Genesis Chapter Forty-four
Genesis 44 Outlines
New King James Version (NKJV)
INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 44
This chapter relates the policy of Joseph in making an experiment of his brethren's regard and affection for Benjamin; he ordered his steward to put every man's money into his sack, and his silver cup in Benjamin's, and when they were got out of the city, to follow after them, and charge them with the theft, as he did; and having searched their sacks, as they desired he would, found the cup with Benjamin, which threw them into the utmost distress, and obliged them to return to Joseph, Genesis 44:1; who charged them with their ill behaviour towards him; they acknowledge it, and propose to be his servants; but he orders them to depart to their father, retaining Benjamin in servitude, Genesis 44:15; upon which Judah addressed him in a very polite and affectionate manner, and relates the whole story, both of what passed between Joseph and them, concerning Benjamin, the first time they were in Egypt, and between their father and them upon the same subject, when he directed them to go a second time thither to buy corn, and how he became a surety to his father for him, and therefore proposed to be his bondman now, not being able to see his father's face without Benjamin, Genesis 44:18.
Genesis 44:1. And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.
YLT 1And he commandeth him who [is] over his house, saying, `Fill the bags of the men [with] food, as they are able to bear, and put the money of each in the mouth of his bag;
And he commanded the steward of his house,....
Whom the Targum of Jonathan again calls Manasseh, the eldest son of Joseph:
saying, fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry;
this he ordered out of his great affection for them, and that his father and his family might have sufficient supply in this time of famine:
and put every man's money in his sack's mouth; not that which had been put into their sacks the first time, for the steward acknowledged his receipt of it, but what they had paid for their present corn, they were about to carry away.
Genesis 44:2. 2 Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money.” So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
YLT 2and my cup, the silver cup, thou dost put in the mouth of the bag of the young one, and his corn-money;' and he doth according to the word of Joseph which he hath spoken.
And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest,....
Benjamin; this he ordered to be done, partly to put him in apparent danger, and try how his brethren would behave towards him in such circumstances, and thereby know how they stood affected to him; and partly that he might have an excuse for retaining him with him. This cup was valuable both for the matter of it, being of silver, and for the use of it, being what Joseph himself drank out of: and by the word used to express it, it seems to have been a large embossed cup, a kind of goblet, for it has the signification of a little hill. Jarchi says it was a long cup, which they called "mederno". The Septuagint render it by "condy", which is said to be a Persian word, and a kind of an Attalic cup, that held ten cotylaeF7Nicomachus de festis Aegypt. apud Athenaeum, l. 11. c. 7. , or four or five quarts, and weighed ninety ounces; but a cup so large seems to be too large to drink out of:
and his corn money;
what he had paid for his corn:
and he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken;
put every man's money in the mouth of his sack, and his silver cup with the corn money into Benjamin's sack.
Genesis 44:3. 3 As soon as the morning dawned, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
YLT 3The morning is bright, and the men have been sent away, they and their asses –
As soon as the morning was light,....
When it was break of day, before the sun rose:
the men were sent away, they and their asses;
the men being refreshed with food, and their asses having provender given them, and saddled and loaded, they were handsomely and honourably dismissed.
Genesis 44:4. 4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good?
YLT 4they have gone out of the city -- they have not gone far off -- and Joseph hath said to him who [is] over his house, `Rise, pursue after the men; and thou hast overtaken them, and thou hast said unto them, Why have ye recompensed evil for good?
And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off,....
