The work of God upon the hearts of Joseph's brethren is only begun. Joseph himself is the instrument of God and knows himself to be at work in such a capacity. So far the brothers are ready to use selfaccusations; they admit that a just retribution befalls the sinner. They have not, however, consciously broken with their sin, nor has it actually been overcome. They have not yet become regenerate men. The last steps in this work of restoration come in this and in the following chapters.
1-5. But as far as the famine was concerned, it was severe in the land. And it came to pass when they had entirely eaten up the grain which they brought from Egypt, that their father said to them: Buy a bit of food for us again. But Judah said to him: The man strictly admonished us, saying, Ye shall not appear before me except your brother be with you. So if thou art sending our brother along with us, we shall go down and buy food for thee. But if thou art not sending him, we shall not go down. For the man said to us, Ye shall not appear before me except your brother be with you.
By putting the noun hara'abh first, the author turns attention back to the famine. Its effects were beginning to be felt heavily; kabhedh is a very emphatic "be heavy" or "severe." "When they had entirely eaten up" is our way of rendering the Hebrew idiom: "when they had finished to eat," where killû is the chief verb and 'ekhol an infinitive, yet the chief verb is best rendered by the adverb "entirely." The same construction appears in "buy again," where "again" is practically the chief verb "return" (G. K.102 g; K. S.361 m). We have no means of knowing how long it took till their grain was "entirely eaten up." A few months would seem to be the limit even with the utmost of stinting. The father's request speaks of "a bit (me'at) of food," because Egypt was selling only in very limited quantities, and, besides, in any case, no matter what amount was secured, it was only "a bit" in comparison with the enormity of the need.
3. Judah functions as spokesman. That others may have contributed their bit to the discussion is not excluded. Several substantial reasons may be advanced why Judah stands in the forefront. The negative aspect of the case is this: Reuben had forfeited his pre-eminence by incest (Ge 35:22); Simeon was incarcerated; Levi had displayed cruel bloodthirstiness (Ge 34:25). On the positive side several factors put Judah in the forefront. He was relatively innocent of disposing of Joseph. (Ge 37:26). Besides, he seems to have grown in solidity of character since his sin of incest, unwittingly committed (ch. Ge 38). For that matter, he seems, to have had the makings of a really strong and resolute character, ready to act in an emergency, more than did the others. But for all his firmness in dealing with the present situation he displays proper respect for his aged father throughout. For even the summons, "Buy a bit of food for us," contains an evasion. The father was reluctant to face the issue (Ge 42:34, 38). He knew that Benjamin had to go along. Yet he had vowed that Benjamin must stay home. Now he tries to send the rest without the youngest -- a natural evasion. such as we poor humans often resort to when an unpleasant situation is encountered. Judah had rightly gathered from the tenor of Joseph's demand that he was not to be trifled with. He expressed this, "admonishing he admonished us" or "strictly admonished," the usual construction of reinforcing the verbal idea by the infinitive absolute ha'edh he'idh, literally "testifying he testified," from 'ûdh. The stern Joseph is evasively referred to as "the man." "Ye shall not appear before me" runs thus in Hebrew: "Ye shall not see my face." The ultimatum has to be reckoned with: "If thou art sending our brother along (meshalléach -- Piel), we shall go down; if not, we shall not go down." This makes the situation hard for the father, but no harder than it actually is. Judah is actually helping Jacob to make an inevitable decision.
6-10. And Israel said: Why have ye dealt so ill with me as to tell the man that you had another brother? And they said: The man closely questioned us about our family, saying: Is your father still alive? Have you a brother? and so we told him the facts of the case. Could we know in any way that he would say: Bring your brother down? But Judah in particular said to Israel, his father: Let the lad go along with me, and let us be up and going, that we may keep alive and not die, both we, and thou, and our families. I personally will go bond for him. Demand him at my hand. If I do not bring him back to thee and set him before thy face, I shall count as guilty before thee forever. For if we had not procrastinated so long, surely by this time we could have returned at least twice.
