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Genesis 43:1-10

Context
The Second Journey to Egypt

43:1 Now the famine was severe in the land. 1  43:2 When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return, buy us a little more food.”

43:3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned 2  us, ‘You will not see my face 3  unless your brother is with you.’ 43:4 If you send 4  our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy food for you. 43:5 But if you will not send him, we won’t go down there because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

43:6 Israel said, “Why did you bring this trouble 5  on me by telling 6  the man you had one more brother?”

43:7 They replied, “The man questioned us 7  thoroughly 8  about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ 9  So we answered him in this way. 10  How could we possibly know 11  that he would say, 12  ‘Bring your brother down’?”

43:8 Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me and we will go immediately. 13  Then we will live 14  and not die – we and you and our little ones. 43:9 I myself pledge security 15  for him; you may hold me liable. If I do not bring him back to you and place him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 16  43:10 But if we had not delayed, we could have traveled there and back 17  twice by now!”

1 tn The disjunctive clause gives supplemental information that is important to the storyline.

2 tn The infinitive absolute with the finite verb stresses the point. The primary meaning of the verb is “to witness; to testify.” It alludes to Joseph’s oath, which was tantamount to a threat or warning.

3 tn The idiom “see my face” means “have an audience with me.”

4 tn Heb “if there is you sending,” that is, “if you send.”

5 tn The verb may even have a moral connotation here, “Why did you do evil to me?”

6 tn The infinitive construct here explains how they brought trouble on Jacob.

7 tn The word “us” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 tn The infinitive absolute with the perfect verbal form emphasizes that Joseph questioned them thoroughly.

9 sn The report given here concerning Joseph’s interrogation does not exactly match the previous account where they supplied the information to clear themselves (see 42:13). This section may reflect how they remembered the impact of his interrogation, whether he asked the specific questions or not. That may be twisting the truth to protect themselves, not wanting to admit that they volunteered the information. (They admitted as much in 42:31, but now they seem to be qualifying that comment.) On the other hand, when speaking to Joseph later (see 44:19), Judah claims that Joseph asked for the information about their family, making it possible that 42:13 leaves out some of the details of their first encounter.

10 tn Heb “and we told to him according to these words.”

11 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the imperfect verbal form, which here is a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of a past time).

12 tn Once again the imperfect verbal form is used as a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of past time).

13 tn Heb “and we will rise up and we will go.” The first verb is adverbial and gives the expression the sense of “we will go immediately.”

14 tn After the preceding cohortatives, the prefixed verbal form (either imperfect or cohortative) with the prefixed conjunction here indicates purpose or result.

15 tn The pronoun before the first person verbal form draws attention to the subject and emphasizes Judah’s willingness to be personally responsible for the boy.

16 sn I will bear the blame before you all my life. It is not clear how this would work out if Benjamin did not come back. But Judah is offering his life for Benjamin’s if Benjamin does not return.

17 tn Heb “we could have returned.”



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