Genesis 43

 

וְהָרָעָב כָּבֵד בָּאָרֶץ  43:1

Gene. 43:1  And the famine was hard in the land.

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּלּוּ לֶאֱכֹל אֶת־הַשֶּׁבֶר אֲשֶׁר הֵבִיאוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם אֲבִיהֶם שֻׁבוּ שִׁבְרוּ־לָנוּ  43:2

מְעַט־אֹכֶל

Gene. 43:2  And it happened when they had finished eating all the corn that they had brought from Egypt that their father said to them, “Go again, buy a little food for us.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה לֵאמֹר הָעֵד הֵעִד בָּנוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר לֹא־תִרְאוּ פָנַי בִּלְתִּי אֲחִיכֶם אִתְּכֶם  43:3

Gene. 43:3  And Judah spoke to him saying, “The man earnestly forewarned us saying, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

אִם־יֶשְׁךָ מְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת־אָחִינוּ אִתָּנוּ נֵרְדָה וְנִשְׁבְּרָה לְךָ אֹכֶל  43:4

Gene. 43:4  “If you will be sending our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you,

The third to last word, hr'B.v.nIw, translated as and [we will] buy contains a non-inverting vav prefix.  The verb is first- person imperfect.

וְאִם־אֵינְךָ מְשַׁלֵּחַ לֹא נֵרֵד כִּי־הָאִישׁ אָמַר אֵלֵינוּ לֹא־תִרְאוּ פָנַי בִּלְתִּי אֲחִיכֶם אִתְּכֶם  43:5

Gene. 43:5  but if you will not be sending him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתֶם לִי לְהַגִּיד לָאִישׁ הַעֹוד לָכֶם אָח  43:6

Gene. 43:6  And Israel said, “Why did you do evil to me, telling the man that there was yet a brother of yours?”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁאֹול שָׁאַל־הָאִישׁ לָנוּ וּלְמֹולַדְתֵּנוּ לֵאמֹר הַעֹוד אֲבִיכֶם חַי הֲיֵשׁ לָכֶם אָח וַנַגֶּד־לֹו עַל־פִּי  43:7

הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה הֲיָדֹועַ נֵדַע כִּי יֹאמַר הֹורִידוּ אֶת־אֲחִיכֶם

Gene. 43:7  And they said, “The man earnestly inquired about us and about our kindred saying, ‘Is your father yet living?  Is there a brother of yours?’  So we had to tell him according to the tenor of these words.  Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring down your brother?’”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו שִׁלְחָה הַנַּעַר אִתִּי וְנָקוּמָה וְנֵלֵכָה וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַם־  43:8

אַתָּה גַּם־טַפֵּנוּ

Gene. 43:8  And Judah said to Israel, his father, “Send the lad with me and we will rise and we will go and we will live and not die, even us and you and our little ones.”

This verse contains no less than three words with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are hy<x.nIw> hk'l_enEw> hm'Wqn"w>. They are translated together as and we will rise and we will go and we will live, all first-person imperfect.

אָנֹכִי אֶעֶרְבֶנּוּ מִיָּדִי תְּבַקְשֶׁנּוּ אִם־לֹא הֲבִיאֹתִיו אֵלֶיךָ וְהִצַּגְתִּיו לְפָנֶיךָ וְחָטָאתִי לְךָ כָּל־הַיָּמִים  43:9

Gene. 43:9  “I will be his security.  From my hand shall you require him.  If I have not brought him back to you so I can set him before you, then let me bear the blame for you forever.”

