And we said to my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.
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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.A little one; so they call him comparatively to themselves, who were much elder; and withal, to signify the reason why he came, not with them, because he was young and tender, and unfit for such a journey.
an old man; being one hundred and thirty years of age, Genesis 47:9,
and a child of his old age; who was born when he was near an hundred years of age: and
a little one; not in stature, but in age, being the youngest son, and much younger than they: so they represented him, on that account, and because he was tenderly brought up with his father, and not inured to business and hardship, and so unfit to travel:
and his brother is dead; meaning Joseph: so they thought him to be, having not heard of him for twenty two years or more, and they had so often said he was dead, or suggested as much, that they at length believed he was:
and he alone is left of his mother; the only child left of his mother Rachel:And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. a child of his old age] Cf. Genesis 37:3, where the words are applied to Joseph.
his brother is dead] See Genesis 44:28, Genesis 42:38 (J). According to the J narrative, his brothers thought him dead. In Genesis 42:13 (E) Joseph’s fate is referred to in vaguer terms, “one is not.” This allusion to the “dead” brother in addressing Joseph adds a most effective touch to the story.
of his mother] Lit. “to his mother,” i.e. of Rachel’s children.Genesis 44:14-17. With Judah leading the way, they came into the house to Joseph, and fell down before him begging for mercy. Joseph spoke to them harshly: "What kind of deed is this that ye have done? Did ye not know that such a man as I((a man initiated into the most secret things) would certainly divine this?" נחשׁ augurari. Judah made no attempt at a defence. "What shall we say to my lord? how speak, how clear ourselves? God (Ha-Elohim, the personal God) has found out the wickedness of thy servants (i.e., He is now punishing the crime committed against our brother, cf. Genesis 42:21). Behold, we are my lord's slaves, both we, and he in whose hand the cup was found." But Joseph would punish mildly and justly. The guilty one alone should be his slave; the others might go in peace, i.e., uninjured, to their father.
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