The First Book of Moses, Called Genesis

Chapter 42

Jacob sends his ten sons to buy corn in Egypt, 1-15. They are imprisoned by Joseph, accused of being spies, 16, 17. They are set at liberty on the condition that they bring Benjamin, 18-20. They have remorse for Joseph, 21-23. Simeon is kept for a pledge, 24. They return with corn and their money, 25-28. Their relation to Jacob, 29-35. Jacob refuses to send Benjamin, 36-38.

1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look one upon another?" 2 And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from there so that we may live and not die." 3 And Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy corn in Egypt. 4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob did not send with his brothers, for he said, "Lest perhaps mischief befalls him." 5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the earth. 7 And Joseph saw his brothers, and he knew them, but made himself strange to them and spoke roughly to them, and he said to them, "From where have you come?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food."

8 And Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them and said to them, "You are spies. To see the nakedness of the land you have come." 10 And they said to him, "No, my lord, but to buy food your servants have come. 11 We are all one man's sons. We are true men. Your servants are no spies." 12 And he said to them, "No, but to see the nakedness of the land you have come." 13 And they said, "Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father and one is no more." 14 And Joseph said to them, "That is what I spoke to you, saying, 'You are spies.' 15 By this you shall be proved: by the life of Pharaoh you shall not go forth from here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, and you shall be kept in prison so that your words may be proved, whether there is any truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies." 17 And he put them all together into custody three days.

18 And Joseph said to them the third day, "Do this and live, for I fear God. 19 If you are true men, let one of your brothers be bound in the house of your prison. Go, carry corn for the famine of your houses, 20 But bring your youngest brother to me, so your words shall be verified and you shall not die." And they did so. 21 And they said to one another, "We are truly guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he implored us, and we would not hear; therefore, this distress has come upon us." 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not speak to you, saying, 'Do not sin against the young man,' and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, his blood is also required." 23 And they did not know that Joseph understood them because he spoke to them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself away from them and wept. And he returned to them again and communed with them, and took from them Simeon and bound him before their eyes. 25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way. And thus he did to them.

26 And they loaded their donkeys with the corn and departed from there. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey provender in the inn, he espied his money, for behold, it was in his sack's mouth. 28 And he said to his brothers, "My money is restored, and see it is even in my sack." And their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, "What is this that God has done to us?"

29 And they came to Jacob their father to the land of Canaan and told him all that befell them, saying, 30 "The man who is the lord of the land spoke roughly to us and took us for spies of the country. 31 And we said to him, 'We are true men. We are no spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.' 33 And the man, the lord of the country, said to us, 'By this I shall know that you are true men: leave one of your brothers here with me, take food for the famine of your households, and depart, 34 And bring your youngest brother to me. Then I shall know that you are no spies, but that you are true men. Then I will deliver your brother to you and you shall trade in the land.'"

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said to them, "You have bereaved me. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and you will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me." 37 And Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "Slay my two sons, if I do not bring him to you. Deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to you again." 38 And he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he is left alone. If mischief befalls him by the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Genesis, Chapter 42