The name Israel appears here for the first time since chapter 37. Critics claims that as an index of different sources, attributing the name to J. However, this results in a very arbitrary division, especially in chapter 45. The simplest explanation of the use of the two names Jacob and Israel seems to be; where Jacob is used the man is represented as characterized more by his older nature which overlooked his theocratic destiny; and when Israel is used the man is represented as actually acting in the consciousness of his higher calling. For "Jacob" this surely holds good in Ge 42:29-38. The true "Israel" speaks in Ge 43:1-13; also in Ge 45:28. But before the news of Joseph revived him Ge 45:25-27 he thought in terms of "Jacob." The complaint: "Why have ye dealt so ill with me as to tell the man?" is a bit fretful. Israel seems to feel that the family was unduly endangered by incautious remarks. In lehaggîdh the le of relation or sphere (K. S.402 z) is used.
7. Now several brothers take part in the conversation -- wayyo'merû, "and they said." A comparison with Ge 42:13 would suggest that they had volunteered the information given about their family. However, Ge 44:19 confirms the correctness of this seventh verse. Consequently 42:13 is more in the nature of an inexact account such as all men frequently give before the issues are clearly defined. For, without a doubt, much more was said in the course of the conversation than the few words recorded, which in a summary way indicate the major points touched upon. What we have rendered very loosely, "the facts of the case," reads in Hebrew: "according to the measure (literally, mouth) of these things." Again the absolute infinitive figures in, "Could we know in any way?" for the Hebrew has: "knowing could we know?" -- nedha' -- from yadha' -- being an imperfect used potentially: not "will we know?" but "could we know?" (K. S.187; G. K.107 t). "Questioned us closely" also involves an absolute infinitive.
8. We translate wayyo'mer jehûdhah, "Judah in particular said," because this verse stands in contrast with the preceding where they all spoke. It is good to observe that here the Kal imperative is used (emphatic form) shilchah; above in v.5 the Piel appeared, meshalléach. The Kal is the weaker stem and does not imply so much a sending away as a letting go: "Let the lad go along with me" -- and so the statement leaves more room for the idea of a return (K. C.). Sturdy resolution speaks forth in the words, "let us be up and going" -- literally: "let us arise and let us go." The reference to possible death is not ill-timed, for death by starvation must have claimed many victims in those days. We feel that "we, and those, and our families" really constitutes a climactic statement, especially since the tappénû is not "our families" but really "our little ones." But no doubt, since children constituted the major part of the families, the term is used by synecdoche for the whole group.
9. The initial 'anokhi bears the emphasis, "I personally." In the strongest possible terms Judah pledges himself to do everything humanly possible to guarantee a safe return of the young man. For though in v.8 he is called na'ar, youth or "lad," he must have been easily twenty-one years of age. But the other brothers are so much older that he seems young by contrast. The verb arabh means to "go surety" or "bond" or "to pledge oneself." Again chata'nî is rather, "I shall count as guilty," than, "I shall sin." Judah's proposition is not so extravagant as Reuben's was Ge 42:37, and so is calculated to awaken more confidence. Judah closes his strong plea with the practical observation: But for this unnecessary delay the trip could have been made twice over by this time. Delay increases the suffering and mends nothing.
11-14. And Israel, their father, said to them: If that be the case, then do this: take of the choice fruits of the land in your receptacles and take a present down for the man, a little balm, and a little honey, gum, laudanum, pistachio nuts and almonds; and take some more money along, and also the money that was restored in the opening of your sacks, take it back with you; perhaps there was some mistake. Then take your brother, start out and return to the man. And may God Almighty grant you to find favour before the man and restore to you your other brother and Benjamin. But as for me, as I was childless, so have I become childless again.
Throughout this entire discussion are heard frequent references to "the man" -- the ominous individual whose name they scarcely dare mention. Judah has summarized the issues very correctly. By so doing he has helped Israel to see the whole situation in the proper light, so that he finally says: 'im ken, ie., "if so," namely: "if that be the case." The unavoidable must be met. But a bit of careful foresight is still in place. He who once sought to placate Esau's wrath by a gift (Ge 32:13 ff) now orders a gift prepared for "the man." At best the gift must have been meagre, "a little balm, a little honey." Yet when grains do not grow, a few other delicacies may still subsist meagrely. These are described as "the choice fruits of the land," zimrath ha'arets, a term that has been much discussed. For the word zimrah may mean "music" or "praise" and so the thing praised or "choice fruits." The majority of scholars seem to interpret the term thus, as did in a way the old Greek translators, who used carpoi, "fruits." It seems as though some of the gifts sent were not indigenous to Egypt, like pistachio nuts and almonds. Consequently some conclude that "honey" must refer not to bee honey, which is found in Egypt but to grape honey, boiled down from fresh grape juice to the consistency of syrup, a product of which Delitzsch reported that 300 camels' burden of it still was being exported annually to Egypt from Hebron in his day. "Balm," "gum" and "laudanum" were discussed Ge 37:25. Besides, they were to take "more money" along. Késeph mishneh may mean "double money." But since the original money is mentioned besides, it seems to mean only "other money" (so K. W., sub mishneh). We simply say "more money." The manner of referring to "the money that was restored" indicates that it has been kept intact in its original bundles, a kind of unlucky coin which no one cared to use. The simplest explanation to be devised for the present is: "perhaps there was some mistake."
