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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 43

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Chapter 43

So that was it. But time went on. The famine continued and they used up all of the grain that they had purchased in Egypt.

And so it came to pass, when they had eaten up the wheat which they had bought, their father said to them, Go on down and get us a little food. And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly swear to us, saying, You're not going to even see my face, unless your brother is with you. Now if you will send our brother with us, we'll go down and buy the food: But if you will not send him, we'll not go down: for the man said unto us, You're not going to see my face, unless your brother is with you ( Genesis 43:2-5 ).

Judah is just squaring off with his dad now and saying, "Hey, look, you don't understand that guy down there. He meant it. He swore to us. He's mean. He's rough. And if you want to send your son, fine. We'll go. If you don't want to send him, then no way are we going to go down there and face that guy again 'cause he swore to us we're not going to see his face unless we have our brother."

So Israel said, Why did you deal with me like this, why did you tell the man that you had a brother? And they said, The man asked us plainly how our dad was, and if we had any other brothers at home. And he said, what could we do? We didn't know he was going to say bring your brother down here ( Genesis 43:6-7 ).

If you've ever seen these people and their arguments, it must have been a very animated thing. They can't even trade sheep with a lot without a lot of screaming and yelling and waving of hands and the whole thing. You think they're going to kill each other. You're waiting for them to pull their knives as they're bartering over sheep. And so here was a real issue. Oh, it would have been fun to have seen them going through this one as they were really going at it with each other.

And so Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and our little ones. And I will be surety for him; of my hand you will require him: and if I bring him not to you again, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame for ever: Now look, if we hadn't lingered so long, we could have been back already ( Genesis 43:8-10 ).

In other words, you know, we're getting low. It's time we go. We've been messing around too long. We could have been back by now if we hadn't had all this hassle. So I'll be the surety for him. I'll take full responsibility. If I don't bring him back to you, then require it at my hand.

And so their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this ( Genesis 43:11 );

But then Jacob still the old schemer. You know, the wise old shrewd Jacob. He said,

Now take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down to the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, and some spices, and myrrh, and nuts, and almonds: And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight ( Genesis 43:11-12 ):

So Jacob being the shrewd fellow that he was sends now some presents and all to the man in Egypt to sort of, you know, appease him and to cause him to think well of them. And then double money, plus the money that was returned in their sacks; in case that it was an oversight that they put it in the sacks.

And take also your brother, and arise, and go again unto the man: and God Almighty ( Genesis 43:13-14 )

Using now the covenant name of God, El Shaddai , God Almighty.

give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. And if I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved ( Genesis 43:14 ).

Jacob had to come to that place of a commitment. It's more or less the same commitment of Esther, "If I perish, I perish" ( Esther 4:16 ). If that's the way, you know, if I'm bereaved, I'm bereaved. It's the facing of your circumstances as you commit yourself to God. All right, we'll just trust in God Almighty to have the man give mercy unto you and if I'm bereaved, I'm bereaved. Facing up to the facts of life.

That's a position that many people just can't come to. They refuse to face up to the facts of life. They refuse to accept things. They continue to fight. But there comes a time when what can you do? You've just got to take and commit yourself into God's hands and say, "Well, whatever; it's in God's hands. And whatever comes, I just am going to have to accept it because I belong to Him and my life belongs to Him and thus, whatever happens I just must accept it."

And so Jacob came to this place of commitment. It is an important place to come. And notice when he came to this place of commitment, they didn't call him Jacob but they called him Israel, governed by God. Okay, this is it. I'm Israel again. It's interesting how he jumped from Jacob to Israel and Israel to Jacob. He had his moment. Jacob said, "Now take a little fruit" and on and on and on. And Israel said, "Well, if I'm bereaved, I'm bereaved". I mean, it's that difference of taking things into my own hands and then committing my ways unto God. Now God Almighty give you mercy, if I'm bereaved, I'm bereaved.

And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and they rose up, and went down to Egypt, and they stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready a feast; for these men will dine with me at noon. And the man did as Joseph bid him; and the man brought Joseph's brothers into his house. And the men [that is, Joseph's brothers] were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was in our sacks at the first time we've been brought in; that he might seek an occasion against us, and fall on us, and take us all for his slave ( Genesis 43:15-18 ).

So they start figuring out, you know. They start fearing again. "Oh-oh, it's because of the money in the sacks. Now he's just going to take us to his house and then he's going to accuse us and just make slaves out of all of us."

And so they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, and they said, Sir, we came indeed down the first time to buy food: and it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that when we opened our sacks, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we've brought it again in our hands. And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. And the steward said, Peace be unto you, don't be afraid: your God, and the God of your fathers, has given you treasure in your sacks: I have your money. And so he brought Simeon out to them ( Genesis 43:19-23 ).

Now the mystery thickens. You know, they figured they had it all figured out, they thought. It's because of money and all. And the guy says, "What are you talking about? I've got your money. Your God must have given you some treasure. I don't know. I've got your money." And so it immediately dispels what they had figured out and so must be something else.

And so they made ready the present to give to Joseph as he came in at noon: for they heard that he was going to eat bread there. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand, and they bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, he said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he still alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is still alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance ( Genesis 43:25-28 ).

So they were just bowing down before him and doing this obeisance.

And he lifted up his eyes, and he saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and he said, Is this your younger brother, of whom you spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son ( Genesis 43:29 ).

Actually he was starting getting carried away now. He said, "Is this the brother?" Before they could answer, say "yeah", he said, "God be gracious unto thee, my son". Again sort of carrying off a thing, not that I'm your older brother, sort of a father and you're still a kid kind of a thing. "And God be gracious unto you, my son."

But Joseph made haste; for within him he was yearning to just grab his brother and hug him: and he sought where to weep; and so he entered into his chamber, and wept there ( Genesis 43:30 ).

He just couldn't take it. Emotions were just ripping him up. Here's his brother Benjamin. He thought he'd never see him again and here he is. Oh, he yearns so much to just take hold of him and grab him and all. And he just started weeping and so he turned and ran out of the room into his own private chamber. And he just wept for the joy and the excitement of the reunion.

And so he washed his face, and he went out, and he was able to control himself, and he said, Set on the bread. And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves ( Genesis 43:31-32 ):

So there were three tables. Joseph because of his position had his own table by himself. The Egyptians that were eating there had their separate table and his brothers had their separate table because the Egyptians did not want,

it was an abomination for them to eat with the Hebrew. And so they sat before him, and so they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled at one another ( Genesis 43:32-33 ).

So he set them in order around the table from the oldest right around to the youngest. And they noticed that he had set them in the order of their birth. And they marvelled because there was only one chance in thirty-nine million, nine hundred and seventeen thousand that this could have happened. You can figure that out mathematically. The chances of laying all ten in order to their birth only one in about forty million; thirty-nine million, nine hundred and seventeen thousand. So the mathematical probabilities are really against his doing it. So they're looking around saying, "Wow, what's going on here?" All set in order to our birth around the table from the oldest to the youngest. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 43". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-43.html. 2014.
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