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45. Joseph Makes Himself Known

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. 2And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3And 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. 4And 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. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6For 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. 7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8So 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. 9Haste 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: 10And 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: 11And 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. 12And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. 13And 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. 14And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.

16And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; 18And 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. 19Now 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. 20Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. 21And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. 22To 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. 23And 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. 24So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.

25And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 26And 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. 27And 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: 28And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.

4. Come near to me, I pray you. This is more efficacious than any mere words, that he kindly invites them to his embrace. Yet he also tries to remove their care and fear by the most courteous language he can use. He so attempers his speech, indeed, that he mildly accuses, and again consoles them; nevertheless, the consolation greatly predominates, because he sees that they are on the point of desperation, unless he affords them timely relief. Moreover, in relating that he had been sold, he does not renew the memory of their guilt, with the intention of expostulating with them; but only because it is always profitable that the sense of sin should remain, provided that immoderate terror does not absorb the unhappy man, after he has acknowledged his fault. And whereas the brethren of Joseph were more than sufficiently terrified, he insists the more fully on the second part of his purpose; namely, that he may heal the wound. This is the reason why he repeats, that God had sent him for their preservation; that by the counsel of God himself he had been sent beforehand into Egypt to preserve them alive; and that, in short, he had not been sent into Egypt by them, but had been led thither by the hand of God.176176     Only two years of the famine had now elapsed, and there were yet five years in which there should be “neither earing nor harvest,” so that this was indeed but the commencement of the grievous suffering to which Jacob’s family would have been exposed, but for the extraordinary interposition of Divine providence in their favor. The word earing is an obsolete Saxon term by which our translators have rendered the Hebrew word חריש, (charish,) which means ploughing, or preparing the ground for seed. — Ed


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