13. The word order puts "brother" first with an emphasis of about this sort: "And as far as your brother is concerned, take him." Seeing clearly that Benjamin must go, Jacob reaches a quick decision and settles the case that was so long pending. Of course, qûmû means "arise," but usually its implication is to address one's self to a task. We therefore· translate: "Start out."
14. "God Almighty" ('el shadday), Who was the covenant God of Abraham, is besought to afford the protection that human agencies cannot give. Note the faith of the man Jacob. He certainly tried to exhaust every human expedient before he exposed Benjamin to the dangers of the journey. Then he committed the issues into God's hand. Nor has he a limited and an unworthy conception of God. The term employed suggests the unlimited power of God. Nor is his God a local, tribal deity; He has power to control the hearts of men anywhere, and if it so please the Almighty, He will make the hearts of the unfriendly to be favourably disposed to God's people and will induce them to cancel their harsh deeds. Jacob's words at this point are not a timid wish but a powerful benediction spoken in faith. The adjective "other" after "brother" is without the article after a definite noun -- a construction often used with numerals after a definite noun (K. S.334 w).
Israel's benediction and the spirit in which it was spoken indicate the character of the words that follow. They are not a weak complaint but a word of grief spoken in the spirit of faith. The King James Version makes it too much a word of resignation: "If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved." Besides, "be bereaved" would require an imperfect rather than the perfect shakhólti. Luther's translation makes it too much a word of bitter complaint: Ich aber muss sein wie einer, der seiner Kinder gar beraubet ist:" I must be as one who is spoiled of all his children." This rendering, too, clashes with the perfect. As a matter of fact, the perfect suggests: "As I was childless, so have I become childless again" -- the second perfect shakhßlti being a perfect of result, perfectum resultativum (K. S.127a). The thought is: not so many years ago I was a childless man, now I have practically again become such a one. The extreme hyperbole of grief expresses thus the thought: I am rapidly losing my children one after another. Extreme as the utterance is, being coupled with faith, it means: if it so please God, so let it be. Similar thoughts are similarly expressed in Es 4:16; 2Ki 7:4.
15-17. And the men took such a gift, and twice as much money, did they take along with them, and Benjamin. Then they started out and went down to Egypt and stood in Joseph's presence. And Joseph saw Benjamin with them and he said to the man who was over his house: Bring the men down to the house, slay a beast and prepare it; for the men are to eat with me at noon. And the man did as Joseph had said, and the man brought these men to Joseph's house.
The narrative moves along in the stately lapidary style of the Scriptures. Three things are taken along: "this gift" (hamminchah hazzo'th) or as we should say: "such a gift." Then "twice as much money" -- literally: "the double in respect to money" (késeph being an accusative of specification). The verb "take" is repeated for this second object to make this item stand out prominently. Thirdly, since the father's permission had been secured, they took Benjamin. We see the apprehensive group get under way and "go down" to the lower lying country of Egypt. And there we meet them in the presence of the man who had engaged their waking thoughts for the past months. Apprehensiveness is written in every man's face.
16. A multitude of issues are settled for Joseph the moment he sees Benjamin. The brothers have not ventured to do anything to his younger brother like what they did to him. Besides, all that the brothers had said on this matter bore the stamp of veracity. The time for Joseph to rejoice, at least over this fact, is at hand. Without a moment's hesitation and glad beyond measure to see his only maternal brother in the flesh, Joseph gives orders "to the man who was over his house," i. e., his stewart, to "bring these men down to the house, slay a beast and prepare it" Joseph's explanation is: "The men are to eat with me at noon." A great man such as Joseph is does not stand under obligation to his subordinates to account for the seemingly unusual things that he does. For one in Joseph's exalted position to select a group of foreigners for such an honour for no apparent reason must have seemed passing strange. The respect Joseph enjoyed is displayed most significantly in his servant's attitude: He "did as Joseph had said," and "the man brought these men (both nouns repeated, instead of pronouns, used to make the contrast the stronger: Joseph's steward was a man of influential position) to Joseph's house."