Which perhaps was Tanis, the Zoan of the Scriptures; see Ezekiel 30:14, margin:
Joseph said unto his steward, up, follow after the men;
who no doubt was ready provided with men and horses, to go out and pursue when Joseph should give the orders, he being privy to Joseph's intentions, and with whom the scheme was concerted, and the secret was. Joseph appears to have been up very early this morning, and had observed the exact time of his brethren's departure, and guessed whereabouts they might be when he sent his steward, and others after them; for it can hardly be thought he was sent alone after eleven men, and to charge them with a theft, and bring them back again:
and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
in taking away the silver cup, when they had been so kindly and bountifully entertained. This he was to represent as base ingratitude, as it would have appeared, had it been fact. In much such manner was Esop used by the inhabitants of Delphos; they, being displeased with him, put a sacred cup or vial into his bags, which he, being ignorant of, went on his way towards Phocis; and they ran after him, and seized him, and charged him with sacrilegeF8Scholia ad Vespes Aristophanis, p. 534. Ed. Genev. 1607. .
Genesis 44:5. 5 Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.’”
YLT 5Is not this that with which my lord drinketh? and he observeth diligently with it; ye have done evil [in] that which ye have done.'
Is not this it, in which my lord drinketh,....
Which was for his own particular use, and so the more ungrateful in them to take it:
and whereby indeed he divineth?
according to our version and others, Joseph is here represented by his steward as a diviner or soothsayer, and so he might be thought to be by the Egyptians, from being such an exact interpreter of dreams, foretelling things to come, and that he made his divinations by the silver cup; and we are told that the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, used to fill basins with water, in which they put plates of silver and precious stones, marked with certain characters, and pronouncing certain words, called to the devil, who uttered a voice in the water like an hissing, and returned answers to the things inquired aboutF9Julius Serenus de fato, l. 9. c. 18. apud Rivet. Exercit. 165. p. 808. : a like practice is used by the Africans nowF11R. Leo. African. Descriptio Africae, l. 3. p. 335. ; which method Andronicus took to know who would be his successor, but was reckoned among the most infamous and scandalous parts of the magic artF12Nic. Choniates in Andronico, l. 2. wherefore, as Joseph never practised any thing of this kind, so neither would he dissemble, or make as if he did; though it must be owned that the ArabsF13Norden's Travels in Egypt, vol. 2. p. 150. in Egypt at this day pretend to consult with the cup and divine by it: but the words will bear another version and sense, for it may signify to tempt, to try, to make an experiment, and by experience to know a thing, as in Genesis 30:27; and so the Arabic version, "and indeed he hath tried you by it": so Aben Ezra interprets it of his trying of them by it, whether they were thieves or not, whether they were a parcel of light fingered filching fellows: the cup, he pretends, was set before them, and he turned himself another way, either Joseph or the steward, and they took the opportunity of carrying it off; or else, as others think, he tried them by drinking in it very freely and liberally, what sort of men they were, how they would behave themselves in their cups, when truth is commonly spoke, the wit being out when the wine is in: but of these two senses the former is to be preferred; though it seems best of all to understand this not of the cup as the instrument by which he tried, searched, and inquired into things, but as the object searched after and inquired of; for the word signifies to inquire, and make a strict observation of things, and thereby make shrewd guesses and conjectures, as in 1 Kings 20:33; and so the sense is, either according to R. JonahF14Apud Aben Ezram in loc. , that his master would diligently inquire of the soothsayers concerning it, in order to find out who took it away, and so Ben Melech; for the words may be rendered, "for which he certainly makes", or has made, or will make "divination", which agrees with Genesis 44:15; for if the cup was gone, how could he make divination with it? it must be for it; or indeed they might well conclude themselves, that as such a thing would soon be missed, diligent inquiry would be made after it, and it would be at once conjectured that it was taken away, not by any of the household, but by those strangers that had dined with Joseph; and a man of his sagacity and penetration would soon find it out, and therefore it was madness and folly to do such an action, and think to get off clear:
ye have done evil in so doing:
both a mad and foolish action, and a base, wicked, and ungrateful one, as well as what was infamous and scandalous; for nothing was reckoned more so than for a guest at a prince's table to carry away a cup, or anything of that kind, with him: so Claudius the Roman emperor, a guest of his, the day before, having taken away a golden cup, as was supposed, ordered an earthen one to be put in its placeF15Suetonius in Vita Claudii, c. 32. , which was a putting him to public shame and reproach: Dioxippus the Athenian, being at table with Alexander the great, a golden cup was taken away privately, by some that envied him; and the hint being given as if he had done it, all eyes were turned on him as the thief, which he could not bear, but went out, and wrote a letter to the king, and then killed himselfF16Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 7. .
