The Reconciliation of the Brothers

1 Joseph was no longer able to control himself before all his attendants,1 so he cried out, “Make everyone go out from my presence!” No one remained2 with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept loudly;3 the Egyptians heard it and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.4

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. 4 Joseph 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. 5 Now, do not be upset and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here,5 for God sent me6 ahead of you to preserve life! 6 For these past two years there has been famine in7 the land and for five more years there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me8 ahead of you to preserve you9 on the earth and to save your lives10 by a great deliverance. 8 So now, it is not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me an adviser11 to Pharaoh, lord over all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Now go up to my father quickly12 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! 10 You will live13 in the land of Goshen, and you will be near me – you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everything you have. 11 I will provide you with food14 there because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise you would become poor – you, your household, and everyone who belongs to you.”’ 12 You and my brother Benjamin can certainly see with your own eyes that I really am the one who speaks to you.15 13 So tell16 my father about all my honor in Egypt and about everything you have seen. But bring my father down here quickly!17

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

16 Now it was reported18 in the household of Pharaoh, “Joseph’s brothers have arrived.” It pleased19 Pharaoh and his servants. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go20 to the land of Canaan! 18 Get your father and your households and come to me! Then I will give you21 the best land in Egypt and you will eat22 the best23 of the land.’ 19 You are also commanded to say,24 ‘Do this: Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives. Bring your father and come. 20 Don’t worry25 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.26 Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had instructed,27 and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22 He gave sets of clothes to each one of them,28 but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of clothes.29 23 To his father he sent the following:30 ten donkeys loaded with the best products of Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, food, and provisions for his father’s journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers on their way and they left. He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”31

25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.32 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned,33 for he did not believe them. 27 But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them,34 and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived. 28 Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”

145:1tn Heb “all the ones standing beside him.” 245:1tn Heb “stood.” 345:2tn Heb “and he gave his voice in weeping,” meaning that Joseph could not restrain himself and wept out loud. 445:2tn Heb “and the Egyptians heard and the household of Pharaoh heard.” Presumably in the latter case this was by means of a report. 545:5tn Heb “let there not be anger in your eyes.” 645:5sn 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. 745:6tn Heb “the famine [has been] in the midst of.” 845:7sn 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). 945:7tn Heb “to make you a remnant.” The verb, followed here by the preposition לְ (lÿ), means “to make.” 1045:7tn The infinitive gives a second purpose for God’s action. 1145:8tn Heb “a father.” The term is used here figuratively of one who gives advice, as a father would to his children. 1245:9tn Heb “hurry and go up.” 1345:10tn The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive here expresses instruction. 1445:11tn 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.” 1545:12tn Heb “And, look, your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that my mouth is the one speaking to you.” 1645:13tn The perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive here expresses instruction. 1745:13tn Heb “and hurry and bring down my father to here.” 1845:16tn Heb “and the sound was heard.” 1945:16tn Heb “was good in the eyes of.” 2045:17tn Heb “and go! Enter!” 2145:18tn After the imperatives in vv. 17-18a, the cohortative with vav indicates result. 2245:18tn After the cohortative the imperative with vav states the ultimate goal. 2345:18tn Heb “fat.” 2445:19tn The words “to say” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. 2545:20tn Heb “let not your eye regard.” 2645:21tn Heb “and the sons of Israel did so.” 2745:21tn Heb “according to the mouth of Pharaoh.” 2845:22tn Heb “to all of them he gave, to each one, changes of outer garments.” 2945:22tn Heb “changes of outer garments.” 3045:23tn Heb “according to this.” 3145:24tn 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. 3245:25tn Heb “and they entered the land of Canaan to their father.” 3345:26tn Heb “and his heart was numb.” Jacob was stunned by the unbelievable news and was unable to respond. 3445:27tn Heb “and they spoke to him all the words of Joseph which he had spoke to them.”