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Genesis 42:6-9

Context

42:6 Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country. 1  Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down 2  before him with 3  their faces to the ground. 42:7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger 4  to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered, 5  “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.” 6 

42:8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 42:9 Then Joseph remembered 7  the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!” 8 

1 tn The disjunctive clause either introduces a new episode in the unfolding drama or provides the reader with supplemental information necessary to understanding the story.

2 sn Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him. Here is the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams (see Gen 37). But it is not the complete fulfillment, since all his brothers and his parents must come. The point of the dream, of course, was not simply to get the family to bow to Joseph, but that Joseph would be placed in a position of rule and authority to save the family and the world (41:57).

3 tn The word “faces” is an adverbial accusative, so the preposition has been supplied in the translation.

4 sn But pretended to be a stranger. Joseph intends to test his brothers to see if they have changed and have the integrity to be patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He will do this by putting them in the same situations that they and he were in before. The first test will be to awaken their conscience.

5 tn Heb “said.”

6 tn The verb is denominative, meaning “to buy grain”; the word “food” could simply be the direct object, but may also be an adverbial accusative.

7 sn You are spies. Joseph wanted to see how his brothers would react if they were accused of spying.

8 tn Heb “to see the nakedness of the land you have come.”



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