Genesis 42:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 42:13, NIV: But they replied, 'Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.'

Genesis 42:13, ESV: And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.”

Genesis 42:13, KJV: And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.

Genesis 42:13, NASB: But they said, 'Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive.'

Genesis 42:13, NLT: 'Sir,' they said, 'there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.'

Genesis 42:13, CSB: But they replied, "We, your servants, were twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no longer living."

What does Genesis 42:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph has accused his ten older brothers of coming to Egypt as spies of some foreign power. They have truthfully insisted they are all the sons of one man sent to buy food for their people (Genesis 42:1–5). They don't realize that Joseph is their once-hated brother (Genesis 37:28), and that despite his anger (Genesis 42:7), he has no intent of harming them.

Now they continue to provide details about their lives. Their intent is to explain how little they have in common with spies by describing the specifics of their ordinary lives. They repeat that they are all the sons of one man living in Canaan (Genesis 37:1). In addition, they mention, their youngest brother is back home with their father. The twelfth son they mention is Joseph himself; he is the one their father believes is dead (Genesis 37:31–34). It was fear of losing another son which led Jacob to keep Benjamin, the youngest, at home.

By backing his brothers into a corner, Joseph has provoked them to tell him information he must have longed to hear. He now knows his father Jacob and brother Benjamin are both still alive. He also has a clue as to how they explained his disappearance: lying to say that he is "no more."