We are all one man's sons; we are true men, your servants are no spies.…
Far be it from us to say that Joseph had attained absolute perfection when he was on earth, although his virtues were far beyond those of most other men. It will not be easy, or rather it will be impossible, to exempt him from the charge of dissimulation, when he alleged that his brethren were spies. His words are not to be considered as an assertion, but they express a suspicion, which certainly did not enter into his mind. His design was good. He meant to humble them for their good, but good intentions will not excuse a departure from truth. He knew that they were not spies come to see the nakedness of the land, but he wished, without discovering himself to them, to be informed of the welfare of his father and of his father's house. It is to be remembered that Joseph lived before the law was given. The light which discovers sin and duty shone less brightly in his days than in ours, and therefore the limits between what is lawful and what is unlawful would not be so easily discerned. It is likewise to be feared that Joseph's station as Prime Minister in the court of Pharaoh led him into connections, and placed him in circumstances, unfavourable to progress in virtue. He held fast his integrity, and would not let it go amidst great temptations, but human infirmity discovered itself in some parts of his conduct.
(G. Lawson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.