Genesis 45:5
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
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Genesis 45:5. Be not grieved nor angry with yourselves — Namely, immoderately, for the injury you did to me; or for the danger you have brought upon yourselves. Otherwise, he does not mean to dissuade them from a godly sorrow and displeasure at themselves for their offence against God, their father, and himself, to produce which sorrow and displeasure was the principal end he had in view in his strange and rough conduct toward them. Sinners must grieve and be angry with themselves for their sins; yea, though God, by his power, bring good out of them: for no thanks are due to them on that account. And true penitents should be greatly affected when they see God bring good out of evil. But, although we must not with this consideration extenuate our own sins, and so take off the edge of our repentance; yet it may be well thus to extenuate the sins of others, and so take off the edge of our angry resentments. Thus Joseph does here. God, says he, did send me before you to preserve life — Not only your lives, but the lives of all the people in this and the neighbouring countries. And now, his brethren did not need to fear lest he should revenge upon them an injury which God’s providence had made to turn so much to his advantage and that of his family, as well as thousands and myriads of others.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.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.

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. 1706 Be not grieved, to wit, immoderately, and for the injury which you did to me, or for the danger which you have brought upon yourselves. Otherwise he doth not dissuade them from a godly sorrow for their offence against God, for the procurement of which he dcsigned and used that strange and rough carriage towards them.

Nor angry with yourselves; neither excessively torment yourselves with the remembrance of the fact, neither break forth into contentions and wrath, and upbraidings of one another; for God by his wise, powerful, and gracious providence overruled your evil intentions to a happy end,

to preserve life; not only your lives, for the expression is here indefinite and general, but the lives of all the people in this and the neighbouring countries; which though it doth not lessen your sin, yet ought to qualify your sorrow. Now therefore be not grieved,.... To an excess, so as to be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow; otherwise it became them to be grieved for their sin, and to show a godly sorrow and true repentance for it:

nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; reflect upon themselves, and afflict themselves in an immoderate way; or break forth into anger and wrath with one another, upbraiding and blaming each other for their conduct in that affair, and so foment contentions and quarrels among themselves:

for God did send me before you to preserve life; the life of thousands of persons in Egypt, Canaan, and other countries; and particularly to preserve their lives was he sent before them into Egypt; where, by interpretation Pharaoh's dreams, by which he understood and did foretell the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, he was to great honour and trust, and laid up a sufficiency of corn in the time of plenty to answer the exigencies of various countries in the time of famine, and, among the rest, of his own family; and therefore would have this attributed by them to the wise disposing providence of God.

Now therefore be not {b} grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

(b) This example teaches that we must by all means comfort those who are truly ashamed and sorry for their sins.

5. nor angry with yourselves] The Heb. is “let there not be burning in your eyes,” “do not look angry, or vexed,” i.e. with yourselves.

to preserve life] i.e. to preserve the life both of his brethren and father, and also of the people of Egypt. The word is rendered “reviving” in Ezra 9:8-9. LXX εἰς ζωήν; Lat. Proverbs salute vestra. Joseph, with warm-hearted impetuosity, urges them not to take to heart their share in the past. God had overruled it all for good. Cf. Psalm 105:17, “he sent a man before them.”Judah closed his appeal with the entreaty, "Now let thy servant (me) remain instead of the lad as slave to my lord, but let the lad go up with his brethren; for how could I go to my father without the lad being with me! (I cannot,) that I may not see the calamity which will befall my father!"
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