by Robert Brow    (

Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: 2004

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Table Of Contents:

Genesis 43:1-15
Genesis 43:16-34


GENESIS 43:1-15    (Due to the famine Jacob finally lets Benjamin go to Egypt)

 43:1-2   As the famine continued,  the grain the brothers had brought was ending, and Jacob told the brothers to go and buy some more provisions.

 43:3-5    But Judah explained that Joseph would not receive them unless they brought Benjamin with them.   Speaking for his brothers, he said they would refuse to go unless their father allowed him to go with them.   

 43:6-7    Israel’s first reaction was to blame his sons for telling Joseph they had a brother at home, but they explained there was no way to avoid answering the probing questions they were asked.

Note:  As Jacob struggled with the decision he now had to make,  the change in name may be significant.   Jacob had been given the new name Israel (32:28; 35:10) but it seems he continued to use his old name, Jacob (35:27; 37:1, 34;  42:1, 29, 36).  From now on  the new name is mostly used (43:6, 8. 11;  45:21, 28; 46:1, 2; 47:27, 29; 48:8, 11; 49:28; 50:2).  Perhaps Jacob needed to strengthen himself to let Benjamin go by thinking back to his experience at Peniel (32:26-30).   Later God did remind him of his previous weakness by using his old name in Beersheba (46:2, 5, 8, 22, 27; 47:7; 49:1 ).  Most converts have a similar experience of knowing that they are now children of God, but their old nature can still come to the surface.

 43:8-10   Judah forced his father out of indecisiveness by pointing out that if they did nothing they would starve to death.   He would stand surety for the safety of Benjamin.   And he pointed out that if Israel had not been so stubborn,  by now the brothers could have made two more journeys to buy grain.    By this time Israel was nearly 130 years old (see 47:28), so .perhaps his indecision could be excused.

 43:11-13   When Israel yielded to this logic he told them to take choice gifts for the Egyptian governor and double the money that he had returned.   Although bread was not available, the family still had money, and could still obtain nuts, dried fruit, and gourmet foods.

 43:14-15    As Israel committed Benjamin into their hands for this perilous journey, he asked God to intervene and return Simeon and his younger son safely to him.  But by now he had faced the possibility of losing all his children.   So they went on their way with Benjamin and double the money Joseph had sent back with them.


GENESIS  43:16-34   (Joseph welcomes his brothers to his own palace)

 43:16-17   When Joseph saw Benjamin he ordered all the brothers to be brought into his house, and a fatted calf killed for a sumptuous midday meal.

 43:18-22   Faced with this unusual invitation,  the brothers were afraid of being accused of stealing the money Joseph had sent with them (42:27, 35).  They feared it was a pretext to enslave them.   So the brothers approached the palace steward, and told him with great honesty all that had happened their previous visit.     They wanted to give back  the money that had been replaced in their sacks..

 43:23   Joseph must have told his household steward about his faith in God and the faith of his father Israel.   So the steward assured them that the money must have been given to them by God himself.    Simeon was then brought out from prison to join his brothers.

 43:24-26    In Joseph’s palace the brothers were taken care of, and they readied the presents they had brought with them (43:11) to pacify the great man who had the supreme authority under Pharaoh of the land of Egypt.  When he arrived promptly at twelve they brought their presents and bowed to the ground (see Joseph’s dream in 37:7 and the previous occasion they had done this, see note on 42:6).

43:27-30   Joseph’s first question was about Israel, his father, and again they bowed before Joseph.  Then he asked whether Benjamin was the younger brother they had spoken of.  He was now well over thirty years and the father of ten children (37:1; 41:46; 46:21).   He said “God be gracious to you my son,” and overcome with affection for him he hurried out of the room to weep alone.

 43:31-32   When he had composed himself he ordered the meal to be served.  Egyptians could not eat with Jewish people, so the brothers were served on their own, and Joseph ate separately, as did the Egyptian dignitaries with him.

 43:33   The brothers were astonished because Joseph had his brothers seated in the correct order of their ages.   They were served from Joseph’s table, and Benjamin was given a portion five times as great as the other brothers.   Wine was served, and there was a festive atmosphere as they ate their food.


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