Genesis 44:6. 6 So he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words.
YLT 6And he overtaketh them, and speaketh unto them these words,
And he overtook them,....
Their asses being laden with corn could not travel very fast, and he and his attendants being mounted on swift horses:
and he spake unto them these same words;
that Joseph had ordered him to say, and so what follows particularly, Genesis 44:10.
Genesis 44:7. 7 And they said to him, “Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do such a thing.
YLT 7and they say unto him, `Why doth my lord speak according to these words? far be it from thy servants to do according to this word;
And they said unto him, wherefore saith my lord these words?....
One of them, in the name of the rest, perhaps Judah, made answer, as astonished at the charge laid against them, suggesting that there was not the least foundation for it, and were quite surprised to hear anything of this kind alleged against them:
God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing;
expressing the utmost detestation of such a fact, as being what they could never be guilty of.
Genesis 44:8. 8 Look, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?
YLT 8lo, the money which we found in the mouth of our bags we brought back unto thee from the land of Canaan, and how do we steal from the house of thy lord silver or gold?
Behold, the money which we found in our sacks mouths;....
Upon their return from Egypt, the first time they went thither for corn:
we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan;
which was a full proof of their honesty: they might have kept it until it was called for and demanded of them, but of themselves they brought it with them, as being money not their own; and they did not wait to be examined about it when they came to Egypt again, but of their own accord related the story of it, and offered the money to this same man the steward they were now speaking to, which he could not deny: yea, they brought it to him out of the land of Canaan, a foreign country at a considerable distance, and out of the jurisdiction of Egypt, and where they were not liable to be called to an account for it:
how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold?
that is, vessels of silver or vessels of gold, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; it could not be reasonably thought they would, for if they would not retain the governor's money when in their own land and out of his reach, much less would they steal anything out his house, which they might conclude would soon be missed, and they easily apprehended and committed to prison, and suffer for it.
Genesis 44:9. 9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”
YLT 9with whomsoever of thy servants it is found, he hath died, and we also are to my lord for servants.'
With whomsoever of thy servants it be found,....
The silver cup:
both let him die;
which was rashly said, since they might have thought the cup might be put in one of their sacks unknown to them, as their money had been before; and besides, death was a punishment too severe for such a crime, and therefore is by the steward himself moderated; but this they said the more strongly to express their innocence:
and we also will be my lord's bondmen;
his servants, as long as they lived: this was likewise carrying the matter too far, and exceeding all bounds of justice, which could only require satisfaction of the offender.
Genesis 44:10. 10 And he said, “Now also let it be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you shall be blameless.”
YLT 10And he saith, `Now, also, according to your words, so it [is]; he with whom it is found becometh my servant, and ye are acquitted;'
And he said, now also let it be according unto your words,....
Not according to the full extent of their words, but according to a part of them; that be only should be a servant that was found guilty; so moderating the punishment which they had fixed, and were willing to submit to, and therefore could not object to what he next proposes:
he with whom it is found shall be my servant;
speaking in the name of Joseph, whom he represented, and who had directed him what to say:
and ye shall be blameless;
acquitted of the charge, and pronounced innocent, and let go free.
Genesis 44:11. 11 Then each man speedily let down his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack.
YLT 11and they hasten and take down each his bag to the earth, and each openeth his bag;
Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground,....
To be opened and examined, and this they did in all haste, as having a clear conscience, and being confident that nothing could be found upon them, and desirous of having the affair issued as soon as possible, that the steward might have full satisfaction, and they proceed on in their journey:
and opened every man his sack;
showing neither reluctance nor fear, being conscious of their innocence.
