Notes for Gen 43:1LEB

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


Notes for Gen 43:3LEB

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.


The idiom "see my face" means "have an audience with me."


Notes for Gen 43:4LEB

"if there is you sending," that is, "if you send."


Notes for Gen 43:6LEB

The verb may even have a moral connotation here, "Why did you do evil to me?"


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


Notes for Gen 43:7LEB

The word "us" has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


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


The report given here concerning Joseph’s interrogation does not exactly match the previous account where they supplied the information to clear themselves (see Gen 42:13LEB). 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 Gen 42:31LEB, but now they seem to be qualifying that comment.) On the other hand, when speaking to Joseph later (see Gen 44:19LEB), Judah claims that Joseph asked for the information about their family, making it possible that Gen 42:13LEB leaves out some of the details of their first encounter.


"and we told to him according to these words."


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


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


Notes for Gen 43:8LEB

"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."


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


Notes for Gen 43:9LEB

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.


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.


Notes for Gen 43:10LEB

"we could have returned."


Notes for Gen 43:12LEB

"in your hand."


"take back in your hand." The imperfect verbal form probably has an injunctive or obligatory force here, since Jacob is instructing his sons.


Notes for Gen 43:13LEB

"arise, return," meaning "get up and go back," or "go back immediately."


The man refers to the Egyptian official, whom the reader or hearer of the narrative knows is Joseph. In this context both the sons and Jacob refer to him simply as "the man" (see vv. 3–7).


Notes for Gen 43:14LEB

"El Shaddai." See the extended note on the phrase "sovereign Yahweh" in Gen 17:1LEB.


"release to you." After the jussive this perfect verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) probably indicates logical consequence, as well as temporal sequence.


Several Jewish commentators suggest that the expression your other brother refers to Joseph. This would mean that Jacob prophesied unwittingly. However, it is much more likely that Simeon is the referent of the phrase "your other brother" (see Gen 42:24LEB).


"if I am bereaved I am bereaved." With this fatalistic sounding statement Jacob resolves himself to the possibility of losing both Benjamin and Simeon.


Notes for Gen 43:15LEB

"they arose and went down to Egypt." The first verb has an adverbial function and emphasizes that they departed right away.


Notes for Gen 43:17LEB

"the man." This has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun "he" for stylistic reasons.


This verse is a summary statement. The next verses delineate intermediate steps (see v. 24) in the process.


Notes for Gen 43:18LEB

"over the matter of."


"in the beginning," that is, at the end of their first visit.


"to roll himself upon us and to cause himself to fall upon us." The infinitives here indicate the purpose (as viewed by the brothers) for their being brought to Joseph’s house.


The word "take" has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 43:20LEB

The infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the finite verbal form.


"in the beginning" (see the note on the phrase "last time" in v. 18).


Notes for Gen 43:21LEB

"in its weight."


"brought it back in our hand."


Notes for Gen 43:23LEB

"and he said, ‘peace to you.’" Here the statement has the force of "everything is fine," or perhaps even "calm down." The referent of "he" (the man in charge of Joseph’ household) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.


Your Yahweh and the Yahweh of your father…This is the first clear reference in the story to the theme of divine providence – that Yahweh works through the human actions to do his will.


"your money came to me."


Notes for Gen 43:24LEB

"the man."


Notes for Gen 43:25LEB

The construction uses the infinitive construct after the preposition, followed by the subjective genitive.


The action precedes the action of preparing the gift, and so must be translated as past perfect.


"eat bread." The imperfect verbal form is used here as a historic future (future from the perspective of the past).


Notes for Gen 43:26LEB

"into the house."


Notes for Gen 43:27LEB

"concerning peace."


Notes for Gen 43:28LEB

"and they bowed low and they bowed down." The use of synonyms here emphasizes the brothers’ humility.


Notes for Gen 43:29LEB

"and he lifted his eyes." The referent of "he" (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Joseph’s language here becomes warmer and more personal, culminating in calling Benjamin my son.


Notes for Gen 43:30LEB

"for his affection boiled up concerning his brother." The same expression is used in 1 Kgs 3:26LEB for the mother’s feelings for her endangered child.


"and he sought to weep."


Notes for Gen 43:31LEB

"and he controlled himself and said."


Notes for Gen 43:32LEB

"them"; the referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Or "disgraceful." The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, "abomination") describes something that is loathsome or off-limits. For other practices the Egyptians considered disgusting, see Gen 46:34LEB and Exod 8:22LEB.


"and they set for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for the Egyptians are not able to eat food with the Hebrews, for it is an abomination for the Egyptians." The imperfect verbal form in the explanatory clause is taken as habitual in force, indicating a practice that was still in effect in the narrator’s time.


That the Egyptians found eating with foreigners disgusting is well-attested in extra-biblical literature by writers like Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo.


Notes for Gen 43:33LEB

"the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth."


The brothers’ astonishment indicates that Joseph arranged them in this way. They were astonished because there was no way, as far as they were concerned, that Joseph could have known the order of their birth.


Notes for Gen 43:34LEB

"and he lifted up portions from before his face to them."


"and they drank and were intoxicated with him" (cf. NIV "drank freely with him"; NEB "grew merry"; NRSV "were merry"). The brothers were apparently relaxed and set at ease, despite Joseph’s obvious favoritism toward Benjamin.