Joseph makes himself known
1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Make everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no-one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
3Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still living?’ But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
4Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no ploughing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.#45:7 Or save you as a great band of survivors
8‘So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9Now hurry back to my father and say to him, “This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me – you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.”
12‘You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13Tell my father about all the honour accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.’
14Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterwards his brothers talked with him.
16When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Tell your brothers, “Do this: load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.”
19‘You are also instructed to tell them, “Do this: take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.” ’
21So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels#45:22 That is, about 3.5 kilograms of silver and five sets of clothes. 23And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, ‘Don’t quarrel on the way!’
25So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26They told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.’ Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28And Israel said, ‘I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’
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Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers
1Joseph could no longer contain his pent-up feelings, so he cried out to his attendants, “Leave the room!” So no one was there when Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers. # 45:1 The family secret was a secret no more! Having held this secret for nearly a year, Joseph could contain himself no longer. He had to reveal himself to those he loved. All the Egyptians and the interpreter were ordered to leave. Joseph waited for the last Egyptian to file out of the room, then his long-buried emotions surfaced. 2He began to weep so loudly that the Egyptians heard it—even as far away as Pharaoh’s house! # 45:2 Or “[word] reached Pharaoh’s house.” 3Joseph, through his tears, said to his brothers in Hebrew: “I am Joseph! Is father still alive?” His brothers stood there stunned, scared, and speechless.
4Joseph said to his brothers, “Please, come close to me.” Inching forward, they came close to him. Then Joseph said, “It’s me—your brother—whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. I am Joseph! 5Now don’t be grieved. Don’t blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was God who sent me ahead of you in order to save lives. 6The famine has now endured for two years, and the land will not bear fruit for five more years. 7God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you would live # 45:7 Or “to preserve you for a remnant on earth.” and have descendants. He has saved your lives through this marvelous act of deliverance. 8So it was God, not you, who sent me here. # 45:8 Joseph’s compassion for his brothers ran deep. For the third time, he told them that it was God, not they, who orchestrated all the events to bring him to the throne. Once painfully betrayed by them, Joseph now began to encourage his brothers. His words flowed from a loving, forgiving heart, and Joseph’s kindness washed over them. Their guilt was overruled by Joseph’s mercy. Through his tears, he convinced them not to dwell on their sin but on how God had worked through it all. Joseph had been sent by God ahead of them to preserve their lives. Though they did not realize it, Joseph’s brothers were helping the Lord fulfill his promise to Abraham (see Gen. 12:1–3). Today, we must learn to see that even those who hurt us the most may be those who move us toward the throne. If you see yourself in the hands of a loving God, not of others, you will not be offended. If Joseph’s brothers had not sold him into slavery, how would his dreams have been fulfilled? Some of your dreams will never come true until you can handle both mistreatment and betrayal with forgiving love (see Mark 11:25; Luke 23:34). God has made me a father to Pharaoh, the master of his entire household, and the ruler over all of Egypt.
9“Hurry back to my father and tell him that you have found me alive. Tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says, “God has made me ruler # 45:9 The brothers once asked in Gen. 37:8, “Do you actually think you’re destined to rule over us?” Joseph’s words, no doubt, would have reminded them of their question. of all Egypt. Come to me without delay. 10You will settle in the land of Goshen, # 45:10 Goshen means “drawing near.” It was a fertile area in the eastern part of the Nile delta that today is called Wadi Tumilat. It was known as a place for grazing livestock (see Gen. 46:32–34; 47:6, 11). Joseph’s palace was apparently near Goshen. where you will be near me—you and all your children and your grandchildren, your flocks and herds and all that you possess. 11For there will be five more years of famine, but I will provide all that you need to live in Goshen. You, your household, and all that you have will not live in poverty.” ’
12“My brothers, you each can see for yourselves, and Benjamin can too, that I really am Joseph, for I’m speaking to you face-to-face in our own language. # 45:12 Or “that it is my mouth that speaks with you.” 13You must tell father everything you have seen here and how greatly I am honored in Egypt. But hurry and bring my father here to me.”
14Then Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin’s neck, sobbing, and Benjamin wept on Joseph’s neck. 15With tears streaming down his face, Joseph kissed each brother, one by one. After their tearful, emotional embrace, they took time to speak brother-to-brother. # 45:15 All that transpired that amazing day was a prophetic portrayal of the glorious reconciliation that one day will occur between Jesus and his alienated Jewish brothers (see Rom. 11:25; Eph. 4:18). Through the last two thousand years, he has been unrecognizable to many of the Jewish people in his “gentile garb,” as it were. But one day the time will come when hearts will soften in repentance toward the Father and Jesus will reveal his full identity as their long-lost Jewish brother and Messiah. See Rom. 9–11.
16The news reached Pharaoh’s house: “Joseph’s brothers have come.” Pharaoh and his officials were greatly pleased when they heard it.
17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers: ‘Load your donkeys and return to Canaan. 18Get your father and your families and come back to me. I will give you the best of the land in Egypt, and you will enjoy the fat of the land.’ 19Tell them also: ‘Take Egyptian wagons with you for your wives and little ones and bring their father with them. 20Give no thought to leaving your possessions behind; the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’ ”
21Israel’s sons did as they were instructed. Joseph gave them wagons, as the king had ordered, and provided food for their journey. 22He gave each of them a set of garments, and to Benjamin he also gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. 23He sent his father ten donkeys loaded with the best Egyptian goods and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and other provisions for the journey. 24Then he sent his brothers off, admonishing them, “Don’t quarrel # 45:24 Or “be trembling [with anxiety].” along the way.” And they departed.
25They left Egypt and went back home to their father Jacob in Canaan. 26When they arrived, they ran to their father and announced, “Joseph is still alive! Not only that, he is the ruler of all Egypt!” The news so stunned Jacob that he nearly fainted. # 45:26 Or “his heart was numb.” He could not believe his ears! 27But when they told him all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons Joseph had sent to take him to Egypt, he recovered from the shock. 28“My son Joseph is still alive!” Israel said. “Now I’m convinced! I must go to see him before I die.” # 45:28 Why did Joseph wait for nine years before he sent for his father Jacob? He could have sent chariots to Canaan before now, bringing his father to Egypt to share his wealth and power. Why did he wait so many years until now? Was it because he did not care? No, Joseph cared deeply for his family; something else kept him back. Joseph was a man who chose to bear the pain of separation from his father rather than run ahead of God. He was an enthroned prince, yet he placed God’s interests over his. He knew that the plan of God must be fulfilled, not just his own desires. So he waited and waited again. Instead of initiating contact with his father and brothers, he stayed within the timing of the Lord. Even when it was in his power, Joseph waited nine years before his loneliness was removed. The dreams of his youth included Jacob, his father, bowing before him also. More than anything else, Joseph longed to see his father, but for nine years he did nothing. Even when the time came, he himself did not go; he waited until the others brought Jacob back. He was restricted to the will of God. This is why Joseph was a ruler and a prince. If you are unable to rule yourself, you will not be a good ruler over others.
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