Genesis Chapter Forty-Five


Read Genesis 45:1-15 – Joseph Revealed


v.11Then 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.”


            Joseph has known his brothers from the beginning of the time that they first came to Egypt.  He has tried them in various ways, they have proven to be reliable, honest men; probably much more so than they were when he was still a young man at home.  Most people do grow up and mature after a sufficient number of years have passed.

            At this time he can hold back no longer.  Just as Stephen, in his sermon, related to the Sanhedrin Council:


Acts 7:13And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.”


The time has come for him to make himself known to his brothers.


v.2.2And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.”


            This is a joyous occasion for Joseph.  He was sold into slavery; he has experienced prison and probably the depths of despair that would try anyone’s faith in God when the butler forgot about him.  Through God’s intervention he has been made ruler of the most powerful nation on earth.  Now, again through the invention of God, in his own time and for his own purposes, he is being reunited with his family.  He weeps tears of joy and his joy is so great at this blessing from God that the entire house of Pharaoh hears.


v.3And 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.”


            Joseph identifies himself to his brothers and asked if his father still lives.  He wants to learn more about his family, it’s been approximately 20 years since he was sold into slavery.  But his brothers are dumfounded, completely speechless, they are troubled, they don’t know what to think.  Is this for real or is it another test or trial of their faith and honesty?


v.4-5And 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. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”


            Joseph still hasn’t received any kind of a response from his brothers so he repeats his declaration that he is their brother Joseph whom they had sold into slavery.  He also reassures them that this wasn’t entirely of their doing nor was it something that anyone should be angry about or to be troubled about any longer.  This was a plan made and carried out by God for a purpose.  God’s purpose was to preserve life, to place Joseph into a position where he could do the work that Jehovah had predetermined for him to do.  When Jacob dies Joseph’s brothers are afraid again now that their patriarch is gone and Joseph repeats his pledge:


Genesis 50:20-21 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”


So Joseph exhibits a condition of heart and attitude that is extremely rare.  It will only come from one who is dedicated to whatever purpose God has for him, either through providence or, as in this case, through direct intervention.  Even though he suffered slavery, imprisonment and separation from his family Joseph holds no grudges, bears no ill will, it was for God’s purpose, therefore it was to be endured and even enjoyed when possible.  It is part of our faith in God to accept what through his providence has given because we cannot see the beginning or end of God’s purpose:


Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”


In the Psalmist’s exhortation to Israel to praise God for his goodness he reminds them of this occurrence:




v.6-7 “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. 7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”


            Joseph explains that these past two years of famine that has affected the entire world and brought them to Egypt is only the beginning and there will be five more.  During this period in time any grain planted will not make heads or ears and consequently there will be no harvest.  God has sent Joseph to Egypt in advance of his brethren in order to prepare a place for them when this famine came.  It was for the purpose of saving their lives.


v.8-9So 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. 9Haste 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:”


            Joseph reassures them again, it wasn’t their evil intentions, the hatred of his brothers; that sent him to Egypt but rather the will of God.  God used their evil actions to serve his own purposes.  God, in time, has made Joseph as a father or advisor to Pharaoh, lord of his house and ruler of the nation of Egypt.  He urges them to make haste, to hurry back to Canaan and break the news to their father that he is not dead as he thinks but is the lord over Egypt that has been giving them grain.  He wants them to go and bring their father and their families to Egypt that they might be sustained through this terrible famine.


Acts 7:14Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.”


As was pointed out to us in an earlier study the family of Israel that moved to Egypt number 75 souls.


v.10-11And 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: 11And 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.”


            Joseph says that they would be given a place to live and keep their flocks in Goshen.  What do we know about Goshen beyond the fact that Israel lived there?  It was located very near the Mediterrean Coast and the mouth of the Nile on the east side of the river delta.  What is it about delta land that makes it so desirable?  It is rich; it gains the benefit of every flood by being renewed.  It’s fertility is replenished on a regular basis, especially on the Nile.  It is probably the richest farm and pasture land that exists in what is mostly a desert country that sustains itself by irrigation farming along the Nile river valley.

            The city of Egypt that served as its northern capital at that time was located in this region so they would be very near to Joseph.  The seat of government was there and so was he.  It would be the ideal place for them to sustain their flocks during this famine and they would be near to Joseph.  He would continue to nourish and provide for them throughout the five years of famine that would follow.  If they stay in Canaan the very fact that they have to buy grain on a regular basis would surely bankrupt them and reduce them to poverty.  In spite of their treatment of him, Joseph loves his brothers and his family.


v.12-13And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. 13And 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.”


