The Second Journey of Joseph's Brethren into Egypt
Genesis 43:1-14
And the famine was sore in the land.…


1. The resolve of Jacob to send at last his son Benjamin to Egypt. In this consent of Jacob we read a double instance of faith, faith in God and in man.

(1) Faith in God; for he says, "God Almighty give you mercy before the man" (ver. 14). Faith has been well defined thus, "the heart to make ventures for God." He alone knows what real faith is, who has been compelled to lose sight of or to relinquish hold of those most dear to him, relying only on the mercy and eternal love of God. Faith is that which makes us hold and cling to God when nothing else is left for us to cling to; the grasp of the dying sailor to the mast, that is faith.

(2) There was, besides, faith in humanity, in his son Judah, in one scarcely worthy of his confidence, for once at least he had proved treacherous. But it was better so, and it is better for us if we possess this faith in man.

2. Jacob's honesty (ver. 12). We are bound not only to return that which is ours unjustly, but also that which is ours by the oversight or mistake of others. But there is another way of looking at this act of Jacob's. It seems somewhat to savour of his disposition to mollify and appease his enemies by presents; as, when he dreaded the enmity of Esau, he sent presents to him, flattering him with the name of god. And if it be so, we find here that which tells, not of honesty, but of pliancy.

3. The change of Jacob's resolution in permitting Benjamin to go. At first we might be inclined to charge him with inconsistency, but the circumstances were changed, and the only choice now left him was between famine for them all and the loss of one son.


1. The fear of Joseph's brethren when invited to Joseph's house. They came dreading some misfortune. They were suspicious of Joseph's intentions. They could not but think that he wished to entrap them and make bondsmen of them. And this fear of theirs arose partly out of their own capability for a similar act of treachery. "Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all." It is the worst penalty of a deceitful and crooked disposition that it always dreads being overreached.

2. In the next place we observe the bowing down of the brethren before Joseph (ver. 26). This was an exact fulfilment of one of his early dreams, when the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down before him. But Joseph was now changed; he had been too much saddened by misfortune, and was far too much accustomed to Egyptian homage, to find any real pleasure in this, from which he had formerly expected so much. For us this is a pregnant example of the illusiveness of human life. Now that his dream was fulfilled to the very letter, he could not enjoy it.

3. We next observe Joseph's relief in the indirect utterance of his feelings. He asked, "Is your father yet alive, and your youngest brother?" &c. (ver. 27).

4. The feast of brotherhood.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the famine was sore in the land.

WEB: The famine was severe in the land.

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