Genesis 43:1

ESV Now the famine was severe in the land.
NIV Now the famine was still severe in the land.
NASB Now the famine was severe in the land.
CSB Now the famine in the land was severe.
NLT But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan.
KJV And the famine was sore in the land.

What does Genesis 43:1 mean?

In the previous chapter, Jacob resolved not to allow any of his family to return to Egypt. He knew the Egyptian ruler in charge of selling grain was holding his son Simeon. That governor's demand was that his other sons return with Benjamin, the youngest. The ruler had demanded this as evidence they were not lying about not being spies (Genesis 42:10–12; 19–20). None of Jacob's family realizes this ruler is Joseph (Genesis 42:8), the son sold by his brothers into slavery some twenty years prior (Genesis 37:24–28).

In essence, Jacob was willing to sacrifice Simeon rather than risk losing Benjamin, as he had lost Joseph (Genesis 37:31–35). He held his other sons responsible for these losses. Now more time has passed. The famine remains severe (Genesis 41:57). Jacob's family is getting dangerously low on food once more. This will force him into a painful and risky decision.
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