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Genesis 42:16-19

Context
42:16 One of you must go and get 1  your brother, while 2  the rest of you remain in prison. 3  In this way your words may be tested to see if 4  you are telling the truth. 5  If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 42:17 He imprisoned 6  them all for three days. 42:18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say 7  and you will live, 8  for I fear God. 9  42:19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison 10  while the rest of you go 11  and take grain back for your hungry families. 12 

1 tn Heb “send from you one and let him take.” After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose.

2 tn The disjunctive clause is here circumstantial-temporal.

3 tn Heb “bound.”

4 tn The words “to see” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

5 tn Heb “the truth [is] with you.”

6 sn The same Hebrew word is used for Joseph’s imprisonment in 40:3, 4, 7. There is some mirroring going on in the narrative. The Hebrew word used here (אָסַף, ’asaf, “to gather”) is not normally used in a context like this (for placing someone in prison), but it forms a wordplay on the name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yosoef) and keeps the comparison working.

7 tn Heb “Do this.”

8 tn After the preceding imperative, the imperative with vav (ו) can, as here, indicate logical sequence.

9 sn For I fear God. Joseph brings God into the picture to awaken his brothers’ consciences. The godly person cares about the welfare of people, whether they live or die. So he will send grain back, but keep one of them in Egypt. This action contrasts with their crime of selling their brother into slavery.

10 tn Heb “bound in the house of your prison.”

11 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal.

12 tn Heb “[for] the hunger of your households.”



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