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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Gen. 45]

JOSEPH could no longer restrain himself, and, therefore, he commanded his officers and servants to retire. Then, with tears and sobs, he said: “I am Joseph. Is my father yet living?” His brothers could not answer him, being struck with exceeding great fear. But Joseph said mildly to them: “Come nearer to me. I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Fear nothing, for God sent me before you into Egypt for your preservation.”

Then he said: “Make haste, and go ye up to my father, and say to him: ‘Thus saith thy son Joseph: Come down to me; linger not; and thou shalt dwell in the land of Gessen; and thou shalt be near me, thou and thy sons.’ ” Then, falling upon the neck of Benjamin, he wept, and Benjamin wept also in like manner. Then he embraced all his brethren, and wept over them, after which they were emboldened to speak to him.

The news went abroad in the king’s court: The brethren of Joseph are come. And Pharao, with all his family, was glad. He told Joseph to invite his father and his brethren to come to Egypt. Joseph gave his brothers chariots and provisions for the way. He ordered two robes to be given to each of them, but to Benjamin he gave five robes of the best, with three hundred pieces of silver. Besides, he gave them rich presents for their father, and warned them not to be angry on the way.

Providence. “Not by your counsel was I sent hither, but by the will of God”, said Joseph to his brothers. He understood that it was by God’s permission that he was sold by them. It was, indeed, a great crime which the brothers committed. It was not by God’s will that the evil was done, because He, being holy, can will no evil; but He permitted it, and so guided matters that good came out of evil. The good that came out of it was threefold. Firstly, Joseph’s virtue was tried and strengthened, and subsequently rewarded by his exaltation. Secondly, his own relatives and all the Egyptians were saved from starvation. Thirdly, his brothers were converted.

Forgiveness of others. Just think how cruelly his brothers had behaved to the innocent Joseph. Being the powerful governor of Egypt, he could easily have had them cast into prison or killed, or he could have kept them as his slaves. Instead of this he freely forgave them. He did not even reproach them, but, on the contrary, made excuses for them, and loaded them with presents. Was not that beautiful and magnanimous?

Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ. We saw in chapt. XXI in how many ways Joseph is a type of our Blessed Lord. In this present chapter we can see a still further resemblance in him to the Divine Saviour. As Joseph forgave and excused his brethren, so did our Lord, hanging on the Cross, forgive His enemies, and pray for them: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

The terror of sinners at the Last Judgment. When Joseph said to his brethren: “I am Joseph!” they were so full of fear that they could not speak. How much greater will be the fear of sinners at the Last Judgment, when Jesus appears in power and majesty, and says: “I am Jesus, whom you have persecuted, and injured and crucified by your sins!”

APPLICATION. Joseph’s example teaches us that we should from our hearts forgive those who have injured us, and return good for the evil they have done to us. The love of our enemies is, therefore, a beautiful and great virtue, which we Christians are bound to practise.

Brothers and sisters ought to love one another. Joseph’s exhortation to his brethren: “Be not angry in the way”, applies especially to them.








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