Genesis 44:12. 12 So he searched. He began with the oldest and left off with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
YLT 12and he searcheth -- at the eldest he hath begun, and at the youngest he hath completed -- and the cup is found in the bag of Benjamin;
And he searched,....
To the bottom of them, not content to look into the mouth of them being opened, but rummaged them, and searched deeply into them to find the cup, which was the thing charged upon them he was solicitous to find; as for the money in the sack's mouth he took no notice of that, nor is there any mention of it:
and began at the oldest;
at Reuben, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it: the steward might know their different ages in course, by the order in which they were placed at Joseph's table when they dined with him:
and left off at the youngest;
at Benjamin, he ended his scrutiny with him; this method he took partly to hold them in fear as long as he could, and partly to prevent any suspicion of design, which might have been entertained had he went directly to Benjamin's sack:
and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack;
where the steward himself had put it, and as it is usually said, they that hide can find.
Genesis 44:13. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.
YLT 13and they rend their garments, and each ladeth his ass, and they turn back to the city.
Then they rent their clothes,....
In token of sorrow and distress, being at their wits' end, like distracted persons, not knowing what to do: this was usually done in the eastern countries when any evil befell, as did Jacob, Genesis 37:34; and as the Egyptians themselves did when mourning for their dead, as Diodorus SiculusF17Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 65. relates:
and laded every man his ass;
put their sacks of corn on their asses again, having tied them up:
and returned to the city;
to the metropolis, as Jarchi, which was either Tanis, that is, Zoan, or, as others think, Memphis: hither they returned to see how it would go with Benjamin, to plead his cause and get him released, that he might go with them, they being afraid to see their father's face without him; otherwise, could they have been content to have gone without him, they might have proceeded on in their journey, see Genesis 44:17.
Genesis 44:14. 14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.
YLT 14And Judah -- his brethren also -- cometh in unto the house of Joseph, and he is yet there, and they fall before him to the earth;
And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house,....
Judah is particularly mentioned because he was the principal spokesman, and was chiefly concerned for the safety of Benjamin, being his surety:
for he was yet there;
Joseph was yet at his own house, was not as yet gone to the granaries, to look after the affairs of the corn, and the sale and distribution of it, but was waiting for the return of his brethren, which he expected quickly:
and they fell before him on the ground;
not only in a way of reverence, again fulfilling his dream, but as persons in the utmost distress and affliction, throwing themselves at his feet for mercy.
Genesis 44:15. 15 And Joseph said to them, “What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”
YLT 15and Joseph saith to them, `What [is] this deed that ye have done? have ye not known that a man like me doth diligently observe?'
And Joseph said unto them, what deed is this ye have done?....
An action so wicked, base, and ungrateful, attended with such aggravated circumstances, that it can scarcely be said how bad a one it is, and may be well wondered at, that men who had received such favours could ever be guilty of; this he said, putting on a stern countenance, and seemingly in great anger and wrath:
wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
either that he could divine himself, though not by the cup, of which here no mention is made, but in some other way used by the Egyptians; or that he had diviners with him, as Aben Ezra, with whom he could consult, to find out the person that took the cup; or surely they must needs think that such a man as he, who had such great knowledge of things, natural and political, and whose name was Zaphnathpaaneah, a revealer of secrets, would be able to search into and find out an affair of this kind; See Gill on Genesis 41:45; and they might well conclude, that a man so sagacious and penetrating would easily conjecture who were the persons that took away his cup, even the strangers that had dined with him so lately, and therefore could never expect to go off with it.
Genesis 44:16. 16 Then Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord’s slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.”
YLT 16And Judah saith, `What do we say to my lord? what do we speak? and what -- do we justify ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants; lo, we [are] servants to my lord, both we, and he in whose hand the cup hath been found;'
And Judah said, what shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak?....
