(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 20)

those things which, in appearance, are fortuitous, to be directed by the 
hand of God. 
  "Why do ye look one upon another?" Men are said to look one upon 
another, when each is waiting for the other, and, for want of counsel, 
no one dares to attempt anything. Jacob, therefore, censures this 
inactivity of his sons, because none of them endeavors to provide for 
the present necessity. Moses also says that they went into Egypt at the 
command of their father, and even without Benjamin; by which he 
intimates that filial reverence at that time was great; because envy of 
their brother did not prevent them from leaving their wives and 
children, and undertaking a long journey. He also adds, that they came 
in the midst of a great crowd of people; which enhances the fame of 
Joseph; who, while supplying food for all Egypt, and dispensing it by 
measure, till the end of the drought, could also afford assistance to 
neighbouring nations. 
  6. "And Joseph was the governors over the land." Moses connects the 
honour of Joseph with his fidelity and diligence. For although he was 
possessed of supreme authority, he nevertheless submitted to every 
possible laborious service, just as if he had been a hired servant. From 
which example we must learn, that as any one excels in honour, he is 
bound to be the more fully occupied in business; but that they who 
desire to combine leisure with dignity, utterly pervert the sacred order 
of God. Let it be, moreover, understood, that the corn was sold by 
Joseph, not as if he measured it out with his own hands, or himself 
received the money for it, seeing that it was set to sale in many parts 
of the kingdom, and he could scarcely have attended to one single 
storehouse: but that the whole of the stores were under his power. 
  7. "He made himself strange unto them." It may be asked for what 
purpose Joseph thus tormented his brethren with threats and with terror. 
For if he was actuated by a sense of the injury received from them, he 
cannot be acquitted of the desire of revenge. It is, however, probable, 
that he was impelled neither by anger nor a thirst of vengeance, but 
that he was induced by two just causes to act as he did. For he both 
desired to regain his brother Benjamin, and wished to ascertain,--as if 
by putting them to the torture,--what was in their mind, whether they 
repented or not; and, in short, what had been their course of life since 
he had seen them last. For, had he made himself known at the first 
interview, it was to be feared lest they, keeping their father out of 
sight, and wishing to cast a vail over the detestable wickedness which 
they had committed, should only increase it by a new crime. There 
lurked, also, a not unreasonable suspicion concerning his brother 
Benjamin, lest they should attempt something perfidious and cruel 
against him. It was therefore important that they should be more 
thoroughly sifted; so that Joseph, being fully informed of the state of 
his father's house, might take his measures according to circumstances; 
and also, that previous to pardon, some punishment might be inflicted 
which would lead them more carefully to reflect upon the atrocity of 
their crime. For whereas he afterwards showed himself to be placable and 
humane; this did not arise from the fact, that his anger being assuaged, 
he became, by degrees, inclined to compassion; but rather, as Moses 
elsewhere subjoins, that he sought retirement, because he could "no 
longer refrain himself;" herein intimating at the same time, that Joseph 
had forcibly repressed his tears so long as he retained a severe aspect; 
and, therefore, that he had felt throughout the same affection of pity 
towards them. And it appears that a special impulse moved him to this 
whole course of action. For it was no common thing, that Joseph, 
beholding so many authors of his calamities, was neither angry nor 
changed in his manner, nor broke out into reproaches; but was composed 
both in his countenance and his speech, as if he had long meditated at 
leisure, respecting the course he would pursue. But it may be inquired 
again, whether his dissimulation, which was joined with a falsehood, is 
not to be blamed; for we know how pleasing integrity is to God, and how 
