Genesis – Chapter 45

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 45


Joseph could no longer control himself in the presence of all his attendants, so he cried out, «Have everyone withdraw from me!» Thus no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers.


But his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.


«I am Joseph,» he said to his brothers. «Is my father still in good health?» But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him.


«Come closer to me,» he told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: «I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt.


But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.


For two years now the famine has been in the land, and for five more years tillage will yield no harvest.


God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance.


1 So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made of me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.


2 «Hurry back, then, to my father and tell him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come to me without delay.


3 You will settle in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me – you and your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything that you own.


Since five years of famine still lie ahead, I will provide for you there, so that you and your family and all that are yours may not suffer want.’


Surely, you can see for yourselves, and Benjamin can see for himself, that it is I, Joseph, who am speaking to you.


Tell my father all about my high position in Egypt and what you have seen. But hurry and bring my father down here.»


Thereupon he flung himself on the neck of his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept in his arms.


Joseph then kissed all his brothers, crying over each of them; and only then were his brothers able to talk with him.


When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and his courtiers were pleased.


So Pharaoh told Joseph: «Say to your brothers: ‘This is what you shall do: Load up your animals and go without delay to the land of Canaan.


There get your father and your families, and then come back here to me; I will assign you the best land in Egypt, where you will live off the fat of the land.’


Instruct them further: ‘Do this. Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your children and your wives and to transport your father on your way back here.


Do not be concerned about your belongings, for the best in the whole land of Egypt shall be yours.'»


The sons of Israel acted accordingly. Joseph gave them the wagons, as Pharaoh had ordered, and he supplied them with provisions for the journey.


He also gave to each of them fresh clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of garments.


Moreover, what he sent to his father was ten jackasses loaded with the finest products of Egypt and ten jennies loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey.


As he sent his brothers on their way, he told them, «Let there be no recriminations on the way.»


So they left Egypt and made their way to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.


When they told him, «Joseph is still alive – in fact, it is he who is ruler of all the land of Egypt,» he was dumbfounded; he could not believe them.


But when they recounted to him all that Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent for his transport, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.


«It is enough,» said Israel. «My son Joseph is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.»

1 [8] Father to Pharaoh: a term applied to a vizier in ancient Egypt.
2 [9-15] In these verses, as in ⇒ Genesis 46:31-⇒ 47:5a, all from the Yahwist source, Joseph in his own name invites his father and brothers to come to Egypt. Only after their arrival is Pharaoh informed of the fact. On the other hand, in ⇒ Genesis 45:16-20, from the Elohist source, it is Pharaoh himself who invites Joseph’s kinsmen to migrate to his domain.
3 [10] The region of Goshen: modern Wadi Tumilat in the eastern part of the Nile Delta.