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The Mizrachi (44:20) suggests that they said Yosef was missing when they first met him, but they said, when they next met him (with the gift of fruit), that he'd died. The Gur Arye (44:20) suggests that by "dead" they meant "missing, presumed dead" (but they still sought him).


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The earliest source of what happened appears to be the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who was familiar with both Jewish oral tradition and Scripture. In the First Century, he wrote in Book 2, Chapter 3, of his Antiquity of the Jews: (32) But Judas, being one of Jacob’s sons also, seeing some Arabians, of the posterity of Ismael, carrying spices and ...


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Rabbi Etshalom says that the brothers were out of sight of the pit and were waiting for the Yishmaelim. They did not see the Midyanim take him out of the pit. When Reuven came and found him gone, they did not know what happened either. In fact, some commentaries say that they would have weakened even more and had he been in the pit, (and Reuven pulled him ...



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