And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he sought us…
Man's conscience was once the vicegerent of Deity: what conscience said within was just the echo of what God said without; and even now, conscience in its ruin has enough of its pristine eloquence and surviving affinity to God never to be altogether and always silent. The passions try to make conscience a sort of citizen-king, putting it up and down as they please: but it will not quietly submit; it resists the authority of the passions; it insists upon supremacy; it cannot forget its noble lineage and its erst holy function derived from God. As long as man can gratify his passions, and give an opiate to conscience, so long will it be partially quiet. But a day comes when the passions must be laid, and when every beat of the heart, like the curfew bell, will tell you that the time for extinguishing their fires is come, and then and there conscience will re-assert its lost supremacy, grasp its broken sceptre, and, refusing to be put down, it will emit its true and eternal utterances; and reason of righteousness, and temperance, and judgment; and prove that man may peradventure live without religion, but die without it he rarely can. A death-bed is that hour when conscience re-asserts its supremacy, however stupefied it may have been with the opium of half a century, and reminds its possessor of all behind and before. In such a case there are two resources: either the Romish priest, with a stronger opiate, under which man will die deluded and deceived: or the blood of Jesus, with pardon for the sin, and therefore peace for the conscience, which is the joyful sound of forgiveness.
(J. Gumming, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn't listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us."