Here the question is usually discussed about Joseph's eating meat, though he lived like a typical Egyptian. The assumption usually is that since so many animals were sacred in Egypt, the natives ate no meat. It is known from Herodotus that Egyptians so abhorred things foreign, that priests, at least, ate and drank nothing that was imported, nor would they use utensils for eating that had been used by Greeks. Wilkinson, quoted by Whitelaw, informs us that "beef and goose constituted the principal part of the animal food throughout Egypt"; also that the monuments indicate that "a considerable quantity of meat was served up at those repasts to which strangers were invited." So we need not fear that any inaccuracy lurks in the command to "slay a beast." "Noon" (tsohorßyim) is a dual because it marks the point where the day divides itself into two halves, the noon really extending into both.
18-22. And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house and they said: It is because of the matter of the money that came back to our sacks the first time that we are being brought, that one may roll himself upon us and cast himself upon us and take us for slaves and our asses. And they approached the man who was over Joseph's house and they spoke with him at the door of the house, saying: Oh please, dear sir, we merely came down the first time to purchase grain. And it happened when we came to the lodgingplace and opened our sacks, that, lo, each man's money was found in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight; and we brought it back with us. And other money have we brought down with us to buy food. We do not know who placed our money in our sacks.
It has been rightly remarked that Joseph first confused his brethren by his severity, then by his gracious invitation (Procksch). Who could interpret such a complete reversal of attitude? Naturally the men construe the invitation to be something in the nature of a judicial summons and tie it up in their thoughts with the returned money. As vaguely as possible they speak of it as the money "that came back to our sacks." For shabh, the participle, is to be construed actively, "came back," not "was returned" (A. V., also K. S.97). This vague expression, without necessarily involving superstitious notions, indicates their perplexity; they feel there is something mysterious about it all -- but also something ominous. This will furnish occasion for "one (Joseph is implied) to roll himself upon" them and "to cast himself upon" them, expressions indicative of their apprehension of being overwhelmed by a calamity which is in the last analysis "that man." Since a provision of the Mosaic law (Ex 22:3) provides that thieves be sold as bondmen, it is quite likely that such a provision prevailed at an earlier date; and this led the brothers to conclude that they would be impounded as "slaves," and also their "asses," they add with a mournful pessimism that visualizes the worst.
19. Before they ever get into the house, which appears to them as a trap, they approach the steward "at the door (adverbial accusative -- péthach habbßyith) of the house." They plead their case very humbly: "oh please, dear sir" -- 'adhonî -- "my lord" in the sense of our "dear sir." "Coming down we came down," yarodh yarßdhnû, here gives a meaning like "we merely came down" or "indeed we came down." Here they condense the narrative without anything remotely like falsification, for when they claim that they opened their sacks at the lodgingplace, they mean only that their sacks were not opened until they were too far removed from Egypt to return and to restore the money. "Sacks" is a categorical plural. It is to be observed in their report of things, whether made at home or before Egyptians, that these men are always strictly honest, a thing that certainly turned out very decidedly in their favour. "Our money in full weight" is really our money "according to its weight" (bemishqalô). This suggests that in these early days before the coinage of money "silver" (késeph -- usually translated "money" because silver was the metal most used for such purposes) was weighed and apparently circulated as small bits, rings, bars and the like. The brothers express their readiness to restore this mysterious money as well as to pay for what they purpose to buy afresh, and they rightly say they cannot tell "who placed the money" in their sacks. Joseph's steward, no doubt informed as to that part of the situation, could check on the correctness of this last statement. Wanniphtechah (v.21) is one of those rarer forms where an imperfect with waw conversive has an "ah hortative" (yaktul gravatum, K. S.200), which ending has completely lost its force.
