|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
45:1-15 Joseph let Judah go on, and heard all he had to say. He found his brethren humbled for their sins, mindful of himself, for Judah had mentioned him twice in his speech, respectful to their father, and very tender of their brother Benjamin. Now they were ripe for the comfort he designed, by making himself known. Joseph ordered all his attendants to withdraw. Thus Christ makes himself and his loving-kindness known to his people, out of the sight and hearing of the world. Joseph shed tears of tenderness and strong affection, and with these threw off that austerity with which he had hitherto behaved toward his brethren. This represents the Divine compassion toward returning penitents. I am Joseph, your brother. This would humble them yet more for their sin in selling him, but would encourage them to hope for kind treatment. Thus, when Christ would convince Paul, he said, I am Jesus; and when he would comfort his disciples, he said, It is I, be not afraid. When Christ manifests himself to his people, he encourages them to draw near to him with a true heart. Joseph does so, and shows them, that whatever they thought to do against him, God had brought good out of it. Sinners must grieve and be angry with themselves for their sins, though God brings good out of it, for that is no thanks to them. The agreement between all this, and the case of a sinner, on Christ's manifesting himself to his soul, is very striking. He does not, on this account, think sin a less, but a greater evil; and yet he is so armed against despair, as even to rejoice in what God hath wrought, while he trembles in thinking of the dangers and destruction from which he has escaped. Joseph promises to take care of his father and all the family. It is the duty of children, if the necessity of their parents at any time require it, to support and supply them to the utmost of their ability; this is showing piety at home, 1Ti 5:4. After Joseph had embraced Benjamin, he caressed them all, and then his brethren talked with him freely of all the affairs of their father's house. After the tokens of true reconciliation with the Lord Jesus, sweet communion with him follows.
Verses 1, 2. - Then (literally, and) Joseph could not refrain himself (i.e. keep himself from giving way to the impulses of love) before all them that stood by him (i.e. the Egyptian officials of his household); and he cried (or made proclamation, issued an instruction), Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. It was true delicacy on the part of Joseph which prompted the discovery of himself to his brethren in private; not simply because he did not wish to pain his brethren by a public reference to their past wickedness, ne facinus illud detestabile multis testibus innoteseat (Calvin), but because the unrestrained outburst of emotion erga fratres et parentem non posset ferre alienorum praesentiam et aspectum (Luther). And he wept aloud (literally, and he gave forth, or uttered, his voice in weeping): and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. The meaning is that the Egyptian officials of Joseph's house, who were standing outside, heard, and reported it to the house of Pharaoh (Keil, Murphy). It is not necessary to suppose that Joseph's residence was so close to the palace that his voice was heard by the inmates (Lunge).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Joseph could not refrain himself,.... That he should not weep, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; at least he could not much longer refrain from tears, such an effect Judah's speech had on his passions:
before all them that stood before him; his servants that attended him and waited upon him, the steward of his house, and others, upon whose account he put such a force upon himself, to keep in his passions from giving vent, that they might not discover the inward motions of his mind; but not being able to conceal them any longer:
and he cried; or called out with a loud voice, and an air of authority:
cause every man to go out from me; out of the room in which he and his brethren were; perhaps this order was given to the steward of the house to depart himself, and to remove every inferior officer and servant upon the spot; or other people that might be come in to hear the trial of those men, and to see how they would be dealt with:
and there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren; not that Joseph was ashamed of them, and of owning before them the relation he stood in to them; but that they might not see the confusion his brethren would be thrown into, and have knowledge of the sin they had been guilty of in selling him which could not fail of being mentioned by him, and confessed by them; and besides, it was not suitable to his grandeur and dignity to be seen in such an extreme passion he was now going into.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 45:1-28. Joseph Making Himself Known.
1. Then Joseph could not refrain himself—The severity of the inflexible magistrate here gives way to the natural feelings of the man and the brother. However well he had disciplined his mind, he felt it impossible to resist the artless eloquence of Judah. He saw a satisfactory proof, in the return of all his brethren on such an occasion, that they were affectionately united to one another; he had heard enough to convince him that time, reflection, or grace had made a happy improvement on their characters; and he would probably have proceeded in a calm and leisurely manner to reveal himself as prudence might have dictated. But when he heard the heroic self-sacrifice of Judah [Ge 44:33] and realized all the affection of that proposal—a proposal for which he was totally unprepared—he was completely unmanned; he felt himself forced to bring this painful trial to an end.
he cried, Cause every man to go out from me—In ordering the departure of witnesses of this last scene, he acted as a warm-hearted and real friend to his brothers—his conduct was dictated by motives of the highest prudence—that of preventing their early iniquities from becoming known either to the members of his household, or among the people of Egypt.
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