9 “Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. 10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’ 12 And now your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him” (Genesis 45:9–15 (ESV)
You get the sense from today’s text that Joseph could not talk fast enough with all that he said to his brothers. One imagines that his speech could not keep up with his thoughts.
Joseph wanted his brothers to hurry back home and tell their father that he was alive and that the LORD had made him lord of all of Egypt. He then wanted Jacob to come down to Egypt and to do so quickly. In fact, he wanted the entire family and livestock to come.
Upon Jacob’s arrival, the family and herds would settle in an adjacent land called Goshen. This way Joseph’s entire Jewish family would be near him. Joseph spent twenty two years away from his Hebrew family. He did not desire to be apart from them any longer.
Joseph reassured his brothers that he was indeed their brother. He reiterated to them to tell Jacob of all the honor God had given him. He also reminded them to bring Jacob quickly down to Egypt. Perhaps Joseph was concerned that his father would die before they could be reunited.
It was at this moment that Joseph could no longer maintain his self-control. He embraced his brother Benjamin and both brothers wept. Joseph then embraced, kissed and wept with his ten elder brothers. The text does not say the elder brothers wept with Joseph as Benjamin did. Then they all talked.
One author writes, “Only Joseph and Benjamin could embrace and weep with joy at first, since the latter took no part in the evil deeds of his brothers (45:14). Joseph had to take the initiative to hug the others, and they did not weep. They must have been stunned to see Joseph alive and likely struggled to accept his forgiveness (see also 50:15–18). It took time for them to speak freely with the one they wronged (45:15).”
Our sins against other people can make it hard for us to accept their forgiveness. The same can be said when others sin against us and are hesitant to accept our forgiveness. But when others truly forgive us for the wrongs we have done, let us freely receive their pardon. Likewise, when we forgive others, we must do so with sensitivity, aware that they may have trouble understanding that their relationship with us is restored.
Soli deo Gloria!