Notes for Gen 44:2LEB

The imperfect verbal form is used here to express Joseph’s instructions.


"and he did according to the word of Joseph which he spoke."


Notes for Gen 44:3LEB

"the morning was light."


"and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys." This clause, like the preceding one, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.


Notes for Gen 44:4LEB

"they left the city, they were not far," meaning "they had not gone very far."


"and Joseph said." This clause, like the first one in the verse, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.


"arise, chase after the men." The first imperative gives the command a sense of urgency.


After the imperative this perfect verbal form with vav consecutive has the same nuance of instruction. In the translation it is subordinated to the verbal form that follows (also a perfect with vav consecutive): "and overtake them and say," becomes "when you overtake them, say."


Notes for Gen 44:5LEB

"Is this not what my master drinks from." The word "cup" is not in the Hebrew text, but is obviously the referent of "this," and so has been supplied in the translation for clarity.


"and he, divining, divines with it." The infinitive absolute is emphatic, stressing the importance of the cup to Joseph.


"you have caused to be evil what you have done."


Notes for Gen 44:6LEB

"and he"; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 44:7LEB

"Why does my lord speak according to these words?"


"according to this thing."


Notes for Gen 44:9LEB

"The one with whom it is found from your servants." Here "your servants" (a deferential way of referring to the brothers themselves) has been translated by the pronoun "us" to avoid confusion with Joseph’s servants.


Notes for Gen 44:10LEB

"Also now, according to your words, so it is." As the next statement indicates, this does mean that he will do exactly as they say. He does agree with them the culprit should be punished, but not as harshly as they suggest. Furthermore, the innocent parties will not be punished.


"The one with whom it is found will become my slave."


The words "the rest of" have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.


The Hebrew word נָקִי (naqi) means "acquitted," that is, free of guilt and the responsibility for it.


The rest of you will be free. Joseph’s purpose was to single out Benjamin to see if the brothers would abandon him as they had abandoned Joseph. He wanted to see if they had changed.


Notes for Gen 44:11LEB

"and they hurried and they lowered." Their speed in doing this shows their presumption of innocence.


Notes for Gen 44:12LEB

"and he"; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 44:14LEB

Judah and his brothers. The narrative is already beginning to bring Judah to the forefront.


The disjunctive clause here provides supplemental information.


Notes for Gen 44:15LEB

"What is this deed you have done?" The demonstrative pronoun ("this") adds emphasis to the question. A literal translation seems to contradict the following statement, in which Joseph affirms that he is able to divine such matters. Thus here the emotive force of the question has been reflected in the translation, "What did you think you were doing?"


"[is] fully able to divine," meaning that he can find things out by divination. The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis, stressing his ability to do this.


Notes for Gen 44:16LEB

The imperfect verbal form here indicates the subject’s potential.


The Hitpael form of the verb צָדֵק (tsadeq) here means "to prove ourselves just, to declare ourselves righteous, to prove our innocence."


Yahweh has exposed the sin of your servants. The first three questions are rhetorical; Judah is stating that there is nothing they can say to clear themselves. He therefore must conclude that they have been found guilty.


Notes for Gen 44:17LEB

The words "the rest of" have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.


"up" (reflecting directions from their point of view – "up" to Canaan; "down" to Egypt).


Notes for Gen 44:18LEB

"Please my lord, let your servant speak a word into the ears of my lord."


"and let not your anger burn against your servant."


You are just like Pharaoh. Judah’s speech begins with the fear and trembling of one who stands condemned. Joseph has as much power as Pharaoh, either to condemn or to pardon. Judah will make his appeal, wording his speech in such a way as to appeal to Joseph’s compassion for the father, whom he mentions no less than fourteen times in the speech.


Notes for Gen 44:20LEB

"and a small boy of old age," meaning that he was born when his father was elderly.


"his"; the referent (the boy just mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"he, only he, to his mother is left."


Notes for Gen 44:21LEB

The cohortative after the imperative indicates purpose here.


"that I may set my eyes upon him."


Notes for Gen 44:22LEB

"he"; the referent (the boy’s father, i.e., Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


The last two verbs are perfect tenses with vav consecutive. The first is subordinated to the second as a conditional clause.


Notes for Gen 44:26LEB

The direct object is not specified in the Hebrew text, but is implied; "there" is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


"go down."


Notes for Gen 44:27LEB

"that two sons my wife bore to me."


Notes for Gen 44:28LEB

"went forth from me."


Notes for Gen 44:29LEB

The construction uses a perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive to introduce the conditional clause and then another perfect verbal form with a vav consecutive to complete the sentence: "if you take…then you will bring down."


The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole – they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble. See Gen 42:38LEB.


"evil/calamity." The term is different than the one used in the otherwise identical statement recorded in v. 31 (see also Gen 42:38LEB).


"to Sheol," the dwelling place of the dead.


Notes for Gen 44:30LEB

"his life is bound up in his life."


Notes for Gen 44:31LEB

"when he sees that there is no boy."


Notes for Gen 44:32LEB

Or "for."


Notes for Gen 44:34LEB

The Hebrew text has "lest I see," which expresses a negative purpose – "I cannot go up lest I see."


"the calamity which would find my father."