Genesis 45:8
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.
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(8) But God.—Heb., but the God. The article is. rarely found with Elohim in the history of Joseph, but wherever it is added it is a sign of deep feeling on the speaker’s part. (Comp. Genesis 48:15.) It was the Elohim, who had been the object of the worship of their race, that had now interposed to save them.

A father.—This was a not uncommon title of the chief minister or vizier of Oriental kings.

Genesis 45:8. It was not you that sent me hither, but God — That I came to this place and pitch of honour and power is not to be imputed to your design, which was of another nature, but to God’s overruling providence, which ordered the circumstances of your action, so as that I should be brought to this place and state; compare Genesis 50:20. He hath made me a father to Pharaoh — His principal counsellor of state, to guide his affairs with a fatherly care, and to have the authority, respect, and power of a father with him; Genesis 41:40-44; Jdg 17:10.

45:1-15 Joseph let Judah go on, and heard all he had to say. He found his brethren humbled for their sins, mindful of himself, for Judah had mentioned him twice in his speech, respectful to their father, and very tender of their brother Benjamin. Now they were ripe for the comfort he designed, by making himself known. Joseph ordered all his attendants to withdraw. Thus Christ makes himself and his loving-kindness known to his people, out of the sight and hearing of the world. Joseph shed tears of tenderness and strong affection, and with these threw off that austerity with which he had hitherto behaved toward his brethren. This represents the Divine compassion toward returning penitents. I am Joseph, your brother. This would humble them yet more for their sin in selling him, but would encourage them to hope for kind treatment. Thus, when Christ would convince Paul, he said, I am Jesus; and when he would comfort his disciples, he said, It is I, be not afraid. When Christ manifests himself to his people, he encourages them to draw near to him with a true heart. Joseph does so, and shows them, that whatever they thought to do against him, God had brought good out of it. Sinners must grieve and be angry with themselves for their sins, though God brings good out of it, for that is no thanks to them. The agreement between all this, and the case of a sinner, on Christ's manifesting himself to his soul, is very striking. He does not, on this account, think sin a less, but a greater evil; and yet he is so armed against despair, as even to rejoice in what God hath wrought, while he trembles in thinking of the dangers and destruction from which he has escaped. Joseph promises to take care of his father and all the family. It is the duty of children, if the necessity of their parents at any time require it, to support and supply them to the utmost of their ability; this is showing piety at home, 1Ti 5:4. After Joseph had embraced Benjamin, he caressed them all, and then his brethren talked with him freely of all the affairs of their father's house. After the tokens of true reconciliation with the Lord Jesus, sweet communion with him follows.Joseph now reveals to his brothers the astonishing fact that he himself, their long-lost brother, stands before them. "He could not refrain himself." Judah has painted the scene at home to the life; and Joseph can hold out no longer. "Have every man out from me." Delicacy forbids the presence of strangers at this unrestrained outburst of tender emotion among the brothers. Besides, the workings of conscience, bringing up the recollections of the past, and the errors, to which some reference is now unavoidable, are not to be unveiled to the public eye. "He lifted up his voice in weeping." The expression of the feelings is free and uncontrolled in a simple and primitive state of society. This prevails still in the East. And Mizraim heard. The Egyptians of Joseph's house would hear, and report to others, this unusual utterance of deep feeling. "I am Joseph." The natural voice, the native tongue, the long-remembered features, would, all at once, strike the apprehension of the brothers.

The remembrance of their crime, the absolute power of Joseph, and the justice of revenge, would rush upon their minds. No wonder they were silent and troubled at his presence. "Is my father yet alive?" This question shows where Joseph's thoughts were. He had been repeatedly assured of his father's welfare. But the long absence and the yearning of a fond heart bring the question up again. It was reassuring to the brethren, as it was far away from any thought of their fault or their punishment. "Come near unto me." Joseph sees the trouble of his brothers, and discerns its cause. He addresses them a second time, and plainly refers to the fact of their having sold him. He points out that this was overruled of God to the saving of life; and, hence, that it was not they, but God who had mercifully sent him to Egypt to preserve all their lives. "For these two years." Hence, we perceive that the sons of Jacob obtained a supply, on the first occasion, which was sufficient for a year. "To leave to you a remnant in the land."

