Joseph is so overcome with emotion listening to Judah beg to take Benjamin’s place as a slave in Egypt . . . so he won’t have to go home to his father without the favored son . . . that Joseph finally breaks down.
He sends all of the Egyptians out of the room before he reveals himself to his brothers. But he’s sobbing so loudly that they can’t help but hear him. And soon Pharaoh’s household hears about it.
Joseph’s first question for his brothers is about his father . . . is he still alive?
However, his half brothers are so terrified, now realizing who he is, that they can’t speak. And can you blame them? The spoiled rotten teenage brat of a half brother that their father adored and they loathed and treated like dirt and sold as a slave and pretended was dead . . . is now all grown up and extremely powerful and holds their very lives in his hands.
Talk about poetic justice.
But Joseph tells them not to be upset about what they did to him. In fact, no less than four times within a few verses, Joseph re-iterates that GOD SENT HIM TO EGYPT. He lets his brothers know that he doesn’t blame them or hold a grudge against them . . . because he knows that God sent him there in order to save the family (and future nation) of Israel.
To me, this ties in with those last two years Joseph spent in prison. Remember when he interpreted the chief butler’s dream and told him he would be restored to his position in Pharaoh’s household? And then Joseph asked the chief butler to be sure to tell Pharaoh about him and how he was in prison unjustly and that he should not even be in the country . . . especially as a slave?
Then two years later, when Joseph is in Pharaoh’s presence interpreting his dreams, Joseph doesn’t mention any of that.
And in today’s passage, he actually gives God the CREDIT (not the BLAME!) for him being in Egypt and being in the position he’s in.
I believe during those two years in prison, Joseph came to terms with the fact that God had a purpose for him being there. I’m not sure he knew what that purpose was at the time, but I believe he decided to trust that God knew what He was doing.
And now, having been in his current position for 9 years, he knows God is using him to save all of Egypt from starvation.
Then when his brothers show up, I believe Joseph realizes God also sent him to Egypt to save his entire family.
Now when he has a chance to blame his brothers for all his suffering . . . he releases them from any ‘fault’ and gives God credit for sending him there to save their lives.
Then he shares his plan with them. He wants them to hurry and go let his father know he’s alive and that God has sent him to Egypt ahead of them to be sure they survive the famine that will last five more years. And to bring the entire family and all their livestock to Egypt. They’ll live in Goshen, close to Joseph. And he’ll take care of them.
He and Benjamin hug and cry. And then he kisses all his brothers and cries over all of them, too.
And finally they’re able to talk to him.
– God can and will use the bad things others do to us to get us in position for promotion and purpose.
– Someone we once viewed as an enemy could one day be the person who saves our life.
– God always has a plan . . . and it’s always for our good.
– How has God used bad things that happened to me to move me into position for promotion and to fulfill His purpose?
– Which former ‘enemy’ has the potential to bless me and my family?
– When was the last time I recognized God’s good plan while I was in a bad situation?
– What situation am I in right now that I need to trust God with and look for His good plan?
Genesis 45:1-15 / Amplified Bible (AMP)
45 Then Joseph could not restrain himself [any longer] before all those who stood by him, and he called out, Cause every man to go out from me! So no one stood there with Joseph while he made himself known to his brothers.
2 And he wept and sobbed aloud, and the Egyptians [who had just left him] heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard about it.
3 And Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph! Is my father still alive? And his brothers could not reply, for they were distressingly disturbed and dismayed at [the startling realization that they were in] his presence.
4 And Joseph said to his brothers, Come near to me, I pray you. And they did so. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt!
5 But now, do not be distressed and disheartened or vexed and angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.
6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years more in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.
7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a posterity and to continue a remnant on the earth, to save your lives by a great escape and save for you many survivors.
8 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 ruler over all the land of Egypt.
9 Hurry and go up to my father and tell him, Your son Joseph says this to you: God has put me in charge of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not delay.
10 You will live in the land of Goshen, and you will be close to me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and all you have.
11 And there I will sustain and provide for you, so that you and your household and all that are yours may not come to poverty and want, for there are yet five [more] years of [the scarcity, hunger, and starvation of] famine.
12 Now notice! Your own eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin can see that I am talking to you personally [in your language and not through an interpreter].
13 And 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 And 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 upon them; and after that his brothers conversed with him.