Genesis 43:18
And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
43:15-25 Jacob's sons went down the second time into Egypt to buy corn. If we should ever know what a famine of the word means, let us not think it much to travel as far for spiritual food, as they did for bodily food. Joseph's steward had orders from his master to take them to his house. Even this frightened them. Those that are guilty make the worst of every thing. But the steward encouraged them. It appears, from what he said, that by his good master he was brought to the knowledge of the true God, the God of the Hebrews. Religious servants should take all fit occasions to speak of God and his providence, with reverence and seriousness.The invitation into Joseph's house fills the brothers with alarm. "Saw with them Benjamin." This was an unspeakable relief to Joseph, who was afraid that his full brother, also the favorite of his father, might have incurred the envy and persecution of the brothers. "Brought the men to Joseph's house." This he eventually did, but not until after the conference between him and them took place. The men were afraid of a plot to rob them of their liberty and property.18. the men were afraid—Their feelings of awe on entering the stately mansion, unaccustomed as they were to houses at all, their anxiety at the reasons of their being taken there, their solicitude about the restored money, their honest simplicity in communicating their distress to the steward and his assurances of having received their money in "full weight," the offering of their fruit present, which would, as usual, be done with some parade, and the Oriental salutations that passed between their host and them—are all described in a graphic and animated manner. Take us for bondmen, the proper punishment for thieves.

And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house,.... It not being usual, as Jarchi observes, for those that came to buy corn to lodge there, but at an inn in the city:

and they said, because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; to examine and inquire of them how they came to go away without paying for their corn, take up their money again after they had laid it down, and take it away with them, and so were guilty of tricking and defrauding, if not of theft:

that he may seek occasion against us: or "roll on us" (z); cast all the shame on them, and leave the reproach and scandal of it on them:

and fall upon us; with hard words, and severe menaces, if not with blows:

and take us for bondmen, and our asses; imprison them, which was the punishment for fraud and theft, and take their asses as a forfeiture.

(z) "ut devolvat (hoc) in nos", Tigurine version.

And the men were {e} afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.

(e) So the judgment of God weighed on their consciences.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. seek occasion] Heb. roll himself upon us. Cf. Job 30:14. Joseph’s brethren suspect that this act of favour is part of a trap to put them off their guard, and then suddenly seize them on a false charge. Cf. LXX τοῦ συκοφαντῆσαι ἡμᾶς = “to bring false charges against us”; Lat. ut devolvat in nos calumniam. The special mention of the “asses” is a lifelike touch.

Genesis 43:18When the brethren appeared before Joseph, he ordered his steward to take them into the house, and prepare a dinner for them and for him. טבה the original form of the imperative for טבח. But the brethren were alarmed, thinking that they were taken into the house because of the money which returned the first time (השּׁב which came back, they could not imagine how), that he might take them unawares (lit., roll upon them), and fall upon them, and keep them as salves, along with their asses. For the purpose of averting what they dreaded, they approached (Genesis 43:19) the steward and told him, "at the door of the house," before they entered therefore, how, at the first purchase of corn, on opening their sacks, they found the money that had been paid, "every one's money in the mouth of his sack, our money according to its weight," i.e., in full, and had now brought it back, together with some more money to buy corn, and they did not know who had put their money in their sacks (Genesis 43:20-22). The steward, who was initiated into Joseph's plans, replied in a pacifying tone, "Peace be to you (לכם שׁלום is not a form of salutation here, but of encouragement, as in Judges 6:23): fear not; your God and the God of your father has given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me;" and at the same time, to banish all their fear, he brought Simeon out to them. He then conducted them into Joseph's house, and received them in Oriental fashion as the guests of his lord. But, previous to Joseph's arrival, they arranged the present which they had brought with them, as they heard that they were to dine with him.
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