Genesis 42:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
They said to one another, "Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that's why this distress has come on us."

New Living Translation
Speaking among themselves, they said, "Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn't listen. That's why we're in this trouble."

English Standard Version
Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”

New American Standard Bible
Then they said to one another, "Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us."

King James Bible
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then they said to each other, "Obviously, we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us."

International Standard Version
"We're all guilty because of what we did to our brother!" they told each other. "We kept on watching his suffering while he pleaded with us! We're in this mess because we wouldn't listen!"

NET Bible
They said to one other, "Surely we're being punished because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress has come on us!"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
They said to each other, "We're surely being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw how troubled he was when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we wouldn't listen. That's why we're in trouble now."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

King James 2000 Bible
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

American King James Version
And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he sought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come on us.

American Standard Version
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they talked one to another: We deserve to suffer these things, because we have sinned against our brother, seeing the anguished of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear: therefore is this affliction come upon us.

Darby Bible Translation
Then they said one to another, We are indeed guilty concerning our brother, whose anguish of soul we saw when he besought us, and we did not hearken; therefore this distress is come upon us.

English Revised Version
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

World English Bible
They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn't listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us."

Young's Literal Translation
And they say one unto another, 'Verily we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul, in his making supplication unto us, and we did not hearken: therefore hath this distress come upon us.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

42:21-24 The office of conscience is to bring to mind things long since said and done. When the guilt of this sin of Joseph's brethren was fresh, they made light of it, and sat down to eat bread; but now, long afterward, their consciences accused them of it. See the good of afflictions; they often prove the happy means of awakening conscience, and bringing sin to our remembrance. Also, the evil of guilt as to our brethren. Conscience now reproached them for it. Whenever we think we have wrong done us, we ought to remember the wrong we have done to others. Reuben alone remembered with comfort, that he had done what he could to prevent the mischief. When we share with others in their sufferings, it will be a comfort if we have the testimony of our consciences for us, that we did not share in their evil deeds, but in our places witnessed against them. Joseph retired to weep. Though his reason directed that he should still carry himself as a stranger, because they were not as yet humbled enough, yet natural affection could not but work.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - And they said one to another (Joseph's treatment of them beginning by this time to produce its appropriate and designed result by recalling them to a sense of their former guilt), We are verily guilty - "this is the only acknowledgment of sin in the Book of Genesis" (Inglis) - concerning our brother. They had been guilty of many sins, but the special iniquity of which their reception by the Egyptian governor had reminded them was that which some twenty years before they had perpetrated against their own brother. Indeed the accusation preferred against them that they were spies, the apparent unwillingness of the viceroy to listen to their request for food, and their subsequent incarceration, though innocent of any offence, were all calculated to recall to their recollection successive steps in their inhuman treatment of Joseph. In that (or because) we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us (literally, in his beseeching of us, an incident which the narrator omits to mention; but which the guilty consciences of the brethren remember), and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. The retributive character of their sufferings, which they cannot fail to perceive, they endeavor to express by employing the same word, עָרַח, to describe Joseph's anguish and their distress.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And they said one to another,.... Before they went out of the prison, at least while in the presence of Joseph:

we are verily guilty concerning our brother; meaning Joseph, whom they had sold for a slave, and who they supposed was dead through grief and hard servitude; and now being in trouble themselves, it brings to mind the sin they had been guilty of, which, though committed twenty two years ago, was still fresh in their memories, and lay heavy on their consciences; for length of time neither makes sin less, nor the conscience lighter, when it is revived and charged home upon it, and which was aggravated particularly by the following circumstance:

in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; when in the utmost agony, with trembling limbs, and quivering lips, and floods of tears, as they stripped him of his coat, he most earnestly and importunately requested of them they would not put him into the pit, and leave him there; and in the same manner entreated them they would not put him into the hands of strangers, but restore him alive to his father; but they turned a deaf ear to all his cries and entreaties, and hardened themselves against him:

therefore is this distress come upon us; the same measure that was measured by them to him, was now measured to them again, and they were dealt with according to "lex talionis": they cast Joseph into a pit, and now they were committed to a prison; they would not attend to his cries and tears, and the anguish of his soul did not move their pity, and now he is inexorable to them, and will not at least appear to have any compassion on them, or show pity to them; and perhaps their being dealt with in this similar way brought to their remembrance what they had done.



Genesis 42:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
Joseph's Brothers Sent to Egypt
20and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die." And they did so. 21Then they said to one another, "Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us." 22Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not tell you, 'Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood."…
Cross References
Genesis 37:26
Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?

Genesis 37:27
Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.

Genesis 45:3
Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still living?" But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Genesis 50:15
When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?"

Hosea 5:15
Then I will return to my lair until they have borne their guilt and seek my face-- in their misery they will earnestly seek me."
Treasury of Scripture

And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he sought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come on us.

they said.

Genesis 41:9 Then spoke the chief butler to Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my …

Numbers 32:23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD: …

2 Samuel 12:13 And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan …

1 Kings 17:18 And she said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, O you man of …

Job 33:27,28 He looks on men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that …

Job 34:31,32 Surely it is meet to be said to God, I have borne chastisement, I …

Job 36:8,9 And if they be bound in fetters, and be held in cords of affliction…

Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, …

Matthew 27:3,4 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, …

Mark 9:44,46,48 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched…

Luke 16:28 For I have five brothers; that he may testify to them, lest they …

Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.

we saw.

Genesis 37:23-28 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come to his brothers, that they …

Judges 1:7 And Adonibezek said, Three score and ten kings, having their thumbs …

Proverbs 21:13 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry …

Proverbs 24:11,12 If you forbear to deliver them that are drawn to death, and those …

Proverbs 28:17 A man that does violence to the blood of any person shall flee to …

Jeremiah 2:17,19 Have you not procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken …

Jeremiah 4:18 Your way and your doings have procured these things to you; this …

Jeremiah 34:17 Therefore thus said the LORD; You have not listened to me, in proclaiming …

Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what …

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our …

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; …

this distress.

Proverbs 1:27,28 When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as …

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