Genesis 43:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 43:5, NIV: But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, 'You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.''

Genesis 43:5, ESV: But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’”

Genesis 43:5, KJV: But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Genesis 43:5, NASB: But if you do not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’?'

Genesis 43:5, NLT: But if you don't let Benjamin go, we won't go either. Remember, the man said, 'You won't see my face again unless your brother is with you.''

Genesis 43:5, CSB: But if you will not send him, we will not go, for the man said to us, 'You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.' "

What does Genesis 43:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has instructed his sons to return to Egypt a second time to "buy a little food," as a famine continues to rage (Genesis 42:1–2; 43:1–2). When the brothers came back from the first journey, they reported that the Egyptian governor accused them of being spies (Genesis 42:19–20). They were forced to leave Simeon behind as collateral, waiting until Benjamin was brought back as proof of their honesty (Genesis 42:24). Jacob had refused this, at first. He was willing to abandon Simeon rather than to risk his youngest and favorite son (Genesis 42:38). When Jacob mentioned making a return to Egypt, Judah spoke up to insist that they would go only if Benjamin came, as well (Genesis 43:3–4).

Now, Judah amplifies his stance. He refuses to go, on behalf of all his brothers, if they do not return to Egypt with Benjamin. First and foremost, this is common sense; it would have been pointless and dangerous for them to do otherwise. Entering Egypt without Benjamin would simply mean all of them being killed or imprisoned.

The brothers don't understand why the Egyptian ruler cares so much about seeing their youngest brother. They have not yet realized the Egyptian governor is secretly their brother Joseph (Genesis 42:8) who longs to see the only other son of his mother, Rachel.