And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To preserve you a posterity in the earth.—Heb., To put for you a remnant in the land, that is, to preserve a remainder for you, as the word is translated in 2Samuel 14:7. During the seven years’ famine many races probably dwindled away, and the Hebrews, as mere sojourners in Canaan, would have been in danger of total extinction.
By a great deliverance.—That is, by a signal interference on your behalf. But the word rendered “deliverance,” more exactly signifies that which escapes (see 2Kings 19:31, where, as here, it is joined with the word remnant, and 2Kings 19:30, where it is itself rendered remnant). The two nouns really signify the same thing; but whereas in the first clause the words seem to forebode that only few would escape, in the second there is the assurance of their surviving in such numbers as to be able to grow into a great nation.
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.
By a great deliverance, or, for a great remnant, or escaping, i.e. that you who are now but a handful, escaping this danger, may grow into a vast multitude. The word evasion, or escaping, is here put for the persons that do escape, as it is 2 Chronicles 30:6 Isaiah 10:20; and as captivity is oft put for the captives, as it is Numbers 21:1 Deu 21:10. And so what was said in the former clause is repeated in this with all emphatical addition.
to preserve you a posterity in the earth; that they and theirs might not perish, which otherwise, in all human probability, must have been the case; and that the promise of the multiplication of Abraham's seed might not be made of none effect, but continue to take place, from whence the Messiah was to spring:
and to save your lives by a great deliverance; from the extreme danger they were exposed unto, through the terrible famine, and in which deliverance were to be observed the great wisdom, goodness, power, and providence of God.And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. to preserve you a remnant] Lit. “to set for you a remnant,” i.e. descendants; cf. Jeremiah 44:7.
by a great deliverance] R.V. marg. to be a great company that escape. The two clauses are very nearly identical. In the first the emphasis is on the fact of survival; in the second, on the act of preservation.Genesis 45:1. After this appeal, in which Judah, speaking for his brethren, had shown the tenderest affection for the old man who had been bowed down by their sin, and the most devoted fraternal love and fidelity to the only remaining son of his beloved Rachel, and had given a sufficient proof of the change of mind, the true conversion, that had taken place in themselves, Joseph could not restrain himself any longer in relation to all those who stood round him. He was obliged to relinquish the part which he had hitherto acted for the purpose of testing his brothers' hearts, and to give full vent to his feelings. "He called out: Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man (of his Egyptian attendants) with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brethren," quia effusio illa affectuum et στοργῆς erga fratres et parentem tanta fuit, ut non posset ferre alienorum praesentiam et aspectum (Luther).
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