23-25. And he said: Be at ease; do not be afraid; your and your father's God has given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came into my hands. Then he brought Simeon out to them. And the man brought these men into Joseph's house; and he gave them water to wash their feet; and he gave them fodder for their asses. And they prepared the gift against Joseph's coming at noon; for they had heard that they were to have their meal there.
The double mention of the steward's bringing these men to Joseph's house found in Ge 43:17b and Ge 43:24 a is not an indication of how two literary sources merged, as even Koenig unnecessarily concedes. A fine point of realism is lost by such an interpretation. It is far more to the point to construe the statement of v.17 as marking the beginning of the steward's work along this line: he begins to escort the strangers towards his master's house. But they make a definite halt at the door, and only after their problem has been adjusted can the steward lead the men indoors: "he brought these men in." Such obvious and natural interpretations escape the critics because of their confusing source analysis.
"Be at ease" (the Hebrew, "Peace be with you") is a good rendering of Meek's. It shows that this expression sometimes has no deeper implications. Here it might actually be rendered: "Everything is all right." The steward has perhaps copied the more godly forms of speech of his master, or else he has caught his master's piety when he ascribes the return of the money to God. The Hebrew expression does not allow for a polytheistic interpretation of the expression "your God and the God of your father" (A. V.). Therefore we have translated, "your and your father's God." The Hebrew does not like to extend the construct relationship over a succession of nouns as K. S.276a explains; but rather prefers to repeat the first noun, viz., "the God of you and the God of your father," The steward calls the money a "treasure," i. e., "a buried thing." This answer or reassurance, is given to the brothers outside the door. Further to increase their confidence Simeon is restored to them. Then they are led indoors and treated as honoured guests, being provided with water for the washing of their feet. In fact, even their asses are provided with fodder. Then they make ready their gift, which their father had suggested, "against Joseph's coming at noon." For by this time it has come to their ears that they were "to have their meal there," -- Hebrew idiom: "eat bread there." It seems the Egyptian custom was to have the more substantial meal at noon; the Hebrew custom, at evening.
26-31. Then Joseph came home, and they presented to him the gift which was in their hand, bringing it into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground· And he inquired after their well-being, and he said: Is your father well? the old man of whom ye told me; is he yet alive? And they said: Thy servant, our father, is well; he is yet alive. And they did obeisance and bowed down. And he raised his eyes and saw Benjamin, his brother, the son of his mother, and he said: is this your youngest brother of whom ye told me? And he said: God be gracious to thee, my son. And Joseph hurriedly sought a place to weep, for his feelings were stirred at the sight of his brother; and he went into an inner room and wept there. Then he washed his face and came back and kept himself under control, and said: Serve the meal.
Joseph, the busy food administrator, cannot be home before noon. When he arrives, they present their gift first. Nothing is said as to how Joseph received it. Apparently, Joseph knew that he had to take care to keep himself well in hand. To take too much note even of so small a thing as this gift might have caused him to lose his cool reserve. The expression in reference to the gift which was "in their hand" we have translated previously where it occurred in the chapter (v. Ge 43:12 and v. Ge 43:15) merely as "along" or "along with them," for the idea certainly was not that the money was to be carried all the way "in their hand" (beyedhkhem). But here (v.26) the expression could be translated literally. The pregnant construction "to the house" (habbayethah) means "bringing it into the house." Again the dream of chapter 37 is manifestly fulfilled as "they bowed down before him to the ground;" the customary gesture of oriental respect. Joseph, no doubt, made his inquiries as casual as possible. First he inquires after their own "wellbeing" -- Hebrew: "peace," shalôm. So as not to make the inquiry concerning the father appear too pointed he adds, "the old man of whom ye told me." Deep attachment dictated the solicitude of the question, "is he well; is he yet alive?" The sons reply with the courteous idiom of their day, designating their father, as they do themselves, as Joseph's "servant"; and they acknowledge the courtesy of the inquiry by "doing obeisance" (yiqqedhû from qadhad) and by "bowing down" (yishtachawû) -- a pair of words often appearing together.
