Genesis 50:15
And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
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(15) Joseph will peradventure . . . —Heb., What if Joseph should hate us, &c. They had not seen any change in his treatment of him, but if it were the case that he cherished feelings of revenge, they felt that they were now in his power.

Genesis 50:15-16. Joseph will peradventure hate us — While their father lived, they thought themselves safe under his shadow; but now he was dead, they feared the worst. A guilty conscience exposeth men to continual frights; those that would be fearless must keep themselves guiltless. Thy father did command — Thus, in humbling ourselves to Christ by faith and repentance, we may plead that it is the command of his Father and our Father we should do so.

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.His brethren supplicate Joseph for forgiveness. "They sent unto Joseph," commissioned one of their number to speak to him. now that our common father has given us this command. "And Joseph wept" at the distress and doubt of his brothers. He no doubt summons them before him, when they fall down before him entreating his forgiveness. Joseph removes their fears. "Am I in God's stead?" that I should take the law into my own hands, and take revenge. God has already judged them, and moreover turned their sinful deed into a blessing. He assures them of his brotherly kindness toward them.15-21. When Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, &c.—Joseph was deeply affected by this communication. He gave them the strongest assurances of his forgiveness and thereby gave both a beautiful trait of his own pious character, as well as appeared an eminent type of the Saviour. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead,.... And buried; for this and what follows were after their return to Egypt, from the burial of their father; though some think it was before, and as soon as they saw their father was dead, when they thought it a proper time, while Joseph's heart was tender and affected with his father's death, to compromise matters with him: but there is no reason to invert the order of the narration, for this "seeing" is not to be understood of their bodily sight, but of the contemplation of their minds; they considered with themselves that their father was now dead and buried, they had lost an affectionate parent, who was concerned for the welfare and peace of all his family, but what a turn things would now take they knew not:

they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him; their sin came fresh to their remembrance, guilt arose in their consciences and flew in their faces, and this caused fear and distrust where there was no reason for it, and led them to treat Joseph's character very ill; who was far from being of such a temper and disposition suggested by them, as if he retained hatred in his breast, and was of a revengeful spirit, only hid it during his father's life, because he would not grieve him.

And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, {d} Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

(d) An evil conscience is never fully at rest.

14–21. Joseph and his Brethren

15. It may be … hate us] Lit. “supposing Joseph were to hate us.” LXX μή ποτε μνησικακήσῃ ἡμῖν Ἰωσήφ. Joseph’s brethren fear lest, Jacob being dead, Joseph will no longer restrain his desire for revenge.

requite] Their conscience cannot leave them alone. Cf. their fear in Genesis 42:28, Genesis 44:16, Genesis 45:3.

Verse 15. - And when (literally and) Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they (literally, and they) said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, - literally, If Joseph hated us, or pursued us hostilely (sc. what would become of us?), לוּ with the imperfect or future setting forth a possible but undesirable contingency (vide Ewald's 'Hebrew Syntax,' § 358a; Gesenius, 'Lexicon,' sub voce) - and will certainly requite us (literally, if returning he caused to return upon us) all the evil which we did unto him. "What then?" is the natural conclusion of the sentence. "We must be utterly undone." Genesis 50:15After their father's death, Joseph's brethren were filled with alarm, and said, "If Joseph now should punish us and requite all the evil that we have done to him," sc., what would become of us! The sentence contains an aposiopesis, like Psalm 27:13; and לוּ with the imperfect presupposes a condition, being used "in cases which are not desired, and for the present not real, though perhaps possible" (Ew. 358). The brethren therefore deputed one of their number (possibly Benjamin) to Joseph, and instructed him to appeal to the wish expressed by their father before his death, and to implore forgiveness: "O pardon the misdeed of thy brethren and their sin, that they have done thee evil; and now grant forgiveness to the misdeed of the servants of the God of thy father." The ground of their plea is contained in ועתּה "and now," sc., as we request it by the desire and direction of our father, and in the epithet applied to themselves, "servants of the God of thy father." There is no reason whatever for regarding the appeal to their father's wish as a mere pretence. The fact that no reference was made by Jacob in his blessing to their sin against Joseph, merely proved that he as their father had forgiven the sin of his sons, since the grace of God had made their misdeed the means of Israel's salvation; but it by no means proves that he could not have instructed his sons humbly to beg for forgiveness from Joseph, even though Joseph had hitherto shown them only goodness and love. How far Joseph was from thinking of ultimate retribution and revenge, is evident from the reception which he gave to their request (Genesis 50:17): "Joseph wept at their address to him." viz., at the fact that they could impute anything so bad to him; and when they came themselves, and threw themselves as servants at his feet, he said to them (Genesis 50:19), "Fear not, for am I in the place of God?" i.e., am I in a position to interfere of my own accord with the purposes of God, and not rather bound to submit to them myself? "Ye had indeed evil against me in your mind, but God had it in mind for good (to turn this evil into good), to do (עשׂה like ואה Genesis 48:11), as is now evident (lit., as has occurred this day, cf. Deuteronomy 2:30; Deuteronomy 4:20, etc.), to preserve alive a great nation (cf. Genesis 45:7). And now fear not, I shall provide for you and your families." Thus he quieted them by his affectionate words.
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