Genesis 42:2
And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
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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.The aged Jacob is the only man of counsel. "Behold, I have heard there is grain in Mizraim:" go down and buy. The ten brothers are sent, and Benjamin, the youngest, is retained, not merely because of his youth, for he was now twenty-four years of age, but because he was the son of his father's old age, the only son of Rachel now with him, and the only full brother of the lost Joseph. "Lest mischief befall him," and so no child of Rachel would be left. "Among those that went." The dearth was widespread in the land of Kenaan.CHAPTER 42

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.

I have heard: this word explains the word saw, Genesis 42:1.

Get you down; for Egypt was lower than Canaan; whence, on the contrary, they are said to go up to Canaan, Genesis 45:9.

That we may live, and not die; an emphatical repetition of the same thing, used here to make them more sensible of their danger.

And he said, behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt,.... This explains what is meant by the phrase he saw, one sense being put for another:

get ye down thither; as fast as you can without delay; Egypt lay lower than Canaan, and therefore they are bid to go down, as when they went from thence to Canaan they are said to go up, Genesis 45:25,

and buy for us from thence, that we may live, and not die; which shows the famine was very pressing, since, unless they could buy corn from Egypt they could not live, but must die.

And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
2. down thither] Egypt being regarded as on the low ground, in comparison with Palestine; cf. Genesis 12:10, Genesis 13:1, Genesis 43:4; Genesis 43:15, Genesis 46:3-4.

Verse 2. - And he said, Behold, I have heard (this does not imply that the rumor had not also reached Jacob's sons, but only that the proposal to visit Egypt did not originate with them) that there is corn - שֶׁבֶר ut supra, σῖτος ( LXX.), triticum (Vulgate) - in Egypt: get you down thither. That Jacob did not, like Abraham (Genesis 12:10)and Isaac (Genesis 26:2), propose to remove his family to Egypt, may be explained either by the length of the journey, which was too great for so large a household, or by the circumstance that the famine prevailed in Egypt as well as Canaan (Gerlach). That he entrusted his sons, and not his servants, with the mission, though perhaps dictated by a sense of its importance (Lawson), was clearly of Divine arrangement for the further accomplishment of the Divine plan concerning Joseph and his brethren. And buy (i.e. buy corn, the verb being a denominative from שֶׁבֶר, corn) for us from thence. From this it is apparent that the hitherto abundant flocks and herds of the patriarchal family had been greatly reduced by the long-continued and severe drought, thus requiring them to obtain food from Egypt, if either any portion of their flocks were to be saved, or themselves to escape starvation, as the patriarch explained to his sons. That we may (literally, and we shall) live, and not die. Genesis 42:2With the words "Why do ye look at one another!" viz., in such a helpless and undecided manner. Jacob exhorted his sons to fetch corn from Egypt, to preserve his family from starvation. Joseph's ten brothers went, as their aged father would not allow his youngest son Benjamin to go with them, for fear that some calamity might befall him (קרא equals קרה, 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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