Genesis 45:1-15

1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.

And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

“Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry.

10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have.

11 There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.” ’

12 “And behold, your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my mouth that speaks to you.

13 So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.”

14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.

15 Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him.

After hearing Judah’s passionate plea for his brother and father (Genesis 44:18-34), Joseph could no longer control his emotions or put off revealing his identity.

Joseph dramatically cried for all his servants to leave the room. What was about to transpire would not be appropriate for anyone not in the family to see … When Joseph was alone with his brothers, he cried out to them that he was their brother Joseph, the one they thought was dead. He was sobbing and crying out so loudly that those whom he had dismissed from the room could not help but overhear, and they in turn soon carried the news to Pharaoh’s house (vs. 2, 16). …

The eleven brothers were completely speechless. They were “troubled” at his presence, according to the Authorized Version; but the actual Hebrew word also means “amazed” or “frightened,” or even “terrified.” — Morris, pages 619-620.


The word “posterity” (v.7) is actually the regular word for “remnant.” … Joseph kept emphasizing as strongly as he could, that all of this had been planned of God. He wanted his brothers to recognize this also, that they might understand with great appreciation how God was working on their behalf in order that He might fulfill His great promises to their fathers. So, far from being an insignificant family in the land of Canaan, they were the objects of the special solicitude of the God of all the earth. To fulfill His plans for them, He had even made Joseph a “father” to Pharaoh, advising him on all decisions, as well as lord of his household and ruler of the land of Egypt. Joseph, as usual, gave all the glory to God, and he wanted his brothers to do the same. — Morris, pages 621-622.


Joseph instructed [his brothers to tell Israel] that he wanted the entire family to move down to Egypt with him. He would arrange for them to have adequate room for all their households, as well as their flocks and herds, in the land of Goshen, a fertile region in northeastern Egypt. The district was about nine hundred square miles in area, and would be ideal for their needs. — Morris, page 622.


Goshen was the most eastern district of Lower Egypt, and the frontier of that country and Arabia, not far from the Arabian gulf, and lying next to Canaan; for Jacob went directly thither when he came into Egypt, from which it was about eighty miles distant, though Hebron was distant from the Egyptian capital about three hundred miles. — Treasury, page 33.


Joseph, overcome with emotion, reveals his true identity to his brothers, who are naturally dumbfounded (rather then “dismayed”) at the news. Out of empathy for his brothers—who have up to this point been guiltily assessing their supposed sins of theft against this powerful Egyptian as just recompense for their sin in selling Joseph (see 42:22 and 44:16)—Joseph seeks to comfort them with a theologically mature reflection on God’s all-encompassing goodness and sovereignty—to wit, that despite their sinful intention in selling him as a slave to the Egypt-bound traders, “God sent me before you to preserve life” (see also Genesis 50:20). In other words, all that Joseph suffered during his thirteen years as a slave and then prisoner was due, ultimately, not to the sinful will and actions of his brothers, but to the perfect will and behind-the-scenes work of God Himself. This does not, of course, exonerate his brothers from the sinful part they played, though in response to their obvious repentance this profound theological reflection would have stood as a significant source of comfort and conciliation. — Wechsler, page 259.

This entry was posted in Genesis. Bookmark the permalink.