To get what Genesis 42:16 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.”

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Popularity relative to other verses in Genesis chapter 42 using average monthly Google searches.

Genesis 42:16 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
Send שִׁלְח֨וּ To send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications) Send
one אֶחָד֮ Properly, united, i.e., one; or (as an ordinal) first one
of מִכֶּ֣ם Properly, a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses of
you, and let him fetch וְיִקַּ֣ח To take (in the widest variety of applications) let fetch
your brother, אֲחִיכֶם֒ A brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance [like H0001]) brother
and ye וְאַתֶּם֙ Thou and thee, or (plural) ye and you and ye
shall be kept in prison, הֵאָ֣סְר֔וּ To yoke or hitch; by analogy, to fasten in any sense, to join battle kept prison
that your words דִּבְרֵיכֶ֔ם A word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause words
may be proved, וְיִבָּֽחֲנוּ֙ To test (especially metals); generally and figuratively, to investigate proved
whether truth הַֽאֱמֶ֖ת Stability; (figuratively) certainty, truth, trustworthiness whether truth
there be any (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
in אִתְּכֶ֑ם Properly, nearness (used only as a preposition or an adverb), near; hence, generally, with, by, at, among, etc in
you: or else לֹ֕א Not (the simple or abs. negation); by implication, no; often used with other particles else
by the life חֵ֣י Alive; hence, raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively life
of Pharaoh פַרְעֹ֔ה Paroh, a general title of Egyptian kings Pharaoh
surely כִּ֥י (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjunction or adverb (as below); often largely modified by other particles annexed surely
ye אַתֶּֽם׃ Thou and thee, or (plural) ye and you ye
are (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
spies. מְרַגְּלִ֖ים To walk along; but only in specifically, applications, to reconnoiter, to be a tale-bearer (i.e., slander); to lead about spies

Verse Context

See Genesis 42:16 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 14  And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:

  • 15  Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.

  • 16  Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.

  • 17  And he put them all together into ward three days.

  • 18  And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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