Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me…
There is an old English proverb that tells us that "the longest way round" is, or may be, "the shortest way home." Sometimes there may be no other route at all but a roundabout or zigzag one. It would be impossible for the great lumbering Swiss diligence to climb the Simplon Pass and get over into Italy, were it not for that wonderful zigzag road that so patiently winds right and left, seeming to gain but a few feet in an hour, but at last emerging at the top of the Pass. Military engineers, too, know the value of zigzag. Except on this principle how could the besiegers of a fortress get their trenches up towards the walls? But a moral or spiritual path — that, surely, must never be tortuous: are we not to "make straight paths for our feet, and look right on?" And yet there is at least one branch of Christian duty in which a patient zigzag course is often the most effectual; and that is in laying siege to another's soul. Nathan's parable is a familiar instance: what success could he have expected if he had attacked David with a direct charge? Our Lord's treatment of the lawyer in the tenth chapter of St. Luke — not answering directly his question as to who his neighbour was, but telling him a story first and making him apply it — is a case of yet higher authority; and so is His dealing with the Syro-Phoenician woman. And does not God deal so with us now? And what was the object of these strange dealings — of this zigzag course? It was twofold:
1. to test their character, to see whether they repented of their past life, whether they were now good sons to Jacob, and good brothers to Benjamin;
2. If their disposition was not changed, to change it.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Then Joseph couldn't control himself before all those who stood before him, and he cried, "Cause everyone to go out from me!" No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.