strictly he prohibits his own people from deceit and falsehoods. Whether 
God governed his servant by some special movement, to depart without 
fault, from the common rule of action, I know not; seeing that the 
faithful may sometimes piously do things which cannot lawfully be drawn 
into a precedent. Of this, however, in considering the acts of the holy 
fathers, we must always beware; lest they should lead us away from that 
law which the Lord prescribes to all in common. By the general command 
of God, we must all cultivate sincerity. That Joseph feigned something 
different from the truth, affords no pretext to excuse us if we attempt 
anything of the same kind. For, though a liberty granted by privilege 
would be pardoned, yet if any one, relying on a private example, does 
not scruple to subvert the law of God, so as to give himself license to 
do what is therein forbidden, he shall justly suffer the punishment of 
his audacity. And yet I do not think that we ought to be very anxious to 
excuse Joseph, because it is probable that he suffered something from 
human infirmity, which God forgave him; for by Divine mercy alone could 
that dissimulation, which in itself was not without fault, escape 
  9. "And Joseph remembered the dreams." When the boy Joseph had spoken 
of receiving obeisance, the absurdity of the thing impelled his brethren 
wickedly to devise his death. Now, although they bow down to him without 
knowing him, there is yet nothing better for them. Indeed, their only 
means of safety, is to prostrate themselves at his feet, and to be 
received by him as suppliants. Meanwhile, their conspiracy, by which 
they attempted to subvert the celestial decree, lest they should have to 
bear the yoke, was rendered fruitless. So the Lord forcibly restrains 
the obstinate, just as wild and refractory horses are wont to be more 
severely treated, the more they kick and are restive. Wherefore, there 
is nothing better than meekly to compose the mind to gentleness, that 
each may take his own lot contentedly, though it be not very splendid. 
It may, however, seem absurd, that Joseph should, at this time, have 
recalled his dream to mind, as if it had been forgotten through the 
lapse of years; which, indeed, could not be, unless he had lost sight of 
the promises of God. I answer, nothing is here recorded but what 
frequently happens to ourselves: for although the word of God may be 
dwelling in our hearts, yet it does not continually occur to us, but 
rather is sometimes so smothered that it may seem to be extinct, 
especially when faith is oppressed by the darkness of affliction. 
Besides, it is nothing wonderful, if a long series of evils should have 
buried, in a kind of oblivion, his dreams which indicated prosperity. 
God had exalted him, by these dreams, to the hope of great and 
distinguished authority. He is, however, cast into a well not unlike a 
grave. He is taken hence to be sold as a slave; he is carried to a 
distant land; and, as if slavery would not prove sufficiently severe, he 
is shut up in prison. And though his misery is in some degree mitigated, 
when he is released from his iron fetters, yet there was little, if any, 
prospect of deliverance. I do not, however, think that the hope 
entertained by him was entirely destroyed, but that a cloud passed over 
it, which deprived him of the light of comfort. A different kind of 
temptation followed; because nothing is more common than for great and 
unexpected felicity to intoxicate its possessors. And thus it happened, 
as we have recently read, that a forgetfulness of his father's house 
stole over the mind of the holy man. He was not, therefore, so mindful 
of his dreams as he ought to have been. Another excuse may probably be 
alleged; that he, at the moment, compared his dreams with the event. And 
truly it was no common virtue to apply what was passing, thus 
immediately for the confirmation of the Divine oracle. For we readily 
perceive, that those dreams which so quickly recur to the memory, had 
not been obliterated through length of time. So the disciples remembered 
the words of the Lord after he had risen from the dead; because, by the 
sight of the fact predicted, their knowledge became more clear; whereas, 
before, nothing but transient sparks of it had shined in their hearts. 