כִּי לוּלֵא הִתְמַהְמָהְנוּ כִּי־עַתָּה שַׁבְנוּ זֶה פַעֲמָיִם  43:10

Gene. 43:10   “For except we delayed so long, surely now we return this second time.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲבִיהֶם אִם־כֵּן אֵפֹוא זֹאת עֲשׂוּ קְחוּ מִזִּמְרַת הָאָרֶץ בִּכְלֵיכֶם וְהֹורִידוּ לָאִישׁ   43:11

מִנְחָה מְעַט צֳרִי וּמְעַט דְּבַשׁ נְכֹאת וָלֹט בָּטְנִים וּשְׁקֵדִים

Gene. 43:11   And Israel, their father, said to them, “If it is to be, now do this:  Take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and bring a gift down to the man, a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and ladanum, nuts, and almonds.”

וְכֶסֶף מִשְׁנֶה קְחוּ בְיֶדְכֶם וְאֶת־הַכֶּסֶף הַמּוּשָׁב בְּפִי אַמְתְּחֹתֵיכֶם תָּשִׁיבוּ בְיֶדְכֶם אוּלַי מִשְׁגֶּה הוּא  43:12

Gene. 43:12   “And take double money in your hand, so you can return in your hands the money that was brought in the mouth of your bags; perhaps it was an error.”

וְאֶת־אֲחִיכֶם קָחוּ וְקוּמוּ שׁוּבוּ אֶל־הָאִישׁ  43:13

Gene. 43:13   “Take your brother, and arise, return to the man.”

וְאֵל שַׁדַּי יִתֵּן לָכֶם רַחֲמִים לִפְנֵי הָאִישׁ וְשִׁלַּח לָכֶם אֶת־אֲחִיכֶם אַחֵר וְאֶת־בִּנְיָמִין וַאֲנִי כַּאֲשֶׁר  43:14

שָׁכֹלְתִּי שָׁכָלְתִּי

Gene. 43:14   “And may God Almighty grant compassion to you before the man, that he release your other brother and Benjamin to you.  And I, as I have been bereaved, I am bereaved.”

וַיִּקְחוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה הַזֹּאת וּמִשְׁנֶה־כֶּסֶף לָקְחוּ בְיָדָם וְאֶת־בִּנְיָמִן וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיֵּרְדו מִצְרַיִםּ  43:15

 וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי יֹוסֵף

Gene. 43:15   Then the men took that offering, and they took the double money in their hand, and Benjamin, and they arose and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

וַיַּרְא יֹוסֵף אִתָּם אֶת־בִּנְיָמִין וַיֹּאמֶר לַאֲשֶׁר עַל־בֵּיתֹו הָבֵא אֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים הַבָּיְתָה וּטְבֹחַ טֶבַח וְהָכֵן  43:16

כִּי אִתִּי יֹאכְלוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים בַּצָּהֳרָיִם

Gene. 43:16   When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, then he said to him who was over his house, “Bring the men to the house, and butcher an animal and prepare, for the men shall eat with me at noon.”

וַיַּעַשׂ הָאִישׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר יֹוסֵף וַיָּבֵא הָאִישׁ אֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים בֵּיתָה יֹוסֵף  43:17

Gene. 43:17   Then the man did as Joseph spoke, and the man brought the men to the house of Joseph.

וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כִּי הוּבְאוּ בֵּית יֹוסֵף וַיֹּאמְרוּ עַל־דְּבַר הַכֶּסֶף הַשָּׁב בְּאַמְתְּחֹתֵינוּ בַּתְּחִלָּה אֲנַחְנוּ  43:18

מוּבָאִים לְהִתְגֹּלֵל עָלֵינוּ וּלְהִתְנַפֵּל עָלֵינוּ וְלָקַחַת אֹתָנוּ לַעֲבָדִים וְאֶת־חֲמֹרֵינוּ

Gene. 43:18   And the men were afraid because they were brought to the house of Joseph and they said, “We are being brought in on account of the money returned in our bags the first time, for him to seek occasion against us, so as to fall upon us and to seize us for bondsmen, and our asses.”

