Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
Verses 1, 2. - Then (literally, and) Joseph could not refrain himself (i.e. keep himself from giving way to the impulses of love) before all them that stood by him (i.e. the Egyptian officials of his household); and he cried (or made proclamation, issued an instruction), Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. It was true delicacy on the part of Joseph which prompted the discovery of himself to his brethren in private; not simply because he did not wish to pain his brethren by a public reference to their past wickedness, ne facinus illud detestabile multis testibus innoteseat (Calvin), but because the unrestrained outburst of emotion erga fratres et parentem non posset ferre alienorum praesentiam et aspectum (Luther). And he wept aloud (literally, and he gave forth, or uttered, his voice in weeping): and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. The meaning is that the Egyptian officials of Joseph's house, who were standing outside, heard, and reported it to the house of Pharaoh (Keil, Murphy). It is not necessary to suppose that Joseph's residence was so close to the palace that his voice was heard by the inmates (Lunge).
And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
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.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Verses 4-13. - And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. It is probable they had instinctively shrunk from his presence on learning the astounding fact that he was Joseph, but felt reassured by the kindly tone of Joseph's words. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. It was impossible to evade allusion to their early wickedness, and this Joseph does in a spirit not of angry upbraiding, but of elevated piety and tender charity. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves (literally, let it not burn in your eyes, as in Genesis 31:35), that ye sold me hither (their self-recriminations and heart upbraidings for their former wickedness Joseph in all probability saw depicted in their faces): for God (Elohim) did send me before you to preserve life (literally, for the preservation of life). For these two years hath the famine been in the land (literally, in the midst of the land): and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earning nor harvest - literally, neither ploughing nor reaping, the term ploughing, or earing, charish (cf. ἄροσις, aratio, Anglo-Saxon, origin), being derived from a root signifying to cut. And God (Elohim, the use of which here and in Ver. 5 instead of Jehovah is sufficiently explained by remembering that Joseph simply desires to point out the overruling providence of God in his early transportation to Egypt) sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth (literally, to keep for you a remnant on the earth, i.e. to preserve the family from extinction through the famine), and to save your lives by a great deliverance - literally, to preserve life to you to a great deliverance, i.e. by a providential rescue (Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'), which is better than to a great nation or posterity, פְלֵיטָה being understood, as in 2 Samuel 15:14; 2 Kings 19:30, 31, to mean a remnant escaped from slaughter (Bohlen), an interpretation which Rosenmüller thinks admissible, but Kalisch disputes. So now (literally, and now) it was not you that sent me hither, but God - literally, for the Elohim (sent me). Joseph's brethren sent him to be a slave; God sent him to be a savior (Hughes). And he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, - i.e. a wise and confidential friend and counselor (Keil, Kalisch, 'Speaker's Commentary;' cf. 1 Macc. 11:32). Murphy explains the term as signifying "a second author of life," with obvious reference to the interpretation of his dreams and the measures adopted to provide against the famine - and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land Egypt (vide Genesis 41:40, 41). Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God (Elohim) hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen. Goshen, Γεσὲμ Αραβίας (LXX.), was a region on the east of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, extending as far as the wilderness of Arabia, a land of pastures (Genesis 46:34), exceedingly fertile (Genesis 47:6), styled also the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11), and including the cities Pithon and Rameses (Exodus 1:11), and probably also On, or Heliopolis (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 2:07, 6; Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' p. 42; Gesenius, 'Lexicon,' p. 183). And thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: and there will I nourish thee (the verb is the Pilpel of כּול, to hold up, hence to sustain); for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty - liter-ally, be robbed, from יָרַשׁ, to take possession (Keil), or fall into slavery, i.e. through poverty (Knobel, Lange). And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of (literally, ye shall relate to my father) all my glory (cf. Genesis 31:1) in Egypt, and of all (literally, ail) that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. Calvin thinks that Joseph would not have made such liberal promises to his brethren without having previously obtained Pharaoh's consent, nisi regis permissu; but this does not appear from the narrative.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:
And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast:
And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.
And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.
And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
Verses 14, 15. - And he (i.e. Joseph) fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. "Benjamin is the central point whence leads out the way to reconciliation" (Langs). "Here brotherly affection is drawn out by affection, tear answering tear" (Hughes; cf. Genesis 33:4). Moreover he kissed all his brethren, - "the seal of recognition, of reconciliation, and of salutation" (Lange) - and wept upon them. It has been thought that Benjamin stood when Joseph embraced him, and that the two wept upon each other's neck, but that the brethren bowed themselves at Joseph's feet, causing the expression to be, "and he wept upon them" (Lange). And after that his brethren talked with him - feeling themselves reassured by such demonstrations of affection.
Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.
And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.
Verse 16. - And the fame thereof - literally, the voice, hence rumor (cf. Jeremiah 3:9) - was heard in Pharaoh's house (having been brought thither doubtless by some of the Court officials), saying, Joseph's brethren - it is probable that they would style him Zaphnath-paaneah (cf. Genesis 41:45) are come (i.e. are arrived in Egypt): and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants - literally, it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants (cf. Genesis 41:37). The LXX. render ἐχάρη δὲ Φαραὼ; the Vulgate, gavisus est Pharao, i.e. Pharaoh was glad.