  15. "By the life of Pharaoh." From this formula of swearing a new 
question is raised; for that which is commanded in the law, that we 
should swear only by the name of God, had already been engraven on the 
hearts of the pious; since nature dictates that this honour is to be 
given to God alone, that men should defer to his judgment, and should 
make him the supreme arbiter and vindicator of faith and truth. If we 
should say that this was not simply an oath, but a kind of obtestation, 
the holy man will be, in some degree, excusable. He who swears by God 
wishes him to interpose in order to inflict punishment on perjury. They 
who swear by their life or by their hand, deposit, as it were, what they 
deem most valuable, as a pledge of their faithfulness. By this method 
the majesty of God is not transferred to mortal man; because it is a 
very different thing to cite him as witness who has the right of taking 
vengeance, and to assert by something most dear to us, that what we say 
is true. So Moses, when he calls heaven and earth to witness, does not 
ascribe deity to them, and thus fabricate a new idol; but, in order that 
higher authority may be given to the law, he declares that there is no 
part of the world which will not cry out before the tribunal of God, 
against the ingratitude of the people, if they reject the doctrine of 
salvation. Notwithstanding, there is, I confess, in this form of 
swearing which Joseph uses, something deserving of censure; for it was a 
profane adulation, among the Egyptians, to swear by the life of the 
king. Just as the Romans swore by the genius of their prince, after they 
had been reduced to such bondage that they made their Caesar equal to 
gods. Certainly this mode of swearing is abhorrent to true piety. Whence 
it may be perceived that nothing is more difficult to the holy servants 
of God than to keep themselves so pure, while conversant with the filth 
of the world, as to contract no spots of defilement from it. Joseph, 
indeed, was never so infected with the corruptions of the court, but 
that he remained a pure worshipped of God: nevertheless we see, that in 
accommodating himself to this depraved custom of speaking, he had 
received some stain. His repetition of the expression shows, that when 
any one has once become accustomed to evil, he becomes exceedingly prone 
to sin again and again. We observe, that they who have once rashly 
assumed the license of swearing, pour forth an oath every third word, 
even when speaking of the most frivolous things. So much the greater 
caution ought we to use, lest any such indulgence should harden us in 
this wicked custom. 
  17. "And he put them altogether into ward." Here, not by words only, 
as before, but by the act itself, Joseph shows himself severe towards 
his brethren, when he shuts them all up in prison, as if about to bring 
them to punishment: and during three days torments them with fear. We 
said a little while ago, that from this act no rule for acting severely 
and rigidly is to be drawn; because it is doubtful whether he acted 
rightly or otherwise. Again, it is to be feared lest they who plead his 
example should be far removed from his mildness, and that they should 
prove to be rather his apes than his true imitators. Meanwhile, it 
plainly appears what he was aiming at; for he does not mitigate their 
punishment, as if at the end of three days he was appeased; but he 
renders them more anxious about the redemption of their brother, whom he 
retains as a hostage. Lest, however, immoderate fear should deter them 
from returning, he promises to act with good faith towards them: and to 
convince them of that, he declares that he fears God, which expression 
is worthy of observation. Doubtless he speaks from the inward feeling of 
his heart, when he declares that he will deal well and truly with them, 
because he fears God. Therefore the commencement and the fountain of 
that good and honest conscience, whereby we cultivate fidelity and 
justice towards men, is the fear of God. There appears indeed some 
probity in the despisers of God; but it soon goes off in smoke, unless 
the depraved affections of the flesh are restrained as with a bridle, by 
the thought that God is to be feared, because he will be the Judge of 
the world. For whoever does not think that he must render an account, 
will never so cultivate integrity as to refrain from pursuing what he 
supposes will be useful to himself. Wherefore, if we wish to be free 
from perfidy, craft, cruelty, and all wicked desire of doing injure, we 
must labour earnestly that religion may flourish among us. For whenever 
we act with want of sincerity or humanity towards each other, impiety 
openly betrays itself. For whatever there is of rectitude or justice in 
the world, Joseph comprised in this short sentence, when he said, that 
he feared God. 
  21. "And they said one to another." This is a remarkable passage, 
showing that the sons of Jacob, when reduced to the greatest straits, 
recall to memory a fratricide committed thirteen years previously. 
Before affliction pressed upon them, they were in a state of torpor. 
Moses relates that, even lately, they had spoken without agitation of 
Joseph's death, as if conscious to themselves of no evil. But now they 
are compelled (so to speak) to enter into their own consciences. We see 
then, how in adversity, God searches and tries men; and how, while 
dissipating all their flattering illusions, he not only pierces their 
minds with secret fear, but extorts a confession which they would gladly 
avoid. And this kind of examination is very necessary for us. Wonderful 
is the hypocrisy of men in covering their evils; and if impunity be 
allowed, their negligence will be increased twofold. Wherefore no remedy 
remains, except that they who give themselves up to slumber when the 
Lord deals gently with them, should be awakened by afflictions and 
punishments. Joseph therefore produced some good effect, when he 

extorted from his brethren the acknowledgment of their sin, in which 
they had securely pleased themselves. And the Lord had compassion on 
them, in taking away the covering with which they had been too long 
deceived. In the same manner, while he daily chastises us by the hand of 
man, he draws us, as guilty, to his tribunal. Nevertheless it would 
profit but little to be tried by adversity, unless he inwardly touched 
the heart; for we see how few reflect on their sins, although admonished 
by most severe punishments; certainly no one comes to this state of mind 
but with reluctance. Wherefore, there is no doubt that God, in order to 
lead the sons of Jacob to repentance, impelled them, as well by the 
secret instinct of his Spirit as by outward chastisement, to become 
sensible of that sin which had been too long concealed. Let the reader 
also observe, that the sons of Jacob did not only fix their minds on 
something which was close at hand, but considered that divine 
punishments were inflicted in various ways upon sinners. And doubtless, 
in order to apprehend the divine judgments, we must extend our views 
afar. Sometimes indeed God, by inflicting present punishment on sinners, 
holds them up for observation as on a theatre; but often, as if aiming 
at another object, he takes vengeance on our sins unexpectedly, and from 
an unseen quarter. If the sons of Jacob had merely looked for some 
present cause of their sufferings, they could have done nothing but 
loudly complain that they had been injured; and at length despair would 
have followed. But while considering how far and wide the providence of 
God extends, looking beyond the occasion immediately before their eyes, 
they ascend to a remote cause. It is, however, doubtful, whether they 
say that they shall be held guilty on account of their brother, or for 
their brother's sake, or that they will themselves confess that they 
have sinned: for the Hebrew noun, "ashaimim" is ambiguous because it 
sometimes refers to the crime committed, and sometimes to the 
punishment, as in Latin, "piaculum" signifies both the crime and the 
expiation. On the whole, it is of little consequence which meaning is 
preferred, for they acknowledge their sin either in its guilt or its 
punishment. But the latter sense appears to me the more simple and 
genuine, that they are deservedly punished because they had been so 
cruel to their brother. 
  "In that we saw the anguish of his soul." They acknowledge that it is 
by the just judgment of God, that they obtained nothing by their 
suppliant entreaties, because they themselves had acted so cruelly 
towards their brother. Christ had not yet uttered the sentence, "With 
what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again," (Matt. 7: 
2,) but it was a dictate of nature, that they who had been cruel to 
others, were unworthy of commiseration. The more heed ought we to take, 
that we prove not deaf to so many threatening of Scripture. Dreadful is 
that denunciation, "Whose stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he 
also shall cry himself, and shall not be heard." (Prov. 21: 13.) 
Therefore while we have time, let us learn to exercise humanity, to 
sympathize with the miserable, and to stretch out our hand for the sake 
of giving assistance. But if at any time it happens that we are treated 
roughly by men, and our prayers are proudly rejected; then, at least, 
let the question occur to us, whether we ourselves have in anything 
acted unkindly towards others; for although it were better to be wise 
beforehand; it is, nevertheless, some advantage, whenever others proudly 
despise us, to reflect whether they with whom we have had to deal, have 
not experienced similar hardships from us. "Our brother," they say, 
"entreated us when he was in the last extremity: we rejected his 
prayers: therefore it is by divine retribution that we can obtain 
nothing." By these words they bear witness that the hearts of men are so 
under Divine government, that they can be inclined to equity, or 
hardened in inflexible rigor. Moreover, their cruelty was hateful to 
God, because, since his goodness is diffused through heaven and earth, 
and his beneficence is extended not only to men, but even to brute 
animals, nothing is more contrary to his nature, than that we should 
cruelly reject those who implore our protection. 
  22. "And Reuben answered them." Because he had attempted to deliver 
Joseph out of the hands of his brethren, in order to restore him in 
safety to his father, he magnifies their fault, in not having, at that 
time, listened to any prudent counsel: and I understand his words as 
conveying a reproof for their too late repentance. Whereas Joseph was 
not yet satisfied with this confession, but retained Simon in bonds, and 
dismissed the rest in suspense and perplexity, this was not done from 
malevolence, but because he was not certain about the safety of his 
brother Benjamin, and the state of his father's house. For he might 
justly fear lest, when they found that their wicked contrivance of 
putting their brother to death, was discovered, they might again attempt 
some horrible crime, as desperate men are wont to do; or, at least, 
might desert their father, and flee to some other country. Nevertheless 
the act of Joseph is not to be drawn into a precedent: because it is not 
always right to be thus austere. We ought also to beware lest the 
offender be swallowed up by grief, if we are not mild, and disposed to 
forgiveness. Therefore we must seek the spirit of discretion from 
heaven, which shall so govern us that we may do nothing by rash 
impetuosity, or immoderate severity. This, indeed, is to be remembered, 
that under the stern countenance of Joseph was concealed not only a mild 
and placid disposition, but the most tender affection. 
  27. "And as one of them opened his sack." With what intention Joseph 
had commanded the price paid for the corn to be secretly deposited in 
the sacks of his brethren, may easily be conjectured; for he feared lest 
his father being already impoverished, would not be able again to buy 
provisions. The brethren, having found their money, knew not where to 
seek the cause; except that, being terrified, they perceived that the 
hand of God was against them. That they were greatly astonished appears 
from their not voluntarily returning to Joseph, in order to prove their 
own innocence: for the remedy of the evil was at hand, if they had not 
been utterly blinded. Wherefore we must ask God to supply us, in 
doubtful and troubled affairs, not only with fortitude, but also with 
prudence. We see also how little can be effected even by a great 
multitude, unless the Lord preside among them. The sons of Jacob ought 
mutually to have exhorted each other, and to have consulted together 
what was necessary to be done: but there is an end to all deliberation; 
no solace nor remedy is suggested. Even while each sees the rest 
agitated, they mutually increase each other's trepidation. Therefore, 
the society and countenance of men will profit us nothing, unless the 
Lord strengthen us from heaven. 
  28. "What is this that God has done unto us?" They do not expostulate 
with God, as if they thought this danger had come upon them without 
cause: but, perceiving that God was angry with them in many ways, they 
deplore their wretchedness. But why do they not rather turn their 
thoughts to Joseph? For the suspicion was natural, that this had been 
done by fraud, because he wished to lay new snares for them. How does it 
happen, then, that losing sight of man, they set God as an avenger 
directly before them? Truly, because this single thought possessed their 
minds, that a just reward, and such as their sins deserved, would be 
given them; and, from that time, they referred whatever evils happened 
to the same cause. Before (as we have said) they were asleep: but from 
the time that they began to be affected by the lively fear of God's 
judgment, his providence always presented itself to their view. So 
David, when, by the inward suggestion of the Spirit, he has learned that 
the rod with which he was chastised had been sent from heaven, is not 
distracted or perplexed, though he sees plainly that the evils have 
proceeded from another quarter; but prays to God to heal the wounds 
which He had made. It is no common act of prudence, and is at the same 
time profitable, whenever any adversity overtakes us, to accustom 
ourselves to the consideration of the judgments of God. We see how 
unbelievers, while they imagine their misfortunes to be accidental, or 
while they are bent on accusing their enemies, only exasperate their 
grief by fretting and raging, and thus cause the anger of God to burn 
the more against them. But he who, in his affliction, exercises himself 
in reflecting on his own sins, and sets God before him as his Judge, 
will humble himself in the divine presence, and will compose his mind to 
patience by the hope of pardon. Let us, however, remember that the 
providence of God is not truly acknowledged, except in connection with 
his justice. Forthough the men by whose hand he chastises us are often 
unjust, yet, in an incomprehensible manner, he executes his judgments 
through them, against which judgments it is not lawful for us either to 
reply or to murmur. For sometimes even the reprobate, though they 
acknowledge themselves to be stricken by the hand of God, yet do not 
cease to complain against him, as Moses teaches us by the example of 
Cain. I do not, however, understand that this complaint was made by the 
sons of Jacob, for the purpose of charging God with tyrannical violence; 
but because they, being overcome with fear, inferred from this double 
punishment that God was highly displeased with them. 
