And the famine was sore in the land.…
1. He acts prudently. He uses means of conciliation, and of bespeaking the good graces of the unknown ruler of Egypt.
2. He acts honestly. "The money that was brought again in your sacks, carry it again in your hands: peradventure it was an oversight." There are not a few who, in similar circumstances, would have been disposed to regard such money as, according to their cant phraseology, a God-send; and who would have thought no more about the matter. Not so Jacob. Before he would regard the money as his, or have his sons regard it as theirs, he must be at the bottom of the matter — he must have it accounted for, how came it there — he must know whether they can keep it honestly. Thus let all Christian transactions be regulated by the principles of high honour and sterling unbending integrity.
3. He acts piously. "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man!" When a human heart requires to be softened, and inclined to favour where there is seeming hostility, it is ours to do what we can, and to leave the result, by prayer and supplication, in the hands of God — of "God Almighty." How much more like himself does Jacob now appear; and how much more becoming an example does he set before his family!
4. He acts submissively. "If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved!"
5. He acts affectionately. It may be truly said of Jacob, as a father, that "even his failings leaned to virtue's side." We can account for them from causes that are in themselves good. But the point to which my observation tends, as many of you may anticipate, is this. How come we to be so much in earnest in seeking to propitiate a fellow-creature to turn away his displeasure, and to conciliate his favour, in order to avoid what harm, and to ensure what good, he may have it in his power to do us; while we are so careless about averting the wrath and obtaining the grace of a higher than the highest of created powers? — of Him, whose wrath is so infinitely more to be deprecated, and whose grace is so infinitely more to be desired and sought, than those of all the agents of evil or of good combined, in the world or in the universe.
(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)
Carry down the man a present. —
Parallel VersesKJV: And the famine was sore in the land.