Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.Joseph no longer able to refrain, discovers himself to his brethren, and weeps; asks concerning his father: they are troubled at his presence, Genesis 45:1-3. He forbids their grief for their sin, and comforts them with God’s gracious design and providence in it, Genesis 45:4-8. He hastens them to go and acquaint their father, and bring him to Egypt; his message to his father, Genesis 45:9-13. His kindness to Benjamin and his brethren, Genesis 45:14,15. Pharaoh is glad, and invites them down to Egypt, Genesis 45:16-20. Joseph dismisses them with gifts and presents to his father; exhorting them not to fall out by the way, Genesis 45:21-24. Coming home they relate all to their father, who at last believes them, rejoicing that he should see his son before he died, Genesis 45:25-28.
Cause every man to go out from me; remove all the Egyptians out of my presence and chamber. Which he did, partly that he might maintain the honour of his place, and not make himself cheap and contemptible to the Egyptians, by his excessive tears and passions, and by his free, and familiar, and affectionate converse with his brethren; and partly to preserve the reputation of his brethren, by concealing their fault from the Egyptians.
And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.His tears and voice which had been hitherto kept in by main force, now breaking forth with greater violence.
The Egyptians, and the house of Pharaoh; some who were near, with their own ears, and others by report.
And 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.He repeats his former question, Genesis 43:27, either because he questioned the truth of their former relation, or would be further satisfied in it, it being usual with men to ask over and over again what they long to know; or because he now desired a more particular relation of his father’s condition, and how he did bear up under all his calamities.
They were troubled at his presence, from a sudden and deep sense of their horrid guilt, and their just fear of some dreadful punishment.
And 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.Come near to me; be not afraid of me, but come nearer to me with cheerfulness and confidence, that you may be assured that I am he, and that we may more freely and privately discourse together, so as none others may hear. It is probable that Joseph sat in state, and that they hitherto kept a due distance from him.
Sold into Egypt, i.e. sold unto them that brought me into Egypt, and sold me there: see Genesis 37:28 39:1. So they sold him into Egypt occasionally and eventually.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.1706 Be not grieved, to wit, immoderately, and for the injury which you did to me, or for the danger which you have brought upon yourselves. Otherwise he doth not dissuade them from a godly sorrow for their offence against God, for the procurement of which he dcsigned and used that strange and rough carriage towards them.
Nor angry with yourselves; neither excessively torment yourselves with the remembrance of the fact, neither break forth into contentions and wrath, and upbraidings of one another; for God by his wise, powerful, and gracious providence overruled your evil intentions to a happy end,
to preserve life; not only your lives, for the expression is here indefinite and general, but the lives of all the people in this and the neighbouring countries; which though it doth not lessen your sin, yet ought to qualify your sorrow.
For 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.Neither sowing nor reaping, except in a few places near Nilus, because the people could not spare seed-corn, and would not lose it; understanding from Joseph that their cost and labour would be lost, and that the famine would be of long continuance.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.That you and your children might be sustained and preserved in this time of famine, and afterwards abundantly multiplied, as God hath promised.
By a great deliverance, or, for a great remnant, or escaping, i.e. that you who are now but a handful, escaping this danger, may grow into a vast multitude. The word evasion, or escaping, is here put for the persons that do escape, as it is 2 Chronicles 30:6 Isaiah 10:20; and as captivity is oft put for the captives, as it is Numbers 21:1 Deu 21:10. And so what was said in the former clause is repeated in this with all emphatical addition.
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.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.
Haste 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:No text from Poole on this verse.
And 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:Goshen, a part of Egypt bordering upon Canaan, well watered and fit for cattle, and therefore most proper for the Israelites, not only for present use, and to keep them at some distance from the inward parts of Egypt, and from the court, but also that they might have Canaan always in their eye and mind, and in God’s time might with least disadvantage march thither. Joseph promiseth this place, either because it was least inhabited, being in the borders of the land, or because he justly presumed upon the king’s favour, and knew that the growing famine would give him opportunity to dispose of the people as he pleased.
And 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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.Because I speak to you not by an interpreter, as hitherto I have done, but immediately, and in the Hebrew language.
And 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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.No text from Poole on this verse.
Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.To wit, freely and familiarly, being encouraged by his kindness.
And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.Because they all owed their lives unto Joseph, and his favour was now fresh and present, and therefore he had more influence upon them, and they more kindness for him.
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;No text from Poole on this verse.
And 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.The choicest fruits of the land.
Fat oft is put for the best of my sort, as Numbers 18:12,29 Deu 32:14 Psalm 63:5 147:14.
Now 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.Besides that absolute power which I have given thee to dispose of all things as thou pleasest, I do particularly and especially command thee to do this thing.
Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.Regard not your stuff; Heb. let not your eye pity or spare any part of your stuff, as loth to leave it behind you, or afraid to lose it. Sparing or pitying is an act of the mind, but it is ascribed to the eye here, as also Ezekiel 7:4,9 16:5; partly, because there it discovers itself by tears, or otherwise; and partly, because the sight of the eye doth oft affect the heart, and move pity.
And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.No text from Poole on this verse.
To 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.Changes of raiment; new and handsome garments, which upon their coming into Pharaoh’s presence, and on other occasions, they might wear instead of those more old and homely ones, which they brought with them from Canaan. Compare Judges 14:12,19 2 Kings 5:5.
And 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.After this manner; Heb. according to this. What? Either what went before, changes of raiment, or what follows, ten asses, & c.
Or, contend, one with another, each vindicating himself, and laying the blame upon his brother.
So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.Or contend one with another, each vindicating himself, and laying the blame upon his brother.
And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father,No text from Poole on this verse.
And 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.Jacob’s heart fainted, or, was weakened, or failed, he fell into a swoon, as it is ordinary, because of the greatness and suddenness of the news, and the conflict of contrary and violent passions, raised hereby; grief at the remembrance of his former loss, and excessive joy for Joseph’s recovery and felicity; hope that this might be true, and fear lest it should be but a fiction of theirs: any one of these passions are able to cause a fainting of the spirits, but much more when all meet together, especially in an aged person.
He believed them not; partly because of the greatness, and strangeness, and desirableness of the thing; compare Psalm 126:1; and partly because they were by this very relation convicted of one lie about Joseph, in saying that he was dead, and therefore might easily be thought guilty of another.
And 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:No text from Poole on this verse.
And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.I desire no more, no greater happiness in this world, than to see him; which when I have done, I am willing to die.