|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
50:15-21 Various motives might cause the sons of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding the prophetic vision Abraham had of their bondage there. Judging of Joseph from the general temper of human nature, they thought he would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. Not being able to resist, or to flee away, they attempted to soften him by humbling themselves. They pleaded with him as the servants of Jacob's God. Joseph was much affected at seeing this complete fulfilment of his dreams. He directs them not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek the Divine forgiveness. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to.
Verse 19. - And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? - i.e. either reading the words as a question, Should I arrogate to myself what obviously belongs to Elohim, viz., the power and right of vengeance (Calvin, Kalisch, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or the power to interfere with the purposes of God? (Keil, Rosenmüller); or, regarding them as an assertion, I am in God's stead, i.e. a minister to you for good (Wordsworth).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Joseph said unto them, fear not,.... That any hurt would be done by him to them, or that he would use them ill for their treatment of him:
for am I in the place of God? to receive such homage from you, that you should be my servants, as Saadiah Gaon gives the sense; or rather to take vengeance for injury done, which belongs to God alone: or, "am I not under God" (u)? subject to him, a servant of his, and why should you be mine? nor is it in my power, if I had a will to it, to change his purposes, to alter his providences, or contradict his will, and do hurt to those whom God hath blessed; and so may have regard to the late patriarchal benediction of his father, under the direction of the Holy Spirit: or, "am I in the place of God?" and under him a father of them, as he had been a provider for them, and a supporter of them, and still would be.
(u) "annon enim sub Deo sum?" Vatablus.
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