וַיִּגְּשׁוּ אֶל־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל־בֵּית יֹוסֵף וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו פֶּתַח הַבָּיִת  43:19

Gene. 43:19   And they drew near to the man who was over the house of Joseph, and they spoke to him at the entrance to the house,

וַיֹּאמְרוּ בִּי אֲדֹנִי יָרֹד יָרַדְנוּ בַּתְּחִלָּה לִשְׁבָּר־אֹכֶל  43:20

Gene. 43:20   and they said, “Please, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food.”

וַיְהִי כִּי־בָאנוּ אֶל־הַמָּלֹון וַנִּפְתְּחָה אֶת־אַמְתְּחֹתֵינוּ וְהִנֵּה כֶסֶף־אִישׁ בְּפִי אַמְתַּחְתֹּו כַּסְפֵּנוּ בְּמִשְׁקָלֹו  43:21

וַנָּשֶׁב אֹתֹו בְּיָדֵנוּ

Gene. 43:21   “And it happened when we came to the lodging place and we could open our bags, then behold, money of each was in the mouth of his bag, our money according to its full weight, so we could bring it back in our hand.”

This verse contains two words with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are the sixth word on the top line hx'T.p.NIw and the third word from the end of the verse bv,N"w:, respectively translated as and we would open and and so we could bring.  The verbs are both first-person imperfect.

וְכֶסֶף אַחֵר הֹורַדְנוּ בְיָדֵנוּ לִשְׁבָּר־אֹכֶל לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מִי־שָׂם כַּסְפֵּנוּ בְּאַמְתְּחֹתֵינ  43:22

Gene. 43:22   “And we have brought down other money in our hands to buy food.  We do not know who put our money in our bags.”

וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁלֹום לָכֶם אַל־תִּירָאוּ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבִיכֶם נָתַן לָכֶם מַטְמֹון בְּאַמְתְּחֹתֵיכֶם כַּסְפְּכֶם  43:23

בָּא אֵלָי וַיֹּוצֵא אֲלֵהֶם אֶת־שִׁמְעֹון

Gene. 43:23   And he said, “Peace be with you, you need not fear; your God and the God of your fathers had given a treasure to you in your bags; your money came to me.”  Then he brought Simeon forth to them.

How did Joseph’s house manager understand about God?  Another instance among many in the bible in which a gentile is familiar with, respects, and acknowledges Israelite ways.  Had Joseph’s belief rubbed off on him?  Had he observed Joseph’s worshipful connection with his God?  Did he overhear Joseph at least mutter “the God of my fathers?”

וַיָּבֵא הָאִישׁ אֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים בֵּיתָה יֹוסֵף וַיִּתֶּן־מַיִם וַיִּרְחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיהֶם וַיִּתֵּן מִסְפֹּוא לַחֲמֹרֵיהֶם  43:24

Gene. 43:24   And the man brought the men into the house of Joseph and provided water, and they washed their feet, and he gave feed to their asses.

וַיָּכִינוּ אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה עַד־בֹּוא יֹוסֵף בַּצָּהֳרָיִם כִּי שָׁמְעוּ כִּי־שָׁם יֹאכְלוּ לָחֶם  43:25

Gene. 43:25   And they prepared the gift before the coming of Joseph at noon, for they heard that they would eat bread there.

וַיָּבֹא יֹוסֵף הַבַּיְתָה וַיָּבִיאּוּ לֹו אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה אֲשֶׁר־בְּיָדָם הַבָּיְתָה וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ־לֹו אָרְצָה  43:26

Gene. 43:26   When Joseph came into the house, they brought him the gift that was in their hand into the house and they bowed down to him to the earth.

וַיִּשְׁאַל לָהֶם לְשָׁלֹום וַיֹּאמֶר הֲשָׁלֹום אֲבִיכֶם הַזָּקֵן אֲשֶׁר אֲמַרְתֶּם הַעֹודֶנּוּ חָי  43:27

Gene. 43:27   And he inquired into their welfare, and he said, “How well is your father, the old man of whom you spoke?  Is he yet alive?”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁלֹום לְעַבְדְּךָ לְאָבִינוּ עֹודֶנּוּ חָי וַיִּקְּדוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוֻּ  43:28

Gene. 43:28   And they said, “Your servant, our father, is well.  He is yet alive.”  Then they bowed heads, and he lowered his head.

