Genesis 45:1-3 – Joseph is overcome with emotion as he realizes that his brothers truly have repented of the harm that they did him, and their father Jacob. He further sees that they would be willing to exchange their lives for their brother Benjamin. He dismisses his servants so that he can be alone with his brothers as he reveals to them that he is their brother whom they betrayed. It is best in most cases not to air your family’s dirty laundry in public.
The servants probably did not understand why they would be asked to leave perhaps wondering if he would indeed be safe with these foreigners. Once alone he reveals himself to them with tears and sobbing. Another characteristic of Joseph who was a type of Yeshua was the ability to express his emotions. Yeshua wept for Lazarus, and for Jerusalem, and we see this in Joseph. His sobs were heard by his servants and they relayed the news of Joseph to Pharaoh.
His revelation to his brothers terrified them; it was like seeing a person raised from the dead. They no doubt experienced guilt, fear of retaliation, wonder at how he gained this position, realization of how he knew so much about him, and probably a myriad of other thoughts crossed their minds in an instant. But the overriding fear was his just response to them for what they had done to him. His first words following this revelation were words of concern, which probably relieved the stress that his brothers were under AIs my father still living?
He was now asking as family and not as the impersonal figure that the brothers perceived him to be. They were still in shock, terror and fear and found it impossible to respond. This scene is a foreshadowing of an event that will take place in the future. One prophesied by Zechariah 12:10-13:1, and also by Paul in Romans 11:25-26.
Genesis 45:4-6 – Joseph ministered to them with words of comfort and healing. Again we see in his concern for their feelings above his own again similar to the attitude of Yeshua (Philippians 2:3-8). He entreats them to come close that he might intimately share with them the details of what happened to him after they sold him to the Ishmaelites. He was able to give them the perspective he now had in the light of his close relationship with God.
This relationship was forged in the midst of and as a result of his tribulations. He realized that what was meant for evil on their part had ultimately worked together for good in such a way that multitudes of people were preserved and rescued including the Egyptians and his family from famine. He goes on to tell them not to continue to condemn themselves for their actions but to realize as he did that while they did have guilt it was also the sovereign hand of God arranging things so that they as a people could be preserved.
Seeing the sovereignty of God was easy for Joseph to understand because he had a deep relationship with the Lord developed through his trials. On the other hand the brothers, who had little if any relationship with the Lord, had a very difficult time accepting or understanding how God was involved in any of this. They only were aware of their guilt and shame for what they had done. This is why we must be first of all born again, and filled and led by the Spirit of God and to not carry around unconfessed sin in our lives. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB) But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Genesis 45:7-8 – Joseph speaks of the concept of the remnant to them. This is a motif that appears throughout Scripture. In the history of Israel the remnant is a spiritual Israel within the national Israel. In Elijah’s time 7000 had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). In Isaiah’s time, Israel had been reduced to only a few godly “survivors” (Isaiah 1:9), for whose sake God would not destroy the nation.
During the captivity the remnant appears in Jews like Esther, Mordecai, Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. At the end of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity it was the remnant that returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. At the advent of Yeshua, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, and those “who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38) were the remnant. During the Church Age the remnant is composed of believing Jews (Romans 11:4-5).
But an important aspect of the remnant is prophetic. During the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as Messiah, the “sealed” Israelites of Revelation 7:3-8. It is inferred by many students of Scripture that the great multitude of Gentiles of Revelation 7:9 will be saved by the witness of the 144,000 of Revelation 7:3-8. Some of these will undergo martyrdom (Revelation 6:9-11), some will be spared to enter the millennial kingdom (Zechariah 13:1-9).
Many of the Psalms express, prophetically, the joys and sorrows of the tribulation remnant. The word “remnant” can also be translated “survivors.” Which in the case of the brothers of Joseph applies, the spiritual expression could apply to Joseph himself. Joseph shares with his brothers that God had even made him who was young man to be a Afather to Pharaoh, by being his advisor and counselor. Joseph gave all the glory to God and wanted his brothers to understand so they too could glorify God.
Genesis 45:9-15 – Joseph instructs them that they must not leave their father in suspense any longer but to go at once and bring word to him of Joseph and how God has blessed him. Joseph wanted his brothers to instruct their father to move all that they had and come to Egypt. He warned them that there would be 5 more years of famine and unless they came to Egypt he would not be adequately able to supply their needs. Joseph knew that because of his responsibilities in Egypt he would not be able to go and bring Jacob to Egypt.
The brothers were still frightened and uncertain but as Joseph shared with them insights that only he could know, and that he was speaking to them in their language they became more assured. Joseph and Benjamin embrace as they are united as full brothers once again. Following the embrace of Benjamin he embraced his brothers and kissed them as well and spoke words of reconciliation to them. Finally the shock had worn off and his brothers began talking with him.
Genesis 45:16-20 – The servants bring word to Pharaoh about the reunion of Joseph with his brothers. All of Egypt rejoiced because Joseph was so highly esteemed. If the family was anything like Joseph they likely considered them to be of great value to the nation of Egypt and to Pharaoh. This was also a way of showing Joseph their gratitude in preserving their nation while famine was everywhere. Pharaoh insisted that the family be brought to Egypt and dwell in the best of the land and eat the best of Egypt’s food.
They would be treated royally and be highly honored. He commanded Joseph to bring his family so that he might have the honor of blessing them. Moreover he instructed Joseph to use the fleets of Egypt to transport his family. These wagons, no doubt, were used in transporting the grains for storage during the years of prosperity. Moreover Pharaoh told them that his family shouldn’t concern themselves with bringing their furniture and utensils because all that they would need would be available and provided by him when they settled in Egypt.
Genesis 45:21-24 – Joseph followed Pharaoh’s instructions and sent his brothers off with the wagons and provisions and in addition gave each of his brothers two clothing outfits for their journey. Benjamin however received 5 outfits of clothing and 300 pieces of silver.
Joseph sent his father ten donkeys filled with the best things of Egypt as well as ten female donkeys which was a gift very near and dear to the heart of Jacob who loved livestock and was gifted in animal husbandry. The donkeys carried more than enough food for Jacob and his children and grandchildren to make the journey to Egypt. Joseph also admonished his brothers not to quarrel or be anxious on the journey, all of his assurances to him and his family could be trusted.
Genesis 45:25-28 – The brothers arrive and give their father the good news that Joseph was still alive and that he was the man that they were dealing with in Egypt. His heart could barely deal with all the news coming to him. He probably found it hard to believe, but when he saw the unique wagons from Egypt along with his beloved son Benjamin he trusted the words of his sons. This miracle revived him both physically and spiritually. As testimony of the change in Jacob’s faith he is now called Israel once again in the Scriptural account.
Nothing is mentioned about what his sons told him about how Joseph wound up in Egypt but their repentance and confession to Joseph must have also now been given to Jacob. This story is too wonderful to be made up. It demonstrates the faithfulness of God in the midst of the worst of human circumstances with the result being the reconciliation of brothers who were enemies to one another and to God. It also illustrates the life of men who will not submit to God and the consequences of their actions. It further demonstrates the power of God to restore men to Him through various trials and circumstances (Romans 11:30ff)