What does Genesis 43:10 mean?
ESV: If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”
NIV: As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.'
NASB: For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice.'
CSB: If we had not delayed, we could have come back twice by now."
NLT: If we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.'
KJV: For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
NKJV: For if we had not lingered, surely by now we would have returned this second time.”
Verse Commentary:
This concludes Judah's appeal to Jacob to allow him to take Benjamin to Egypt to buy grain (Genesis 43:1–9). He has pledged his own life for Benjamin's safety. He knows that if they don't do as the Egyptian ruler said (Genesis 42:19–20) and bring Benjamin with them, they won't be able to buy grain. The family will starve.

Now Judah expresses the urgency of the situation. Jacob's refusal to make the decision has cost them valuable time. They could have made the trip and returned twice over since the need to buy more food first became apparent. By now, food must be critically low. Jacob's fearfulness and outrageous favoritism has put the entire family at risk. Only when faced with such a dire situation will he finally give in (Genesis 43:11–14).
Verse Context:
Genesis 43:1–15 describes how Jacob is forced to send his beloved son, Benjamin, to accompany his other sons to Egypt to buy more grain. If Benjamin doesn't go, they will not be allowed to purchase anything. This is by the order of the Egyptian governor, who the men do not realize is their long-lost brother, Joseph. Without grain, the family will starve. Jacob agrees, sending with his sons a gift for the man, along with double the amount of money needed to buy the grain. Finally, Jacob prays to God Almighty for his boys before allowing them to depart with his precious youngest son.
Chapter Summary:
Jacob must send Benjamin with his brothers, back to Egypt, to buy more grain for the family. Without it, they will starve, but the Egyptian ruler will not sell them grain if they don't bring Benjamin as agreed. Speaking on behalf of his brothers, Judah finally convinces his father. Arriving in Egypt, they are honored as guests in Joseph's house. They present a gift to him—still not recognizing him as their estranged brother—and Joseph, after being overwhelmed with emotion, pays special attention to Benjamin.
Chapter Context:
In Genesis chapter 37, Jacob sends his favorite son, Joseph, to visit his brothers. Joseph does not come home. In chapter 42, Jacob sends ten of his sons on a mission, and once again the group returns short one son. The Egyptian governor keeps Simeon as collateral and commands the family to return with Benjamin. Only when forced with starvation does Jacob risk his youngest son. Joseph, still unrecognized by his brothers as the governor of Egypt, honors the men as guests in his home, paying special attention to Benjamin. After further tests in chapter 44, Joseph will finally reveal himself in chapter 45.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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