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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



GENESIS 44

 

CHAPTER XLIV.

 

Ver. 4.  Pursue; escorted by a troop of horsemen, to prevent resistance.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  To divine.  This was spoken by Joseph to his steward in jest; alluding to the notion of the people, who took him to be a diviner.  Ch. --- S. Tho. 2, 2, q. 195, a. 7.  Heb. may be translated without attending to the points, "Is not this the cup, out of which my lord drinketh; and he has augured, or discovered, by it the evil which you have committed."  Pliny (xxx. 2.) mentions a method of divining, by means of water in a basin.  C. --- The Egyptians probably supposed that Joseph used some means to disclose what was hidden; and he alludes, in jest, to their foolish notion.  H. --- He had a right to afflict his guilty brethren; and as for Benjamin, who was innocent, he made him ample recompense for this transitory terror.  Some think that the steward said, in which he is wont to divine, unauthorized by his master.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Sentence.  It is but just; yet I shall only insist on the detention of the culprit.  C. --- Joseph wished to see whether the marks of attention, which he had shewn to Benjamin, would have excited the envy of his brethren (M.); and whether they would be concerned for him: thus he would discover their present dispositions.  He might wish also to keep his younger brother out of danger, in case they were inclined to persecute him.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  The town, with heavy hearts, of which their torn garments were signs (H.): yet they say not a word in condemnation of Benjamin.  They are determined either to clear him, or never to return home.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Juda, mindful of his engagement, (C. xliii. 9,) and perhaps more eloquent and bolder than the rest.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  The science of divining.  He speaks of himself according to what he was esteemed in that kingdom.  And, indeed, he being truly a prophet, knew more without comparison than any of the Egyptian sorcerers.  Ch. --- Heb. Sept. and Chal. "knew ye not that a man like me would divine with certainty," and presently discover any fraud?  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Iniquity.  He begins with the greatest humility, acknowledging that they were justly punished by God for some transgression, though they were, in his opinion, innocent of any theft.  H. --- Perhaps he might imagine that Benjamin had been guilty, (Bonfrere) and is willing to bear a part of the blame with the rest; or his conscience still presents before him the injustice done to Joseph so long before.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Boldly, perceiving that he had to deal with an equitable judge. --- Thou art; the second man in the kingdom.  Heb. "even as Pharao."

 

Ver. 20.  Is left of, (habet mater.)  Rachel had been dead about twenty-four years.  H.

 

Ver. 31.  With us, is not now found in Heb.  But it is in the Sam. Sept. Syr. and Chaldee.  C. --- His grey hairs.  That is, his person, now far advanced in years. --- With sorrow unto hell.  The Hebrew word for hell is here Sheola, the Greek hades: it is not taken for the hell of the damned; but for that place of souls below, where the servants of God were kept before the coming of Christ.  Which place, both in the Scripture and in the creed, is named hell.  Ch. --- In this speech, we find many particulars not mentioned before; whence it appears, that the sacred historian does not always specify every circumstance.  But, in relating the same speech, uses various expressions to the same purport.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  The boy.  I am older, and more fit for service.  M.

 

Ver. 34.  My father; who will drop down dead, oppressed with grief.  How eloquent and pathetic was this address!  Joseph could bear no more.

 

 








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