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Why Did Yosef Accuse Them of Spying?

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

Genesis 42:9

"...and he (Yosef) said to them: You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness (weakness) of the land!"

Why did Yosef accuse his brothers of being spies rather than charging them with some other crime?

Minchah Belulah suggests that had he done so, the brothers would have surely inquired about the identity of the unfair ruler who falsely accused them. It's likely they would have been told about the young Hebrew who was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams and eventually, Yosef's cover would have been blown.

However, by accusing them of spying, Yosef knew that his brothers wouldn't ask any questions of anyone since this would only reinforce suspicions about them.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac


Rabbi Michael Skobac had been involved with Jews for Judaism (Canada) since 1989 and currently serves as its Director of Education and Counselling. He is a leading authority on missionaries, cults and issues relating to Jewish continuity and Jewish spirituality. Rabbi Skobac's publications include Missionary Impossible; Counter-Missionary Survival Guide; The DaVinci Code: A Jewish Perspetive; and Intermarriage: Is There Ligth at teh End of the Tunnel?

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Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.

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