And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he sought us…
I. Joseph's brethren had not been placed in any peculiar circumstances of trial since the loss of Joseph; consequently their sin had slept. There had been nothing to call it to light; they had well-nigh forgotten it; its heinousness had become dim in the distance. But now they were in trouble, and they could not help seeing the hand of God in that trouble. Their spiritual instinct told them that their trouble did not spring out of the ground; it had been planted there — it had a root. Their sin had found them out at last, and their own adversity brought about that contrition for their offence which its own hatefulness ought to have been sufficient to produce.
II. We see from this story that men may commit sins, and may forget them; and yet the sins may be recorded, and may one day rise up again with a frightful vitality. Men will soon bury their own sins, if they be left to themselves; but it is like burying seed, which appears to die and be forgotten, and yet it rises up again, and perhaps becomes a great tree.
III. The voice of conscience is a good voice, a wholesome voice — yea, the very voice of God to our souls, and one to be welcomed by us if we only listen to it at the right time. The consciousness of guilt is a blessed thing, if only it come at the right time, and when there is opportunity for bringing forth fruits meet for repentance. Well for us if our estimate of our condition is the same, at least in its main features, as that estimate which God has made, and which the last day will produce!
(Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
WEB: They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn't listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us."