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;
Verses 17, 18. - And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; and take your father and your households, and come unto me. This may have been an independent invitation given by the Egyptian king to Joseph's relatives; but it is more than likely that Joseph had already told him of the proposal he had made to his brethren, and that he here receives a royal confirmation of the same). And I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, - i.e. the best part of the land, viz., Goshen (Rosenmüller, Lange, and others); though the phrase is probably synonymous with that which follows - and ye shall eat the fat of the land. The fat of the land meant either the richest and most fertile portion of it (Lunge, Kalisch), or the best and choicest of its productions (Gesenius, Keil). Cf. Deuteronomy 32:14; Psalm 147:14.
And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.
Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.
Verses 19, 20. - Now thou art commanded, this do ye; - an apostrophe to Joseph, Pharaoh manifestly regarding the cause of Joseph and his brethren as one (Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange, and others) - take you wagons out of the land of Egypt - the carriages here referred to (עַגָּלות, from עָגַּל to roll) were small two-wheeled vehicles suitable for a fiat country like Egypt, or for traversing roadless deserts. They were usually drawn by cattle, and employed for carrying agricultural produce. Herodotus mentions a four-wheeled car which was used for transporting the shrine and image of a deity (2:63; vide Rawlinson's edition, and note by Sir G. Wilkinson) for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Pharaoh meant them to understand that they had not only Joseph's invitation, but his (Pharaoh's) commandment, to encourage them to undertake so serious a project as the removal of their households to Egypt. Also regard not your stuff - literally, and your eyes shall not (i.e. let them not) grieve for your utensils (i.e. articles of domestic furniture), although you should require to leave them behind (LXX., Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, Lange, et alii). The rendering of the Vulgate, nee dimittatis quicquid de supellectili vestra, conveys a meaning exactly the opposite of the true one, which is thus correctly expressed by Dathius: Nec aegre ferrent jacturam supellectilis suet. For the good of all the land of Egypt is yours - literally, to you it (sc. shall belong).
Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.
And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.
Verse 21. - And the children (better, sons) of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment (literally, the mouth) of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.
To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment.
Verse 22. - To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; - literally, alterations of garments, i.e. changes or suits of dress (Judges 14:12, 13; 2 Kings 5:5); probably dress clothes for special occasions (Keil, Lange, Murphy); δισσὰς στολὰς (LXX.); binas stolas (Vulgate) - but (literally, and) to Benjamin he gave - not to make amends for having given him a fright (Lange), but as a special token of fraternal affection (Murphy) - three hundred pieces of silver,-literally, three hundred of silver (cf. Genesis 43:44) - and five changes of raiment - which renders it probable that the brothers only received two.
And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way.
Verse 23. - And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses (vide Genesis 12:16) laden with (literally, carrying) the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with (or carrying) corn and bread and meat - probably prepared meats, some sort of delicacy (Clarke) - for his father by the way.
So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.
Verse 24. - So (literally, and) he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. The verb רָגַן signifies to be moved or disturbed with any violent emotion, but in particular with anger (Proverbs 29:9; Isaiah 28:21; cf. Sanser. rag, to move oneself, Gr. ὀργή, anger, Lat. frango, Gerregen), and is here generally understood as an admonition against quarrelling (LXX., μὴ οργιζεσθε; Vulgate, ne irascimini) (Calvin, Dathius, Rosenmüller, Keil, Mur phy, Lange, Alford, et alii), although by others (Tuch, Baumgarten, Michaelis, Gesenius, Kalisch) it is regarded as a dissuasive against fear of any future plot on the part of Joseph.
And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father,
Verses 25-28. - And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he (literally, and that he; an emphatic assurance which Keil, following Ewald, renders by" yea," and Kalisch by "indeed") is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's (literally, his, i.e. Jacob's) heart fainted (literally, A few chill, the primary idea of the root being that of rigidity through coldness; cf. πηγνύω, to be rigid, and pigeo, rigeo, frigeo, to be chill. The sense is that Jacob s heart seemed to stop with amazement at the tidings which his sons brought), for he believed them not. This was scarcely a case of believing not for joy (Bush), but rather of incredulity arising from suspicion, both of the messengers and their message, which was only removed by further explanation, and in particular by the sight of Joseph's splendid presents and commodious carriages. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: - i.e. about Joseph's invitation and promise (vers. 9-11) - and when he saw the wagons - probably royal vehicles (Wordsworth) - which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived (literally, lived; it having been previously numb and cold, as if dead): and Israel said, - the change of name here is significant. The sublime theocratic designation, which had dropped into obscurity during the period of the old man's sorrow for his lost son, revives with the resuscitation of his dead hope (cf. Genesis 43:6) - It is enough (one word, as if expressing his complacent satisfaction); Joseph my son is yet alive (this is the one thought that fills his aged heart): I will go down - "The old man is young again in spirit; he is for going immediately; he could leap; yes, fly" (Lange) - and see him (a sight of Joseph would be ample compensation for all the years of sorrow he had passed through) before I die. He would then be ready to be gathered to his fathers.
And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not.
And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:
And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.