What does Genesis 43:5 mean?
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.’”
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.''
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.’?'
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.' "
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.’'
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.
NKJV: 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.’ ”
Verse Commentary:
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.
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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