Joseph was satisfied. He had seen in his
brothers the fruits of true repentance. Upon hearing Judah's noble offer he
gave orders that all but these men should withdraw; then, weeping aloud, he
cried, "I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?"
stood motionless, dumb with fear and amazement. The ruler of Egypt their
brother Joseph, whom they had envied and would have murdered, and finally
sold as a slave! All their ill treatment of him passed before them. They
remembered how they had despised his dreams and had labored to prevent their
fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these dreams; and
now that they were completely in his power he would, no doubt, avenge the
wrong that he had suffered.
confusion, he said kindly, "Come near to me, I pray you;" and as they came
near, he continued, "I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now
therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:
for God did send me before you to preserve life." Feeling that they had
already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he nobly sought to
banish their fears and lessen the bitterness of their self-reproach.
"For these two
years," he continued, "hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are
five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God
sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save
your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me
hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all
his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up
to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me
lord of all Egypt: come down unto me tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the
land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and
thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou
hast: and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine;
lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.
your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that
speaketh unto you." "And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept;
and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and
wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him." They humbly
confessed their sin and entreated his forgiveness. They had long suffered
anxiety and remorse, and now they rejoiced that he was still alive.
The news of what had taken place was quickly carried to the king, who, eager
to manifest his gratitude to Joseph, confirmed the governor's invitation to
his family, saying, "The good of all the land of Egypt is yours."
were sent away abundantly supplied with provision and carriages and
everything necessary for the removal of all their families and attendants to
Egypt. On Benjamin, Joseph bestowed more valuable gifts than upon the
others. Then, fearing that disputes would arise among them on the homeward
journey, he gave them, as they were about to leave him, the charge, "See
that ye fall not out by the way."
The sons of
Jacob returned to their father with the joyful tidings, "Joseph is yet
alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt." At first the aged man
was overwhelmed; he could not believe what he heard; but when he saw the
long train of wagons and loaded animals, and when Benjamin was with him once
more, he was convinced, and in the fullness of his joy exclaimed, "It is
enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."
Another act of humiliation remained for the ten brothers. They now confessed
to their father the deceit and cruelty that for so many years had embittered
his life and theirs. Jacob had not suspected them of so base a sin, but he
saw that all had been overruled for good, and he forgave and blessed his
The father and
his sons, with their families, their flocks and herds, and numerous
attendants, were soon on the way to Egypt. With gladness of heart they
pursued their journey, and when they came to Beersheba the patriarch offered
grateful sacrifices and entreated the Lord to grant them an assurance that
He would go with them. In a vision of the night the divine word came to him:
"Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great
nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring
thee up again."
"Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great
nation," was significant. The promise had been given to Abraham of a
posterity numberless as the stars, but as yet the chosen people had
increased but slowly. And the land of Canaan now offered no field for the
development of such a nation as had been foretold. It was in the possession
of powerful heathen tribes, that were not to be dispossessed until "the
fourth generation." If the descendants of Israel were here to become a
numerous people, they must either drive out the inhabitants of the land or
disperse themselves among them.
according to the divine arrangement, they could not do; and should they
mingle with the Canaanites, they would be in danger of being seduced into
idolatry. Egypt, however, offered the conditions necessary to the
fulfillment of the divine purpose. A section of country well-watered and
fertile was open to them there, affording every advantage for their speedy
increase. And the antipathy they must encounter in Egypt on account of their
occupation--for every shepherd was "an abomination unto the
Egyptians"--would enable them to remain a distinct and separate people and
would thus serve to shut them out from participation in the idolatry of
Egypt the company proceeded directly to the land of Goshen. Thither came
Joseph in his chariot of state, attended by a princely retinue. The splendor
of his surroundings and the dignity of his position were alike forgotten;
one thought alone filled his mind, one longing thrilled his heart. As he
beheld the travelers approaching, the love whose yearnings had for so many
long years been repressed, would no longer be controlled. He sprang from his
chariot and hastened forward to bid his father welcome. "And he fell on his
neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now
let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive."
five of his brothers to present to Pharaoh and receive from him the grant of
land for their future home. Gratitude to his prime minister would have led
the monarch to honor them with appointments to offices of state; but Joseph,
true to the worship of Jehovah, sought to save his brothers from the
temptations to which they would be exposed at a heathen court; therefore he
counseled them, when questioned by the king, to tell him frankly their
occupation. The sons of Jacob followed this counsel, being careful also to
state that they had come to sojourn in the land, not to become permanent
dwellers there, thus reserving the right to depart if they chose. The king
assigned them a home, as offered, in "the best of the land," the country of
Not long after
their arrival Joseph brought his father also to be presented to the king.
The patriarch was a stranger in royal courts; but amid the sublime scenes of
nature he had communed with a mightier Monarch; and now, in conscious
superiority, he raised his hands and blessed Pharaoh.