The last word of the verse is normally considered to be plural, therefore missing a final vav, and is regularly translated as and [they] made obeisance.  I disagree with that translation.  I believe the last verb refers to Joseph.  The reason I believe this is revealed by the first words of the next verse, “Then he lifted his eyes ....”

וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת־בִּנְיָמִין אָחִיו בֶּן־אִמֹּו וַיֹּאמֶר הֲזֶה אֲחִיכֶם הַקָּטֹן אֲשֶׁר אֲמַרְתֶּם אֵלָי וַיֹּאמַר  43:29

אֱלֹהִים יָחְנְךָ בְּנִי

Gene. 43:29   Then he lifted his eyes and saw Benjamin, his brother, the son of his mother, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?”  And he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”

וַיְמַהֵר יֹוסֵף כִּי־נִכְמְרוּ רַחֲמָיו אֶל־אָחִיו וַיְבַקֵּשׁ לִבְכֹּות וַיָּבֹא הַחַדְרָה וַיֵּבְךְּ שָׁמָּה  43:30

Gene. 43:30   And Joseph endured, for he yearned in his heart toward his brother, and he needed to weep, so he went into the bedchamber and wept there.

וַיִּרְחַץ פָּנָיו וַיֵּצֵא וַיִּתְאַפַּק וַיֹּאמֶר שִׂימוּ לָחֶם  43:31

Gene. 43:31   Then he washed his face and he contained himself and came out and he said, “Put on bread.”

Here is a typical example of how the Hebrew is sometimes convoluted, the first action being the second mentioned and the second, being the first (see the discussion relating to Gene. 1:5).  The translation above is literal; it says he washed his face, and then contained himself.  It seems much more reasonable to expect Joseph to first contain himself, then wash his face.

וַיָּשִׂימוּ לֹו לְבַדֹּו וְלָהֶם לְבַדָּם וְלַמִּצְרִים הָאֹכְלִים אִתֹּו לְבַדָּם כִּי לֹא יוּכְלוּן הַמִּצְרִים לֶאֱכֹל אֶת־  43:32

הָעִבְרִים לֶחֶם כִּי־תֹועֵבָה הִוא לְמִצְרָיִם

Gene. 43:32   And they put on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, because the Egyptians would not be able to eat bread with the Hebrews, for it was an abomination to Egyptians.

Interesting!  Early on the Egyptians already had reason to dislike the Hebrews, although Joseph, one of them, had rescued the entire nation and the surrounding regions and made a fortune for Pharoah.  How contemporary and ironic!  God had already set up our early ancestors to be the target of anti-Semitism.

וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לְפָנָיו הַבְּכֹר כִּבְכֹרָתֹו וְהַצָּעִיר כִּצְעִרָתֹו וַיִּתְמְהוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ  43:33

Gene. 43:33   And they sat before him, the first born according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth, and the men marveled, each to his neighbor.

וַיִּשָּׂא מַשְׂאֹת מֵאֵת פָּנָיו אֲלֵהֶם וַתֵּרֶב מַשְׂאַת בִּנְיָמִן מִמַּשְׂאֹת כֻּלָּם חָמֵשׁ יָדֹות וַיִּשְׁתּוּ וַיִּשְׁכְּרוּ עִמֹּו  43:34

Gene. 43:34   And portions were carried from before him to them, but the portion of Benjamin was five times larger than the portions of any of them.  And they drank and were merry with him.

Was Joseph still feeling some animosity toward his older brothers?  It would seem so.  How could the youngster eat five times more than his older brothers?  This had to be a show of favoritism most likely only somewhat related to Benjamin’s being his only full brother.

 

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