We are all one man's sons; we are true men, your servants are no spies.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)We are all one man’s sons.—Joseph’s brethren had probably expected this accusation, and their answer, as Abravanel points out, is a sound one: for no man would send his whole family on so dangerous an errand. And thus they press their family relations as a proof of their being true, that is, honest, just men, with no evil designs; and Joseph, who was glad in this way to obtain intelligence of his father and Benjamin, finally, after persisting in the accusation until he had learned all he wished to know, accepts their argument as valid.
"They knew not him." Twenty years make a great change in a youth of seventeen. And besides, with his beard and head shaven, his Egyptian attire, his foreign tongue, and his exalted position, who could have recognized the stripling whom, twenty years ago, they had sold as a slave? "Spies are ye." This was to put a color of justice on their detention. To see the nakedness of the land, not its unfortified frontier, which is a more recent idea, but its present impoverishment from the famine. "Sons of one man are we." It was not likely that ten sons of one man would be sent on the hazardous duty of spies. "And behold the youngest is with our father this day." It is intensely interesting to Joseph to hear that his father and full brother are still living. "And one is not." Time has assuaged all their bitter feelings, both of exasperation against Joseph and of remorse for their unbrotherly conduct. This little sentence, however, cannot be uttered by them, or heard by Joseph, without emotion. "By the life of Pharaoh." Joseph speaks in character, and uses an Egyptian asseveration. "Send one of you." This proposal is enough to strike terror into their hearts. The return of one would be a heavy, perhaps a fatal blow to their father. And how can one brave the perils of the way? They cannot bring themselves to concur in this plan. Sooner will they all go to prison, as accordingly they do. Joseph is not without a strong conviction of incumbent duty in all this. He knows he has been put in the position of lord over his brethren in the foreordination of God, and he feels bound to make this authority a reality for their moral good.We are all one man’s sons, and therefore not spies; for it is not likely either that a father would venture so many sons upon so hazardous an employment, or that such a work would have been trusted in the hands of one family only.
We are true men, who honestly and truly mean what we pretend, and have no other design in our coming hither.
we are true men: that spoke truth when they said they came to buy corn; were honest, upright, and sincere in what they said, nor would they, nor durst they, tell a lie:We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. true men] Lit. “straight,” i.e. genuine and above suspicion.Genesis 44:29 as in Genesis 42:38 and Genesis 49:1); and they came "in the midst of the comers," i.e., among others who came from the same necessity, and bowed down before Joseph with their faces to the earth. For he was "the ruler over the land," and had the supreme control of the sale of the corn, so that they were obliged to apply to him. השּׁלּיט seems to have been the standing title which the Shemites gave to Joseph as ruler in Egypt; and from this the later legend of Σάλατις the first king of the Hyksos arose (Josephus c. Ap. i. 14). The only other passages in which the word occurs in the Old Testament are in writings of the captivity or a still later date, and there it is taken from the Chaldee; it belongs, however, not merely to the Aramaean thesaurus, but to the Arabic also, from which it was introduced into the passage before us.
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