25 “So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:25–28 (ESV)
I wonder what the conversation must have been like for Jacob and his ten eldest sons as they shared with him that Joseph was still alive. After all, these were the same sons who informed Jacob that a wild animal had killed him (Gen. 37:29-33). They were also the same sons who had thrown Joseph into a pit, threatened to kill him, and then sold him into slavery to the Midianites (Gen. 37:12-28).
One author writes, “Jacob’s sons knew that the truth about what had really happened to Joseph would have to come out once they were charged with telling their father the good news that Joseph had not died. To explain why Joseph was still alive would necessitate a full revelation of their betrayal.”
Jacob’s sons did tell him that Joseph was alive. However, after twenty two years of mourning the death of his beloved son, the text says that Jacob’s heart was numb upon hearing the news. He was intellectually, emotionally, and volitionally paralyzed. In other words, he didn’t know what to think, what to feel, or what to do.
Upon seeing the Egyptian wagons and hearing the words Joseph said to his brothers, Jacob’s spirit was revived. He was reinvigorated in his mind, emotions and will. He was no longer a man waiting to die, but rather man who now wanted to live. He wanted to live long enough to see his long, lost son. Following that reunion, he would be able to die in peace.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Jacob cannot believe that Joseph is still alive at first, but soon he is convinced (45:25–27). Note how Moses tells us that Jacob’s spirit was revived once he believed the report of his sons in verse 27. Indeed, this is good news, for the spirit is viewed in Scripture as the source of life. Jacob has lived as a dead man for decades, but knowing that Joseph is alive brings him back to life. To be convinced to go to Egypt, Jacob had to discern the providence that brought Joseph to power. Today, we have a better guide for discerning God’s will than Jacob did — the complete Word of God — by which we are to interpret reality.”
May each of us delight in the Word of God and meditate upon it day and night (Psalm 1:1-3). Have a blessed day in the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!
The His Word Today Podcast begins June 1, Soli deo Gloria!