Joseph Reveals His Identity
After listening to Judah's emotional plea, Joseph could not restrain himself any longer. He commanded all of his subordinates to leave so he could be alone with his brothers.
"And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph; does my father still live?' But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, 'Please come near to me.' So they came near. Then he said: 'I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt'" (Gen. 45:2-8).

Understandably, the brothers are floored by Joseph's statement here. Their brother?! How could this be? They had probably come to believe, since they had misled their father for so long, that Joseph was already dead. They were not prepared for his declaration and just stood there speechless, perhaps feeling a combination of disbelief, guilt, and terror. Joseph keeps talking, and as they studied his face and listened to him speak to them, without the aid of an interpreter, they would have slowly accepted the truth. Although Joseph is too humble now to explicitly point it out to them, I wonder if some of the brothers remembered how they had ridiculed the dreams that had them bowing down to Joseph--something they had already done now several times before they realized his real identity! The way in which they had sent Joseph to Egypt (namely, as a slave) was certainly wrong, but Joseph focuses on the fact that God was working through the circumstances for good. Though they had meant evil against him, God intended for it to be good (cf. 50:20). Joseph had eventually been put in the position of being able to save many lives, since he was responsible for storing up an innumerable amount of grain during the years of plenty.

Joseph then implores them to hurry back to Canaan, explain the situation to his father, and then relocate everyone to a great location in Egypt--Goshen. Joseph pledges to take care of them, providing for them and their families, for there was a lot more famine yet to come. "Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him" (45:14,15). It is likely that Benjamin was still an infant or toddler when Joseph had been sold, but no doubt he had heard plenty about Joseph as he grew up. Joseph has no bitterness in his heart toward the ones who were responsible for him living as a slave and prisoner for 13 years! Joseph is quite an impressive man! He manifests no impulse to seek vengeance against them.

The excitement of the occasion did not escape Pharaoh's attention. Pharaoh, who was no doubt very pleased with Joseph's service, desires to treat his family exceedingly well. He commanded Joseph's brothers:

"Load your animals and depart; go to the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land. Now you are commanded--do this: Take carts out of the land of Egypt for your little ones and your wives; bring your father and come. Also do not be concerned about your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours'" (45:17-20).

What an emotional rollercoaster the brothers had been on! First, they are concerned they would not be able to return home with Benjamin. Then, they learn that the man of great authority whom they had been dealing with to buy grain was actually their brother they hadn't seen in over twenty years. Now they are told they must move their entire family to Egypt and be blessed richly. What an incredible day this must have been!

The brothers heeded Pharaoh's command and took carts home to help them move. They also were sent to Canaan with plenty of animals and food to make their journey easier. Joseph blessed them all with changes of clothes, but he gave extra to Benjamin along with a large sum of money.