Genesis 45

The Word Made Fresh

1JJoseph couldn’t control his emotions in front of his attendants and he told all the Egyptians to leave him, so there was no one with Joseph when he revealed himself to his brothers. 2He wept so loudly that the Egyptians, including Pharaoh’s household, heard him.

3Then Joseph cried out to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were so frightened they couldn’t answer him. 4Joseph said, “Come closer to me.” They moved a bit closer, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. 5But don’t be alarmed, and don’t be angry with yourselves because you sold me here. It was God who sent me here before you to save lives. 6The famine has been going on for two years now, and it will last five years more, and there will be no sowing or reaping. 7But it was God who sent me here ahead of you to save what is left of the people and to keep as many of you alive as possible. 8So, it really wasn’t you who sent me here, but God. God has even made me an authority figure to Pharaoh and has put me over all Pharaoh’s house and over the whole land of Egypt. 9Hurry now and go back to my father and tell him that God has made his son, Joseph, lord over all Egypt. Tell him to come down to me without delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen nearby, you and your children and your grandchildren along with your flocks and herds and everything you own. 11There are five more years of famine yet to come, and I will take care of you there so that you and your family will be able to keep what you have and not become destitute. 12You and my brother Benjamin are witnesses that it is my own voice speaking to you. 13You have to tell my father how much I am honored in Egypt. Tell him everything you have seen, but by all means hurry and bring my father here!”

14Then he and Benjamin fell into each other’s arms and wept together. 15And Joseph kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and then they spent some time talking with one another.

16Word came to Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, and Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their animals and go back to Canaan and 18get your father and your families and bring them to me. I will give them the best of Egypt, and they can enjoy the best of the land. 19Tell them to take Egyptian wagons to bring their children and their wives, and bring your father, and come. 20Don’t worry about your possessions. The best of the land of Egypt is yours.”

21And that is what the sons of Israel did. Joseph provided them with wagons as Pharaoh had suggested and gave them provisions for the trip. 22He gave each one of them a new suit of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred silver coins and five new suits. 23He sent his father ten donkeys loaded with gifts from Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and provisions for his father on the return trip. 24Then he sent his brothers off and told them, “No arguing on the way.”

25They left Egypt and returned to their father Jacob in Canaan. 26They told him that Joseph was still alive. “He is even the boss over the whole land of Egypt,” they said. Jacob was stunned and couldn’t believe it. 27But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw all the wagons that Joseph had sent to accompany him on the journey, then Jacob’s spirits were revived, 28and Israel said, “Okay! My son Joseph is alive! I have to go see him before I die!”


1-3: Joseph is overwhelmed with emotion and can no longer carry on his charade. He sends the Egyptians out and breaks into sobs and wails. He reveals himself to his brothers, blurting out his identity and asking about his father’s welfare. His brothers are stunned, to say the least.

4-15: He calms down a bit and tells them again who he is. He tells them not to blame themselves for selling him into slavery — from his point of view that is what they did, although we were told that he was taken out of the pit by Midianite merchants and sold (37:26-28). Joseph says that God sent him ahead of them to save lives — to save their lives in particular in order to preserve for them a “remnant” to survive the famine. God sent him, he says, so hurry back and bring my father and move into the region of Goshen. This has not been mentioned before and indicates that Joseph has perhaps been planning their resettlement all along. Go get my father and tell him how I’ve turned out, he says, then hugs them all and cries, especially with Benjamin.

16-20: Pharaoh hears about Joseph’s family and invites them to Egypt. He’ll pay the travel expenses, he says, so send carts for the women and children.

21-24: Joseph prepares the caravan for his brothers to return to Canaan to move his family to Egypt, with special provisions for his brother Benjamin and for his father.

25-28: They return home. Jacob is afraid to believe their tale at first, but the evidence finally overwhelms him, and he determines to go to Egypt to see his son Joseph.


You have noticed, I’m sure, that once everybody tells the truth plans can be put into motion for what they believe will benefit everybody.