And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon…
"And Joseph turned himself about from them and wept." Afterwards he left their presence and went into his chamber and wept. Think of the secret sorrows of men! The tears did not flow in the presence of the ten men. The tears were shed in secret. We do not know one another altogether, because there is a private life. There are secret experiences. Some of us are two men. Joseph was two men. He spake roughly unto his brethren. He put it on, he assumed roughness for the occasion. But if you had seen him when he had got away into his secret chamber, no woman ever shed hotter, bitterer tears than streamed from that man's eyes. We do not know one another altogether. We come to false conclusions about each other's character and disposition. Many a time we say about men, "They are very harsh, rough, abrupt"; not knowing that they have other days when their very souls are dissolved within them; that they can suffer more in one hour than shallower natures could endure in an eternity. Let us be hopeful about the very worst of men. Some men cannot cry in public. Some men are unfortunately afflicted with coarse, harsh voices, which get for them a reputation for austerity, unkindliness, ungeniality. Other men are gifted with fairness and openness of countenance, gentleness and tunefulness of voice. When they curse and swear it seems as though they were half praying, or just about to enter into some religious exercise. When they speak, when they smile, they get a reputation for being very amiable men, yet they do not know what amiability is. They have no secret life. They weep for reputation; they make their tears an investment for a paltry renown. We do not want all our history to be known. We are content for men to read a little of what they see on the outside, and they profoundly mistake that oftentimes. But the secret history, the inner room of life, what we are and what we do when we are alone, no man can ever tell — the dearest, truest, tenderest friend can never understand. Do not let us treat Joseph's tears lightly. Under this feeling there are great moral principles and moral impulses. The man might have been stern, vengeful, resentful. Instead of that he is tender as a forgiving sister. When he looks he yearns, when he listens to their voices all the gladness and none of the bitterness of his old home comes back again on his soul.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.