This is usually and most naturally referred to a surviving portion of their race. "Father to Pharaoh;" a second author of life to him. Having touched very slightly on their transgression, and endeavored to divert their thoughts to the wonderful providence of God displayed in the whole affair, he lastly preoccupies their minds with the duty and necessity of bringing down their father and all their families to dwell in Egypt. "In the land of Goshen." This was a pasture land on the borders of Egypt and Arabia, perhaps at some distance from the Nile, and watered by the showers of heaven, like their own valleys. He then appeals to their recollections and senses, whether he was not their very brother Joseph. "My mouth that speaketh unto you;" not by an interpreter, but with his own lips, and in their native tongue. Having made this needful and reassuring explanation, he breaks through all distance, and falls upon Benjamin's neck and kisses him, and all his other brothers; after which their hearts are soothed, and they speak freely with him.

6. and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest—"Ear" is an old English word, meaning "to plough" (compare 1Sa 8:12; Isa 30:24). This seems to confirm the view given (Ge 41:57) that the famine was caused by an extraordinary drought, which prevented the annual overflowing of the Nile; and of course made the land unfit to receive the seed of Egypt. That I came to this place, and pitch of honour and power, is not to be imputed to your design, which was of another nature, but to God’s overruling providence, which ordered the circumstances of your action, so as I should be brought to this place and state. Compare Genesis 50:20.

A father to Pharaoh; to advise him, and to provide for him, as fathers do for their children, and to have the authority, respect, and power of a father with him.

So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God,.... Which is to be understood not absolutely, as if they had no concern at all in sending him thither; they sold him to the Ishmaelites, who brought him down to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, and so were instrumental in his coming to Egypt; but comparatively, it was not they so much as God that sent him; whose providence directed, disposed, and overruled all those events, to bring Joseph to this place, and to such an high station, to answer the purposes and designs of God in providing for and preserving Jacob's family in a time of distress:

and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh: to be a teacher to him, as Aben Ezra, that is, to be his counsellor, to advise him well in all things, as a father his children; or to be his partner and patron, as Jarchi, to have a share with him in power and authority, and to be reckoned as a father to him, see Genesis 41:43; and to provide for him and the welfare of his kingdom, as parents do for their children: the following phrases explain it of rule and government; and the meaning is, that he was a great man, and a prince (s) in Pharaoh's court:

and lord of all his house; his prime minister, chief counsellor and courtier:

and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt; to whom all the deputies of the several provinces were subject under Pharaoh, and especially in the affair of the corn.

(s) So it is interpreted by R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 50. 1.

So now it was not you that sent me hither, but {c} 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.

(c) Though God detests sin, yet he turns man's wickedness into his glory.

8. not you … but God] Notice how Joseph here for the third time ascribes his presence in Egypt to the act of God; cf. Genesis 45:5; Genesis 45:7.

a father to Pharaoh] According to some scholars, the word “father” was in use among Egyptians as a technical title of honour and position; cf. the use of the word in a more general sense, 2 Kings 2:12; 1Ma 11:32; and Add. Esth. 16:11. Observe the three phrases, “father,” “lord,” and “ruler,” corresponding to Joseph’s position, personal, social, and national, i.e. towards Pharaoh, towards the people, towards the kingdom.

Genesis 45:8"And now (this was truly the case) it was not you that sent me hither; but God (Ha-Elohim, the personal God, on contrast with his brethren) hath made me a father to Pharaoh (i.e., his most confidential counsellor and friend; cf. 1 Macc. 11:32, Ges. thes. 7), and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt;" cf. Genesis 41:40-41.
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