Genesis 42:38
And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which you go, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
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(38) Then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.—Heb., to Sheol (See Note on Genesis 37:35). Jacob, both here and in Genesis 47:9, speaks as one on whom sorrow had pressed very heavily. Always of a timid and affection Ate disposition, he looks onward now without hope, and sees in the future only dangers and ill-fortune. Probably by this time he had lost Leah as well as Rachel, but the blow that had struck him utterly down had evidently been the loss of Joseph, in whom Rachel had still seemed to live on for him. And therefore now he clung the more warmly to Benjamin, and it is plain that the father’s deep sorrow for the loss of the petted son had softened the hearts of his brethren. They have no grudge against Benjamin because he has taken Joseph’s place, but rather seem to share in their father’s feelings, and their hearts were in accordance with what Judah says in Genesis 44:18-34, that any personal suffering would be cheerfully borne by them, rather than to have to undergo the sight of the repetition of such grief as they previously had themselves inflicted.

Genesis 42:38. My son shall not go down with you — Nothing can be more tender than this verse: it melts us while we read it, and is so expressive that it sets the venerable old patriarch full before our eyes. His brother is dead, and he is left alone — He plainly intimates a distrust of them, remembering that he never saw Joseph since he had been with them; therefore Benjamin should not go with them.42:29-38 Here is the report Jacob's sons made to their father. It troubled the good man. Even the bundles of money Joseph returned, in kindness, to his father, frightened him. He laid the fault upon his sons; knowing them, he feared they had provoked the Egyptians, and wrongfully brought home their money. Jacob plainly distrusted his sons, remembering that he never saw Joseph since he had been with them. It is bad with a family, when children behave so ill that their parents know not how to trust them. Jacob gives up Joseph for gone, and Simeon and Benjamin as in danger; and concludes, All these things are against me. It proved otherwise, that all these things were for him, were working together for his good, and the good of his family. We often think that to be against us, which is really for us. We are afflicted in body, estate, name, and in our relations; and think all these things are against us, whereas they are really working for us a weight of glory. Thus does the Lord Jesus conceal himself and his favour, thus he rebukes and chastens those for whom he has purposes of love. By sharp corrections and humbling convictions he will break the stoutness and mar the pride of the heart, and bring to true repentance. Yet before sinners fully know him, or taste that he is gracious, he consults their good, and sustains their souls, to wait for him. May we do thus, never yielding to discouragement, determining to seek no other refuge, and humbling ourselves more and more under his mighty hand. In due time he will answer our petitions, and do for us more than we can expect.Upon emptying the other sacks all the silver turns up, to their great amazement and consternation. Jacob laments the loss of his son. Reuben offers two of his sons to Jacob as pledges for Benjamin, to be slain if he did not bring him back in safety. The sorrowing parent cannot yet bring himself to consent to Benjamin's departure on this hazardous journey. "And ye shall bring down." Jacob either speaks here in the querulous tone of afflicted old age, or he had come to know or suspect that his brothers had some hand in the disappearance of Joseph.

- Joseph and His Eleven Brethren

11. דבשׁ debash, "honey," from the bee, or sirup from the juice of the grape. בטנים bôṭen, "pistachio nuts." שׁקד shâqêd, "almond tree;" related: "awake." The tree is also called לוּז lûz. Some refer the former to the fruit, the latter to the tree.

The eleven brothers are now to bow down before Joseph.

37. Reuben spake, … Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee—This was a thoughtless and unwarrantable condition—one that he never seriously expected his father would accept. It was designed only to give assurance of the greatest care being taken of Benjamin. But unforeseen circumstances might arise to render it impossible for all of them to preserve that young lad (Jas 4:13), and Jacob was much pained by the prospect. Little did he know that God was dealing with him severely, but in kindness (Heb 12:7, 8), and that all those things he thought against Him were working together for his good. He is left alone, to wit of his mother, my dear Rachel. And he said, my son shall not go down with you,.... He gives a peremptory denial; this was his then present resolution and determination:

for his brother is dead; meaning Joseph, Benjamin's own brother by father and mother's side; him he supposed to be dead, such circumstances being related and produced, which made it highly probable, and he had not heard anything of him for twenty two years:

and he is left alone; Benjamin being the only surviving child of his dearly beloved Rachel, as he thought:

if mischief befall him by the way in which ye go; that is, to Egypt, whether by thieves and robbers, or by the fatigue of the journey, or by any means whatever, so that he loses his life. All the Targums interpret this mischief of death:

then shall ye bring down my gray heirs with sorrow to the grave; the sense is, should this be the case he should never lift up his head, or have any more comfort in this world, but should pass his time with continual sorrow until his gray head was laid in the grave, or till he came to the state of the dead.

And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
38. he only is left] i.e. of the sons of Rachel.

mischief] Cf. Genesis 42:4; Exodus 21:22-23.

bring down my gray hairs, &c.] See note on Genesis 37:35; cf. Genesis 44:31. Jacob’s prediction in these passages is probably intended to heighten the contrast presented by the dignity and happiness of his end as recorded in chaps. 48–50.

the grave] Heb. Sheol. See ch. Genesis 37:35.Verse 38. - And he (i.e. Jacob) said, My son shall not go down with you; - not because he could not trust Reuben after the sin described in Genesis 35:22 (Wordsworth), or because he could not assent to Reuben's proposal (Ainsworth), but because of what is next stated - for his brother (i.e. by the same mother, viz., Joseph) is dead (cf. ver. 13; 37:33; 44:28), and he is left alone: - i.e. he alone (of Rachel's children) is left as a survivor - if mischief befall him (literally, and mischief shall befall him) by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye (literally, and ye shall) bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave - Sheol (cf. Genesis 37:35).

On their arrival at home, they told their father all that had occurred.
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