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8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
11 We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.
21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
22 And Reuben answered them, saying, "Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.
23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.
Then Joseph commanded to fill their
4 Heb. bound.
3 Chap. 37. 5.
sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.
26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.
27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth.
28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?
29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,
30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.
31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:
32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.
33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your housholds, and be gone:
34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick 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 both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against
37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee 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 befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Heb. an interpreter was between them.
Heb. gathered. 7 Chap. 37. 21. 9 Heb. went forth. 10 Heb, with us hard things.
Chap. 43. 5.
Verse 9. "Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."-It will be seen in the note to chap. xlvi. 34, that Joseph had sufficient apparent cause to justify this affected suspicion. But we may here remark, that such an imputation as this remains to this day that to which a stranger is continually exposed in the East. The Orientals generally have no idea that people will make a journey unless from urgent necessity, or on gainful speculations; and if, therefore, a person does not travel in a mercantile character, or on some public business, he is invariably considered as a spy-more especially if he turns aside or stops to examine any remarkable object, or is discovered in the act of writing, or making observations of any kind. Curiosity, or the desire of collecting information, are motives perfectly incomprehensible to them, and are always treated as shallow and childish pretences. They ask triumphantly whether you have no trees, birds, animals, rivers, or ruins at home to engage your attention, that you should come so far to look for them.
By the life of Pharaoh.”—Swearing by the life of a superior or respected person, or by that of the person addressed, is a common conversational oath in different parts of Asia. In Persia, although the force of the expression is precisely the same, its form is varied to swearing by the head, particularly by the head of the king. "By the king's head, by his death, or by his soul!" are expressions which are continually heard in that country, and are used even by the king, who generally speaks of himself in the third person. The Persians also swear by their own heads, and by those of the persons to whom they speak. Pharaoh's swearing by himself, in chap. xli, 44, "I am Pharaoh," seems to receive some illustration from the practice of the Persian king.
1 Jacob is hardly persuaded to send Benjamin. Joseph entertaineth his brethren. 31 He maketh them a feast.
AND the famine was sore in the land.
2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man 'did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:
5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?
7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the 'tenor of these words: 'could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?
8 And 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 thou, and also our little ones.
9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:
10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned 'this second time.
11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best
I Heb. protesting protested. 2 Chap. 42. 20. 3 Heb. asking asked us. 7 Or, twice by this. 8 Or, and I, as I have been, &c.
fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:
12 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:
13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. "If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and 'slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
4 Heb. mouth.
they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.
32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.
34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of their's. And they drank, and were merry with him.
17 Heb. Is there peace to your father.
18 Heb. drank largely.
16 Heb. peace.
NUTS (Pistacia vera).
Verse 11. For "balm," "spices," and "myrrh," see notes on chap. xxxvii. 25.
Botnim.-The nuts here spoken of were the Pistachio nuts, produced by one of the terebinthaceous trees once peculiar to Syria, Pistacia vera, whence it was brought into Europe by Lucius Vitellius, governor of Syria, and since that spread over the shores of the Mediterranean. The nuts are about the size of a hazel-nut, covered exte
ALMOND TREE (Amygdalus communis).
riorly by a greenish flesh, which places the fruit among the drupaceous kind. The meat, which is of a green colour covered with a red film of great firmness, is soft, oily, and very agreeable to the taste, having much resemblance to the sweet almond in flavour. The leaves are placed in pairs upon a common footstalk, and are egg-shaped, and pointed. The tree, when laden with clusters of ripe nuts, which are of a pale blushing hue, makes a fine appearance; but at other times it is far from being handsome, since the branches are crooked, and ramify in a rude and irregular In this last particular, it resembles the balm of Gilead tree. The sloping hills south and south-west of Aleppo are laid out in vineyards, olive plantations, and fig-gardens, where the Pistachio-nut-tree finds a place among the varied assemblage.
Shekedim. The Amygdalus communis is found wild in some parts of Northern Africa; it is a handsome spreading tree; the leaves are lance-shaped, with a delicately toothed edge. The calyx is bell-shaped, whence an imitation of it was chosen for some of the ornamental parts of the golden candlestick. The fruit is of the drupaceous character, covered with a velvety pubescence. The cortical investment breaks in a fibrous manner, and by degrees lays open the interior, which contains the well-known nut singularly perforated with small holes.
