Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
My face, in peace. Joseph had told them they should be considered as spies, if they did not produce their youngest brother. (Menochius)
Asked us. This is perfectly consonant with what they say, chap. xlii. 13, and chap. xliv. 19. They mentioned their having a brother at home, without the smallest suspicion of doing wrong.
The boy; now 24 years old, (Calmet) and the father of a family, chap. xlvi. 21. (Haydock)
For ever. Always lay the blame on me, and punish me as you think fit. (Menochius)
Best fruits: Hebrew literally, "of the praise, or song of the earth;" or of those things for which the country is most renowned, and which are not found in Egypt. (Origen) --- Balm. Literally, rosin, resinæ; but here by that name is meant balm. (Challoner) See chap. xxxvii. 25. --- Honey, or all sorts of sweet fruit. --- Storax: Septuagint, "incense," or perfumes. It is like balm; thick, odoriferous, and medicinal. --- Myrrh, (stactes); Hebrew Lot. A liquor stamped from fresh myrrh pilled, with a little water. (Calmet) --- Sometimes it is translated Gutta, a drop. (Psalm xliv. 9.) (Menochius) --- Turpentine. St. Jerome and the Septuagint seem to have read Bothmin instead of the present Hebrew Batenim, which some translate, "nuts of the pistacium," (Bochart); which hand in clusters, and are of an oblong shape. Vitellius first brought them out of Syria. (Pliny, Natural History xv. 22.) --- Almonds; Septuagint nuts, of which almonds are one species. (Menochius)
Desolate. Hebrew and Septuagint, "Since I am deprived of my children, I am deprived of my children:" I must submit.
Victims: the blood of which was first offered to God, as he had appointed, (chap. xviii. 1; Leviticus xvii. 5.) and the flesh brought upon the table. If idolatry was then common in Egypt, as Calmet supposes, in opposition to Grotius, Joseph did not participate at least in that impiety. --- At noon. This was the time for the chief meal in Egypt. The Hebrews generally took something at this time, and again in the evening. To eat before noon was esteemed a mark of intemperance. (Ecclesiastes x. 16; Acts ii. 15.) Plato thought the people of Italy, who eat two full meals in the day, would never be eminent for wisdom or for prudence. (Atheneus iv. 10.) (Calmet)
We opened. Chap. xlii. 35. They seem to have discovered the whole of their money only when they were in the presence of Jacob; though they had already, perhaps, seen part of it at the inn, and left it in their sacks for the satisfaction of their father. (Haydock)
Your God. To Him we must always refer what advantage we derive from men. He inspired Joseph to give such orders to his steward. --- I have for good. I received it, and was satisfied that it was good: you need not be uneasy; you are not suspected of any fraud. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "Your money came into my hands." (Menochius)
Living. The Samaritan and Septuagint add, "Joseph replied, Blessed be he of God: and bowing themselves," &c. Thus all Joseph's brethren adore him, chap. xxxvii. 7. (Haydock)
Hebrews. "They had the same aversion for all who did not adopt their superstition." (Porphyrius, Abstin. iv.) Herod. ii. 41, says, that would not use a knife which had been in the hands of a Greek, nor kiss him. This aversion arose, from their custom of abstaining from various meats which other nations eat. (Chaldean; &c.) They disliked the Hebrews, because they were also shepherds, chap. xlvi. 34 (Calmet); and because they knew they were accustomed to eat goats, oxen, and sheep, the objects of adoration in Egypt, (Exodus viii. 26): though they were not, probably, served upon Joseph's table. (Tirinus) --- They who dwelt in the towns could not bear even the Egyptian shepherds, because they were of a more stirring and warlike temper. (Calmet) (Cunæus)
They sat. This posture is more ancient than that of lying down at table. The Hebrews adopted the latter, from the Persians, during the captivity, Esther i. 6, and vii. 8. --- We have at least no earlier vestige of this custom in Scripture. (Calmet) --- Very much: as they were placed in that order by the steward. They knew not how he could so exactly discover who was born first, as there was so short an interval between the births of many of them. (Haydock)
Of him. Joseph, the master of the feast, sends a portion to each of his guests, according to the ancient custom. (Plut.[Plutarch,?] Sympos. ii.) --- Five parts: in order to distinguish Benjamin the more. So Hector reproaches Diomed for fleeing before him, though he was placed in the highest place at table among the Greeks, and had the largest portion both of meat and drink. --- Merry. Inebriati sunt, sometimes means intoxicated: but it is not at all probably that Joseph's brethren would indulge in any such excess, while they knew him not, (Calmet) and were under the impressions of fear and wonder. They took what was sufficient, and even decently abundant, with thankfulness for so unexpected an honour. (Haydock) --- The word is often taken in this sense, as at the feast of Cana, where Jesus would never have furnished such an abundance of wine for people already drunk. (John ii. 10; Proverbs xi. 24.) Homer's feasts consist in every man taking what he pleased. (Calmet)