Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Weeping, with a loud cry, being unable to restrain himself. The servants, who were in the adjoining apartments, heard this cry and declaration of Joseph, acknowledging one common father with these men; and they presently conveyed the intelligence to the king. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Nearer; that no one might hear what he was going to say respecting their fault. (Menochius) — It is thus we ought to treat those who have injured us. He excuses his brethren as much as possible. (Haydock) See chap. l. 20.
Ver. 5. Hard. Hebrew, “Be not indignant in your eyes.” Perhaps he was afraid, lest they should begin to accuse one another, as the authors of the deed, and thus disturb the harmony of this reconciliation. He perfectly understands the conduct of divine Providence, which can draw good out of evil, and cause even the malice of men to co-operate in the execution of his designs. (Calmet) — God did not sanction or will this malice, as Calvin, &c., impiously assert. (Tirinus)
Ver. 6. Reaping, as in common years, though the places near the Nile might produce some little; (Menochius) and hence the Egyptians ask Joseph for seed, chap. xlvii. 19. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Counsel. Joseph’s brethren had no design of elevating him to so high a dignity; but God’s will directed Pharao to appoint him his counsellor or prime minister. His father. (Haydock) — So the Roman emperors styled the prefects of the Prętorium, and the Caliphs their chief minister. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Gessen, to the north-east of Egypt, near me, at Tanis, in the Delta and near the promised land, being a part of Arabia. (Haydock) — This country is often refreshed by showers of rain, (Calmet) which never falls in most parts of Egypt. It is intersected by many canals, and is very rich and proper for pasturage. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Perish. Hebrew, be reduced to poverty. He fed them like the priests, chap. xlvii. 12, 22. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. My mouth. You now recognize my features and my speech; particularly you, my dear Benjamin. (Haydock) — I speak no longer by an interpreter. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Family, and courtiers. They were all so enraptured with Joseph’s conduct, that they rejoiced in whatever gave him pleasure. (Menochius) — They thought, perhaps, that his relations would resemble him, and be of service to Egypt. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Marrow; which is an emphatical expression, to signify the best things of Egypt, Chaldean. Hebrew, “the fat, or the cream of the land.” (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Leave nothing. Hebrew may have another meaning, which Calmet approves, “Let not your eye spare your furniture.” Be not concerned to leave what may be useless, as most of the husbandry utensils would be in Egypt, “for all,” &c.
Ver. 22. Two robes (stolas) hanging down to the feet. These properly belong to women. But they are worn by men in the East. It was customary to make presents of such robes, as it is still among the great men and kings of that country. Lucullus kept 6000 cloaks in his wardrobe. (Horat.[Horace?] 1. sat. 2.) (Calmet) — Of silver, sicles. The Septuagint has “of gold,” as also chap. xxxvii. 28.
Ver. 23. As much…besides. This is omitted in Hebrew or at least is left ambiguous, “He sent in like manner to his father ten,” &c. But the Syriac and Septuagint explain it like the Vulgate. — She-asses. Septuagint, “mules.” — Bread. Hebrew adds, “meat,” or provisions. (Calmet) — These presents might convince Jacob that Joseph was still alive. (Haydock)
Ver. 24. Angry. A prudent admonition at all times, but particularly now, to Joseph’s brethren; lest reflecting on his excessive kindness, they should each wish to remove from themselves the stigma of cruelty towards him, by throwing it upon others. (Haydock)
Ver. 26. He awaked, &c. His heart was overpowered between hope and distrust. He seemed to himself to be dreaming. Septuagint, “in an ecstacy.” Such a sudden transition has oftentimes caused death. (Haydock)
Ver. 27. Revived; like a lamp, which was just going out, for want of oil, resumes fresh vigour when a new supply is poured in. (St. Chrysostom)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Joseph maketh himself known to his brethren: and sendeth for his father.
1 Joseph could no longer refrain himself before many that stood by: whereupon he commanded that all should go out, and no stranger be present at their knowing one another.
2 And he lifted up his voice with weeping, which the Egyptians, and all the house of Pharao heard.
3 And he said to his brethren: I am Joseph: Is my father yet living? His brethren could not answer him, being struck with exceeding great fear.
4 And he said mildly to them: Come nearer to me. And when they were come near him, he said: *I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
5 Be not afraid, and let it not seem to you a hard case that you sold me into these countries: *for God sent me before you into Egypt for your preservation.
6 For it is two years since the famine began to be upon the land, and five years more remain, wherein there can be neither ploughing nor reaping.
7 And God sent me before, that you may be preserved upon the earth, and may have food to live.
8 Not by your counsel was I sent hither, but by the will of God: who hath made me as it were a father to Pharao, and lord of his whole house, and governor in all the land of Egypt.
9 Make haste, and go ye up to my father, and say to him: Thus saith thy son Joseph: God hath made me lord of the whole land of Egypt; come down to me, linger not.
10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Gessen: and thou shalt be near me, thou and thy sons, and thy son’s sons, thy sheep, and thy herds, and all things that thou hast.
11 And there I will feed thee, (for there are yet five years of famine remaining) lest both thou perish, and thy house, and all things that thou hast.
12 Behold, your eyes, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, see that it is my mouth that speaketh to you.
13 You shall tell my father of all my glory, and all things that you have seen in Egypt: make haste and bring him to me.
14 And falling upon the neck of his brother Benjamin, he embraced him and wept: and Benjamin in like manner wept also on his neck.
15 And Joseph kissed all his brethren, and wept upon every one of them: after which they were emboldened to speak to him.
16 And it was heard, and the fame was spread abroad in the king’s court: The brethren of Joseph are come; and Pharao with all his family was glad.
17 And he spoke to Joseph that he should give orders to his brethren, saying: Load your beasts, and go into the land of Chanaan,
18 And bring away from thence your father and kindred, and come to me; and I will give you all the good things of Egypt, that you may eat the marrow of the land.
19 Give orders also that they take waggons out of the land of Egypt, for the carriage of their children and their wives; and say: Take up your father, and make haste to come with all speed:
20 And leave nothing of your household stuff; for all the riches of Egypt shall be yours.
21 And the sons of Israel did as they were bid. And Joseph gave them waggons according to Pharao’s commandment: and provisions for the way.
22 He ordered also to be brought out for every one of them two robes: but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, with five robes of the best:
23 Sending to his father as much money and raiment; adding besides, ten he-asses, to carry off all the riches of Egypt, and as many she-asses, carrying wheat and bread for the journey.
24 So he sent away his brethren, and at their departing said to them: Be not angry in the way.
25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Chanaan to their father Jacob.
26 And they told him, saying: Joseph, thy son, is living; and he is ruler in all the land of Egypt. Which when Jacob heard, he awaked as it were out of a deep sleep, yet did not believe them.
27 They on the other side told the whole order of the thing. And when he saw the waggons, and all that he had sent, his spirit revived,
28 And he said: It is enough for me if Joseph, my son, be yet living: I will go and see him before I die.
4: Acts vii. 13.
5: Genesis l. 20.