29. The next step comes naturally. Next to his father, Benjamin is the object of Joseph's concern. The greater length at which the meeting with Benjamin is dwelt upon shows the importance of this meeting to Joseph; for Benjamin is in a stronger sense "his brother," for he is "the son of his mother." All this must have run strongly through Joseph's feelings at the sight of his brother, who was perhaps a year old when Joseph last saw him and now was a young man of twenty-two years. Joseph dare not admit that he really knows him, and so he inquires as a stranger might. Throughout the interview thus far Joseph has very correctly played the part of the high-standing Egyptian lord: he has not troubled to acknowledge their gift; now he does not wait for an answer to his question. But his deeper feelings at this point break into utterance in the brief but touching: "God be gracious to thee, my son." "Son" is quite permissible because of the prominent difference in age. Besides, it is a part of Joseph's disguise. Yechonkha, imperfect optative from chanan, the "o" having receded into the first syllable before the suffix. Till now Joseph's self-control has been admirable. We do not at all wonder that he now "hurriedly yema (h) her -- translated as an adverb, being auxiliary to sought' sought a place to weep." Nikhmerû literally means "to grow warm," here "were stirred." The final shammah apparently gets its "ah locative" by attraction to the ah of hachchadhrah (K. S.330 h). The interruption dare not be long if Joseph is to play his role successfully. He washes his face, indicating that he must have wept rather freely, returns, keeps himself under control, and bids the meal be served -- Hebrew: "set on bread." The dagesh in 'aleph of yabhî'û v.26 marks the 'aleph as not having lost its natural Hebrew character of a smooth breathing and as not having become like double "y" between two vowels as is the case in the Aramaic.
32-34. And they served him alone and them alone, and the Egyptians eating with him alone; for the Egyptians cannot eat a meal together with Hebrews; for that would be an abomination to the Egyptians. And they were seated before him according to age, the eldest first, the youngest last; and the men looked at one another in astonishment. And he provided portions for them from his own table, and Benjamin's portion was five times as great as the portion of all the rest of them. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
The exclusiveness of the Egyptians over against foreigners is well known, especially the exclusiveness of the priests. It would hardly have done for Joseph to incur Egyptian displeasure by flagrant disregard of custom. So everything proceeds in approved fashion. He, who belongs to the priestly cast, is served alone. So are his brothers. So are his Egyptian guests. All caste distinctions are thus faithfully upheld. Egyptians regarded eating together with foreigners as tô'ebhah, "an abomination" -- (Meek good: "abhorrent"). Here Joseph again introduces a touch of mystery which, as Keil says, "necessarily impressed them with the idea that this great man had been supernaturally enlightened as to their family affairs." How could they think otherwise? They had never revealed a thing about the matter to anyone in Egypt, and here they sit, accurately arranged according to age. They cannot, but "look at one another in astonishment" -- Hebrew: "they were astonished, a man toward his fellow" -- pregnant construction of 'el. The phrase lephanay can hardly mean "according to his judgment," as K. C. strangely translates. They actually sat before Joseph -- "before him" -- so that he could in a measure feast his eyes upon them, but perhaps primarily for the purpose of keeping their unusual Egyptian patron distinctly before their eyes.
34. Now Joseph does something that provides a further test of the brethren. He purposely shows preference for Benjamin. Had the same feeling prevailed over against Benjamin that had once animated them over against Joseph, such preference would have stirred resentment that could hardly have been kept under cover. But they meet the test successfully. Even when the more generous use of wine has removed the restraint from their tongues, the men still ring true. The distinction conferred on Benjamin was "portions" of honour from Joseph's table, five "portions" to the one received by every other brother. Mas'ah is a noun derived from the root nasa', "to lift up," by prefixing an "m." Such gifts, not required to be eaten but to be regarded as honorary distinctions, have their parallels in antiquity, as Dillmann shows, quoting Knobel. Spartan kings always received a double portion; Cretan archons a quadruple portion. However, among the Egyptians five was a number enjoying a special distinction. Shakhar, the last verb, sometimes means to become drunk, but apparently the milder meaning prevails here: they "drank freely."
The chapter is assigned by critics to J with the possible exception of about v. Ge 43:12-15, or Ge 43:16, 23 b. But the arbitrary distinctions made offer no new problem here and have been answered by us above.
There is hardly any danger that this chapter will ever fall into neglect in the Church, for all children hear the substance of it and readily remember it. As a whole or in its various parts the chapter is so intimately bound up with the unravelling of the knot of the plot of the Joseph story that there is very little about it that suggests itself for use as a sermon text. Every part is so clear in itself that, should any man take a portion of the chapter as a text, he should have no difficulty about the treatment of it.