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Genesis 42:7 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly with them; and he said unto them. Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, “Where have you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them; and he said to them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Joseph saw his brethren, and knew them; but he made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them, and said to them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan, to buy food.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And Joseph beheld his brethren, and recognised them,—and made himself a stranger unto them, and spake with them harsh things, and said unto them—Whence have ye come in? And they said, From the land of Canaan, to buy food.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Joseph seeth his brethren, and discerneth them, and maketh himself strange unto them, and speaketh with them sharp things, and saith unto them, 'From whence have ye come?' and they say, 'From the land of Canaan—to buy food.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And he knew them, he spoke as it were to strangers, somewhat roughly, asking them: Whence came you? They answered: From the land of Chanaan, to buy necessaries of life.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And Ioseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himselfe strange vnto them, and spake roughly vnto them; and hee saide vnto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan, to buy food.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And when Joseph saw his brethren, he knew them, and estranged himself from them, and spoke hard words to them; and said to them, Whence are ye come? And they said, Out of the land of Canaan{gr.Chanaan}, to buy food.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Yosef saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Kenaan to buy food.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And Ysf יוֹסֵף 3130
{3130} Prime
יוֹסֵף
Yowceph
{yo-safe'}
Future of H3254; let him add (or perhaps simply active participle adding); Joseph, the name of seven Israelites.
saw 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
his brethren, 251
{0251} Prime
אָח
'ach
{awkh}
A primitive word; a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H0001)).
and he knew 5234
{5234} Prime
נָכַר
nakar
{naw-kar'}
A primitive root; properly to scrutinize, that is, look intently at; hence (with recognition implied), to acknowledge, be acquainted with, care for, respect, revere, or (with suspicion implied), to disregard, ignore, be strange toward, reject, resign, dissimulate (as if ignorant or disowning).
z8686
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
them, but made himself strange 5234
{5234} Prime
נָכַר
nakar
{naw-kar'}
A primitive root; properly to scrutinize, that is, look intently at; hence (with recognition implied), to acknowledge, be acquainted with, care for, respect, revere, or (with suspicion implied), to disregard, ignore, be strange toward, reject, resign, dissimulate (as if ignorant or disowning).
z8691
<8691> Grammar
Stem - Hithpael (See H8819)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 533
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
them, and spake 1696
{1696} Prime
דִּבֵּר
dabar
{daw-bar'}
A primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange; but used figuratively (of words) to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue.
z8762
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
roughly 7186
{7186} Prime
קָשֶׁה
qasheh
{kaw-sheh'}
From H7185; severe (in various applications).
unto x854
(0854) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Probably from H0579; properly nearness (used only as a preposition or adverb), near; hence generally with, by, at, among, etc.
them; and he said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
them, Whence 370
{0370} Prime
אַיִן
'aiyn
{ah-yin'}
Probably identical with H0369 in the sense of query (compare H0336); where? (only in connection with prepositional prefix, whence).
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
come 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
ye? And they said, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
From the land 776
{0776} Prime
אֶרֶץ
'erets
{eh'-rets}
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
of Cn`an כְּנָעַן 3667
{3667} Prime
כְּנַעַן
K@na`an
{ken-ah'-an}
From H3665; humiliated; Kenaan, a son of Ham; also the country inhabited by him.
to buy 7666
{7666} Prime
שָׁבַר
shabar
{shaw-bar'}
Denominative from H7668; to deal in grain.
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
food. 400
{0400} Prime
אֹכֶל
'okel
{o'-kel}
From H0398; food.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 42:7-8

_ _ Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, ... but they knew not him — This is not strange. They were full-grown men — he was but a lad at parting. They were in their usual garb — he was in his official robes. They never dreamt of him as governor of Egypt, while he had been expecting them. They had but one face; he had ten persons to judge by.

_ _ made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly — It would be an injustice to Joseph’s character to suppose that this stern manner was prompted by any vindictive feelings — he never indulged any resentment against others who had injured him. But he spoke in the authoritative tone of the governor in order to elicit some much-longed-for information respecting the state of his father’s family, as well as to bring his brethren, by their own humiliation and distress, to a sense of the evils they had done to him.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 42:7-20

_ _ We may well wonder that Joseph, during the twenty years that he had now been in Egypt, especially during the last seven years that he had been in power there, never sent to his father to acquaint him with his circumstances; nay, it is strange that he who so often went throughout all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:45, Genesis 41:46) never made an excursion to Canaan, to visit his aged father, when he was in the borders of Egypt, that lay next to Canaan. Perhaps it would not have been above three or four days' journey for him in his chariot. It is a probable conjecture that his whole management of himself in this affair was by special direction from Heaven, that the purpose of God concerning Jacob and his family might be accomplished. When Joseph's brethren came, he knew them by many a satisfactory token, but they knew not him, little thinking to find him there, Genesis 42:8. He remembered the dreams (Genesis 42:9), but they had forgotten them. The laying up of God's oracles in our hearts will be of excellent use to us in all our conduct. Joseph had an eye to his dreams, which he knew to be divine, in his carriage towards his brethren, and aimed at the accomplishment of them and the bringing of his brethren to repentance for their former sins; and both these points were gained.

