Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the famine was sore in the land.The famine continuing, and their provision being spent, Jacob commands them to go again to Egypt, Genesis 43:1,2. They prevail with their father to send Benjamin: Judah undertakes for him, Genesis 43:3-10. He gives them presents, double money, and his blessing, Genesis 43:11-14. They go to Egypt; stand before Joseph, Genesis 43:15. He seeing Benjamin with them, causeth them to be brought to his house, and entertained, Genesis 43:16,17; whereat they are afraid, and make an apology to the steward about their money, Genesis 43:18-22. He bids them good cheer, useth them courteously, brings Simeon to them, Genesis 43:23,24. They prepare to bring their presents to Joseph, who speaks kindly to them, (and asks them of their father,) especially to Benjamin, with whom he is so moved that he must retire to weep, Genesis 43:25-30. He feasts them, but Benjamin in an especial manner, Genesis 43:31-34.
No text from Poole on this verse.
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.He saith a
little, either to show that he took no thought to satisfy his or their curiosity or luxury, but only their necessity, for which a little would suffice, and that they must all moderate their appetites, especially in a time of such scarcity; or to encourage them to the journey, by suggesting to them that they needed not bring great stores, but only what was sufficient for that year, and that God would provide better for them hereafter, so as they should not need to go so far for corn any more.
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.Ye shall not see my face. See the same expression, 2 Samuel 14:24,32 Ac 20:25,38. Ye shall not be admitted into my presence, nor to the purchasing of any corn here.
If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:No text from Poole on this verse.
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.We will not go down, because we shall both lose the end of our journey, viz. the getting of corn, and run the utmost hazard of all our lives.
And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?No text from Poole on this verse.
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?We told him according to the tenor of these words; we gave answers suitable to his questions, or such as his words required.
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.Judah, for his age and prudence, and penitent carriage for his youthful follies, was most beloved and regarded by his father.
The lad; so he calls him, because he was the youngest of all, though he was now thirty years old, and a father of divers children. See Genesis 30:22 35:18 41:46 46:21.
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:Let me bear the blame; Heb. be an offender to thee. Let me bear the guilt, and shame, and punishment due to so great an offence.
For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.No text from Poole on this verse.
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:Of all which see Genesis 37:25. The
nuts were of that kind which we call pistaches, as some Hebrew and other expositors render the word; for that was both an excellent fruit, and peculiar to Judea and Syria, and well agreeing with the
almonds which here follow.
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:Take double money, double to what you carried last, either to procure more corn, which may prevent the frequency of such perilous journeys; or because the continuance and increase of the scarcity had advanced the price.
Carry it again, for it is their money, not ours, and therefore must be restored.
Peradventure it was an oversight, either in you, or in the receiver of your money, who through multitude of buyers, and haste in his business, might easily be mistaken.
Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:No text from Poole on this verse.
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.An expression whereby he submits himself and children to God’s will and providence, whatever the issue shall be. Compare Esther 4:16. Or thus, As I have been already
bereaved of some of my dearest children, so I shall be bereaved of the rest, and I shall be left solitary; and if this be my portion, God’s will 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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.The usual time for the more solemn meal in the east countries, as the evening was the time, and the supper the great meal, among the Romans.
And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Take us for bondmen, the proper punishment for thieves.
And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,No text from Poole on this verse.
And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Peace be to you; no harm shall come to you for that matter.
Your God, and the God of your father: thus he speaks, because Joseph had instructed him, as well as others of his family, in the true religion.
Hath given you treasure, by his power and providence secretly putting it there.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?No text from Poole on this verse.
And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.Thy servant; by which expression delivered in Jacob’s name, and by his order, Jacob himself made obeisance to him, as was foretold, Genesis 37:9.
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.Saw his brother, i.e. more narrowly observed him, having now more leisure than he seems to have had when he saw him first, Genesis 43:16.
My son; so he calls him, not from special affection, which he intended not yet to discover; but because this compellation is commonly used when a man speaks to another who is his inferior in age or dignity.
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.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, &c.
And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.They set on for him by himself; partly because the dignity of his place, and the custom of princes, required this state; and partly for the reason here following.
That is an abomination unto the Egyptians; not so much from their pride and disdain of other people, as from their superstition and idolatry; partly because they worshipped the creatures which the Hebrews and others did commonly eat; and partly because of some peculiar rites and customs which they had in the dressing and ordering of their diet. Whence Herodotus affirms, that the Egyptians would not use the pots nor knives of the Grecians about their food. Compare Genesis 46:34. See there, Exodus 8:26.
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.The youngest according to his youth; being so placed either by Joseph’s appointment; or rather by their own choice, and according to their custom; by which the elder, though the handmaidens’ children, took place of the younger, who by that order were taught what veneration they owe to the aged, and how great a sin it is, though very customary, in young men to despise those whom they should reverence.
The men, not the Egyptians, but the Hebrews, the men last spoken of,
marvelled; either at the matter and manner of the feasts and entertainments of the Egyptians; or rather, at the singular honour which Joseph did to them above all others, the reason whereof they could not conceive, and therefore marvelled at it.
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.It was the ancient custom of Egypt and other countries in their feasts, that either all the meat, or at least some eminent parts and parcels of it, were not promiscuously set before all the guests, but peculiarly distributed by the master of the feast to the several guests, and that differently, according to his respect and affection to them, or to their several qualities. See 1 Samuel 1:5 9:22-24.
Five times so much as any of theirs; partly, because of his nearer relation and dearer affection to him; and partly, to observe whether this would raise that envy in them towards him, which was the occasion of their malicious enterprise against himself, that he might accordingly provide for his security.
Were merry: the Hebrew word oft signifies to be drunk, but ofttimes it is only to drink liberally, though not to drunkenness, as may appear from Song of Solomon 5:1 Haggai 1:6 John 2:10.