|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:1-6 Jacob saw the corn his neighbours had bought in Egypt, and brought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied. Shall others get food for their souls, and shall we starve while it is to be had? Having discovered where help is to be had, we should apply for it without delay, without shrinking from labour, or grudging expense, especially as regards our never-dying souls. There is provision in Christ; but we must come to him, and seek it from him.
Verse 1. - Now when Jacob saw - literally, and Jacob saw, i.e. perceived by the preparations of others for buying corn in Egypt (Lange), but more probably learnt by the report which others brought from. Egypt (ver. 2) - that there was corn - שֶׁבֶר, either that which is broken, e.g. ground as in a mill, from שָׁבַר, to break in pieces, to shiver (Gesenius), or that which breaks forth, hence sprouts or geminates, from an unused root, שָׁבַר, to press out, to break forth (Furst), is here employed to denote not simply grain, but a supply of it, frumenti cumulus, for sale and purchase. The LXX. render by πρᾶσις, and the Vulgate by quod alimenta venderentur - in Egypt (vide Genesis 41:54), Jacob (literally, and Jacob) said unto his sons, - using verba non, ut multi volunt, in. crepantis, sed excitantis (Rosenmüller) - Why do ye look one upon another? - i.e. in such a helpless and undecided manner (Keil), which, however, there is no need to regard as springing from a consciousness of guilt (Lange), the language fittingly depicting the aspect and attitude of those who are simply consiii inopes (Rosenmüller).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt,.... That is, to be sold there, or otherwise it being there, unless it could be bought, would have been of no avail to foreigners; wherefore the Septuagint version is, that there was a sale (w) there, a sale of corn; the word has the signification of "breaking" (x) in it, because that bread corn is broke in the mill, or is broken from the heap when sold or distributed, or because when eaten it breaks the fast. Now Jacob had either seen persons passing by with corn, of whom he inquired from whence they had it, who replied, from Egypt; or he understood by the report of others that corn was to be bought there; though some of the Jewish writers would have it, as Jarchi observes, that he saw it by the revelation of the Holy Spirit:
Jacob said unto, his sons, why do ye look one upon another? like persons in surprise, distress and despair, at their wits' end, not knowing what to do, what course to take, and which way to turn themselves, and scarce able to speak to one another, and consult with each other what was proper to be done; for it seems not so agreeable that they should be charged as idle persons, careless and unconcerned, indifferent and inactive; but rather, if the other sense is not acceptable, the meaning may be, "why do ye look?" (y) here and there, in the land of Canaan, where it is to no purpose to look for corn; look where it is to be had.
(w) Sept. "frumentum venale", Schmidt; so Ainsworth, and the Targum of Jonathan. (x) "Fractio", Montanus, Munster, Piscator. (y) "ut quid circumspicitis", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 42:1-38. Journey into Egypt.
1. Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt—learned from common rumor. It is evident from Jacob's language that his own and his sons' families had suffered greatly from the scarcity; and through the increasing severity of the scourge, those men, who had formerly shown both activity and spirit, were sinking into despondency. God would not interpose miraculously when natural means of preservation were within reach.
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