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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann
Genesis 45

 

 

Verses 1-15

Joseph Makes Himself Known

v. 1. Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. Now that he had such unmistakable proof of the genuineness of his brothers' repentance, it was no longer possible for him to control his feelings. But he did not want his Egyptian servants to witness his reconciliation with his brothers. And there stood no man with him while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren, all of the attendants having left the room at his command, as being unable to understand the revelations that would now be made.

v. 2. And he wept aloud; his emotion, his agitation, so long repressed, broke forth like a flood carrying with it every obstruction. And the Egyptians, the servants outside, and the house of Pharaoh heard, either because the house of Joseph was near the royal palace or because the news was quickly carried there.

v. 3. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph. The abruptness of the announcement was caused by the intensity of his emotion. Doth my father yet live? He had been given the information before, Gen_43:28, but his loving anxiety demands assurance once more. And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence. The terrors of an evil conscience took hold of them once more, and their astonishment prevented their saying so much as a word.

v. 4. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. He was obliged to coax and invite them. And they came near, more by reason of his invitation than by the power of their love. And he said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold in to Egypt. He says it not by way of reproach, but to assure them of his identity.

v. 5. Now, therefore, be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither. He saw, from the expression of their faces and eyes, that sorrow over their crime and anger over their miserable jealousy was struggling in their hearts. For God did send me before you to preserve life; the entire matter, though full of human weakness and sin, had, by God's dispensation, redounded to the preservation of life, not only in Egypt, but also for the patriarchal family.

v. 6. For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and yet there are five years in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. The famine, as Joseph vividly states, was even then in the midst of the land, and for five more years there would be neither plowing nor reaping.

v. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. The saving of the patriarchal family, the bearers of the Messianic promise, was of even greater importance than the preserving of the Egyptians. It was the will of God, as Joseph now recognized very clearly, that the family and the posterity of Jacob should be kept alive through this famine, the final result being that they would be a multitude, escaped from death and destruction. Even here the Messianic idea is not wanting.

v. 8. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God; they were mere instruments in the hand of Providence; and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, his confidential counselor and friend, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Thus Joseph, formerly apparently a tyrant, forgave his repentant brothers their great sin and assured them that he bore them no ill will, just as the Lord, after trying us with great severity, proves Himself our dear Father in Christ Jesus.

v. 9. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, tarry not;

v. 10. and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, in the eastern Nile delta, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast;

v. 11. and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty, be so greatly impoverished as to suffer actual want, his possessions being taken over by others. Toward this message and invitation the entire speech of Joseph had tended. And, the brothers still being perplexed, Joseph once more urged them to see the situation correctly.

v. 12. And, behold, your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you, that the entire scene was not a dream and a delusion.

v. 13. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. The more complete the description of actual conditions, the sooner would Jacob believe; and what Joseph desired above all was haste.

v. 14. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Having relieved his heart of its pent-up emotion in this manner, Joseph now greeted, first of all, his brother Benjamin, as was to be expected after a separation of more than twenty years.

v. 15. Moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them, while they were in his embrace; and after that his brethren talked with him, having now gained the assurance that Joseph did not intend to take revenge upon them, but that his love had forgotten all the wrong committed by them.


Verses 16-28

Jacob invited to Egypt

v. 16. And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come. The news reached the royal palace very soon. And it pleased Pharaoh well and his servants, which shows the high regard that Joseph enjoyed; for all nomadic tribes, including the Hebrews, were despised by the Egyptians. The latter fact was forgotten in the universal joy.

v. 17. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts and go; get you unto the land of Canaan;

v. 18. and take your father and your households, and come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. The best, the richest products of the country should be at their disposal, just as if they were truly the relatives of royalty.

v. 19. Now thou art commanded, this do ye, the language of authoritative courtesy: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. They were to be provided with all the conveniences of travel, especially with the two-wheeled wagons of Egypt, which could very well be used even in the trackless desert.

v. 20. Also regard not your stuff, they should not mind the loss of some articles of furniture which could not well be transported for such a long distance; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.

v. 21. And the children of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way; he took care of all their needs for the journey.

v. 22. To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; every one of the brothers was fitted out with a new suit of clothes; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of raiment, holiday clothing, as a change for the usual dress.

v. 23. And to his father he sent after this manner: ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, presents to indicate what Jacob might expect in the land whose king had invited him, and ten she-asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. The grain, the bread, and the other food was to serve as provisions for Jacob and his household on their way to Egypt.

v. 24. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed; and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. They should not be tempted to hark back to the old crime, as to who had really instigated the wrong, and thus sin again. It is a warning which has its value even today, in similar circumstances.

v. 25. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob, their father,

v. 26. and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. Their extreme joy makes them almost too abrupt in the announcement of their news. And Jacob's heart fainted, it stopped in chill and amazement, for he believed them not. The news was too wonderful to be true, after all these years of mourning.

v. 27. And they told him all the words of Joseph which he had said unto them; and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, concrete evidence of Joseph's love and of the truth of the account concerning him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived; he was filled with new life and vigor.

v. 28. And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph, my son, is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die. He no longer doubted; he was convinced; and he had only one great desire, namely, to see his son as soon as possible. The Lord may cause His children to bear many heavy crosses for many years, but eventually He always brings joy and happiness into their hearts.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Genesis 45:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/genesis-45.html. 1921-23.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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