|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.
Verse 3. - And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph. The effect of this announcement can be better imagined than described. Hitherto he had been known to his brethren as Zaphnath-paaneah. Now the voice and the appearance of their long-lost brother would rush upon their minds at the first sound of the familiar name, and fill them with apprehension. Probably Joseph's discernment of this in their countenances was the reason why he asked so abruptly after Jacob. Doth my father yet live? It is not now "the old man of whom ye spake" (Genesis 43:27) for whom Joseph inquires, but his own beloved and revered parent - "my father." "Before it was a question of courtesy, but now of love" (Alford). And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled (or cast into a trepidation, hence terrified) at his presence - literally, before his face. Not only did his present greatness overawe them, but the recollection of their former crimes against him filled them with alarm.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph,.... As soon as he could compose himself a little, and utter his words, the first thing he said was, that he was Joseph; that was his right name, his Hebrew name; though he was called by the Egyptians Zaphnathpaaneah, and by which name Joseph's brethren only knew him, if they knew his name at all; and it must be very startling to them to bear this sound, and to be told by himself that that was his name; and which was not all he meant and they understood, but that he was Joseph their brother as afterwards expressed:
doth my father yet live? this he knew before, for they had told him he was alive; wherefore he puts this question not through ignorance, or as doubting but to express his affliction for his father, and his joy that he was alive:
and his brethren could not answer him; they were so surprised and astonished; they were like men thunderstruck, they were not able to utter a word for awhile:
for they were troubled at his presence; the sin of selling him came fresh into their minds, the guilt of it pressed their consciences, and the circumstances that Joseph was in filled them with fear that he would avenge himself on them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. I am Joseph—or, "terrified at his presence." The emotions that now rose in his breast as well as that of his brethren—and chased each other in rapid succession—were many and violent. He was agitated by sympathy and joy; they were astonished, confounded, terrified; and betrayed their terror, by shrinking as far as they could from his presence. So "troubled" were they, that he had to repeat his announcement of himself; and what kind, affectionate terms he did use. He spoke of their having sold him—not to wound their feelings, but to convince them of his identity; and then, to reassure their minds, he traced the agency of an overruling Providence, in his exile and present honor [Ge 35:5-7]. Not that he wished them to roll the responsibility of their crime on God; no, his only object was to encourage their confidence and induce them to trust in the plans he had formed for the future comfort of their father and themselves.
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