Genesis 42:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 42:9, NIV: Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, 'You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.'

Genesis 42:9, ESV: And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”

Genesis 42:9, KJV: And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

Genesis 42:9, NASB: And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and he said to them, 'You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.'

Genesis 42:9, NLT: And he remembered the dreams he'd had about them many years before. He said to them, 'You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.'

Genesis 42:9, CSB: Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, "You are spies. You have come to see the weakness of the land."

What does Genesis 42:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Genesis now reminds us of the prophetic dreams from Joseph's boyhood (Genesis 37:5–11). Joseph thinks of them in this moment. He had dreamed he and his brother were binding sheaves in the field. His sheaf stood up; all their sheaves bowed down before him. In another dream, the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing before him as stand-ins for his parents and brothers. Partly in response to those dreams, the ten older brothers jealously sold Joseph as a slave (Genesis 37:28). Some twenty years later, Joseph is the governor of all Egypt (Genesis 41:46–47, 53–54), and his brothers are unknowingly bowing before him as they seek to buy food (Genesis 42:1–6). Joseph certainly remembers how his brothers had hated him for telling about his God-given dreams. Now ten of them have done exactly what the dreams foretold.

At first, it would seem Joseph intends to use his power as Egypt's governor to do harm to his brothers. He accuses them of being foreign spies. He insists they have come to gather intelligence on Egypt's weaknesses for an enemy nation. Foreign spies could be executed for the sake of national security. It would be easy for Joseph to take his full revenge against his brothers if he so chose. No one could blame him for being angry when faced with his traitorous brothers. And yet, Joseph is not looking for vengeance (Genesis 41:23–24); he is working on an immediate plan to test—and ultimately rescue—his brothers (Genesis 47:11–12).