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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 45

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-28


Now that the grace of God has wrought genuine repentance in the hearts of the brothers, and Judah in particular, Joseph is free to reveal to them His own true identity. He was so deeply affected that he could not restrain himself; and called upon all his servants to leave the room. Only his brothers were with him as he broke down and wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it outside the room, including the household servants of Pharaoh (vs.1-2)

"I am Joseph," he tells them. What a shock for them! "Is my father still alive?" He wanted such a confirmation from their lips, but they were so stunned they could not speak (v.3). What will be the result also when the great Messiah of Israel reveals Himself to the nation, as the Lord Jesus whom they had crucified? "They will look on Me whom they have pierced, and they mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10). Like Thomas, they will be broken down to confess, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).

Yet Joseph's brothers would have some troubled fear that now they would have to face punishment for their previous treatment of Joseph. How anxious Joseph was to quiet their fears! He did not command them, but asked them, "Please come closer to me." When they did, he confirmed that he was their brother whom they sold into Egypt. But he adds immediately that he does not want them to be grieved or angry with themselves because of this, for it was God who had sovereignly worked in this experience in order to preserve life for many (v.5). If he did not want them to be angry with themselves, then certainly he was not angry with them. Wonderful attitude for an exalted ruler!

Then he lets them know that the two years of famine they had suffered was only beginning. There were five years to come. They must have wondered how he knew, but they did not question his word. He seeks to impress on them again that it was God who sent him to Egypt in order to preserve the family of Jacob and to save their lives by a great deliverance (v.7). Thus too, it is the Lord Jesus by whom God has actually preserved Israel by means of the rejected exalted one being among the Gentiles as He has been during this dispensation of grace now for many centuries, though Israel has been ignorant of the glory of their rejected Messiah.

So then, he assures them, it was not they who had sent Joseph to Egypt, but God; and God had made him (1) a father to Pharaoh (one whose goodness and guidance depended on). and (2) "Lord of all his house" (having authority second only to Pharaoh in his household) and (3) a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt (one in charge of the administration of all governmental affairs).

He then instructs his brothers to hurry home to their father, with the electrifying news that God made Joseph lord of all Egypt, and to tell him that he is to come immediately to Joseph, bringing all his family and his goods with him, and they might live in the land of Goshen in Egypt (vs.9, 10). Joseph also promises to provide for them during the five years of famine that were yet to come. Thus Joseph returns great good to his brothers for the evil that they had shown him. How much greater yet is the goodness of the Lord Jesus, who has been treated far more shamefully than Joseph was, but will bless Israel (His brethren according to flesh) in overabounding grace in the coming millennial age!

Now that Joseph had fully revealed himself to his brothers and had instructed them to return home bring their father and possessions to Egypt, he again embraced his brother Benjamin, and both of them wept (v.14). Of course Joseph had a special attachment to the one who was the son of his mother. But he afterward did the same to each of the other brothers (v.15) and took time to talk with them.

News of the coming of Joseph's brothers reaches Pharaoh, who is pleased to hear this (v.16), so that he confirms what Joseph had said, that the brothers should return to Canaan and bring their father and their households with them back to Egypt, where Pharaoh would give them the best of the land (vs.17-18). Of course Pharaoh realized that he was greatly indebted to Joseph and was glad to show his appreciation in this way. More than this orders them to take wagons with them from Egypt in order to bring their wives and children and their father. As to their possessions, he tells them not to be concerned, for everything they needed would be provided for them in Egypt (v.20). Of course they would bring their flocks and herds, and no doubt there would be many things they would not want to leave behind, but Pharaoh wanted them to know that he would supply whatever goods they had need of.

Joseph gave them wagons (which would of course include animals to pull them) and provisions for their journey, even including changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothing and added to this hundred pieces of silver. One wonders if Benjamin might have had a little difficulty in knowing how to handle this! But Joseph's heart was abounding in grace, and 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 food, just for his father's journey. Evidently he did not consider the wagons sufficient to carry all this food.

In sending them away, Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel on the way (v.24). He knew their character, and the Lord Jesus too knows the natural character of Israel, which is all too sadly reflected in ourselves, even the church of God. They return to their father with the unexpected news that Joseph was still alive and was ruler over all Egypt. Jacob was stunned, and could not believe them. But they told him all the words Joseph had spoken to them. At this time the truth must have come out, that the brothers had sold Joseph into Egypt, for their father had been deceived all these years. But the knowledge that Joseph was living would for Jacob override the deception of his brothers. As well as for Joseph's reported words, Jacob was persuaded when he saw the wagons that had been sent by Joseph. His spirit revived and he said, "It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go to see him before I die" (vs.27-29).

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 45". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/genesis-45.html. 1897-1910.
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