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 there; 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. When the years of scarcity commenced, at the close of the years of plenty, the famine spread over all (the neighbouring) lands; only in Egypt was there bread. As the famine increased in the land, and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, he directed them to Joseph, who "opened all in which was" (bread), i.e., all the granaries, and sold corn (שׁבר, denom. from שׁבר, signifies to trade in corn, to buy and sell corn) to the Egyptians, and (as the writer adds, with a view to what follows) to all the world (כּל־הארץ, Genesis 41:57), that came thither to buy corn, because the famine was great on every hand. - Years of famine have frequently fallen, like this one, upon Egypt, and the neighbouring countries to the north. The cause of this is to be seen in the fact, that the overflowing of the Nile, to which Egypt is indebted for its fertility, is produced by torrents of rain falling in the alpine regions of Abyssinia, which proceed from clouds formed in the Mediterranean and carried thither by the wind; consequently it has a common origin with the rains of Palestine (see the proofs in Hengst. pp. 37ff.).
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