The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic  which limits the observer to the content offered by Genesis 45 especially the previous chapters beginning with chapter 42 - a must read if one is to fully understand the context of chapter 45. This will serve to avoid mistakes in interpretation; going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.


4. The Move to Egypt (42:1-47:27) [of Jacob (Israel) and his family to Egypt]

The following narratives show that God used the famine to bring Israel into Egypt under the rulership of Joseph. The nation would remain there some [215] years, as God had prophesied to Abram (15:13) []. Israel could take comfort that in spite of her bondage God would someday enable her to triumph over Egypt.

a. The first visit of the brothers to Egypt (chap. 42)

b. The second visit of the brothers to Egypt (chap. 43)

c. The testing of Joseph (chap. 44)

44:1-13. Joseph, already brilliantly successful in creating tensions during their two visits, now produced his master stroke. He tested their concern for Benjamin in order to get them to recognize their evil. If they failed this test, if they had no compassion for this second son of Rachel, then they would have no part in the fulfillment of the promises. God could start over again and make Joseph into a great nation if the others proved unworthy (cf. Ex. 32:10).

Thus the brothers demonstrated that they had repented of their sin against their brother Joseph ("God has uncovered your servants' guilt," 44:16). Also they demonstrated concern for their father and their youngest brother Benjamin. So Joseph then (45:1-15) made himself known to them and brought them and their families to live in Egypt where there was food (45:16-47:12).

d. The reconciliation of the brothers with Joseph (45:1-15)

e. The moving of the family (45:16-47:12) [to Egypt]

II) [Gen 45:1 NASB]:

1 "Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, 'Have everyone go out from me.' So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers." 

A) [(v. 1) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

The narrative is clear that Joseph had taken no personal enjoyment in the deception of his brothers. When he could hold back no longer, he revealed his true identity (v.1).

B) [(v. 1) Bible Knowledge Commentary]: 

With a burst of emotion Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.

III) [Gen 45:2-7 NASB]:

2  "He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.

3  Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?' But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

4  Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'Please come closer to me.' And they came closer. And he said, 'I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

5  Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

6  For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.' "

A) [(vv. 2-7) Expositor's, cont.]:

"We are never told why he chose not to reveal his identity to his brothers immediately, but we can see from the narrative itself that the effect of his scheme has been to further the primary themes of the book. In his words of explanation and comfort to his brothers in this chapter, Joseph returned once again to the central theme of the narrative: though the brothers were responsible for Joseph's being sold into Egypt, and though they intended "harm," God was ultimately behind it all and had worked it out for the "good" (cf. 50:20). [to conform with the sovereignty and purposes of God: man's will / actions, circumstance yet God's sovereignty]

As he told his brothers, "It was to save lives [lemiheyah] that God sent me ahead of you" (v.5), and, "God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save [ulehahayoth] your lives" (v.7). 

In the narrative thus far, this theme has been expressed by Jacob (42:2) and Judah (43:8) and has also been indirectly alluded to by Joseph himself (42:18). Here, however, [in v. 7] and in 50:20, the theme is given its full expression in the words of Joseph.

Joseph's words pull back the narrative veil and allow the reader to see what has been going on behind the scenes. It was not the brothers who sent Joseph to Egypt; rather it was God. And God had a purpose for it all. We have seen numerous clues throughout the narrative that this has been the case; but now the central character, the one ultimately responsible for initiating the plots and subplots of the preceding narratives, reveals the divine plans and purpose behind it all. Joseph, who could discern the divine plan in the dreams of Pharaoh, [Gen 41:1-40] also knew the divine plan in the affairs of his brothers. Through it all he saw God's plan to accomplish a "great deliverance" (v.7).

Joseph explained that God had sovereignly brought him to Egypt to prepare for their deliverance from famine. His words form a classic statement on providential control. God sent me ahead of you (45:5).

B) [(vv. 2-7) Bible Knowledge Commentary]: 

This (v. 2) was the third of five times he wept over his brothers (42:24; 43:30; 45:14; 50:17; cf. 50:1). They were stunned by the news, unable to speak for fear that Joseph might kill them. In this passage strong feelings and sound spiritual judgment and argument complete the work of reconciliation which till now had called for severe testing. It had been the task for a wise man, and over an extended period of time Joseph accomplished the task marvelously.

Joseph explained that God had sovereignly brought him to Egypt to prepare for their deliverance from famine. His words form a classic statement on providential control. God sent me ahead of you (45:5).

IV) [Gen 45:8 NASB)]:

8  " 'Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.' "

A) [(v. 8) Expositor's]:

"In describing God's care over him, Joseph made an allusion to the brothers' initial question regarding his dreams as a young lad. They had said, "Do you intend to reign over us?" (37:8). Now he reminded them that he had been made "ruler of all Egypt" (45:8)."

B) [(v. 8) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"With a burst of emotion Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. "It was not you who sent me here, but God" (v. 8; cf. v. 9). The certainty that God's will, not man's, is the controlling reality in every event shined through as the basis for reconciliation. No doubt Joseph had consoled himself many times with this principle of faith. He who is spiritual can perceive the hand of God in every event, and therefore is able to forgive those who wrong him. Joseph then instructed his brothers to hurry back without delay (cf. quickly in v. 13 and cf. 43:15) to Jacob and inform him of Joseph's power (as "ruler of all Egypt," 45:8,"

V) [Gen 45:9 NASB]:

9  '''Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, "Thus says your son Joseph, 'God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay.' " '''

A) [(v. 9) Expositor's]:

In the second part of his speech to the brothers, Joseph made plans to bring his father to Egypt. He twice repeated that the brothers were to go to Jacob and with all haste bring him down to Egypt (vv.9, 13). He had set aside the "region of Goshen"

B) [(v. 9) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

Joseph then instructed his brothers to hurry back without delay (cf. quickly in v. 13 and cf. 43:15) to Jacob and inform him of Joseph's power (as "ruler of all Egypt," 45:8, and lord of all Egypt, v. 9) and honor in all the land of Egypt (vv. 9, 13).

