Genesis 45


‘Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So, there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still living?’ But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no ploughing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. ‘So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ ‘You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honour accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.’ Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.’ Genesis 45:1-15

Joseph Finally Reveals Himself To His Brothers

What an emotional chapter this is, not only for Joseph but for his brothers and their father Jacob as Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers. Joseph can’t control his emotions anymore and orders everyone to leave until he’s left just with his brothers. Imagine the shock his brothers would have had when Joseph spoke their language, Genesis 43:23.

Thanks to Judah’s emotionally pleas for mercy and honest confessions, Genesis 44:18-34, it was now time for Joseph to reveal himself, it was now time to stop the acting and pretending to be someone he wasn’t. There’s no doubt in Joseph’s mind that his brother’s hearts had genuinely changed. And so, with a heart full of emotions and compassion, he reveals himself to them and his brothers are shocked and at a loss, as to what to say.

We can’t help but to try and put ourselves in their shoes and try to imagine what everyone must have been feeling at this moment, this was a very emotional time for everyone.

I’m sure Joseph’s brothers would still be filled with guilt and so, to ease that guilt, he tells them that it was God Himself, who sent him to Egypt first in order that He may ‘save their lives’.

God obviously revealed this to Joseph at some point in time, but we don’t know when. God was obviously using Joseph’s brothers for a greater purpose, God doesn’t create evil, but He can use evil to bring about His will, Psalm 41:9 / John 17:12.

God also sent Joseph to Egypt ahead of his family because He wanted to preserve a ‘remnant of people’. Again, we don’t know when God revealed this to Joseph, but he now seems to understand why God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be called out of the nations of the world, Genesis 12:1-3. Joseph understood the reason he was in Egypt wasn’t because of his brother’s evil actions but because wanted him there, Genesis 50:20 and God wanted all of Jacob’s family there.

The emotions continue as Joseph kisses his brothers, this is a picture of complete restoration and complete reconciliation, Matthew 5:21-26 / Matthew 18:15-20.

Notice what it took for them to get to this place, first of all, the brothers had to recognise their past sins, Genesis 42:21-22, secondly, they had to go through the consequences of their sins, Genesis 42:28, thirdly, because they couldn’t deal with their sin, they were moved to ask for mercy, Genesis 44:27-32, and finally, they had to show true repentance for their sins, Genesis 44:33-34 / 2 Corinthians 7:10.

‘When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’ ‘You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives and get your father and come. Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’ So, the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving, he said to them, ‘Don’t quarrel on the way!’ So, they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.’ Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, ‘I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’ Genesis 45:16-28

Pharaoh blessed the sons of Jacob because of Joseph and he issued a royal order and organised that Joseph’s family should have their needs met and should be given the best land in Egypt, Genesis 45:9-10.

Remember the Canaanites were shepherds and the Egyptians saw them as ‘unclean’, nevertheless, this order by Pharaoh shows the deep respect and love he had for Joseph, Genesis 43:32. He supplied everything Joseph’s family needed in order for them to bring all their possessions to Egypt.

The reason why Joseph told them ‘not to quarrel on the way’ is simply to remind them that everything has been dealt with, everything is out in the open and so, there is no room for blaming anyone and trying to put a guilt trip on themselves when the guilt was removed, it’s all in the past.

We can only imagine the emotions that Jacob, their father, was going through when he’s told their report that Joseph is still alive and ruler of all Egypt. He was obviously in shock at first and didn’t believe their report, but once it all sunk in and he believed, it was at that point he was revived.

Look at the attitude of the brothers again, their hearts had truly changed as they explained to their father everything, they had done concerning selling Joseph into slavery, Genesis 37 19-35.

Jacob must have been devastated at all the lies and deceit but was willing to forgive them when he was their repentance and understood it was all a part of God’s plan to get him and his family into Egypt.

Notice that Jacob is called Israel again, this is to remind us that God had a plan to eventually make Israel a great nation, Exodus 19:5-6 / 1 Peter 2:9-10, from whom the Messiah would eventually come. A name change usually signifies a change of identity and character. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel which means, ‘he struggles with God’, Genesis 25:10.

When his name is mentioned as Jacob, this is an indication that he’s returning to his old self. When his name is mentioned as Israel, this is an indication that his mind is set on God.

Go To Genesis 46