Genesis 43:28
And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) They bowed down.—This was the literal fulfilment of the first dream concerning the eleven sheaves making obeisance. As their business in Egypt was to buy corn, there was a fitness also in their being represented as sheaves.

Genesis 43:28. When they brought him the present, they bowed themselves before him, and again, when they gave him an account of their father’s health, they made obeisance, and called him, Thy servant, our father — Thus were Joseph’s dreams fulfilled more and more; and even the father, by the sons, bowed before him. Probably Jacob had directed them, if they had occasion to speak of him to the man, the lord of the land, to call him his servant.

43:26-34 Observe the great respect Joseph's brethren paid to him. Thus were Joseph's dreams more and more fulfilled. Joseph showed great kindness to them. He treated them nobly; but see here the early distance between Jews and gentiles. In a day of famine, it is enough to be fed; but they were feasted. Their cares and fears were now over, and they ate their bread with joy, reckoning they were upon good terms with the lord of the land. If God accept our works, our present, we have reason to be cheerful. Joseph showed special regard for Benjamin, that he might try whether his brethren would envy him. It must be our rule, to be content with what we have, and not to grieve at what others have. Thus Jesus shows those whom he loves, more and more of their need. He makes them see that he is their only refuge from destruction. He overcomes their unwillingness, and brings them to himself. Then, as he sees good, he gives them some taste of his love, and welcomes them to the provisions of his house, as an earnest of what he further intends for them.They are now entertained by Joseph. They brought the present, and made a lowly obeisance before him. "They bent the head." See 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.

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. Thy servant; by which expression delivered in Jacob’s name, and by his order, Jacob himself made obeisance to him, as was foretold, Genesis 37:9.

And they answered, thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive,.... Which is an answer to both his questions; and by calling their father Joseph's servant, he did obeisance to him in them, as well as by sending a present to him, which they delivered as coming from him his servant; and it is not improbable that Jacob sent his salutation to him as his servant, and so that part of the dream of Joseph's was also fulfilled, which represented the sun doing obeisance to him, Genesis 37:9,

and they bowed their heads, and made obeisance; a second time, as they did, no doubt, at every time they gave answer to Joseph's questions; and this is again observed, to show the full completion of the above dream.

And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 28. - And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. Genesis 43:28Joseph first of all inquired after their own and their father's health (שׁלום first as substantive, then as adjective equals שׁלם Genesis 33:18), whether he was still living; which they answered with thanks in the affirmative, making the deepest bow. His eyes then fell upon Benjamin, the brother by his own mother, and he asked whether this was their youngest brother; but without waiting for their reply, he exclaimed, "God be gracious to thee, my son!" יחנך for יחנך as in Isaiah 30:19 (cf. Ewald, 251d). He addressed him as "my son," in tender and, as it were, paternal affection, and with special regard to his youth. Benjamin was 16 years younger than Joseph, and was quite an infant when Joseph was sold.
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