“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence” (Genesis 45:1–3 (ESV)
A disclosure is a revelation, an expose or a confession. A disclosure is also an admission or acknowledgment.
After twenty two years (Gen. 37:2; 41:46; 45:6) Joseph reunited with his brothers. The eleven sons of Jacob who only knew Joseph as the governor of Egypt now face their long, lost brother.
Following Judah’s speech of intercession on behalf of Benjamin, Joseph could no longer contain his emotions. He proclaimed and ordered that everyone, except his brothers, were to leave the room. Moses recorded that this was done so that no one other than Joseph and his brothers would be present when he revealed his identity to his siblings.
Prior to his admission, the text says that Joseph wept aloud. His crying was accompanied with the sounds of weeping. It was so loud that not only the Egyptian people heard it but also members of Pharaoh’s household.
Joseph then said, ““I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” The grammar indicates that Joseph said this several times and not just once. Along with his admission of his identity was a fervent question as to whether his father Jacob was still alive.
Moses records Joseph’s brothers’ reaction to his admission. The text states that the eleven did not answer him because they were dismayed at his presence. In other words, they were terrified at what they were seeing and hearing. They did not know what to think as they witnessed Joseph’s expression of emotion.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “As we consider Judah’s response to Joseph’s offer to keep Benjamin and let the rest of them go free, we are to understand that Judah’s speech represents the thoughts of all the brothers (Gen. 44:14–34). In their plea to preserve the youngest son, they show their refusal to treat Benjamin like they did Joseph (chap. 37). With the transformation of their lives now proven before him, Joseph can no longer contain himself. His tender heart, previously hidden behind the facade of a distrustful Egyptian leader, is now revealed to his brothers as he weeps with such passion that the entire nation can hear him (45:1–2).”
We will see that Joseph’s emotional outburst is not one of anger or grief, but rather of heartfelt joy to the LORD and forgiveness of his brothers for all that has happened. Joseph acknowledged God’s work, not only in life’s situations but also in the hearts of his brothers. May each of us do the same.
Soli deo Gloria!