  29. "And they came unto Jacob their father." Here is a long repetition 
of the former history, but it is not superfluous; because Moses wished 
to show how anxiously they made their excuse to their father for having 
left Simon in chains, and how strenuously they pleaded with him, that, 
for the sake of obtaining Simeon's liberty, he should allow them to take 
their brother Benjamin: for this was greatly to the purpose. We know 
what a sharp dart is hunger: and yet, though the only method of 
relieving their want was to fetch corn out of Egypt, Jacob would rather 
that he and his family should perish, than allow Benjamin to accompany 
the rest. What can he mean by thus peremptorily refusing what his sons 
were compelled by necessity to ask, except to show that he was 
suspicious of them? This also more clearly appears from his own words, 
when he imputes his bereavement to them. For, though their declaration, 
that Joseph had been torn by a wild beast, had some colour of 
probability, there still remained in the heart of the holy patriarch a 
secret wound, arising from suspicion; because he was fully aware of 
their fierce and cruel hatred of the innocent youth. Moreover, it is 
useful for us to know this; for it appears hence how miserable was the 
condition of the holy man, whose mind, during thirteen successive years, 
had been tortured with dire anxiety. Besides, his very silence added 
greatly to his torment, because he was compelled to conceal the grief he 
felt. But the chief burden of the evil was the temptation which 
oppressed him, that the promise of God might prove illusory and vain. 
For he had no hope except from the promised seed; but he seemed to be 
bringing up devils at home, from whom a blessing was no more to be 
expected than life from death. He thought Joseph to be dead, Benjamin 
alone remained to him uncorrupted: how could the salvation of the world 
proceed from such a vicious offspring? He must, therefore, have been 
endowed with great constancy, seeing he did not cease to rely upon God; 
and being certainly persuaded that he cherished in his house the Church, 
of which scarcely any appearance was left, he bore with his sons till 
they should repent. Let the faithful now apply this example to 
themselves, lest their minds should give way at the horrible devastation 
which is almost everywhere perceived. 
  35. "As they emptied their sacks." Here, again, it appears how greatly 
they had been alarmed in their journey, seeing that each had not at 
least examined his sack, after money had been found in one. But these 
things are written to show that, as soon as men are smitten with fear, 
they have no particle of wisdom and of soundness of mind, until God 
tranquilizes them. Moreover, Joseph did not act with sufficient 
consideration, in that he occasioned very great grief to his father, 
whose poverty he really intended to relieve. Whence we learn that even 
the most prudent are not always so careful, but that something may flow 
from their acts which they do not wish. 
  36. "Me have ye bereaved." Jacob does not, indeed, openly accuse his 
sons of the crime of their brother's murder; yet he is angry as if, two 
of his sons being already taken away, they were hastening to destroy the 
third. For he says that all these evils were falling on himself alone; 
because he does not think that they were affected as they ought to be, 
nor shared his grief with him, but were carelessly making light of the 
destruction of their brethren, as if they had no interest in their 
lives. It seems, however, exceedingly barbarous that Reuben should offer 
his two sons to his father to be slain, if he did not bring Benjamin 
back. Jacob might, indeed, slay his own grandchildren: what comfort, 
then, could he take in acting cruelly to his own bowels? But this is 
what I before alluded to, that they were suspected of having dealt 
perfidiously towards Joseph; for which reason Reuben deemed it necessary 
to assuage his father's fear, by such a vehement protestation; and to 
give this pledge, that he and his brethren were designing nothing wicked 
against Benjamin. 
