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Chapter 45

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Joseph Makes Himself Known (ch. 45:1 - 28)                              


The brothers as seem in verse 1 must now have been totally bewildered.  Joseph could no longer contain himself and he began to cry out uncontrollably.  Joseph ordered everyone out of the room except his brothers.


Verse 2 tells us that Joseph wept so loud that many Egyptians heard him, and the news of him crying reached the household of the Pharaoh.  Clearly his crying was very loud.  This was one very memorable moment for Joseph.  I wonder if he had ever expected to see his family again.  It's been so long.  At this point in his life, Joseph is almost forty years old.  More than twenty years have passed since his brothers sold him into the hands of the Ishmaelites. 


The moment came in verse 3 when Joseph finally told his brother who he was.  He could not respond because as the text states, "they were so terrified."  I'm sure they had just as many emotions, if not more so, than Joseph.  The one they thought was dead, is now alive, and stands before them as second in command in all of Egypt.  I wonder if Joseph's dreams came back to their memory at this time.


In verses 4 through 8 Joseph had his brothers come close to him.  He explained to them that even though they sold him into slavery, God turned their evil around for their good.  God led Joseph to Egypt so when the famine came, Jacob's family would not die off because of this world wide famine. 


Notice in verse 8 the word "remnant".  This word is often used in the Bible concerning the salvation of the Jews.  There has always been a remnant of Jews.  A remnant, is part of something larger.  Over the years Israel has suffered much and many of them have been killed.  Yet Israel has never completely faded away into nothing because they are God's chosen people on earth, and there is always a remnant left.  Paul, in his discourse on the Jews in Romans 9 through 11 speaks of this remnant.  There will be an end time remnant of Jews who will find salvation in Jesus. 


The purpose why Joseph ended up where he did was to save a remnant of people out of Israel so the line from Abraham could carry on.  God might well have caused the famine in order to get Joseph back to his family.   God can do whatever He wants to make sure His will is done, no matter how severe it is.  God can and does take drastic measures at times to accomplish His purposes.


In verse 8 we see Joseph's thinking on things.  He turns a negative into a positive.  He does more than that.  He says that it was God's will for the brothers to sell him off into slavery.  This may be hard to understand.  It goes right to the heart of the predestination issue.  It was clearly the brother's will and desire to sell Joseph into slavery, but Joseph says that beyond the brother's will, it was actually God's will.  Some might suggest that God uses man's bad acts for his purpose, and I can see that can be true.  They would suggest that God turned something bad into something good, but that isn't really what Joseph is saying here.  He is saying that God didn't merely allow the brothers to sell Joseph, or He didn't turn the bad act into something good, He caused the brothers to sell Joseph. 


The same thing can be seen in the death of Jesus.  The Jews wanted Jesus dead.  The Romans killed Jesus, but if you read Isaiah 53, you will note that it was God's will to have Jesus put to death.  God actually killed Jesus.  He only used the Romans to do His will.  The same is true here with Joseph and his brothers.    


I'm not saying that all bad things that happen to us are directly from God.  I am saying that it is possible that some bad things that happen to us are from God to accomplish some purpose.  Some bad things happen to us because of our own sin.  That being said, when bad things come our way, we should stop and try to understand where the bad thing is coming from and why.  It might just be God speaking to us, or using us for His purpose.  With Joseph that bad thing lasted years.


Also in verse 8 Joseph says that God made him "father of Pharaoh and lord of Egypt."   Joseph was most likely younger than Pharaoh, but I can't be certain about that.   Whatever the case, Pharaoh respected Joseph to the extent that he was a father figure to Pharaoh, and beyond that, he was the lord over all of Egypt.  This was God's doing, and God did this for one reason only, and it wasn't to make Joseph an important man in the world.  It was to save a remnant of Jews for God's purposes. 


In verses 9 through 11 Joseph tells his brothers to go and get his father Jacob and the rest of their families and come down to Egypt to live, in particular, the land of Goshen.  This area called Goshen is in the fertile Nile River delta valley, on the east side of Egypt. 


Joseph wanted his father to know that God had been with him all these years and God is now with Jacob and his family.  He also wanted all the family to live "near" him as the text states.  So it is clear that Joseph still lived in his own house, or palace.


It is very interesting to note Pharaoh's two dreams at this point.  The one dream was about the healthy and sick cows, the other about the healthy and sick stocks of grain.  The dream took place in the same area where Israel was now relocating.     


In verse 12 he tells the brothers that they can see for themselves that it is really him that is speaking to them.  I'm not sure quite how they could see for themselves.  Maybe at a closer look they could tell.  There might well be distinguishing marks on Joseph that would tell who he is. 


In verse 13 Joseph merely repeats himself.  He wants the brothers to bring his father back to Egypt.  They should tell Jacob how Joseph has been honoured in the land of Egypt.


Verses 14 and 15 describe the scene.  Joseph and Benjamin hug and weep over each other.  Joseph hugs and weeps over the other brothers and they all talk.  They get caught up on the lost years of their lives.  What an interesting conversation this would have been.  The brothers were greatly relieved, I'm sure.  They were probably also greatly humbled and thankful because the evil they did had now turned into good.


In verses 16 and 17 Pharaoh gets in on the action as well  When he hears that Joseph's brothers were in town, he like Joseph, told the brothers to go home and get their families and return to the best fertile land that was in Egypt.  Because the land of Goshen was in the Nile Delta the land had sufficient water, and that is why it was choice land for agriculture.


In verses 19 to 24 we see that Pharaoh told Joseph to send carts and extra donkeys.  These would be loaded up with all sorts of good things.  The Pharaoh said that the families didn't have to worry about bringing their belongings with them because they'd get better things once they arrived in Egypt. 


Joseph gave all the brothers things to take back, but Benjamin got lots more.  He got more grain and silver as well.


Notice in verse 24 that when Joseph sent the brothers off on their trip he told them not to quarrel.  That's interesting.  I guess he knew what kind of brothers he had.


From verse 25 to the end of the chapter the brothers arrive back in Canaan.  Jacob refused to believe them at first, but when he saw all the carts and donkeys loaded down with good things, he was convinced. 


Verse 27 states that "the spirit of Jacob was revived". As we've seen before, Jacob had been depressed ever since the loss of Joseph.  He was expecting to go to his grave in great sorrow.  Now, at the hearing of this news, his spirit was revived.  His depression left him.  He could now go to his grave in peace.


I think there is one thing we can learn about this whole story, among many things, and that is God can bless a secular nation, but He does so when His chosen person leads the nation.  Egypt was only blessed because of Joseph, and in the long run, because of God Himself.  You might actually say that the Abrahamic Covenant was being fulfilled here that stated, "those nations that bless Israel will be blessed."   Joseph was part of Israel.  The Pharaoh blessed him and in turn Egypt was blessed.  And, the reason why Egypt was blessed was to turn around again and bless all of Israel, not just Joseph.    

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