Signifying that they were nonplussed, confounded, knew not what to say; they could not acknowledge guilt, for they were not conscious of any, and yet could not deny the fact, the cup being found on one of them; and though they might have a suspicion of fraud, yet were afraid to speak out what they suspected, and therefore were at the utmost loss to express themselves:
or how shall we clear ourselves?
to assert their innocence signified nothing, here was full proof against them, at least against their brother Benjamin:
God hath found the iniquity of thy servants;
brought it to their remembrance, fastened the guilt of it on their consciences, and in his providence was bringing them to just punishment for it; meaning not the iniquity of taking away the cup, which they were not conscious of, but some other iniquity of theirs they had heretofore been guilty of, and now God was contending with them for it; particularly the iniquity of selling Joseph; this was brought to their minds before, when in distress, and now again, see Genesis 42:21,
behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found;
hereby fulfilling his dream more manifestly than ever; for, by bowing down to the earth to him, they might be thought to do no other than what all did, that came to buy corn of him; but here they own themselves to be his servants, and him to be lord over them, and to have dominion over them all, and them to be his slaves and bondmen.
Genesis 44:17. 17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
YLT 17and he saith, `Far be it from me to do this; the man in whose hand the cup hath been found, he becometh my servant; and ye, go ye up in peace unto your father.'
And he said, God forbid that I should do so,....
This would be doing an unjust thing, Joseph suggests, should he take them all for bondmen, for the offence of one:
but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant;
not die, as they had supposed, but become his servant:
and as for you, get ye up in peace unto your father;
they had leave, yea, an order to return to their father in the land of Canaan, with their corn and cattle, in peace and plenty; there being no charge against them, nor would any hurt or damage come to them: this Joseph said to try their affection to their brother Benjamin, and see whether they would leave him to distress, and then he should know better how to conduct both towards him and them.
Genesis 44:18. 18 Then Judah came near to him and said: “O my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s hearing, and do not let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even like Pharaoh.
YLT 18And Judah cometh nigh unto him, and saith, `O, my lord, let thy servant speak, I pray thee, a word in the ears of my lord, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant -- for thou art as Pharaoh.
Then Judah came near unto him,....
Being the spokesman of his brethren, and the surety of Benjamin: he plucked up a spirit, put on courage, and drew nearer to the governor, and with much freedom and boldness, and in a very polite manner, addressed him:
and said, O my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears;
not admit him to private audience, or suffer him to whisper something to him, but give him the hearing of a few words he had to say to him:
and let not thine anger burn against thy servant;
do not be displeased with his boldness, and the freedom he takes, but hear him patiently:
for thou art even as Pharaoh;
next, if not equal in power and authority with him; could exercise justice or show mercy, punish or release from punishment, at his pleasure; and having leave granted him, he began his speech, and made the following narrative.
Genesis 44:19. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’
YLT 19My lord hath asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father or brother?
My lord asked his servants,....
The first time they came down to Egypt to buy corn; he puts him in mind of what passed between them at that time:
saying, have ye a father or a brother?
which question followed upon their saying that they were the sons of one man, Genesis 42:11.
Genesis 44:20. 20 And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’
YLT 20and we say unto my lord, We have a father, an aged one, and a child of old age, a little one; and his brother died, and he is left alone of his mother, and his father hath loved him.
And we said unto my lord, we have a father,....
Yet living in the land of Canaan:
an old man;
being one hundred and thirty years of age, Genesis 47:9,
and a child of his old age;
who was born when he was near an hundred years of age: and
a little one;
not in stature, but in age, being the youngest son, and much younger than they: so they represented him, on that account, and because he was tenderly brought up with his father, and not inured to business and hardship, and so unfit to travel:
and his brother is dead;
meaning Joseph: so they thought him to be, having not heard of him for twenty two years or more, and they had so often said he was dead, or suggested as much, that they at length believed he was:
and he alone is left of his mother;
the only child left of his mother Rachel:
and his father loveth him;
being his youngest son, and the only child of his beloved Rachel, and therefore most dear unto him.
