Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 2004
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GENESIS 45:1‑8 (Joseph makes himself known to his brothers)
45:1-2 Deeply touched by Judah’s appeal (44:18-34), Joseph ordered all his servants to leave the room so he could talk privately to this brothers. But he wept and wailed so loudly with them that his attendants, and even those in Pharaoh’s palace heard it. Twenty years of emotion which he had repressed since the brothers had sold him into slavery (37:23-28) suddenly burst out uncontrollably. Unlike in our English-speaking tradition, men unashamedly weeping is a common occurrence in the Bible (4:14,15; Psalm 42:3; 80:5; Luke 22:62; John 11:33-35).
45:3-4 When he revealed who he was, and asked about his father, the brothers were so astonished by the turn of events that they could not answer him. So he made them come closer to him and assured them he was indeed their long lost brother.
45:5 He graciously asked them not to be upset (see 42:21; 44:16) at what they had done. God used their selling him as a slave to preserve the lives of many people (see 45:7).
45:6 There had been seven years of abundant harvests, but now there had already been two years of famine and there were five more years in which no crops could be sown or harvested (see note on 41:1).
45:7-8 Having already mentioned that many lives had been saved in Egypt and the surrounding countries (45:5), Joseph now added that he had been sent to preserve their own family. That showed it was not them who ultimately caused his enslavement but God himself who gave Joseph such influence over Pharaoh and put him in supreme control of the land of Egypt. We are reminded that things do not happen merely by chance. God has a plan for us, and he can overrule for our good even the disasters that seem so tragic and meaningless
GENESIS 45:9-15 (Joseph tells his brothers to go back and bring his father Israel)
45:9 The brothers were to tell his father that he was the supreme ruler of Egypt under Pharaoh, and he could arrange for him to be settled with all his family and flocks and herds in the land of Goshen (the eastern part of the Nile delta). This area would later be spared from the last seven of the ten plagues that preceded the Exodus (see Exodus 8:22 ; 9:4, 26; 10:23).
45:10-11 Joseph explained that Jacob and his family would be within easy reach of his palace, and he would make sure they were provided for in the five years of famine that were still to come.
45:12-13 The brothers, and Benjamin in particular, had seen Joseph with their own eyes and recognized his voice. They could assure their father of Joseph’s authority to arrange for them, and encourage their father to come under Joseph’s protection. “Tell my father of all my splendor” reminds us of the contrast between the humiliation of the Messiah and his exaltation (John 17:4-8; Philippians 2:5-11).
45:14-15 Again, overcome by emotion, he kissed and wept with Benjamin, and then kissed and wept with his brothers. And that finally gave them confidence to converse with him.
GENESIS 45:16-20 (Pharaoh joyfully encourages the coming of Joseph’s father)
45:16-20 Pharaoh and his retainers were delighted to have Joseph’s family come to join him. They would be given the best land in Egypt (repeated 45:20) for herding and shepherding (activities which Egyptians despise and refuse to engage in, 46:32-34). The brothers would also be given ox-drawn wagons for the mothers and children and their old father to come in comfort.
GENESIS 45:21-28 (Jacob could not believe Joseph was alive till he saw the wagons)
45:21-23 The brothers went on their way with the wagons which Joseph arranged for them. They were richly provided for. Benjamin was given five hundred pieces of silver and five sets of festal garments. There were also twenty donkeys loaded with more than enough for Jacob for the journey into Egypt. This is typical of the largesse of a wealthy benefactor (2 Kings 5:5, 23). The brothers had envied Joseph for the robe that he wore (37:23). Now he clothes his brothers with even richer garments.
45:24 Having made all these lavish arrangements, Joseph knew that the only thing that could now go wrong would be a family feud between these ten strong-willed brothers (see 37:18; 34:25). So he pleaded with them not to quarrel on the way home.
45:25-27 When the brothers told their father that Joseph was not only alive but actually the ruler of Egypt under Pharaoh at first he could not believe the news, and seems to have had a fainting spell. He had to hear the story again in great detail, but it was the wagons from Egypt that finally convinced him and revived his spirit.
45:28 He finally agreed Joseph must be alive, and though he was now 130 years old (34:25; 47:9) he would go and see his son before he died.
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