Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me…
Joseph recognized his brethren at once, though they failed, as they bowed before the mighty vicegerent of Egypt, to recognize in him the child by them so pitilessly sold into bondage; and Joseph, we are told, "remembered the dreams which he had dreamed of them"; how their sheaves should stand round about and make obeisance to his sheaf; how sun and moon and eleven stars should all do homage to him. All at length was coming true.
I. Now, of course, it would have been very easy for him at once to have made himself known to his brethren, to have fallen on their necks and assured them of his forgiveness. But he has counsels of love at once wiser and deeper than would have lain in such a ready and off-hand declaration of forgiveness. His purpose is to prove whether they are different men, or, if not, to make them different men from what they were when they practised that deed of cruelty against himself. He feels that he is carrying out, not his own purpose, but Cod's, and this gives him confidence in hazarding all, as he does not hazard it, in bringing this matter to a close.
II. Two things were necessary here: the first that he should have the opportunity of observing their conduct to their younger brother, who had now stepped into his place, and was the same favourite with his father as Joseph once had been; the second, that by some severe treatment, which should bear a more or less remote resemblance to their treatment of himself, he should prove whether he could call from them a lively remembrance and a penitent confession of their past guilt.
III. The dealings of Joseph with his brethren are, to a great extent, the very pattern of God's dealings with men. God sees us careless, in easily forgiving ourselves our old sins; and then, by trial and adversity and pain, He brings these sins to our remembrance, causes them to find us out, and at length extracts from us a confession, "we are verily guilty." And then, when tribulation has done its work, He is as ready to confirm His love to us as ever was Joseph to confirm his love to his brethren.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Then Joseph couldn't control himself before all those who stood before him, and he cried, "Cause everyone to go out from me!" No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.