Genesis 44:21. 21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’
YLT 21`And thou sayest unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, and I set mine eye upon him;
And thou saidst unto thy servants, bring him down unto me,....
Judah does not relate the reason of his order, which was to give proof that they were no spies, but as if Joseph designed to show favour to Benjamin, as undoubtedly he did:
that I may set mine eyes upon him;
not barely see him, as Aben Ezra interprets it, though that would be, and was, very desirable by him, and agreeable to him; but he desired to set his eyes upon him, not only for his own pleasure, but for the good of Benjamin, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; he intimated that he should receive him kindly, show favour unto him, and use him well: the Septuagint version is, "and I will take care of him": Joseph's brethren had told him, that Benjamin was at home with their father, who they suggested was afraid to let him go with them, lest evil should befall him; wherefore to encourage him to let him go with them, Joseph promised to take care of him, that no hurt should be done to him, but he should be provided with everything that was proper and necessary; and this Judah improves into an argument with the governor in favour of Benjamin, that since he desired his coming, in order to show him a kindness, he hoped he would not detain him, and make a slave of him.
Genesis 44:22. 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’
YLT 22and we say unto my lord, The youth is not able to leave his father, when he hath left his father, then he hath died;
And we said unto my lord, the lad cannot leave his father,....
That is, his father will not be willing to part with him:
for if he should leave his father, his father would die;
with grief and trouble, fearing some evil was befallen him, and he should see him no more.
Genesis 44:23. 23 But you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’
YLT 23and thou sayest unto thy servants, If your young brother come not down with you, ye add not to see my face.
And thou saidst unto thy servants,....
In answer to the representation of things made by them, and notwithstanding that:
except your youngest brother come down with you, you shall see my face no more;
which though not before related in the discourse, which passed between Joseph and his brethren, in express terms, yet might be justly inferred from what he said; nay, might be expressed in so many words, though not recorded, and as it seems plainly it was, as appears from Genesis 43:3.
Genesis 44:24. 24 “So it was, when we went up to your servant my father, that we told him the words of my lord.
YLT 24`And it cometh to pass, that we have come up unto thy servant my father, that we declare to him the words of my lord;
And it came to pass, when we came unto thy servant my father,....
In the land of Canaan:
we told him the words of my lord;
what he had said to them, particularly respecting Benjamin.
Genesis 44:25. 25 And our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little food.’
YLT 25and our father saith, Turn back, buy for us a little food,
And our father said,....
After some time, when the corn was almost consumed they had bought in Egypt:
go again, and buy us a little food;
that may suffice fill the famine is over; see Genesis 43:1.
Genesis 44:26. 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go down; if our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we may not see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
YLT 26and we say, We are not able to go down; if our young brother is with us, then we have gone down; for we are not able to see the man's face, and our young brother not with us.
And we said, we cannot go down,....
With any safety to their persons, which would be in danger, or with any profit to their families, since their end in going down to buy corn would not be answered:
if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down;
let it be agreed to, that Benjamin go along with us, to Egypt, and then no difficulty will be made of it:
for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us;
the face of the great man, the governor of Egypt; for that this phrase, "the man", is not used diminutively, but as expressive of grandeur, is clear, or otherwise it would never have been made use of in his presence, and in such a submissive and polite speech as this of Judah's.
Genesis 44:27. 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons;
YLT 27`And thy servant my father saith unto us, Ye -- ye have known that two did my wife bare to me,
And thy servant my father said unto us,....
When thus pressed to let Benjamin go with them:
ye know that my wife bare me two sons;
Genesis 44:28. 28 and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn to pieces”; and I have not seen him since.
YLT 28and the one goeth out from me, and I say, Surely he is torn -- torn! and I have not seen him since;
And the one went out from, me,....
Being sent by him to see how his brethren did, who were feeding his flocks at Shechem, and he had never returned to him to that day:
and I said, surely he is torn in pieces;
by some wild beast; this he said on sight of his coat, being shown him all bloody:
and I saw him not since;
now twenty two years ago; for though Joseph was not such a great way off his father, especially if he was at Memphis, as some think; yet what through his confinement as a servant in Potiphar's house, and then for some years in prison, and through the multiplicity of business when advanced in Pharaoh's court, he had no leisure and opportunity of visiting his father; and especially so it was ordered by the providence of God that he should not, that he might be made known at the most proper time for the glory of God, and the good of his family.
Genesis 44:29. 29 But if you take this one also from me, and calamity befalls him, you shall bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.’
YLT 29when ye have taken also this from my presence, and mischief hath met him, then ye have brought down my grey hairs with evil to sheol.
And if ye take this also from me,....
His son Benjamin, as he perhaps suspected they had taken Joseph, and made away with him:
and mischief befall him;
either in Egypt, or on the road, going or returning, any ill accident, especially death, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, or what may issue in it:
ye shall bring my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave;
it would be the means of his death, and while he lived he should be full of sorrow and grief; see Genesis 42:38.
Genesis 44:30. 30 “Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life,
YLT 30`And now, at my coming in unto thy servant my father, and the youth not with us (and his soul is bound up in his soul),
Now therefore, when I come to thy servant my father,....
That is, should he return to him in the land of Canaan with the rest of his brethren:
and the lad be not with us;
his brother Benjamin, so called here, and in the following verses, though thirty years of age and upwards, see Genesis 43:8,
seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;
he is as closely united to him in affection, and is as dear to him as his own soul; quite wrapped up in him, and cannot live without him; should he die, he must die too; see 1 Samuel 18:1; so it follows:
Genesis 44:31. 31 it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
YLT 31then it hath come to pass when he seeth that the youth is not, that he hath died, and thy servants have brought down the grey hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to sheol;
It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die,....
As soon as ever he sees us, without asking any question and observes that Benjamin is missing he will conclude at once that he is dead, which will so seize his spirits, that he will expire immediately:
and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant, our father, with sorrow to the grave;
as he said would be the case, Genesis 44:29; and which would be very afflicting to his sons to be the cause of it, and could not be thought of without the utmost uneasiness and distress.
Genesis 44:32. 32 For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever.’
YLT 32for thy servant obtained the youth by surety from my father, saying, If I bring him not in unto thee -- then I have sinned against my father all the days.
For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father,....
Which is another argument used for the release of Benjamin, though he should be detained for him, which he offers to be:
saying, if I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame unto my father for ever;
See Gill on Genesis 43:9.
Genesis 44:33. 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.
YLT 33`And now, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the youth a servant to my lord, and the youth goeth up with his brethren,
Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord,....
Being, as Jarchi observes preferable to Benjamin for strength, for war, and for service: in this Judah was a type of Christ, from whose tribe he sprung, who became the surety of God's Benjamins, his children who are beloved by him, and as dear to him as his right hand, and put himself in their legal place and stead, and became sin and a curse for them, that they might go free, as Judah desired his brother Benjamin might, as follows:
and let the lad go up with his brethren;
from Egypt to Canaan's land, to their father there.
Genesis 44:34. 34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”
YLT 34for how do I go up unto my father, and the youth not with me? lest I look on the evil which doth find my father.'
For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me?....
Signifying that he must abide in Egypt, and chose to do it, and could not go up to the land of Canaan any more or see his father's face without Benjamin along with him, to whom he was a surety for him:
lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father;
see him die, or live a life of sorrow worse than death: this he could not bear, and chose rather to be a slave in Egypt, than to be the spectator of such an affecting scene. By this speech of Judah, Joseph plainly saw the great affection which his brethren, especially Judah, had for his father and his brother Benjamin, as well as the sense they had of their evil in selling him, which lay uppermost on their minds, and for which they thought themselves brought into all this trouble; wherefore he could no longer conceal himself from them, but makes himself known unto them, which is the principal subject of the following chapter.
──《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible》