corn, because the famine was great on every hand. - Years of famine have frequently fallen, like this one, upon Egypt, and the neighbouring countries to the north. The cause of this is to be seen in the fact, that the overflowing of the Nile, to which Egypt is indebted for its fertility, is produced by torrents of rain falling in the alpine regions of Abyssinia, which proceed from clouds formed in the Mediterranean and carried thither by the wind; consequently it has a common origin with the rains of Palestine (see the proofs in Hengst. pp. 37ff.).
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