Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Genesis
Book: Genesis
Chapter: 45

Joseph comforts his brethren, and sends for his Father. (1-15)
Pharaoh confirms Joseph's invitation, Joseph's Gifts to his
brethren. (16-24) Jacob receives the news of Joseph's being
alive. (25-28)

1-15 Joseph let Judah go On, and heard all he had to say. He
found his brethren humbled for their sins, mindful of himself,
for Judah had mentioned him twice in his speech, respectful to
their Father, and very tender of their Brother Benjamin. Now
they were ripe for the comfort he designed, By making himself
known. Joseph ordered all his attendants to withdraw. Thus
Christ makes himself and his loving-kindness known to his
people, out of the sight and hearing of the world. Joseph shed
tears of tenderness and strong Affection, and with these threw
off that austerity with which he had hitherto behaved toward his
brethren. This represents the Divine compassion toward returning
penitents. "I am Joseph, your Brother." This would humble them
yet more for their Sin in selling him, but would encourage them
to Hope for kind treatment. Thus, when Christ would convince
Paul, he said, I am Jesus; and when he would comfort his
disciples, he said, It is I, be not afraid. When Christ
manifests himself to his people, he encourages them to draw near
to him with a true Heart. Joseph does So, and shows them, that
whatever they thought to do against him, God had brought good
out of it. Sinners must grieve and be angry with themselves for
their sins, though God brings good out of it, for that is No
thanks to them. The agreement between all this, and the case of
a sinner, On Christ's manifesting himself to his soul, is very
striking. He does not, On this account, think Sin a less, but a
greater evil; and yet he is So armed against despair, as even to
rejoice in what God hath wrought, while he trembles in thinking
of the dangers and Destruction from which he has escaped. Joseph
promises to take care of his Father and all the family. It is
the duty of children, if the necessity of their parents at any
time require it, to support and supply them to the utmost of
their ability; this is showing Piety at home, 1Ti 5:4. After
Joseph had embraced Benjamin, he caressed them all, and then his
brethren talked with him freely of all the affairs of their
Father's House. After the tokens of true reconciliation with the
Lord Jesus, sweet Communion with him follows.

16-24 Pharaoh was kind to Joseph, and to his relations for his
sake. Egypt would make up the losses of their removal. Thus
those for whom Christ intends his heavenly Glory, ought not to
regard the things of this world. The best of its enjoyments are
but lumber; we cannot make sure of them while here, much less
can we carry them away with us. Let us not set our eyes or
hearts upon the world; there are better things for us in that
blessed land, whither Christ, our Joseph, is gone to prepare a
place. Joseph dismissed his brethren with a seasonable caution,
"See that ye fall not out By the way." He knew they were too apt
to be quarrelsome; and having forgiven them all, he lays this
charge upon them, not to upbraid one another. This command our
Lord Jesus has given to us, that we Love one another, and that
whatever happens, or has happened, we fall not out. For we are
brethren, we have all one Father. We are all guilty, and instead
of quarrelling with one another, have reason to fall out with
ourselves. We are, or Hope to be, forgiven of God, whom we have
all offended, and, therefore, should be ready to forgive one
another. We are "By the way," a way through the land of Egypt,
where we have many eyes upon us, that seek advantage against us;
a way that leads to the heavenly Canaan, where we Hope to be for
ever in perfect peace.

25-28 To hear that Joseph is alive, is too good news to be
true; Jacob faints, for he believes it not. We faint, because we
do not believe. At length, Jacob is convinced of the Truth.
Jacob was old, and did not expect to live long. He says, Let my
eyes be refreshed with this sight before they are closed, and
then I need No more to make me happy in this world. Behold Jesus
manifesting himself as a Brother and a Friend to those who once
were his despisers, his enemies. He assures them of his Love and
the riches of his Grace. He commands them to lay aside envy,
Anger, malice, and strife, and to live in peace with each other.
He teaches them to give up the world for him and his Fulness. He
supplies all that is needful to bring them home to himself, that
where he is they may be also. And though, when he at last sends
for his people, they may for a time feel some doubts and fears,
yet the thought of seeing his Glory and of being with him, will
enable them to say, It is enough, I am willing to die; and I go
to see, and to be with the Beloved of my soul.