And Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
"And Judah came near unto him." He is going to surrender himself as a slave for life, that Benjamin may go home with his brothers, who are permitted to depart. "Let thy servant now speak a word in the ears of my lord." There is nothing here but respectful calmness of demeanor. "And let not thine anger burn against thy servant." He intuitively feels that the grand vizier is a man of like feelings with himself. He will surmount the distinction of rank, and stand with him on the ground of a common humanity. "For so art thou as Pharaoh." Thou hast power to grant or withhold my request. This forms, the exordium of the speech. Then follows the plea. This consists in a simple statement of the facts, which Judah expects to have its native effect upon a rightly-constituted heart. We will not touch this statement, except to explain two or three expressions. A young lad - a comparative youth. "Let me set mine eyes upon him" - regard him with favor and kindness. "He shall leave his father and he shall die." If he were to leave his father, his father would die. Such is the natural interpretation of these words, as the paternal affection is generally stronger than the filial. "And now let thy servant now abide instead of the lad a servant to my lord." Such is the humble and earnest petition of Judah. He calmly and firmly sacrifices home, family, and birthright, rather than see an aged father die of a broken heart.
- Joseph Made Himself Known to His Brethren
10. גשׁן gôshen, Goshen, Gesem (Arabias related perhaps to גשׁם geshem "rain, shower"), a region on the borders of Egypt and Arabia, near the gulf of Suez.
The appeal of Judah is to Joseph irresistible. The repentance of his brothers, and their attachment to Benjamin, have been demonstrated in the most satisfactory manner. This is all that Joseph sought. It is evident, throughout the whole narrative, that he never aimed at exercising any supremacy over his brothers. As soon as he has obtained an affecting proof of the right disposition of his brothers, he conceals himself no longer. And the speech of Judah, in which, no doubt, his brothers concurred, does equal credit to his head and heart.
for he was yet there; Joseph was yet at his own house, was not as yet gone to the granaries, to look after the affairs of the corn, and the sale and distribution of it, but was waiting for the return of his brethren, which he expected quickly:And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. he was yet there] Joseph had not yet left his official dwelling.
fell before him] The third and last fulfilment of the dreams (Genesis 37:7; Genesis 37:9-10). See Genesis 44:16.Verses 14-17. - And Judah - who is recognized as the leader in this second embassy to Egypt (Genesis 43:8) - and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: - "awaiting, no doubt, the result which he anticipated" (Murphy) - and they fell before him on the ground. The expression indicates a complete prostration of the body. It was a token of their penitence, and a sign that they craved his forgiveness. And Joseph said unto them, - in a speech not of "cruel and haughty irony" (Kalisch), but simply of assumed resentment - What deed is this that we have done! were ye not (or, did you not know?) that such a man as I can certainly divine? - literally, divining can divine (vide on ver. 5). Though Joseph uses this language, and is represented by his steward as possessing a divining cup, there is no reason to suppose that he was in the habit of practicing this heathen superstition. And Judah said (acting throughout this scene as the spokesman of his brethren), What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? (i.e. justify ourselves, or purge ourselves from suspicion). God (literally, the Elohim) hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants (literally, servants to my lord), both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. And he (i.e. Joseph) said, God forbid that I should do so (vide ver. 9): but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father. Thus they were once more tested as to whether they could, as before, callously deliver up their father's favorite, and so bring down the gray hairs of their father to the grave, or would heroically and self-sacrificingly offer their own lives and liberties for his protection (Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange, Murphy, and others). How nobly they stood the test Judah's pathetic supplication reveals.
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