|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
43:1-14 Jacob urges his sons to go and buy a little food; now, in time of dearth, a little must suffice. Judah urges that Benjamin should go with them. It is not against the honour and duty children owe their parents, humbly to advise them, and when needful, to reason with them. Jacob saw the necessity of the case, and yielded. His prudence and justice appeared in three things. 1. He sent back the money they had found in the sack. Honesty obliges us to restore not only that which comes to us by our own fault, but that which comes to us by the mistakes of others. Though we get it by oversight, if we keep it when the oversight is discovered, it is kept by deceit. 2. He sent as much again as they took the time before; the price of corn might be risen, or they might have to pay a ransom for Simeon. 3. He sent a present of such things as the land afforded, and as were scarce in Egypt, balm, and honey, &c. Providence dispenses not its gifts to all alike. But honey and spice will never make up the want of bread-corn. The famine was sore in Canaan, yet they had balm and myrrh, &c. We may live well enough upon plain food, without dainties; but we cannot live upon dainties without plain food. Let us thank God that what is most needful and useful, generally is most cheap and common. Though men value very highly their gold and silver, and the luxuries which are counted the best fruits of every land, yet in a time of famine they willingly barter them for bread. And how little will earthly good things stand us in stead in the day of wrath! How ready should we be to renounce them all, as loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! Our way to prevail with man is by first prevailing with the Lord in fervent prayer. But, Thy will be done, should close every petition for the mercies of this life, or against the afflictions of this life.
Verses 1, 2. - And the famine was sore (literally, was heavy) in the land (sc. of Canaan). And it came to pass (how long after the return of Joseph's brethren cannot be determined, as the quantity of grain they brought or the number that partook of it cannot possibly be estimated; but it may be reasonably inferred that several months had elapsed since their arrival at Hebron), when they had eaten up - literally, had finished to eat up, i.e. not nearly (Mercerus, Bush), but entirely consumed - the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, - it is probable that only Jacob's family partook of the Egyptian corn, the slaves supporting themselves on roots, vegetables, and milk (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Gerlach) - their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. What they could buy would be little in proportion to their needs.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the famine was sore in the land. In the land of Canaan; it increased yet more and more: this is observed for the sake of what follows, showing the reason and necessity of Jacob's sons taking a second journey into Egypt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 43:1-14. Preparations for a Second Journey to Egypt.
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