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Then comes the SECRET which he had so long concealed.
I. We shall first notice what JOSEPH said, when he MADE HIMSELF KNOWN to his BRETHREN. I AM JOSEPH!!! and thus adds, DOTH MY FATHER YET LIVE? He had put off the state of the Governor of Egypt, and the severity of a Judge. He puts on the love and affection of a brother. Tears introduce those three little words, I am Joseph. These were tears of tenderness and strong affection. He could not appear any longer strange. He now reveals his real name and character. Hitherto they had addressed him as Governor of Egypt; as Zaphnath Paaneah; and that they might not think it was another person of the same name, he adds "I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt." This would at once humble and encourage them. His name might have assisted them to recollect his voice and his features, but it was necessary to mention also their selling him into Egypt, that he might remove all doubts in their minds. What must have been their surprize and astonishment when they saw him burst into tears.
Hear what is said of them when they heard these words, I AM JOSEPH. "And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence." A discovery so unexpected, brought to their remembrance all their past guilt. What surprize! What terror! What confusion of face! What fear, what grief, what hope, what joy must have all at once been mingled together in their minds; No doubt, they started back with terror at his words. Then Joseph said unto them. come near, I pray you; and they came near. Perhaps he might call them near to him, that the Egyptians might not hear their conversation. Well might they be troubled at his presence. Well might they be silent when they had nothing to say in their own defence. Perhaps Reuben indulged the hope of being forgiven; as to Benjamin, he had nothing to fear. The rest of Joseph's brethren had every thing to fear. If Joseph had been actually dead, and had risen and appeared to them; If he had accused them and reproached them for their cruelty, they could not have been more afraid. Therefore we shall notice,
- 305 II. JOSEPH'S CONVERSATION with his BRETHREN. "Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life, for these two years hath the famine been in the land, and there are yet five years in which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance, so 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. Haste 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: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast and 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: and behold, your eyes see, and the brother Benjaeyes of my min, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto
KNOWN TO HIS BRETHREN.
you. And 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. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him."
How kind was this conduct. How encou raging were his words. His design was to reprove his brethren, to make them remember their sin in such a manner as to be truly sorry for it, and to shew by their repentance that they were not disposed to repeat the erime, in acting in the same manner towards Benjamin. He now beheld their terror and confusion, and therefore that they might not sink under the weight of their guilt and des pair of mercy from him, he told them to draw near and not to be afraid, that they were not to be grieved or angry with themselves, that God had sent Joseph to Egypt, and that this was done in order to preserve their lives. Though God hath brought good out of evil, yet it by no means excused their sin, and therefore it was their du
ty to humble themselves before God and repent. This was said to comfort them and relieve the anguish of their minds. Thus they were not only led to hope and seek pardon from God, but by the kind and affectionate manner in which Joseph had embraced them all, they were assured of his forgiveness. He had given them the kiss of peace and reconciliation, and now they were able to converse with each other.
III. PHARAOH'S KINDNESS to JOSEPH'S BRETHREN. "And the fame ther of was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come; and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, say unto thy brethren, this do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you into the land of Canaan, and take your father and your household, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ve shall eat of the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you waggons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father and come. Also regard not your stuffs,