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…
In this chapter we have the description of our fathers, the patriarchs; their first journey into Egypt for corn, to relieve their famine in Canaan. Herein is considerable —
1. Their entertainment there: it was harsh, with much trouble, more danger.
2. The consequence of this their hard and distressful usage and entreatment; and that is trouble of mind, horror and perplexity of spirit: "And they said one to another," &c. The words, then, are the Holy Ghost's report of the case of the sons of Jacob, their being spiritually troubled, by way of conviction, or judgment in their own (which also is the Lord's) court of conscience.Wherein we observe —
1. The actors themselves: being the registers, accusers, witnesses, judge, and tormentors.
2. Process in judging themselves: wherein —
(1) Self-accusation of the cause of their trouble, their sin, with the utmost aggravations; namely —
(a) In general: "We are guilty."
(b) In particular: Of envy, wrong against a brother; whom in bitterness we saw without pity, and were deaf to his entreaties; obstinate to the admonition of Reuben, and abiding therein.
(2) In self-condemnation: "Therefore is this distress come"; and his blood required.
3. Execution: wherein —
(1) The smart, by inward terror and consternation; their heart, misgiving them, is deeply affected, and that makes them very abrupt: "Yea, verily," that is, Alas! what shall we do?
(2) The circumstance of the time when; couched in, "and"
(a) In general: Many years after the offence was done.
(b) In special: Now that they were outwardly in an afflicted condition.Doctrines:
I. Every man hath a conscience within himself.
II. The guilt of sin turns a man's conscience, that is, himself, against himself.
III. Conscience is apt to be very sensible, when it is awakened, not only of sin, but particular sins, and the particular circumstances and degrees thereof to the utmost; and charge all upon a man's self, not upon God's decrees or providence, nor upon the devil or evil company, &c.
IV. Envy, unnatural affection, cruelty, deafness to the entreaties of the distressed, obstinacy against warning and admonition, continuance in sin without repentance, &c., are very heinous and dangerous.
V. The accusations and condemnations of conscience are terrible, or cause terror beyond all expression.
VI. There is a time when God will call over sins that are past, and charge them upon the conscience.
VII. Inward trouble of mind sometimes (yea, usually) comes upon the people of God, when they are outwardly in some distress.
(E. Pledger, M. A.)
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."