VI) [Gen 45:10-20]:

10  " 'You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have.

11  There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.

12  Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you.

13  Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.'

14  Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.

15  He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

16  Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh's house that Joseph's brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants.

17  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Say to your brothers, 'Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan,

18  and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.'

19  "Now you are ordered, 'Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come.

20  'Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.'"

A) [(vv. 10-20) Expositor's]:

"(v.10) where they could continue to raise their families and livestock during the five remaining years of famine. In  the midst of the famine, the sons of Israel were to be well-provided for in Goshen. It can hardly be without purpose that this picture of God's chosen people dwelling safely and prosperously in the land that Joseph provided for them comes at the close of the Book of Genesis and that it is a near replica of the way things were in the beginning. The writer appears intentionally to draw our attention to the connection between the end of the book and the beginning. Thus when the Pharaoh restated Joseph's offer and "twice" gave the brothers the "good" (tub vv.18, 20; NIV, "best") of the land of Egypt, it is hard not to see in the purpose of this narrative a conscious allusion to the "good" (tob 1:31) land given to Adam in the first chapter of the book. The picture of Joseph is a picture of restoration - not just the restoration of the good fortune of Jacob but, as a picture, the restoration of the blessing that was promised through the offspring of Jacob,

B) [(vv. 10-20) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

The whole family must move to Egypt and live in the region of Goshen, a fertile area in the Nile Delta (cf. comments on 47:1-12), to dwell under Joseph's rule, because God had prepared the way through all the circumstances.

45:14-15. Finally the brothers were reunited, first Joseph and Benjamin, then all of them. Those were emotion-filled moments, filled with weeping (cf. 42:24; 43:30; 45:2) and then conversation. Their previous hatred and jealousy of Joseph (37:4, 8, 11) was now gone.

45:16-24. Instructions were given to the brothers to bring Jacob's entire family to Egypt. Pharaoh himself instructed them to return, offering them the best of the land of Egypt, providing carts for transporting the family members back (cf. 46:5), and promising them the best of all Egypt.

VII) [Gen 45:21-28 NASB]:

21 "Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey.

22  To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. 

23  To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey. 

24  So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, "Do not quarrel on the journey." 

25  Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob.

26  They told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." But he was stunned, for he did not believe them.

27  When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

28  Then Israel said, "It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

A) [(vv 21-28) Expositor's]:

"21-28 Jacob's response to the news of Joseph plays a key role in connecting these narratives to the message of the Pentateuch as a whole. Throughout the Pentateuch there is a focus on the response of God's people to the work of God. At important moments in the narrative, this response is interpreted as either one of "faith" (he'emin; 15:6; Exod 4:31; 14:31; 19:9) or "no faith" (lo'-he'emin v.26; cf. Num 14:11; 20:12; cf. Hans-Christoph Schmitt, "Redaktion des Pentateuch im Geiste der Prophetie," VetTest 32, 2 [1982]: 170-89).

Jacob's response falls in with these other examples. Here, however, the writer gives a deeper insight into the nature of his faith. At first, when Jacob heard the news that Joseph was alive, "his heart grew numb" (wayyapog libbo v.26; NIV, "Jacob was stunned") and "he did not believe" (lo'-he'emin). But when he heard the words of Joseph and saw all that he had sent to take him back to Egypt, "the spirit... of Jacob revived" (v.27), and he set out to go to him (v.28).
The faith of Jacob bore the same marks as that of the other occurrences of faith throughout the Pentateuch, but in this text alone a different dimension is stressed. That new dimension in Jacob's faith is the contrast between his "numbed heart" and his "revived spirit." Jacob's lack of faith is identified with his "numbed heart." When his spirit was renewed, however, he believed. The viewpoint expressed here is very similar to that of the later prophetic literature where faith and the "new heart" are synonymous (cf. Jer 31:33-34; Ezek 36:26) and where lack of faith (lo' ta'aminu Hab 1:5; NIV, "not believe") is synonymous with "numbness" (tapug torah Hab 1:4; NIV, "the law is paralyzed"). All these texts seem to be summed up in the words of David in Psalm 51: "Create in me a pure heart, O God,/ and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (v.10).

B) [(vv. 21-28) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"Joseph gave his brothers elaborate provisions for their journey, including clothing, food and, for Jacob, the best things of Egypt. As they left, Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel on the way. This was not a time for accusations and recriminations. It was a time for joyful reunion. Yet he knew that they could fall out on the way home."

45:25-28. At first Jacob was stunned with unbelief at his sons' report that Joseph was alive. But then, hearing their story and seeing what all Joseph had sent him, Jacob was convinced and immediately decided to make the move and see his son.

This royal invitation to Jacob, the old patriarch near the end of hope, and to the 10 brothers burdened with guilt, was a turning point in their lives and a fulfillment of God's prediction (15:13-16) that they would go into isolation in a foreign country and multiply without losing their identity."