Genesis 43:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 43:20, NIV: "We beg your pardon, our lord,' they said, 'we came down here the first time to buy food."

Genesis 43:20, ESV: "and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food."

Genesis 43:20, KJV: "And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:"

Genesis 43:20, NASB: "and said, 'Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food,"

Genesis 43:20, NLT: "'Sir,' they said, 'we came to Egypt once before to buy food."

Genesis 43:20, CSB: "They said, "My lord, we really did come down here the first time only to buy food."

What does Genesis 43:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ten of Joseph's brothers are urgently trying to explain themselves to his house steward (Genesis 43:19). After their first trip to Egypt, the men were forced to return home with one brother left as a captive (Genesis 42:24) and an ultimatum to bring back the youngest, Benjamin (Genesis 42:19–20). To their horror, on the way back, they found the money they'd used to pay for grain was back in their bags (Genesis 42:26–28). They were innocent; Joseph, who they have not yet recognized (Genesis 42:8), had the money returned in secret (Genesis 42:25).

Now, on a second trip (Genesis 43:1–2), the men have been ordered to Joseph's home (Genesis 43:16–18). They are attempting to convince the house steward they did not steal back their money. They assume they've been escorted to Joseph's home to be attacked and forced into slavery for this crime. With such high stakes, the men are profusely polite, calling Joseph's servant "lord."