"Honey."-The learned authors of the Universal History,' while adopting the right view that the presents sent by Jacob to the prime minister of Egypt must have consisted of articles which that country did not afford, contend that "honey" cannot be really intended, as it is not likely that "honey" could be a rarity in Egypt. They therefore think that dates are meant, which are called by the same name, (debash), and which when fully ripe yield a sort of honey, not inferior to that of bees. Now, on this very principle, dates were still less likely than honey to have been sent; as Egypt is a famous date-growing country, and the tax on date-trees is at present one of the most considerable articles in the revenue of Mehemet Ali. It is, however, not necessary to understand honey here, as the word certainly does seem to imply different kinds of sweet things and fruits, in different passages. Gesenius understands it here to denote "syrup of grapes," that is, must boiled to the thickness of a syrup; and which, as he observes, is still exported from Palestine, especially from the neighbourhood of Hebron, to Egypt. If we take it to be really honey, we must understand that the honey of Palestine was superior to that of Egypt, and this is the opinion to which we incline. At present the natives keep a great number of bees, which they transport up and down the Nile, to give them the advantage of different climates and productions. The hives are kept in the boats, and the bees disperse themselves over the banks of the river in quest of food, returning regularly on board in the evening.
33. "The firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled."—Josephus says that they were set according to their seniority, as they used to sit at home at their father's table; and their wonder of course arose from considering how their ages could be so accurately known in the house of the governor of Egypt, particularly as some of them were nearly of the same age with others. The statement is interesting, however understood, as it shows the distinction which in those early times was given to seniority of birth even in the common intercourse of life. The Orientals are however particularly punctilious at their meals.
34. "Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of their's."-This seems best explained by an allusion to existing Persian customs. The dishes are not brought in successively during the course of an entertainment, but are placed at once upon the table, or rather floor. A tray containing a variety of dishes is placed between every two, or at most three guests, from which they help themselves, without attending in any degree to the party at the next tray. The number of dishes on the tray is proportioned to the rank of the guest or guests before whom it is set, or to the degree of preference and attention which the entertainer desires to manifest towards them. The trays when they are brought in contain only five or six different dishes and bowls, and they thus remain in ordinary circumstances; but when the guest is a person of much consideration, other dishes are introduced between, or even piled upon the former, until at last there may be fifteen or more dishes upon the same tray. It is not therefore to be supposed that Benjamin ate five times as much as his brethren, who were all no doubt amply and variously supplied; but his distinction consisted in the greater variety offered for his selection, and in the palpable mark of preference, on the part of his entertainer, which it indicated. A Persian feast seems to illustrate other particulars in this Egyptian entertainment. The plan of setting a tray between every two persons forms them into distinct groups in the act of eating, as will be understood by recollecting that the Orientals make no use of plates, but transfer their food immediately from the dishes or bowls to their mouths, unless they may occasionally find it convenient intermediately to rest the morsel they have detached upon the cake of bread which is spread out before them. Hence there is a concentration of each group upon the tray which is set before it. The separation so distinctly marked in Joseph's feast may have been effected much in the same way, Joseph having a tray wholly to himself, while, in the distribution into groups, care was taken that no Egyptian should be obliged to eat out of the same tray with a Hebrew. We may imagine that Joseph sat in the upper end of the room, while the Egyptians sat along the sides, and the Hebrews towards the bottom, not that there were three quite independent tables; for Joseph was no doubt able to give a general attention to all his guests. The Persians are careful to seat themselves according to their rank; and at entertainments where there is any material difference in the rank of the guests, those of most consequence seat themselves towards the head of the floor, near the host, and their trays are more amply supplied with dishes than those of the persons seated lower down towards the door. Herodotus bears witness to this distinction of quantity among the Egyptians. He says, that in their public banquets and entertainments, twice as much was set before the king as before any one else. If a double quantity was the mess for a king, Benjamin's quintuple quantity was a great distinction indeed.
1 Joseph's policy to stay his brethren. 14 Judah's humble supplication to Joseph.
AND he commanded 'the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.
2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his
1 Heb. him that was over his house.
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?
20 And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.
24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of words of my lord.
25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food.
14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.
18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us.
27 And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:
28 And the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
5 Chap. 37. 33. Chap. 43. 9. 7 Heb. find my father.
2 Or, maketh trial. 3 Or, make trial. 4 Chap. 43. 3. Verse 5. "Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?"-The cup in question was silver; Josephus says gold. The Egyptians of rank had drinking vessels of silver and gold, and the common people had