Genesis 43:8
And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) The lad.—Benjamin was now between twenty and thirty years of age. The term “lad” in Judah’s mouth is one of affection, but even in itself it suits very well to a youth of this age. Rebekah (in Genesis 24:16) is called in the Hebrew a lad (see Note there), and so is Shechem in Genesis 34:19. The assertion, therefore, that Benjamin is here represented as a mere boy, is disproved by the use of the word in the Hebrew.

Our little ones.—Heb., our “tafs” that is, our households. (See Note on Genesis 34:29.)

Genesis 43:8. Judah said unto his father — He, on account of his age, prudence, and penitent carriage for his youthful follies, was much beloved and regarded by his father, and, on this occasion, was likely to have the greatest influence in persuading him. Send the lad with me — So he terms him, because he was the youngest of all, though he was now thirty years old, and a father of divers children.

43:1-14 Jacob urges his sons to go and buy a little food; now, in time of dearth, a little must suffice. Judah urges that Benjamin should go with them. It is not against the honour and duty children owe their parents, humbly to advise them, and when needful, to reason with them. Jacob saw the necessity of the case, and yielded. His prudence and justice appeared in three things. 1. He sent back the money they had found in the sack. Honesty obliges us to restore not only that which comes to us by our own fault, but that which comes to us by the mistakes of others. Though we get it by oversight, if we keep it when the oversight is discovered, it is kept by deceit. 2. He sent as much again as they took the time before; the price of corn might be risen, or they might have to pay a ransom for Simeon. 3. He sent a present of such things as the land afforded, and as were scarce in Egypt, balm, and honey, &c. Providence dispenses not its gifts to all alike. But honey and spice will never make up the want of bread-corn. The famine was sore in Canaan, yet they had balm and myrrh, &c. We may live well enough upon plain food, without dainties; but we cannot live upon dainties without plain food. Let us thank God that what is most needful and useful, generally is most cheap and common. Though men value very highly their gold and silver, and the luxuries which are counted the best fruits of every land, yet in a time of famine they willingly barter them for bread. And how little will earthly good things stand us in stead in the day of wrath! How ready should we be to renounce them all, as loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! Our way to prevail with man is by first prevailing with the Lord in fervent prayer. But, Thy will be done, should close every petition for the mercies of this life, or against the afflictions of this life.The famine was severe. The pressure began to be felt more and more. The twelve households had at length consumed all the corn they had purchased, and the famine still pressed heavily upon them. Jacob directs them to return. "And Judah said." Reuben had offended, and could not come forward. Simon and Levi had also grieved their father by the treacherous slaughter of the Shekemites. Judah therefore, speaks. "Is your father yet alive?" "Have ye a brother?" These questions do not come out in the previous narrative, on account of its brevity. But how pointed they are, and how true to Joseph's yearnings! They explain how it was that these particulars came out in the replies of the brothers to Joseph. For the charge of being spies did not call for them in exculpation. Judah now uses all the arguments the case would admit of, to persuade his father to allow Benjamin to go with them. He closes with the emphatic sentence, If I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me have sinned against thee all my days; that is, let me bear the blame, and of course the penalty of having sinned against thee in so tender a point. Both Judah and his father knew that this was a matter that touched the interest of the former very deeply. Reuben was bearing the blame of a grievous sin, and had no hope of the birthright. Simon and Levi were also bearing blame, and, besides, had not the natural right, which belonged only to Reuben. Judah came next, and a failure in securing the safe return of Benjamin might set him also aside. He undertakes to run this risk.2. their father said, … Go again, buy us a little food—It was no easy matter to bring Jacob to agree to the only conditions on which his sons could return to Egypt (Ge 42:15). The necessity of immediately procuring fresh supplies for the maintenance of themselves and their families overcame every other consideration and extorted his consent to Benjamin joining in a journey, which his sons entered on with mingled feelings of hope and anxiety—of hope, because having now complied with the governor's demand to bring down their youngest brother, they flattered themselves that the alleged ground of suspecting them would be removed; and of apprehension that some ill designs were meditated against them. Judah, for his age and prudence, and penitent carriage for his youthful follies, was most beloved and regarded by his father.

The lad; so he calls him, because he was the youngest of all, though he was now thirty years old, and a father of divers children. See Genesis 30:22 35:18 41:46 46:21.

And Judah said unto Israel his father, send the lad with me,

and we will arise and go,.... Directly to Egypt for corn; Judah calls Benjamin a lad, because the youngest brother, and tenderly brought up by his father, who had an affectionate fondness for him as if he had been a child; otherwise he must be thirty two years of age, for he was seven years younger than Joseph, who was now thirty nine years of age; yea, Benjamin must have children of his own, who went with him and his father into Egypt, Genesis 46:21; for the computation of Benjamin's age, see Genesis 30:22,

that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones; he argues, that if they with Benjamin went down to Egypt for corn, there was a possibility, yea, a probability that they would all live, even Benjamin also; but if not, they must all in course die, and Benjamin likewise; and therefore it was most prudent and advisable, for the sake of all their lives, of them and theirs, and for the sake of Benjamin among the rest, for whom Jacob was so particularly concerned, to let him go with them to Egypt for corn, since he must die if they did not go, and he could but die if he did go; and there was great likelihood, if not a certainty, he would not; at least Judah was confident he would not, as appears by what follows.

And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 8-10. - And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me (Benjamin, though styled a lad, must have been at this time upwards of twenty years of age), and we will arise and go; that we may (literally, and we shall) live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him (the verb conveys the idea of changing places with another); of my hand shalt thou require him (vide Genesis 9:5): if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, - the words are even more emphatic than those of Reuben (Genesis 42:37) - then let me bear the blame for ever - literally, and I shall be a sinner (i.e. liable to punishment as a sinner) against the& all the gays (sc. of my life). The thought is elliptical. Judah means that if he does not return with Benjamin he shall both have failed in his promise and be guilty of a dire transgression against his father (cf. 1 Kings 1:21). For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time - literally, these two times. The nobility of character which shines out so conspicuously in Judah's language is afterwards signally illustrated in his pathetic pleading before Joseph, and goes far to countenance the suggestion that a change must have taken place in his inner life since the incidents recorded of him in Genesis 37, and 38. Genesis 43:8He then repeated the only condition on which they would go to Egypt again, referring to the death by famine which threatened them, their father, and their children, and promising that he would himself be surety for the youth (הנּער, Benjamin was twenty-three years old), and saying, that if he did not restore him, he would bear the blame (חטא to be guilty of a sin and stone for it, as in 1 Kings 1:21) his whole life long. He then concluded with the deciding words, "for if we had not delayed, surely we should already have returned a second time."
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