Genesis 43:18
But the brothers were frightened that they had been taken to Joseph's house. "We have been brought here because of the silver that was returned in our bags the first time," they said. "They intend to overpower us and take us as slaves, along with our donkeys."
Distrust the Fruit of SinJ.F. Montgomery Genesis 43:18
Bring These Men HomeA. M. Symington, D. D.Genesis 43:15-18
Joseph's Brethren Under the Influence of a Guilty FearT. H. Leale.Genesis 43:15-18
LessonsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Genesis 43:15-18
Use of Animal Food in EgyptW. M. Taylor, D. D.Genesis 43:15-18
Lessons of LifeR.A. Redford Genesis 43

Why should they be afraid? The invitation was an honor not unusual. Abraham was received at Pharaoh's court (Genesis 12:15). And the brethren were evidently people of large possessions with a considerable retinue, as they were to carry food for so many; and they had brought the proof required that they were true men. Had Joseph intended to do them harm he might have done it before. It was conscious guilt that made them fear. What they had done to their brother suggested similar treatment being meted to them. Perhaps they had almost forgotten it. But God left not himself without witness to bring their sin to remembrance. The stain of sin on the conscience is indelible. Time cannot remove it. Occupation may turn the thoughts from it, but it returns again and again. The act of wrong may be little thought of at the time. Only afterwards is it felt that it cannot be undone (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9). This explains the attitude of so many toward God. Why is there such slowness to receive the gospel just as it is offered? When men are bidden to their brother's table; when his will is declared they shall sup with me (cf. Revelation 3:20), why is there such shrinking as if they were being led into danger; as if God were laying some obligation on them which they cannot fulfill, to bring them into bondage for ever? It is because of sin in the heart; perhaps unfelt, unthought of; but it is there, the fact of a self-chosen life. And if these are invited to closer communion with God, straightway they are afraid; suspicious of God. And hence, when the gospel invitation is pressed, and the Lamb of God held up, and the power of the blood of Christ and the welcome for all proclaimed, and they are bidden to trust, to accept salvation, men try to fortify their position: "O sir, we have done this or that (cf. Matthew 18:26), clinging to distrust instead of striving against it.

I. THIS DISTRUST AND SUSPICION OF GOD ARISES FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN NOT FULLY RECOGNIZED AS SIN; while the man is still trying to set good deeds against bad ones, or to find. excuses for faults. It is the effect of sin before conviction by the Holy Spirit. Real conviction brings to God (Psalm 51:4; Luke 18:13). It is unacknowledged sin that separates.

II. DISTRUST IS REMOVED BY A REAL BELIEF IN THE ATONEMENT (Hebrews 9:25), God's plan for reconciling the sinful to himself (Romans 3:26). Hence this is the turning point of the spiritual life (John 3:18); the great work (John 6:29) out of which, as from a germ, the whole Christian life must grow. - M.

The men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house.
I. THEY DREAD SOME GREAT MISFORTUNE. They are driven to Egypt by a dire necessity. A presentiment of disaster weigh upon their hearts. They expect no favourable solution of their mysterious treatment.

II. THEY ARE POSSESSED BY AN INVETERATE SPIRIT OF MISTRUST, They interpret adversely even the most favourable appearances. The generous reception which was given them only serves to raise their worst suspicions and to alarm their fears. They cannot get rid of the belief that Joseph meant to entrap them by a cunning device.

III. THEY ARE HAUNTED BY THE MEMORY OF AN OLD CRIME. They are innocent respecting this money in their sacks, and yet they feel themselves to be guilty men. Conscience makes cowards of them everywhere.

(T. H. Leale.)

1. Fear misinterprets kindness.

2. We are often being tested while we are unconscious of the fact that we are so.

3. An illustration of the difference between the outer appearance and the inner life of a man.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

It was a whisper aside, addressed to one who proved himself very capable of executing Joseph's wishes. This device of "bringing them home" and feasting them gave Joseph opportunity for testing their feelings towards Benjamin; it allowed them a chance of recognizing their brother; and it used them to his love as mingled and contrasted with his severity. Joseph wished to produce these three effects; but I scarcely think he intended another effect, which, however, was the first — the re-awakening of their fears. It was God who intended that.

(A. M. Symington, D. D.)

It has been objected here that the narrator must be in error in representing Joseph as giving orders for the slaughter of animals for food, since that must have been contrary to the customs of the Egyptians; but Wilkinson, in describing preparations for dinner, says, "an ox, kid, wild-goat, gazelle, or oryx, and a quantity of geese, widgeons, quails, or other birds were obtained for the occasion"; and Kalisch alleges that "though there was scarcely an animal which was not held sacred in some province, there was, perhaps, with the only exception of the cow, none which was not eaten in other parts of the land"; so that the description here is in perfect harmony with what we now know to have been the habit of the people.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Benjamin, Egyptians, Joseph, Simeon
Afraid, Along, Asses, Attack, Bags, Beginning, Bondmen, Bond-men, Commencement, Donkeys, Fall, Fear, Full, Joseph, Joseph's, Matter, Money, Occasion, Overpower, Replaced, Returned, Roll, Sacks, Seek, Seize, Servants, Silver, Slaves, Throw, Turn, Wants, We're
1. Jacob is persuaded to send Benjamin.
15. Joseph entertains his brothers.
19. They discover their fears to the steward.
26. Joseph makes them a feast.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 43:1-26

     5325   gifts

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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