Genesis 43:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 43:31, NIV: After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, 'Serve the food.'

Genesis 43:31, ESV: Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.”

Genesis 43:31, KJV: And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

Genesis 43:31, NASB: Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, 'Serve the meal.'

Genesis 43:31, NLT: After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, 'Bring out the food!'

Genesis 43:31, CSB: Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure, he said, "Serve the meal."

What does Genesis 43:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph has regained control of his emotions after seeing his younger brother, Benjamin, for the first time in twenty years (Genesis 43:29–30). As a teenager, Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous older brothers (Genesis 37:24–28). Over time, he rose to become the second most powerful man in Egypt (Genesis 41:44). When his older brothers arrived to buy grain during a famine, they did not recognize him (Genesis 42:8). To test them, and see his other brother, Joseph instructed them to only come back if they brought Benjamin (Genesis 42:19–20). And so, Benjamin was brought as part of a second trip by Jacob's sons to buy grain in Egypt (Genesis 43:1–2).

Though the brothers still do not recognize him, Joseph's emotions at seeing his estranged family are evident. Only after composing himself does he order food to be served, as the brothers are now his honored guests (Genesis 43:16–25). Further tests are in store for Joseph's brothers (Genesis 43:34; 44:1–2).