Joseph has played the suspense game as long as he can. He has seen enough fear and remorse in his brothers that he is, at last, ready to reveal himself. He commands all the attendants and Egyptians to leave the room. When they are gone, Joseph weeps so loudly that they can hear him outside the room. Meanwhile, his brothers must be standing in complete confusion as they watch. He finally collects himself, leans in, scans the brothers faces and, for the first time, speaks in their native language.
“Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:4-5
Wouldn’t you love to hear their hushed gasps and see their faces searching Joseph’s face trying to see the features of the young brother they sold 20 years ago. Talk about surreal! Perhaps their next emotion is fear. Joseph assures them that he will not harm them, instead, he wants them to go back and bring their father and all their family members to live in Egypt. He has arranged with Pharaoh for them to live in the lush area of Goshen, not far away. He assures them again:
“God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:7
Joseph speaks Benjamin’s name and throws his arms around him, weeping.
And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him. Genesis 45:15
Oh, what a scene. Oh, what character, to give that kind of forgiveness and to show that much godly wisdom.
We hear no more words from the brothers, just “afterward his brothers talked with him.” Another one of those “please tell us more” kind of moments, but we are left to relinquish this tender private time to them.
Father Jacob is as amazed as the brothers when he is told that Joseph is still alive. The family packs up and heads to Egypt for the happy reunion.
As we take a look back over Joseph’s life, we see the hand of God in it all and we see Joseph’s faith in God as well.
In Potiphar’s house—The Lord was with Joseph… Genesis 39:2 When the master saw that the Lord was with him … Genesis 39:3
Through his behavior and demeanor, Potiphar could see God in Joseph.
To Potiphar’s seductive wife – “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” …day after day he refused her… Genesis 39:9-10
In prison—The Lord was with him …Genesis 39:21
The warden didn’t worry because he could see that—the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success… Genesis 39:23
The cupbearer and baker had no one to interpret their dreams—Joseph said, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” Genesis 40:8
The Pharaoh says he has heard that Joseph can interpret dreams. Joseph says, “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:16
After the interpretation, Pharaoh says, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the Spirit of God? Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.” Genesis 41:38-39
Joseph lived 110 years. Some of his last words, reminiscent of Queen Esther, were:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
So much more could be said of Joseph’s life, but I believe the take-home for me is that through the victories and challenges of life, character counts—the kind of character God gives, the kind of character we obediently receive and honor.
~ Joyce ~