And Joseph said to them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
Joseph punishes Simeon by imprisonment. It may be that he had reasons for it which we are not told. But when his brothers have endured the trial, and he finds that Benjamin is safe, he has nothing left but forgiveness. They are his brethren still — his own flesh and blood. And he "fears God." He dare not do anything but forgive them. He forgives them utterly, and welcomes them with an agony of happy tears. He will even put out of their minds the very memory of their baseness. "Now, therefore, be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither," he says; "for God," &c. Is not that Divine? Is not that the Spirit of God and of Christ? I say it is. For what is it but the likeness of Christ, who says for ever, out of heaven to all mankind, "Be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye crucified me; for God, my Father, sent me to save your souls by a great salvation." My friends, learn from this story of Joseph, and the prominent place in the Bible which it occupies — learn, I say, how hateful to God are family quarrels; how pleasant to God are family unity and peace, and mutual trust, and duty, and helpfulness. And if you think that I speak too strongly on this point, recollect that I do no more than St. Paul does, when he sums up the most lofty and mystical of all his Epistles, the Epistle to the Ephesians, by simple commands to husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, as if he should say: You wish to be holy? you wish to be spiritual? Then fulfil these plain family duties, for they, too are sacred and divine, and he who despises them, despises the ordinances of God. And if you despise the laws of God, they will surely avenge themselves on you. If you are bad husbands or bad wives, bad parents or bad children, bad brothers or sisters, bad masters or servants, you will smart for it, according to the eternal laws of God, which are at work around you all day long, making the sinner punish himself whether he likes or not. Examine yourselves — ask yourselves, each of you, Have I been a good brother? have I been a good son? have I been a good husband? have I been a good father? have I been a good servant? If not, all professions of religion will avail me nothing. If not, let me confess my sins to God, and repent and amend at once, whatever it may cost me.
(C. Kingsley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: