Genesis 42:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 42:31, NIV: "But we said to him, 'We are honest men; we are not spies."

Genesis 42:31, ESV: "But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies."

Genesis 42:31, KJV: "And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:"

Genesis 42:31, NASB: "But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies."

Genesis 42:31, NLT: "But we said, 'We are honest men, not spies."

Genesis 42:31, CSB: "But we told him, 'We are honest and not spies."

What does Genesis 42:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ten sons of Jacob were sent into Egypt to buy grain (Genesis 42:1–5). Only nine have come back (Genesis 42:29–30). The governor of the nation accused them of being spies and kept one brother as collateral, until they return with their youngest brother, to prove their innocence (Genesis 42:18–19, 24).

The defense they explain here is partly true. They are not spies. However, twenty years earlier, they jealously lied to their father after selling another brother, Joseph, into slavery (Genesis 37:28, 31–33). They've come to realize some of their predicament is divine punishment for their earlier crime (Genesis 42:21–22). That act caused their father intense sorrow (Genesis 37:34–35), and now they are forced to deliver another round of bad news.