on Genesis 42 :38
He is left alone - That is, Benjamin is the only remaining son of Rachel; for he supposed Joseph, who was the other son, to be dead.
Shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow - Here he keeps up the idea of the oppressive burden mentioned Genesis 42:36, to which every occurrence was adding an additional weight, so that he felt it impossible to support it any longer.
The following observations of Dr. Dodd on this verse are very appropriate and judicious: "Nothing can be more tender and picturesque than the words of the venerable patriarch. Full of affection for his beloved Rachel, he cannot think of parting with Benjamin, the only remaining pledge of that love, now Joseph, as he supposes, is no more. We seem to behold the gray-headed, venerable father pleading with his sons, the beloved Benjamin standing by his side, impatient sorrow in their countenances, and in his all the bleeding anxiety of paternal love. It will be difficult to find in any author, ancient or modern, a more exquisite picture."
1. There is one doctrine relative to the economy of Divine Providence little heeded among men; I mean the doctrine of restitution. When a man has done wrong to his neighbor, though, on his repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus, God forgives him his sin, yet he requires him to make restitution to the person injured, if it lie in the compass of his power. If he do not, God will take care to exact it in the course of his providence. Such respect has he for the dictates of infinite justice that nothing of this kind shall pass unnoticed. Several instances of this have already occurred in this history, and we shall see several more. No man should expect mercy at the hand of God who, having wronged his neighbor, refuses, when he has it in his power, to make restitution. Were he to weep tears of blood, both the justice and mercy of God would shut out his prayer, if he made not his neighbor amends for the injury he may have done him. The mercy of God, through the blood of the cross, can alone pardon his guilt; but no dishonest man can expect this; and he is a dishonest man who illegally holds the property of another in his hand. The unnatural brethren who sold their brother are now about to be captivated themselves; and the binder himself is bound in his turn: and though a kind Providence permits not the evil to fall upon them, yet, while apprehending it, they feel all its reality, conscience supplying the lack of prison, jailer, and bonds.
2. The ways of Providence are often to us dark and perplexed, so that we are ready to imagine that good can never result from what appears to us to be directly contrary to our interest; and we are often tempted to think that those very providential dealings of God, which have for their object our present and eternal welfare, are rather proofs of his displeasure, or evidences of his vindictive judgment. All these things are against me, said poor desponding Jacob; whereas, instead of being against him, all these things were for him; and by all these means was the merciful God working for the preservation of himself and his family, and the fulfillment of his ancient promise, that the posterity of Abraham should be as the stars of heaven for multitude. How strange is it that our faith, after so many evidences of his goodness, should still be so weak; and that our opinion of him should be so imperfect, that we can never trust in him but while he is under our own eye! If we see him producing good, we can believe that he is doing so, and this is all. If we believe not, he abides faithful; but our unbelief must make our own way extremely perplexing and difficult.
on Genesis 42 :38
on Genesis 42 :38
42:38 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.