The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 42

Gen 42:1

"People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell" (Pro 11:26).

LOOKING AT EACH OTHER: That is, in pity. Or in bewilderment -- about what course of action to take.

Gen 42:4

BUT JACOB DID NOT SEND BENJAMIN, JOSEPH'S BROTHER, WITH THE OTHERS, BECAUSE HE WA AFRAID THAT HARM MIGHT COME TO HIM: Perh Jacob had some lingering doubt about the fate of Joseph. (Benjamin was now his favorite in place of Joseph.)

Gen 42:6

See Jer 30:21.

Gen 42:8

ALTHOUGH JOSEPH RECOGNIZED HIS BROTHERS, THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM: "Who is this?" (Psa 24; Isa 63:1). Mourning for only son: Zec 12:10. When last they had seen him, he had been a boy of 17; this is almost 20 years later. But they had been mature men before, and would not have changed considerably in 20 years (WP 97). Also, note Joseph's different style of dress.

Gen 42:9

Joseph's actions here seem to have been inspired -- as a way of fulfilling the promise of Gen 15:13,14: "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." Cp Gen 46:2-4; 50:20,24.

Gen 42:13

YOUR SERVANTS WERE TWELVE BROTHERS: A change in accepting Joseph as true brother (WHGT 44).

Gen 42:15

AND THIS IS HOW YOU WILL BE TESTED: "The last thing Joseph had seen of his brothers was when they ripped his coat off him, threw him into a pit ready to kill him and then sold him as a slave. Even as brothers who were united in their hatred of Joseph, they still could not get on with each other when it came to getting rid of Joseph. One wanted to rescue him, others wanted to kill him and others wanted to sell him. Joseph's ten brothers were far from honest men -- they were liars, cheats and almost murderers.

"There was a big change in their maturity when Joseph next saw them. When Joseph suggested that they might be spies, his brothers replied, 'Your servants are honest men, not spies.'

"So tests were set to find out if what Joseph's brothers had said was true. Would they measure up to the standard of honest men? This time they showed unity, self-sacrifice, repentance, honesty, generosity and humility -- qualities that showed that they had changed and had become honest men.

"The test is on for us too. We claim to be honest men, servants of Christ -- how do we measure up? Has our life changed since before we became a Christian? Have we matured? Have we developed the Christ-like character he expects from us? One day the judgement will come and may we, like Joseph's brothers, be accepted" (RP).

Gen 42:16

SO THAT YOUR WORDS MAY BE TESTED: Tested by "fire" (1Co 3:13) -- ie the fire of trial.

Gen 42:17

CUSTODY: Not a true prison, as Joseph had spent time in.

Gen 42:21

The definition of repentance: conscience, memory, and change. Their own consciences accuse themselves.

Gen 42:22

"The time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer 30:7). When this last trouble comes on Jacob's children, a greater-than-Joseph will arise to save them, but only after they acknowledge the wrong they have done to him.

DIDN'T I TELL YOU?... BUT YOU WOULDN'T LISTEN: Only now does Joseph learn of Reuben's innocence. // Mat 27:24: "I am innocent of this man's blood."

Gen 42:24

Seven meetings: here; Gen 42:30; 45:2,14; 46:29; 50:1,17.

Gen 42:25

The "Savior" provides for them on their journey, at no cost to themselves!

Gen 42:28

"It is the price of blood!"

Gen 42:36

YOU HAVE DEPRIVED ME OF MY CHILDREN: By now, Jacob had realized that his sons were responsible for Joseph's fate!

Gen 42:37

Note Reuben's concern for Benjamin (who would be Jacob's new favorite in Joseph's absence). Reuben has changed considerably since he tried to assert his own "rights" by taking Bilhah.

Gen 42:38

It is plain that Jacob did not trust them with Benjamin!
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