Genesis 42:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 42:14, NIV: Joseph said to them, 'It is just as I told you: You are spies!

Genesis 42:14, ESV: But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies.

Genesis 42:14, KJV: And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:

Genesis 42:14, NASB: Yet Joseph said to them, 'It is as I said to you, you are spies;

Genesis 42:14, NLT: But Joseph insisted, 'As I said, you are spies!

Genesis 42:14, CSB: Then Joseph said to them, "I have spoken: 'You are spies! '

What does Genesis 42:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's brothers have denied his accusations that they are spies sent to identify Egypt's weaknesses (Genesis 42:1–12). They don't realize who Joseph is; they only know him as Zaphenath-paneah, governor of the entire nation of Egypt (Genesis 41:45). They don't recognize the brother they sold as a slave twenty years before (Genesis 37:28). Joseph recognizes them, however, and seems to be interrogating them. His purpose is not for revenge—later passages make it clear he has good intentions for his family (Genesis 42:23–24; 43:30; 45:1–5), with the goal of rescuing them from the famine (Genesis 47:11–12).

In hopes of showing that they are just ordinary men, they have told Joseph some of their story: They are all brothers. Their youngest brother is back home with their father. Another brother is "no more," which refers to their lie about what happened to Joseph himself (Genesis 37:31–34). Joseph repeats the accusation of spying a third time. In other situations, this would have put the brothers at serious risk of death. In this case, since Joseph holds immense power (Genesis 41:41), he controls what happens to these men.

In the following verse, he will describe a way to test if they are telling the truth (Genesis 42:15). This, also, is part of his plan to be fully reunited with his family.