  38. "My son shall not go down with you." Again we see, as in a lively 
picture, with what sorrow holy Jacob had been oppressed. He sees his 
whole family famishing: he would rather be torn away from life than from 
his son: whence we gather that he was not iron-hearted: but his patience 
is the more deserving of praise, because he contended with the infirmity 
of the flesh, and did not sink under it. And although Moses does not 
give a rhetorical amplification to his language, we nevertheless easily 
perceive that he was overcome with excessive grief, when he thus 
complained to his sons, "You are too cruel to your father, in taking 
away from me a third son, after I have been plundered of first one and 
then another." 
Chapter XLIII. 
1 And the famine [was] sore in the land. 
2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had 
brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a 
little food. 
3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto 
us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother [be] with you. 
4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee 
5 But if thou wilt not send [him], we will not go down: for the man said 
unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother [be] with you. 
6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye [so] ill with me, [as] to tell the 
man whether ye had yet a brother? 
7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our 
kindred, saying, [Is] your father yet alive? have ye [another] brother? 
and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we 
certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? 
8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we 
will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, 
[and] also our little ones. 
9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I 
bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the 
blame for ever: 
10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second 
11 And their father Israel said unto them, If [it must be] so now, do 
this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry 
down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and 
myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 
12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought 
again in the mouth of your sacks, carry [it] again in your hand; 
peradventure it [was] an oversight: 
13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 
14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away 
your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved [of my children], I 
am bereaved. 
15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their 
hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood 
before Joseph. 
16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his 
house, Bring [these] men home, and slay, and make ready; for [these] men 
shall dine with me at noon. 
17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into 
Joseph's house. 
18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's 
house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our 
sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion 
against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. 
19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they 
communed with him at the door of the house, 
20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 
21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our 
sacks, and, behold, [every] man's money [was] in the mouth of his sack, 
our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 
22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we 
cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 
23 And he said, Peace [be] to you, fear not: your God, and the God of 
your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. 
And he brought Simeon out unto them. 
24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave [them] 
water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 
25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they 
heard that they should eat bread there. 
26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which [was] 
in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. 
27 And he asked them of [their] welfare, and said, [Is] your father 
well, the old man of whom ye spake? [Is] he yet alive? 
28 And they answered, Thy servant our father [is] in good health, he 
[is] yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. 
29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's 
son, and said, [Is] this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? 
And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. 
30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and 
he sought [where] to weep; and he entered into [his] chamber, and wept 
31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and 
said, Set on bread. 
32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and 
for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the 
Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that [is] an 
abomination unto the Egyptians. 
33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, 
and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at 
34 And he took [and sent] messes unto them from before him: but 
Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, 
and were merry with him. 
  1. "And the famine was sore in the land." In this chapter is recorded 
the second journey of the sons of Jacob into Egypt, when the former 
supply of provision had been exhausted. It may, however, here be asked, 
how Jacob could have supported his family, even for a few days, with so 
small a quantity of corn: for, suppose it to be granted that several 
asses were conducted by each of the brethren, what was this to sustain 
three hundred persons? For, since Abraham had a much larger number of 
servants, and mention has been made above of the servants of Isaac; it 
is incredible that Jacob was so entirely destitute, as to have no 
servants left. If we say, that he, being a stranger, had been compelled 
to sell them all, it is but an uncertain guess. It seems to me more 
probable that they lived on acorns, herbs, and roots. For we know that 
the orientals, especially when any necessity urges, are content with 
slender and dry food, and we shall see presently, that, in this scarcity 
of wheat, there was a supply of other food. I suppose, therefore, that 
no more corn had been bought than would suffice to furnish a frugal and 
restricted measure of food for Jacob himself, and for his children and 
grandchildren: and that the food of the servants was otherwise provided 
for. There is, indeed, no doubt that the whole region had been compelled 
to resort to acorns, and fruits of this kind, for food for the servants, 
and that wheat en bread was a luxury belonging to the rich. This was, 
indeed, a severe trial, that holy Jacob, of whom God had engaged to take 
care, should almost perish, with his family, through hunger, and that 
the land of which he was constituted the lord, in order that he might 
there happily enjoy the abundance of all things, should even deny him 

(continued in part 21...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: cvgn2-20.txt