Genesis 44:21
And you said to your servants, Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
44:18-34 Had Joseph been, as Judah supposed him, an utter stranger to the family, he could not but be wrought upon by his powerful reasonings. But neither Jacob nor Benjamin need an intercessor with Joseph; for he himself loved them. Judah's faithful cleaving to Benjamin, now, in his distress, was recompensed long afterwards by the tribe of Benjamin keeping with the tribe of Judah, when the other tribes deserted it. The apostle, when discoursing of the mediation of Christ, observes, that our Lord sprang out of Judah, Heb 7:14; and he not only made intercession for the transgressors, but he became a Surety for them, testifying therein tender concern, both for his Father and for his brethren. Jesus, the great antitype of Joseph, humbles and proves his people, even after they have had some tastes of his loving-kindness. He brings their sins to their remembrance, that they may exercise and show repentance, and feel how much they owe to his mercy."They rent their garments;" the natural token of a sorrow that knows no remedy. "And Judah went." He had pledged himself for the safety of Benjamin to his father. And he was yet there; awaiting no doubt the result which he anticipated. "They fell before him on the earth." It is no longer a bending of the head or bowing of the body, but the posture of deepest humiliation. How deeply that early dream penetrated into the stern reality! "Wot ye not that such a man as I doth certainly divine?" Joseph keeps up the show of resentment for a little longer, and brings out from Judah the most pathetic plea of its kind that ever was uttered. "The God," the great and only God, "hath found out the iniquity of thy servants;" in our dark and treacherous dealing with our brother. "Behold, we are servants to my lord." He resigns himself and all to perpetual bondage, as the doom of a just God upon their still-remembered crime. "He shall be my servant; and ye, go up in peace to your father." Now is the test applied with the nicest adjustment. Now is the moment of agony and suspense to Joseph. Will my brothers prove true? says he within himself. Will Judah prove adequate to the occasion? say we. His pleading with his father augured well.

Verse 18-34

"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.

16-34. Judah said, What shall we say?—This address needs no comment—consisting at first of short, broken sentences, as if, under the overwhelming force of the speaker's emotions, his utterance were choked, it becomes more free and copious by the effort of speaking, as he proceeds. Every word finds its way to the heart; and it may well be imagined that Benjamin, who stood there speechless like a victim about to be laid on the altar, when he heard the magnanimous offer of Judah to submit to slavery for his ransom, would be bound by a lifelong gratitude to his generous brother, a tie that seems to have become hereditary in his tribe. Joseph's behavior must not be viewed from any single point, or in separate parts, but as a whole—a well-thought, deep-laid, closely connected plan; and though some features of it do certainly exhibit an appearance of harshness, yet the pervading principle of his conduct was real, genuine, brotherly kindness. Read in this light, the narrative of the proceedings describes the continuous, though secret, pursuit of one end; and Joseph exhibits, in his management of the scheme, a very high order of intellect, a warm and susceptible heart, united to a judgment that exerted a complete control over his feelings—a happy invention in devising means towards the attainment of his ends and an inflexible adherence to the course, however painful, which prudence required. i.e. See him with my own eyes, and thereby be satisfied of the truth of what you say. Compare Genesis 42:15,16. Elsewhere this phrase signifies to show favour to a person, as Jeremiah 39:12 40:4. But though that was Joseph’s intention, as yet he was minded to conceal it from them. And thou saidst unto thy servants, bring him down unto me,.... Judah does not relate the reason of his order, which was to give proof that they were no spies, but as if Joseph designed to show favour to Benjamin, as undoubtedly he did:

that I may set mine eyes upon him; not barely see him, as Aben Ezra interprets it, though that would be, and was, very desirable by him, and agreeable to him; but he desired to set his eyes upon him, not only for his own pleasure, but for the good of Benjamin, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; he intimated that he should receive him kindly, show favour unto him, and use him well: the Septuagint version is, "and I will take care of him": Joseph's brethren had told him, that Benjamin was at home with their father, who they suggested was afraid to let him go with them, lest evil should befall him; wherefore to encourage him to let him go with them, Joseph promised to take care of him, that no hurt should be done to him, but he should be provided with everything that was proper and necessary; and this Judah improves into an argument with the governor in favour of Benjamin, that since he desired his coming, in order to show him a kindness, he hoped he would not detain him, and make a slave of him.

And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. that I may … upon him] The phrase probably means something more than merely seeing Benjamin. It may indicate favourable protection, as in Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:15.Result of the Test. - 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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