Genesis 42:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 42:7, NIV: As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. 'Where do you come from?' he asked. 'From the land of Canaan,' they replied, 'to buy food.'

Genesis 42:7, ESV: Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”

Genesis 42:7, KJV: And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

Genesis 42:7, NASB: When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. He said to them, 'Where have you come from?' And they said, 'From the land of Canaan, to buy food.'

Genesis 42:7, NLT: Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. 'Where are you from?' he demanded. 'From the land of Canaan,' they replied. 'We have come to buy food.'

Genesis 42:7, CSB: When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them."Where do you come from? " he asked."From the land of Canaan to buy food," they replied.

What does Genesis 42:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

When Joseph was just seventeen years old (Genesis 37:2), his jealous older brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:28). Thirteen years later, Joseph ascended to second-in-command over the entire nation of Egypt (Genesis 41:41–46). A further seven years of prosperity followed (Genesis 41:53–54), and then a famine. Joseph is now nearing forty years of age. He wears the clothes of an Egyptian officer (Genesis 41:14, 42) and uses an Egyptian name (Genesis 41:45). As the world struggles under the famine, only Egypt has food thanks to Joseph's work (Genesis 41:55–57).

One can only imagine how shocked Joseph must have been to see his own brothers appear to ask to buy grain (Genesis 42:1–6). Adding to the drama, the men are bowing to him—exactly as Joseph predicted they would so many years ago (Genesis 37:5–11). The following verses will show that Joseph does not harbor a grudge; at the same time, he is reasonably suspicious of how his brothers might react to his survival. And, it is entirely reasonable for Joseph to feel a surge of anger, as he once again faces the family members who horribly betrayed him.

For all these reasons, Joseph speaks to them as if he neither knows nor trusts them. This is partly to disguise his own emotions (Genesis 42:23–24). It also gives him opportunity to test their intentions. They answer truthfully, revealing to him they still dwell in Canaan (Genesis 37:1). They have come to buy food, along with so many others facing starvation due to the famine.