            Joseph can see that what he is telling his brothers is finally starting to soak through the fog of unbelief.  They are beginning to understand and more important to accept what he is trying to tell them.  He urges them again to return to Canaan and bring the news to his father that he is not only alive and well but living a life of vast importance and glory in Egypt.  He also wants them to bring his father to Egypt.


14-15And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.”


            The overwhelming emotion and joy that Joseph displays when he is finally able to reveal himself to his brothers finally starts to have an effect upon them.  First of all he has a tearful reunion with Benjamin and then with the rest of his brothers.  Then the shock begins to wear off in finding out that he is their brother and they start to communicate.


Read Genesis 45:16-24 – Joseph Sends for Jacob


v.16And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.”


            The word of this joyful reunion comes to the ears of Pharaoh.  He knows the circumstances of Joseph, how he came to Egypt a slave and that he was thrown into prison.  He probably knew that Joseph had family somewhere, perhaps not, but Pharaoh was pleased to have the man upon whom he placed so much responsibility and upon whom he depended so completely to have his family find him.


v.17-18And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; 18And 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.”


            Pharaoh supports and strengthens the offer that Joseph has made to his brothers.  Take the food that you have come to purchase, load your pack animals and return to the land of Canaan.  When you arrive there take your father, your families and all of your goods and return to Egypt.  You will be given the good of the land of Egypt and live well while the rest of the world is in famine.  This is hardly an offer that could be denied, especially since there will be five more years of no harvest and the world situation will become worse and worse.


v.19-20Now 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. 20Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.”


            Pharaoh makes his suggestion into a commandment.  He gives them wagons to haul their household goods, their little ones and their wives.  They are to bring their father; they will then share the wealth and abundance of Egypt even as though they were of the royal family.  So long as Joseph is the second ruler of Egypt they will indeed be as part of the royal family.

            We have something here that the translators call wagons.  We find wagons mentioned again in Ezekiel 23:24 and especially in Numbers 7:3, 6-8 in conjunction with offerings to be brought to the tabernacle.  We don’t think of this part of the world having nor using the four-wheeled vehicles we call wagons at this time and my dictionary sources contend that they were two-wheel carts.  Nevertheless, Israel was provided the means for them to move from Canaan to Egypt.


v.21-22And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. 22To 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.”


            The children of Israel, Joseph’s brothers agree to do as Pharaoh has commanded.  So Joseph gives them the carts or wagons, and then gives them other gifts as well.  Everyone is given new clothes, but his brother Benjamin is favored above all.  Benjamin is given 300 pieces of silver and 5 changes of raiment.


v.23-24And 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. 24So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.”


            Joseph is especially generous to his father.  He sends ten pack animals loaded down with the “GOOD THINGS” of Egypt.  We are not told what these good things were but by looking at the next phrase we can determine that they probably were not in the food category.  The next ten pack animals were female animals loaded with corn, bread and meat.  With distinction given to the second ten animals it is implied that the first ten were male and therefore would provide additional wealth to Jacob and his heirs for years to come.  Finally he admonishes them not to fall out or be turned from their purpose along the way and to take themselves back to Canaan.


Read Genesis 45:25-28 – Joseph Is Alive


v.25-26And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 26And 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.”


            So Joseph’s brothers travel back to Canaan and immediately upon arriving meet with their father.  The joyous news is shared that Joseph is alive.  Not only is he alive but he is the governor of all Egypt.  But Jacob’s from whom they have been buying grain.  But Jacob’s heart, Jacob’s mind just will not accept this great news at first.  For approximately 20 years he had believed the oldest son of the wife that he loved was dead; that a terrible beast had torn him to shreds.  This is what Joseph’s brothers had set up for Jacob to believe:


Genesis 37:31-33And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. 33And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.”


v.27-28And 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: 28And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”


            Then they tell Jacob all of the words of Joseph.  How that it was the providence of God that sent him to Egypt, that preparation had been made for them to be sustained during the five more years of famine that were yet to pass, emphasizing, I’m sure, that this was the plan of God.  They show him what Joseph has provided for them to move to Egypt, I’m sure also the gifts that Joseph had sent.  Now Jacob may not yet understand everything about what occurred, how this all came about, but he’s satisfied.  The son of the wife that he loved is still alive, he is ruling in Egypt and he has sent for him and his family to join him there.  He is alive.  The joy that Jacob must have felt is beyond what we can probably comprehend, but he’s ready now to go to Egypt.  He wants to see his son before he dies.