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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 45

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary



Whatever purposes Joseph intended to accomplish by his severity and mysterious conduct towards his brethren, all are accomplished now, or else the irresistible eloquence of Judah dissuades him from concealing himself further. When he first saw them ten of them, without Benjamin, (chap. xlii,) he may have at once suspected that they had made away with his younger brother as they had done with himself. He would keep himself aloof until he could thoroughly prove their present disposition, and find out all the facts. Thus he was also made, perhaps unwittingly, the instrument of distressing his aged father, as a retribution for the mischievous partiality he had shown to the sons of Rachel. But the action of the brethren towards Benjamin, and especially the appeal of Judah, and the picture of the aged father sinking in sorrow to the grave all convince Joseph that a deep change has been wrought in the hearts of these men, and he can refrain himself no longer.

Verse 1

1. Could not refrain himself Could not control his emotions any longer .

Cause every man to go out The delicate and touching scene will be too sacred for public gaze . Besides, the embracing and the kissing (Genesis 45:14-15) might too much offend the ideas of the Egyptians . See note on Genesis 43:32.

Verse 3

3. Doth my father yet live In the warmth and fulness of his emotion he seems yet to betray a suspicion of the report of his brethren . This throws light on the undue severity with which he has treated them all along . First he feared that Benjamin was not; and now he even intimates a doubt whether, after all their protestations, his father is still alive . Accordingly, his brethren could not answer him The sudden revelation; the deep insinuation; the shock of mingled surprise and alarm rendered them speechless.

They were troubled Terrified; filled with amazement and trepidation ( נבהלו ) at his presence, or, from his presence, ( מפניו ;) as if they shrunk backward, away from before his face .

Verse 4

4. Come near He notices their confusion and alarm, and their shrinking from his presence, and now kindly seeks to allay their fears and strengthen their hearts .

Verse 5

5. God did send me Four times he repeats this thought, that God’s hand had directed in all this matter . He sees the wonderful Providence in it now, and wishes them all to see it .

Verse 8

8. A father to Pharaoh A wise counsellor and intimate friend, to watch over Pharaoh’s great house and land, like a protecting father . The word father is used in such a sense in many lands . The Romanists call their priests fathers, and Mohammedan caliphs give their grand vizier this title .

Verse 9

9. Haste ye… tarry not The emotion of a consuming filial love is in these words . How long will seem the days until son and father meet again!

Verse 10

10. Dwell in the land of Goshen “Joseph invites his father to come and settle in Goshen, apparently before consulting Pharaoh upon the matter, trusting to his influence with the king to secure this favour . Goshen was on the north-eastern frontier of Egypt, bordering upon the desert, the part of the country nearest to Canaan, east of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile . It was well adapted to a pastoral people, being fertilized by artificial irrigation through canals from the Nile, and by wells from which the water is raised by wheels . The surface being less elevated than the rest of the land, it is more easily irrigated. There are here at present more flocks and herds, and also more fishermen, than in any other part of Egypt, so that at the present day, as in the time of Joseph, it is reckoned as ‘the best of the land.’ (ROBINSON’S Biblical Researches, 1: 53).” Newhall.

Verse 11

11. Will I nourish thee The son whom God hath exalted will tenderly provide for the aged father who nourished him in his childhood .

Yet there are five years With the assuring message of filial love goes also a prophetic word, showing that Joseph has a knowledge of the future such as only divinely-gifted seers possess.

Verse 12

12. My mouth that speaketh unto you That is, Ye see that my “mouth is speaking to you in our native language . Before this he had spoken to them in the Egyptian tongue, through an interpreter, but now, when he had ‘caused all men to go out from’ him, that he might open all his heart to his brethren, he cried to them in Hebrew, ‘I am Joseph!’ It was the sound of their native tongue in this land of strangers, from the lips of the grand vizier of Egypt, that rolled back the years in the memory of the brethren more than any thing that he said.” Newhall.

Verse 13

13. Tell my father of all my glory Joseph would make his father and his brothers partakers of his own honour, and would have them exult with family pride in all that God had done for them through him .

Verse 15

15. After that his brethren talked with him That is, after the embracing of Benjamin (Genesis 45:14) and the weeping and kissing of them all . “They were so stunned and bewildered that they could not utter a word till his tears washed out their terrors . ” Newhall .

Verse 16

16. The fame thereof was heard The report was made; literally, the voice (or noise) was heard .

It pleased Pharaoh well Hebrews, it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh . “The grateful esteem in which Joseph was held made every thing good that interested him, and the discovery that the Hebrew slave belonged to a family that was not unknown at the court of the Pharaohs (chap . 12) was also pleasing . The ‘good’ and the ‘fat’ of the land were now freely laid at the disposal of the family of Joseph . This is simply a general expression for the choice things of Egypt . ” Newhall .

Verse 19

19. Now thou art commanded “There is a beautiful kindness and courtesy here shown on the part of Pharaoh, in passing from the language of invitation to that of command, where Joseph’s personal interest is concerned .

Take you wagons Of which there were probably none in Palestine; carts, two-wheeled vehicles which could easily pass through the roadless desert . The modern Egyptian cart has two solid wheels, but carts with spoked wheels are represented in the monuments .

Little ones And in Genesis 45:18, households, all their dependents, servants, amounting probably to several hundreds, are included in the invitation . ” Newhall .

Verse 20

20. Regard not your stuff “Be not troubled about your household goods that you cannot move, for they shall be made good . People who move frequently can appreciate this anxiety . Israel came into Egypt by free invitation, and perhaps the sacred historian amplifies in detail here, so as to show that Israel was as free to depart afterwards . ” Newhall .

Verse 22

22. Changes of raiment Suits of clothing, a common present among the wealthy and noble in eastern countries .

Three hundred pieces of silver Silver shekels are doubtless intended, weighed and not coined; amounting to about nine and one half pounds .

Verse 23

23. Ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt “These presents to his aged father were in princely profusion, as was fitting the rank of the highest subject of Pharaoh, calculated to impress Jacob unmistakably with the reality of the romantic story which the brethren were to carry back to their father; yet as Jacob was immediately to leave home he could really use but a very small part of this provision . ” Newhall .

Verse 24

24. See that ye fall not out by the way “Do not accuse one another of guilt, and so fall into unbrotherly contention . It was natural that in talking over this strange history each should seek to clear himself of blame . Three several times Joseph tells them that God had overruled their sin for good to all the family, and tenderly endeavours to alleviate thus the sorrow of their repentance” Newhall .

Verse 26

26. Jacob’s heart fainted Gesenius (Lex . , on פוג ) renders: “ But his heart was cold, did not warm with joy, was not moved . ” The news was too great and surprising for the aged patriarch to believe . Pressing grief, and mistrust and suspicion of his sons also, helped to beget this chill of unbelief in Jacob’s heart .

Verse 27

27. When he saw the wagons “As they went on with the details of the story the circumstances gradually convinced him, but the decisive thing mentioned is the sight of the wagons, the Egyptian carts, which never appeared in Canaan . ” Newhall .

Verse 28

28. And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive “The change of name from Jacob to Israel is significant here . It is the patriarch who was heir of the great promises made to Abraham, the channel of the covenant mercies to the world, who now sets out upon this eventful journey which commences a new stage in the fortunes of the covenant people . It is the prince of God who recognises the finger of Providence . ” Newhall.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 45". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/genesis-45.html. 1874-1909.
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