_ _ I. He showed himself very rigorous and harsh with them. The very manner of his speaking, considering the post he was in, was enough to frighten them; for he spoke roughly to them, Genesis 42:7. He charged them with bad designs against the government (Genesis 42:9), treated them as dangerous persons, saying, You are spies, and protesting by the life of Pharaoh that they were so, Genesis 42:16. Some make this an oath, others make it no more than a vehement asseveration, like that, as thy soul liveth; however it was more than yea, yea, and nay, nay, and therefore came of evil. Note, Bad words are soon learned by converse with those that use them, but not so soon unlearned. Joseph, by being much at court, got the courtier's oath, By the life of Pharaoh, perhaps designing hereby to confirm his brethren in their belief that he was an Egyptian, and not an Israelite. They knew this was not the language of a son of Abraham. When Peter would prove himself no disciple of Christ, he cursed and swore. Now why was Joseph thus hard upon his brethren? We may be sure it was not from a spirit of revenge, that he might now trample upon those who had formerly trampled upon him; he was not a man of that temper. But, 1. It was to enrich his own dreams, and complete the accomplishment of them. 2. It was to bring them to repentance. 3. It was to get out of them an account of the state of their family, which he longed to know: they would have discovered him if he had asked as a friend, therefore he asks as a judge. Not seeing his brother Benjamin with them, perhaps he began to suspect that they had made away with him too, and therefore gives them occasion to speak of their father and brother. Note, God in his providence sometimes seems harsh with those he loves, and speaks roughly to those for whom yet he has great mercy in store.

_ _ II. They, hereupon, were very submissive. They spoke to him with all the respect imaginable: Nay, my lord (Genesis 42:10) — a great change since they said, Behold, this dreamer comes. They very modestly deny the charge: We are no spies. They tell him their business, that they came to buy food, a justifiable errand, and the same that many strangers came to Egypt upon at this time. They undertake to give a particular account of themselves and their family (Genesis 42:13), and this was what they wanted.

_ _ III. He clapped them all up in prison for three days, Genesis 42:17. Thus God deals with the souls he designs for special comfort and honour; he first humbles them, and terrifies them, and brings them under a spirit of bondage, and then binds up their wounds by the Spirit of adoption.

_ _ IV. He concluded with them, at last, that one of them should be left as a hostage, and the rest should go home and fetch Benjamin. It was a very encouraging word he said to them (Genesis 42:18): I fear God; as if he had said, “You may assure yourselves I will do you no wrong; I dare not, for I know that, high as I am, there is one higher than I.” Note, With those that fear God we have reason to expect fair dealing. The fear of God will be a check upon those that are in power, to restrain them from abusing their power to oppression and tyranny. Those that have no one else to stand in awe of ought to stand in awe of their own consciences. See Nehemiah 5:15, So did not I, because of the fear of God.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 42:7

We may well wonder that Joseph, during the twenty years he had been in Egypt, especially during the last seven years that he had been in power there, never sent to his father to acquaint him with his circumstances; nay, 'tis strange that he who so oft went throughout all the land of Egypt, never made a step to Canaan, to visit his aged father. When he was in the borders of Egypt that lay next to Canaan, perhaps it would not have been above three or four days journey for him in his chariot. 'Tis a probable conjecture, that his whole management of himself in this affair was by special direction from heaven, that the purpose of God, concerning Jacob and his family, might be accomplished. When Joseph's brethren came, he knew them by many a good token, but they knew not him, little thinking to find him there.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Genesis 42:7

And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but (c) made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

(c) This concealing is not to be followed, nor any actions of the father's not approved by God's word.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
roughly unto them:
Heb. hard things with them,
Genesis 42:9-12 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye [are] spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. ... And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
Genesis 42:14-17 And Joseph said unto them, That [is it] that I spake unto you, saying, Ye [are] spies: ... And he put them all together into ward three days.
Genesis 42:19-20 If ye [be] true [men], let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine 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.
Matthew 15:23-26 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. ... But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] to dogs.
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Gn 42:9, 14, 19. Mt 15:23.

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