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dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land you are come. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land you are come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies. . Hereby he shall be proved ; by the life of Pharaoh, ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you ; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely ye are spies. And be put them all together into ward three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live : for I fear God. If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison go ye, carry corn for the flmine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me: so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. An they said one to another, We are verily guilty coneerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not in against the child; and ye -- would would not hear? therefore behold also his blood is required. And they knew not that Joseph understood them ; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and wept ; and returned to them again, and communed with them and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack: and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money : for behold it was in his sack's mouth. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored: and lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that Goo hath done unto us 2 - And they came unto Jacob their father, unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befel unto them, saying. The man who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies. We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men ; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your housholds, and be gone. - 2. And bring your youngest brother unto ... me; then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that, ye are trile
men; so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shak traffic in the land. And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that behold every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money they were afraid. And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children; Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand and I will bring him to thee again. And he said, My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone : if mischief befal him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down
my grey heirs with Sorrow to the ~
ANNOTATIONS and REFLEetions.
In times of public calamity, the minds of men are frequently struck with a kind of consternation that prevents their making any exertions for their own relief: This seems to have been the case with Jacob's sons. “ The famine was sore in the land,” the labours of the husbandsman were ineffectual, the Lo R D had withdrawn his blessing, and the wretched inhabitants of Canaan were in danger of perishing, for want of sustenance. Utterly at a loss for expedients in this dreadful emergency, Joseph's brethren “looked on each other” with fearful expectation, not knowing which of them would first feel the dire effects of this afflicting evil. It appears that Jacob indulged the same kind of par. tiality for Benjamin, as he formerly did for Joseph ; but
but there is this excuse to be made for him, that his other
sons were in a manner separated from him, having fami
lies of their own, while Benjamin was his constant comPanion. -
The land of Egypt was extremely well fortified by nature, and in danger of incursions only in that quarter which lay nearest to Canaan. Joseph had therefore a very good pretence for challenging his brethren as shies. His words may be construed as a sort of interrogation, Are ye not sfies 2 The answer which they made, furnished a very good reason why they should not be regarded as such ; for it was scarcely probable, that a man would send so many of his own sons on so dangerous an expedition ; or that the brethren of one family should undertake it, without other associates.
Joseph's expression, By the life of Pharaoh, is not to be considered as an oath, but as a vehement asseveration, signifying, As surely as Pharaoh liver. We should reflect that the occasion was sudden ; and that his mind was violently agitated.
As the governor of Egypt, Joseph was in a very cri
tical situation. He had great reason to suspect that
his brethren had not told him the truth in regard to Benjamin; and supposing that they had murdered him, it would have been a flagrant act of injustice had he let them escape unpunished; but though Joseph committed his brethren to prison, there is no account of any cruelties inflicted on them during their confinement. It would have been very wrong had he owned them at once ; for had they proved as wickedly inclined as formerly, he could not, for his reputation's sake, have continued his protection to them, or lived on the terms of brotherly love. It was very natural that Joseph should feel a particular affection for Benjamin, as he was the son of his
own mother, and therefore more nearly related to him than the rest of his brethren ; besides, most of the others were much older than himself, and they had, all the time he lived among them, regarded him with a jealous eye, and treated him unkindly; so that he must have had uncommon goodness of heart to have felt so much tenderness for them, as his subsequent behaviour displays. We have reason to suppose that, after mature deliberation, Joseph resolved to keep one only of his brothers as an hostage, and leave the event to Providence. Had his brethren been at liberty, three days at least would have been necessary to rest themselves, and their cattle, and transact their business; so that Jacob, and that part of his family who remained with him in Canaan, did not suffer by their detention. --In the confession which they made to each other, we may perceive the natural effects of wicked actions, those reproaches of conscience which are ever ready to torment the guilty. It must have been a great consolation to Reuben, at this time, to think, that he had endeavoured to prevent what the others now so justly deplored. It is evident, from Joseph’s emotion, that he “did not take these measures from motives of cruelty or revenge. We may supposé, from his choice of Simeon, that he regarded him as the chief instigator to the cruelties which had been exercised on himself; therefore most likely to be guilty in respect to Benjamin. The Jews have a tradition, that as soon as the others were gone, Simeon was released from his fetters, and treated with the utmost lenity. Joseph’s returning the purchase-money. may be imputed to two reasons; a desire of proving the integrity
of his brethren; and a willingness to relieve gratui. tously