Genesis 45

The Reconciliation of the Brothers

1Joseph was no longer able to control himself before all his attendants,
Heb “all the ones standing beside him.”
so he cried out, “Make everyone go out from my presence!” No one remained
Heb “stood.”
with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.
2He wept loudly;
Heb “and he gave his voice in weeping,” meaning that Joseph could not restrain himself and wept out loud.
the Egyptians heard it and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
Heb “and the Egyptians heard and the household of Pharaoh heard.” Presumably in the latter case this was by means of a report.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” His brothers could not answer him because they were dumbfounded before him. 4Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” so they came near. Then he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5Now, do not be upset and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here,
Heb “let there not be anger in your eyes.”
for God sent me
You sold me here, for God sent me. The tension remains as to how the brothers’ wickedness and God’s intentions work together. Clearly God is able to transform the actions of wickedness to bring about some gracious end. But this is saying more than that; it is saying that from the beginning it was God who sent Joseph here. Although harmonization of these ideas remains humanly impossible, the divine intention is what should be the focus. Only that will enable reconciliation.
ahead of you to preserve life!
6For these past two years there has been famine in
Heb “the famine [has been] in the midst of.”
the land and for five more years there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.
7God sent me
God sent me. The repetition of this theme that God sent Joseph is reminiscent of commission narratives in which the leader could announce that God sent him (e.g., Exod 3:15).
ahead of you to preserve you
Heb “to make you a remnant.” The verb, followed here by the preposition לְ (le), means “to make.”
on the earth and to save your lives
The infinitive gives a second purpose for God’s action.
by a great deliverance.
8So now, it is not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me an adviser
Heb “a father.” The term is used here figuratively of one who gives advice, as a father would to his children.
to Pharaoh, lord over all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
9Now go up to my father quickly
Heb “hurry and go up.”
and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not delay!
10You will live
The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
in the land of Goshen, and you will be near me – you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everything you have.
11I will provide you with food
The verb כּוּל (kul) in the Pilpel stem means “to nourish, to support, to sustain.” As in 1 Kgs 20:27, it here means “to supply with food.”
there because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise you would become poor – you, your household, and everyone who belongs to you.”’
12You and my brother Benjamin can certainly see with your own eyes that I really am the one who speaks to you.
Heb “And, look, your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that my mouth is the one speaking to you.”
13So tell
The perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
my father about all my honor in Egypt and about everything you have seen. But bring my father down here quickly!”
Heb “and hurry and bring down my father to here.”

14 Then he threw himself on the neck of his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After this his brothers talked with him.

16 Now it was reported
Heb “and the sound was heard.”
in the household of Pharaoh, “Joseph’s brothers have arrived.” It pleased
Heb “was good in the eyes of.”
Pharaoh and his servants.
17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go
Heb “and go! Enter!”
to the land of Canaan!
18Get your father and your households and come to me! Then I will give you
After the imperatives in vv. 17–18a, the cohortative with vav indicates result.
the best land in Egypt and you will eat
After the cohortative the imperative with vav states the ultimate goal.
the best
Heb “fat.”
of the land.’
19You are also commanded to say,
The words “to say” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
‘Do this: Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives. Bring your father and come.
20Don’t worry
Heb “let not your eye regard.”
about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’”

21 So the sons of Israel did as he said.
Heb “and the sons of Israel did so.”
Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had instructed,
Heb “according to the mouth of Pharaoh.”
and he gave them provisions for the journey.
22He gave sets of clothes to each one of them,
Heb “to all of them he gave, to each one, changes of outer garments.”
but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of clothes.
Heb “changes of outer garments.”
23To his father he sent the following:
Heb “according to this.”
ten donkeys loaded with the best products of Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, food, and provisions for his father’s journey.
24Then he sent his brothers on their way and they left. He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”
Heb “do not be stirred up in the way.” The verb means “stir up.” Some understand the Hebrew verb רָגָז (ragaz, “to stir up”) as a reference to quarreling (see Prov 29:9, where it has this connotation), but in Exod 15:14 and other passages it means “to fear.” This might refer to a fear of robbers, but more likely it is an assuring word that they need not be fearful about returning to Egypt. They might have thought that once Jacob was in Egypt, Joseph would take his revenge on them.

25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.
Heb “and they entered the land of Canaan to their father.”
26They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned,
Heb “and his heart was numb.” Jacob was stunned by the unbelievable news and was unable to respond.
for he did not believe them.
27But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them,
Heb “and they spoke to him all the words of Joseph which he had spoke to them.”
and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived.
28Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”

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