And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not…
The words before us are the expressions of that peevishness and dejection which are ready to find place in the heart even of a good man in a day of darkness. "Me have ye bereaved of my children: all these things are against me" We ought, however, to remember, that words expressive of the passionate working of the mind, ought always to be understood with a limitation of their import. When Jacob says that he was bereaved of his children, the meaning is, that he was bereaved of two or three of them. When he speaks of his sons then present, as if they had bereaved him of his children, he does not mean that they had murdered them, or sold them into a strange land. He means, that by their unwise conduct they had some agency in bringing the calamity upon them. If they had not rambled about with their flocks from one place to another, Joseph might not have met those wild beasts that tore him in pieces. If they had not, by some imprudent conduct, excited suspicion in the mind of the hard-hearted governor of Egypt, Simeon would not have been kept in prison. If they had not spoken to the governor about their younger brother, he might still have been left with himself when they returned to buy more corn. Jacob, however, spoke more truth than he knew in these words, "Me have ye bereaved of my children." They had sold Joseph into Egypt, and Simeon's imprisonment was the consequence of that criminal conduct. But as we have no reason to think that Jacob suspected them to be guilty, his words are to be considered as an angry reflection, which the distress of his mind drew from his lips rather than his heart. When your minds are disturbed be watchful over your tongue. Beware of ill-natured reflections on your children, your servants, or any that are under your power. But, on the other side, let not children or servants be surprised or angry when unjust reflections are uttered or glanced at them by their parents or masters, when grief rather than reason has the direction of their tongues. We must all bear something from our fellow-mortals, and we all make some of our neighbours bear something from us that might be spared.
(G. Lawson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.