Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
45:1 Judah and his brethren were waiting for an answer, and could not but be amazed to discover, instead of the gravity of a judge, the natural affection of a father or brother. [1.] Cause every man to go out - The private conversations of friends are the most free. When Joseph would put on love, he puts off state, which it was not fit his servants should be witnesses of. Thus Christ graciously manifests himself and his loving kindness to his people, out of the sight and hearing of the world. [2.] V.
2. Tears were the introduction to his discourse. He had dammed up this stream a great while, and with much ado, but now it swelled so high that he could no longer contain, but he wept aloud, so that those whom he had forbid to see him could not but hear him. These were tears of tenderness and strong affection, and with these he threw off that austerity, with which he had hitherto carried himself towards his brethren; for he could bear it no longer. This represents the Divine compassion towards returning penitents, as much as that of the father of the prodigal, Luke 15:20 Hos 11:8,9. [3.] V.
3. He abruptly tells them; I am Joseph - They knew him only by his Egyptian name, Zaphnath - paaneah, his Hebrew name being lost and forgot in Egypt; but now he teaches them to call him by that, I am Joseph: nay, that they might not suspect it was another of the same name, he explains himself. I am Joseph your brother. This would both humble them yet more for their sin in selling him, and encourage them to hope for kind treatment. This word, at first, startled Joseph's brethren, they started back through fear, or at least stood still astonished: but Joseph called kindly and familiarly to them. Come near, I pray you. Thus, when Christ manifests himself to his people he encourages them to draw near to him with a true heart. Perhaps being about to speak of their selling of him, he would not speak aloud, lest the Egyptians should overhear, and it should make the Hebrews to be yet more an abomination to them; therefore he would have them come near, that he might whisper with them, which, now the tide of his passion was a little over, he was able to do, whereas, at first, he could not but cry out. [4.] He endeavours to sweep their grief for the injuries they had done him, by shewing them, that, whatever they designed, God meant it for good, and had brought much good out of it.
And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
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.
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.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
45:5 Be not grieved or angry with yourselves - Sinners must grieve, and be angry with themselves for their sins; yea, though God, by his power, bring good out of them, for that is no thanks to the sinner: but true penitents should be greatly affected with it, when they see God bringing good out of evil. Though we must not with this consideration extenuate our own sins, and so take off the edge of our repentance; yet it may do well thus to extenuate the sins of others, and so take off the edge of our angry resentments. Thus Joseph doth here. His brethren needed not to fear that he would revenge upon them an injury which God's providence had made to turn so much to his advantage, and that of his family. Now he tells them how long the famine was likely to last, five years yet, Ge 45:6, and what a capacity he was in of being kind to his relations, which is the greatest satisfaction that wealth and power can give to a good man.
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.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
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.
45:8 See what a favourable colour he puts upon the injury they had done him, God sent me before you - God's Israel is the particular care of God's providence. Joseph reckoned that his advancement was not so much designed to save a whole kingdom of Egyptians, as to preserve a small family of Israelites; for the Lord's portion is his people: whatever goes with others, they shall be secured. How admirable are the projects of Providence! How remote its tendencies! What wheels are there within wheels; and yet all directed by the eyes in the wheels, and the Spirit of the living Creature! [5.] He promises to take care of his father and all his family, during the rest of the years of famine. [1.] He desires that his father might speedily be made glad with the tidings of his life and honour. His brethren must hasten to Canaan, and acquaint Jacob that his son Joseph was lord of all Egypt - He knew it would be a refreshing oil to his hoary head, and a sovereign cordial to his spirits. He desires them to give themselves, and take with them to their father, all possible satisfaction of the truth of these surprising tidings.
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:
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:
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.
And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
45:12 Your eyes see that it is my mouth - If they could recollect themselves, they might remember something of his features and speech, and be satisfied.
(2.) He is very earnest that his father and all his family should come to him to Egypt. Come down unto me, tarry not - He allots his dwelling in Goshen, that part of Egypt which lay towards Canaan, that they might be mindful of the country from which they were to come out. He promiseth to provide for him, I will nourish - Our Lord Jesus being, like Joseph, exalted to the highest honours and powers of the upper world, it is his will that all that are his should be with him where he is. This is his commandment, that we be with him now in faith and hope, and a heavenly conversation; and this is his promise, that we shall be for ever with him.
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.
And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.
And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;
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.
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.
Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.
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.
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.
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.
So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.
45:24 See that ye fall not out by the way - He knew they were but too apt to be quarrelsome; and what had lately passed, which revived the remembrance of what they had done formerly against their brother, might give them occasion to quarrel. Now Joseph having forgiven them all, lays this obligation upon them, not to upbraid one another. This charge our Lord Jesus has given to us, that we love one another, that we live in peace, that whatever occurs, or whatever former occurrences are remembered, we fall not out. For, We are brethren, we have all one father. We are his brethren; and we shame, our relation to him, who is our peace, if we fall out. We are all guilty, verily guilty, and instead of quarrelling with one another, have a great deal of reason to fall out with ourselves. We are forgiven of God, whom we have all offended, and therefore should be ready to forgive one another. We are by the way, a way that lies through the land of Egypt, where we have many eyes upon us, that seek occasion and advantage against us; a way that leads to Canaan, where we hope to be for ever in perfect peace.
And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father,
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.
45:26 We have here the good news brought to Jacob. When, without any preamble, his sons came in crying Joseph is yet alive. The very mention of Joseph's name revived his sorrow, so that his heart fainted. It was a good while before he came to himself. He was in such care and fear about the rest of them, that at this time it would have been joy enough to him to hear that Simeon is released, and Benjamin is come safe home; for he had been ready to despair concerning both these; but to bear that Joseph is alive, is too good news to be true; he faints, for he believes it not.
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:
45:27 When he saw the waggons his spirit revived - Now Jacob is called Israel, for he begins to recover his wonted vigour. It pleases him to think that Joseph is alive. He saith nothing of Joseph's glory, which they had told him of; it was enough to him that Joseph was alive: it pleases him to think of going to see him. Though he was old, and the journey long, yet he would go to see Joseph, because Joseph's business would not permit him to come to him. Observe, He will go see him, not I will go live with him; Jacob was old, and did not expect to live long: but I will go see him before I die, and then let me depart in peace; let my eyes be refreshed with this sight before they are closed, and then it is enough, I need no more to make me happy in this world.
And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.