Genesis 50:17
So shall you say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers, and their sin; for they did to you evil: and now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father. And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
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Genesis 50:17. Forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father — Not only children of the same Jacob, but worshippers of the same Jehovah. Though we must be ready to forgive all that injure us, yet we must especially take heed of bearing malice toward any that are the servants of the God of our father; those we should always treat with a peculiar tenderness, for we and they have the same Master. He wept when they spake to him — These were tears of sorrow for their suspicion of him, and tears of tenderness upon their submission.50:15-21 Various motives might cause the sons of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding the prophetic vision Abraham had of their bondage there. Judging of Joseph from the general temper of human nature, they thought he would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. Not being able to resist, or to flee away, they attempted to soften him by humbling themselves. They pleaded with him as the servants of Jacob's God. Joseph was much affected at seeing this complete fulfilment of his dreams. He directs them not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek the Divine forgiveness. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to.His brethren supplicate Joseph for forgiveness. "They sent unto Joseph," commissioned one of their number to speak to him. now that our common father has given us this command. "And Joseph wept" at the distress and doubt of his brothers. He no doubt summons them before him, when they fall down before him entreating his forgiveness. Joseph removes their fears. "Am I in God's stead?" that I should take the law into my own hands, and take revenge. God has already judged them, and moreover turned their sinful deed into a blessing. He assures them of his brotherly kindness toward them.15-21. When Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, &c.—Joseph was deeply affected by this communication. He gave them the strongest assurances of his forgiveness and thereby gave both a beautiful trait of his own pious character, as well as appeared an eminent type of the Saviour. The God of thy father, for whose sake pardon those that join with thee in his worship.

Joseph wept; partly in compassion to their fear and trouble; and partly because they still retained a diffidence in his kindness, after all his great and real demonstrations of it. So shall ye say unto Joseph, forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin,.... Their very great sin, and therefore more words than one are used to express it: unless this repetition should be intended, and signifies that their crime was a trespass against God, and a sin against their brother; and however they are directed to ask forgiveness for it, and urge the relation they stood in to Joseph, in order to obtain it, which they were ready to acknowledge as a very great evil, and of which they repented:

and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father; they urge not only the common relation they stood in to Jacob, but what they stood in to the God of Jacob, being his servants, his worshippers, as Joseph also was; and therefore, being his brethren not only in nature but in religion and grace, they hoped he would forgive their trespass:

and Joseph wept when they spake unto him; by their messenger; being troubled that they should be in such anxiety and distress of mind, which he had a fellow feeling with, and that they should have no better opinion of him, but entertain such distrust of him, notwithstanding all the kindness he had shown them, as to imagine that he should ever deal hardly with them for their former ill usage of him, which was forgiven and forgotten by him long ago.

So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the {e} God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

(e) Meaning, that they who have one God should be joined in most sure love.

17. the God of thy father] Cf. Genesis 49:26. They call themselves “the servants of the God of thy father,” as if it constituted a stronger appeal than “the sons of thy father.” They and Joseph serve one God.

Joseph wept] Cf. note on Genesis 45:1.Thus they came to Goren Atad beyond the Jordan, as the procession did not take the shortest route by Gaza through the country of the Philistines, probably because so large a procession with a military escort was likely to meet with difficulties there, but went round by the Dead Sea. There, on the border of Canaan, a great mourning and funeral ceremony was kept up for seven days, from which the Canaanites, who watched it from Canaan, gave the place the name of Abel-mizraim, i.e., meadow (אבל with a play upon אבל mourning) of the Egyptians. The situation of Goren Atad (the buck-thorn floor), or Abel-mizraim, has not been discovered. According to Genesis 50:11, it was on the other side, i.e., the eastern side, of the Jordan. This is put beyond all doubt by Genesis 50:12, where the sons of Jacob are said to have carried the corpse into the land of Canaan (the land on this side) after the mourning at Goren Atad.

(Note: Consequently the statement of Jerome in the Onam. s. v. Area Atad - "locus trans Jordanem, in quo planxerunt quondam Jacob, tertio ab Jerico lapide, duobus millibus ab Jordane, qui nunc vocatur Bethagla, quod interpretatur locus gyri, eo quod ibi more plangentium circumierint in funere Jacob" - is wrong. Beth Agla cannot be the same as Goren Atad, if only because of the distances given by Jerome from Jericho and the Jordan. They do not harmonize at all with his trans Jordanem, which is probably taken from this passage, but point to a place on this side of the Jordan; but still more, because Beth Hagla was on the frontier of Benjamin towards Judah (Joshua 15:6; Joshua 18:19), and its name has been retained in the fountain and tower of Hajla, an hour and a quarter to the S.E. of Riha (Jericho), and three-quarters of an hour from the Jordan, by which the site of the ancient Beth Hagla is certainly determined. (Vid., Robinson, Pal., ii. p. 268ff.))

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