Genesis 43:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 43:9, NIV: I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.

Genesis 43:9, ESV: I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.

Genesis 43:9, KJV: I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:

Genesis 43:9, NASB: I myself will take responsibility for him! You may demand him back from me. If I do not bring him back to you and present him to you, then you can let me take the blame forever.

Genesis 43:9, NLT: I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don't bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever.

Genesis 43:9, CSB: I will be responsible for him. You can hold me personally accountable! If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I will be guilty before you forever.

What does Genesis 43:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Judah and his brothers are pushing Jacob to make a tough decision. One option is to risk losing his beloved youngest son Benjamin by sending him to Egypt with his brothers, as required by the Egyptian ruler who sells the grain (Genesis 42:3–6). The other is to allow the family to starve to death in the continuing famine (Genesis 43:1–2), including the "little ones" (Genesis 43:8).

Now Judah promises to take personal responsibility for Benjamin's safety. More than that, he offers himself as a pledge of safety. This language indicates a serious commitment; this is not a casual promise. Judah is literally offering his own life in exchange for Benjamin if he fails to bring the boy back to Jacob alive and well. It's unclear what the exact consequence would be, but he would accept the blame "forever."

Reuben had made a similar offer to Jacob earlier, suggesting that Jacob could kill his own two sons if he failed to return Benjamin (Genesis 42:37). Jacob rejected that, preferring to abandon Simeon (Genesis 42:19–20, 24) to keep Benjamin safe. He will reluctantly and fearfully accept this suggestion from Judah (Genesis 43:11–14).