|<< Genesis 45 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
Joseph now reveals to his brothers the astonishing fact that he himself, their long-lost brother, stands before them. "He could not refrain himself." Judah has painted the scene at home to the life; and Joseph can hold out no longer. "Have every man out from me." Delicacy forbids the presence of strangers at this unrestrained outburst of tender emotion among the brothers. Besides, the workings of conscience, bringing up the recollections of the past, and the errors, to which some reference is now unavoidable, are not to be unveiled to the public eye. "He lifted up his voice in weeping." The expression of the feelings is free and uncontrolled in a simple and primitive state of society. This prevails still in the East. And Mizraim heard. The Egyptians of Joseph's house would hear, and report to others, this unusual utterance of deep feeling. "I am Joseph." The natural voice, the native tongue, the long-remembered features, would, all at once, strike the apprehension of the brothers.
The remembrance of their crime, the absolute power of Joseph, and the justice of revenge, would rush upon their minds. No wonder they were silent and troubled at his presence. "Is my father yet alive?" This question shows where Joseph's thoughts were. He had been repeatedly assured of his father's welfare. But the long absence and the yearning of a fond heart bring the question up again. It was reassuring to the brethren, as it was far away from any thought of their fault or their punishment. "Come near unto me." Joseph sees the trouble of his brothers, and discerns its cause. He addresses them a second time, and plainly refers to the fact of their having sold him. He points out that this was overruled of God to the saving of life; and, hence, that it was not they, but God who had mercifully sent him to Egypt to preserve all their lives. "For these two years." Hence, we perceive that the sons of Jacob obtained a supply, on the first occasion, which was sufficient for a year. "To leave to you a remnant in the land."
This is usually and most naturally referred to a surviving portion of their race. "Father to Pharaoh;" a second author of life to him. Having touched very slightly on their transgression, and endeavored to divert their thoughts to the wonderful providence of God displayed in the whole affair, he lastly preoccupies their minds with the duty and necessity of bringing down their father and all their families to dwell in Egypt. "In the land of Goshen." This was a pasture land on the borders of Egypt and Arabia, perhaps at some distance from the Nile, and watered by the showers of heaven, like their own valleys. He then appeals to their recollections and senses, whether he was not their very brother Joseph. "My mouth that speaketh unto you;" not by an interpreter, but with his own lips, and in their native tongue. Having made this needful and reassuring explanation, he breaks through all distance, and falls upon Benjamin's neck and kisses him, and all his other brothers; after which their hearts are soothed, and they speak freely with him.
2And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
3And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6For 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.
7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
9Haste 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:
10And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, 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:
11And 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.
12And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
13And 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.
14And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
15Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.
16And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.
The intelligence that Joseph's brethren are come reaches the ears of Pharaoh, and calls forth a cordial invitation to come and settle in Egypt. "It was good in the eyes of Pharaoh." They highly esteemed Joseph on his own account; and that he should prove to be a member of a respectable family, and have the pleasure of again meeting with his nearest relatives, were circumstances that afforded them a real gratification. "The good of the land of Mizraim." The good which it produces. Wagons; two-wheeled cars, fit for driving over the rough country, where roads were not formed. "Let not your eye care for your stuff;" your houses, or pieces of furniture which must be left behind. The family of Jacob thus come to Egypt, not by conquest or purchase, but by hospitable invitation, as free, independent visitors or settlers. As they were free to come or not, so were they free to stay or leave.
17And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;
18And 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.
19Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.
20Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.
21And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.
The brothers joyfully accept the hospitable invitation of Pharaoh, and set about the necessary arrangements for their journey. "The sons of Israel;" including Joseph, who had his own part to perform in the proposed arrangement. "At the mouth of Pharaoh;" as he had authorized him to do. "Changes of raiment;" fine raiment for change on a high or happy day. To Benjamin he gives special marks of fraternal affection, which no longer excite any jealous feeling among the brothers, as the reasonableness of them is obvious. "Fall out." The original word means to be stirred by any passion, whether fear or anger, and interpreters explain it as they conceive the circumstances and the context require. The English version corresponds with the Septuagint ὀργίζεσθε orgizesthe and with Onkelos. It refers, perhaps, to the little flashes of heat, impatience, and contention that are accustomed to disturb the harmony of companions in the East, who behave sometimes like overgrown children. Such ebullitions often lead to disastrous consequences. Joseph's exile arose from petty jealousies among brethren.
