Genesis 45: Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers

What did the brothers think was happening when Joseph ordered the Egyptians to leave the room?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:1–2 Unable to constrain his emotions any longer, Joseph commanded everyone to leave except his brothers. No Egyptian was with him in the room when he identified himself, yet he spoke so loudly that they heard him, and Pharaoh’s household received the news.
King James
Genesis 45:1–2 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.

How far away were the Egyptians when Joseph identified himself? Might they have been eavesdropping? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:1–2 Unable to constrain his emotions any longer, Joseph commanded everyone to leave except his brothers. No Egyptian was with him in the room when he identified himself, yet he spoke so loudly that they heard him, and Pharaoh’s household received the news.
King James
Genesis 45:1–2 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.

How much difficulty did the brothers have in believing their brother Joseph was alive? What finally convinced them?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:3–4 “I am your brother Joseph,” he said. “Is my father really still alive?”
Still in awe of his presence, his brothers didn’t know what to say.
“Come closer. Please.” As they did, he said, “It’s true. I really am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into slavery in Egypt.”
Genesis 45:12 “Look at me. Aren’t my eyes like my brother Benjamin? I really am your brother Joseph who is speaking to you.”
King James
Genesis 45:3–4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Genesis 45:12 And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.

In what ways did Joseph’s revelation about himself help or harm the brothers’ feelings of guilt?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:5–8 “Don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me, for God sent me ahead of you to save lives. This famine has lasted for two years, and we’ll see another five years when plowing and planting will yield no harvest.
“God sent me here to preserve you and your families on Earth so your descendants will live through his great deliverance. I was sent here by God, not you. He made me like a father to Pharaoh, in charge of his household and ruling all of Egypt.”
King James
Genesis 45:5–8 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

How much planning had Joseph already done before he invited his family to live in Egypt?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:9–13 “Hurry back to my father and tell him that God has made me governor of Egypt. As quickly as you can, come back to live with me.
“You will live near me in the land of Goshen. Here, your children and grandchildren can grow your flocks and enjoy all that you have. I will provide for you, for we face another five years of famine that would otherwise leave you in poverty.
“Look at me. Aren’t my eyes like my brother Benjamin? I really am your brother Joseph who is speaking to you. Tell my father about my position of honor in Egypt and all you have seen here. Then bring him here right away.”
King James
Genesis 45:9–13 Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.

Why might Benjamin have never known about Joseph being sold to the Ishmaelite traders? What made their reunion such an emotional time?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:14 Then Joseph embraced Benjamin, and they cried on each other’s shoulder.
King James
Genesis 45:14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.

As Joseph and his brothers talked “for a long time,” what were the most significant parts of their conversation?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:15 He kissed his brothers and wept with them. After that, they talked for a long time.
King James
Genesis 45:15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.

Why was Pharaoh so pleased to hear about Joseph’s brothers that he would welcome his family?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:16–20 Pharaoh and his servants were most pleased when they heard that Joseph’s brothers had come. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their donkeys, go to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and their families to Egypt, where they can enjoy all that this land produces. They should take carts from Egypt to transport their wives and children and bring your father here. They need not worry about leaving stuff behind, because they can have all the luxuries that Egypt can offer.”
King James
Genesis 45:16–20 And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.

How many Egyptian servants might have accompanied the brothers in their caravan back to Canaan?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:21–24 The children of Israel did as Pharaoh had commanded.
Joseph gave them carts and provisions for their journey. He gave new clothes to all his brothers, but Benjamin received five garments and 300 pieces of silver. For his father, Joseph sent ten male donkeys loaded with Egypt’s best things and ten female donkeys with grain, food, and other provisions for the journey.
Joseph bid his brothers farewell, saying, “Don’t let anything get in your way.”
King James
Genesis 45:21–24 And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.

How much difficulty did the brothers have in explaining to their father how Joseph was alive? Were they completely open and honest about what they had done? What information might have been withheld? How much had to be told?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:25–26 So they left Egypt for the land of Canaan and saw their father Jacob.
“Joseph is alive,” they said. “He’s the governor over all the land of Egypt.” The news was too fantastic for Jacob to believe it was true.
King James
Genesis 45:25–26 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not.

After finally accepting the reality that Joseph was alive, how did Jacob feel about God and his promises?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 45:27–28 After hearing all that Joseph had said, Jacob saw the carts that had been sent to carry him. Then he believed and was thrilled beyond words. “Now I know it’s true,” he said. “My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
King James
Genesis 45:27–28 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.