Verses 29–38

Here is, 1. The report which Jacob’s sons made to their father of the great distress they had been in in Egypt; how they had been suspected, and threatened, and obliged to leave Simeon a prisoner there, till they should bring Benjamin with them thither. Who would have thought of this when they left home? When we go abroad we should consider how many sad accidents, that we little think of, may befal us before we return home. We know not what a day may bring forth; we ought therefore to be always ready for the worst. 2. The deep impression this made upon the good man. The very bundles of money which Joseph returned, in kindness to his father, frightened him (Gen. 42:35); for he concluded it was done with some mischievous design, or perhaps suspected his own sons to have committed some offence, and so to have run themselves into a praemunire—a penalty, which is intimated in what he says (Gen. 42:36): Me have you bereaved. He seems to lay the fault upon them; knowing their characters, he feared they had provoked the Egyptians, and perhaps forcibly, or fraudulently, brought home their money. Jacob is here much out of temper. (1.) He has very melancholy apprehensions concerning the present state of his family: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not; whereas Joseph was in honour and Simeon in the way to it. Note, We often perplex ourselves with our own mistakes, even in matters of fact. True griefs may arise from false intelligence and suppositions, 2 Sam. 13:31. Jacob gives up Joseph for gone, and Simeon and Benjamin as being in danger; and he concludes, All these things are against me. It proved otherwise, that all these were for him, were working together for his good and the good of his family: yet here he thinks them all against him. Note, Through our ignorance and mistake, and the weakness of our faith, we often apprehend that to be against us which is really for us. We are afflicted in body, estate, name, and relations; and we think all these things are against us, whereas these are really working for us the weight of glory. (2.) He is at present resolved that Benjamin shall not go down. Reuben will undertake to bring him back in safety (Gen. 42:37), not so much as putting in, If the Lord will, nor expecting the common disasters of travellers; but he foolishly bids Jacob slay his two sons (which, it is likely, he was very proud of) if he brought him not back; as if the death of two grandsons could satisfy Jacob for the death of a son. No, Jacob’s present thoughts are, My son shall not go down with you. He plainly intimates a distrust of them, remembering that he never saw Joseph since he had been with them; therefore, “Benjamin shall not go with you, by the way in which you go, for you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” Note, It is bad with a family when children conduct themselves so ill that their parents know not how to trust them.