22To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment.
23And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way.
24So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.
25And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father,
The returning brothers inform their father of the existence and elevation of Joseph in Egypt. The aged patriarch is overcome for the moment, but at length awakens to a full apprehension of the joyful news. His heart fainted; ceased to beat for a time, fluttered, sank within him. The news was too good for him to venture all at once to believe it. But the words of Joseph, which they recite, and the wagons which he had sent, at length lead to the conviction that it must be indeed true. He is satisfied. His only thought is to go and see Joseph before he dies. A sorrow of twenty-two years' standing has now been wiped away.
- Jacob Goes Down to Egypt
9. פלוּא pallû', Pallu, "distinguished." חצרן chetsrôn, Chetsron, of the "court," or "village." כרמי karmı̂y, Karmi, "vine-dresser."
10. ימוּאל yemû'êl, Jemuel, "day of El." ימין yâmı̂yn, Jamin, "right hand." אהד 'ôhad, Ohad, "joining together." יכין yâkı̂yn, Jakin, "he shall establish." צחר tsôchar, Tsochar, "whiteness."
11. גרשׁון gêreshôn, Gereshon, "expelling." קהת qehâth, Qehath, "assembly." מררי merârı̂y, Merari, "flowing, bitter."
12. חמוּל châmûl, Chamul, "pitied, treated with mercy."
13. תולע tôlâ‛, Tola', "worm, scarlet." פוּה pû'âh, Puvvah, "mouth?" יוב yôb, Job, "enemy?" שׂמרן śı̂mrôn, Shimron, "watch."
14. סרד sered, Sered, "fear." אלון 'êlôn, Elon, "oak." יחלאל yachle'êl, Jachleel, "El shall sicken or inspire with hope."
16. צפיון tsı̂phyôn, Tsiphjon, "watcher." חגי chaggı̂y, Chaggi, "festive." שׁוּני shûnı̂y, Shuni, "quiet." אצבון 'etsbôn, Etsbon, "toiling?" ערי ‛êrı̂y, 'Eri, "watcher." ארודי 'ǎrôdı̂y, Arodi, rover? אראלי 'ar'êlı̂y, Areli, "lion of El?"
17. ימנה yı̂mnâh, Jimnah, "prosperity." ישׁוה yı̂shvâh, Jishvah, ישׁוי yı̂shvı̂y, Jishvi, "even, level." בריעה berı̂y‛âh, Beri'ah, "in evil." שׂרח śerach, Serach, "overflow." חבר cheber, Cheber, "fellowship." מלכיאל malkı̂y'êl Malkiel, "king of EL"
21. בלע bela‛, Bela', "devouring." בכר beker, Beker, "a young camel." אשׁבל 'ashbêl Ashbel, "short?" גרא gêrâ', Gerah, "a grain." <נעמן na‛ămân, Na'aman, "pleasant." אחי 'êchı̂y Echi, "brotherly?" ראשׁ rô'sh, Rosh, "head." מפים mûppı̂ym, Muppim, חפים chûppı̂ym, Chuppim, "covering." ארד 'ard, Ard, "fugitive, rover."
23. צשׁים chûshı̂ym, Chushim, "haste."
24. יחצאל yachtse'êl, Jachtseel, "El will divide." גוּני gûnı̂y, Guni, "dyed." יצר yêtser, Jetser, "form." שׂלם śı̂llêm, Shillem, "retribution."
The second dream of Joseph is now to receive its fulfillment. His father is to bow down before him. His mother is dead. It is probable that also Leah is deceased. The figure, by which the dream shadows forth the reality, is fulfilled, when the spirit of it receives its accomplishment.
26And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not.
27And 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, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:
28And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.