Genesis 43:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 43:3, NIV: But Judah said to him, 'The man warned us solemnly, 'You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.'

Genesis 43:3, ESV: But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’

Genesis 43:3, KJV: And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Genesis 43:3, NASB: Judah spoke to him, however, saying, 'The man sternly warned us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’

Genesis 43:3, NLT: But Judah said, 'The man was serious when he warned us, 'You won't see my face again unless your brother is with you.'

Genesis 43:3, CSB: But Judah said to him, "The man specifically warned us, 'You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.'

What does Genesis 43:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has instructed his older sons to return to Egypt to "buy us a little food" (Genesis 43:1–2) He has not mentioned Benjamin or the fact that he, Jacob, was the one who had previously forbidden them to return to Egypt with their youngest brother (Genesis 42:38). So far as Jacob's family knows, the Egyptian ruler insisted on seeing Benjamin as a way of proving the ten brothers were not lying about their family situation. He was testing them to ensure they were not foreign spies (Genesis 42:12). What Jacob and his sons do not know, of course, is that the Egyptian ruler is their brother Joseph (Genesis 42:8), long ago sold into slavery (Genesis 37:24–28), and that he simply longs to see his younger brother Benjamin.

Judah is forced to raise a difficult issue by repeating the demand of the Egyptian ruler in charge of selling grain: They can't even see the man if they don't take their youngest brother with them (Genesis 42:19–20). Simeon is still being held in Egypt as collateral, awaiting their return (Genesis 42:24). Jacob seemed willing to abandon Simeon rather than risk Benjamin, but now the entire family is again at risk of starving.

It's notable that Judah speaks this time. It's likely there are hard feelings between Jacob and Reuben, the oldest, who often presumes to speak on behalf of his brothers (Genesis 42:22; 37–38).