And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he yet alive?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 24:26. "God be gracious unto thee, my son." His kind treatment of Benjamin, on whose presence he had so much insisted, was calculated to reassure the brothers. The latter was born in his thirteenth year, and therefore, he was entitled to assume the paternal style in regard to him. Joseph still appeals with a natural and unconstrained reverence to his own God. "And Joseph hastened away." The little touch of tenderness he had involuntarily thrown into his address to Benjamin, is too much for his feelings, which yearn toward his brother, and he is obliged to retreat to his chamber to conceal his tears and compose his countenance. "They set for him by himself." As the governor, or as connected by affinity with the priestly caste, Joseph does not eat with the other Egyptians. The Egyptians cannot eat with the Hebrews. "That is an abomination to the Mizrites." For the Hebrews partook of the flesh of kine, both male and female.
But Herodotus informs us (ii. 41), that "male kine, if clean, are used by the Egyptians, but the females they are not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to Isis." And he adds that "a native of Egypt will not kiss a Greek, use his knife, his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh cut with a Greek knife." They considered all foreigners unclean, and therefore, refused to eat with them (see Rawlinson's Herodotus on p. q.). They sat in his presence; arranged according to the order of their birth, to their great amazement. Egypt was to them a land of wonders, and Egypt's sultan a man of wonder. "Benjamin's mess." The honored guest was distinguished by a larger or daintier portion of the fare (1 Samuel 9:23-24; Homer, ii. 7,321). A double portion was assigned to the Spartan kings. The fivefold division was prominent in Egyptian affairs Genesis 41:34; Genesis 45:22; Genesis 47:2, Genesis 47:24, Genesis 47:26. "And were merry." They drank freely, so as to be exhilarated, because their cares were dissipated by the kindness they were receiving, the presence of Simon, and the attention paid to Benjamin.
- The Ten Brothers Were Tested
Joseph has had the satisfaction of seeing his brother Benjamin safe and well. He has heard his brothers acknowledging their guilt concerning himself. He resolves to put their attachment to Benjamin, and the genuineness of their change of disposition, to a test that will at the same time expose Benjamin to no hazard.
and said, is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? when they were with him before, and told him they were all the sons of one man, who dwelt in Canaan:
is he yet alive? which he was very desirous of knowing; for, being advanced in years, he might fear he was removed by death in the time between their going and returning.And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. of their welfare] Lit. “as to their peace.”
Is your father well] Lit. “is there peace [to] your father.” 2 Samuel 20:9, “Is it well with thee,” lit. = “Art thou peace, my brother?” Psalm 120:7, “I am [for] peace.” The word shâlôm in these passages is a substantive, i.e. “peace,” “health,” “welfare”: cf. Genesis 29:6, Genesis 37:4.Verse 27. - And he asked them of their welfare (literally, peace), and said, Is your father well (literally, Is there peace to your father?), the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? 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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