a. Dismayed at his presence. After hearing the plead of Judah on behalf of Benjamin, Joseph found that he could not contain his emotions any longer. His reasons to hide himself and to test his brothers had been satisfied or at least overwhelmed by his love for his family. Joseph cried out, “Make everyone go out from me,” which left only he and his brothers alone in the room. What he was about to do was not appropriate for a man of his status to do in front of his servants. Joseph wants to be free to express himself to his brothers. He wants to put off his Egyptian official persona and put on the brother. Then Joseph begins to weep. Before he says anything, he begins to cry loudly that even the servants outside the room could hear him. Through his tears he can blurt out two sentences: I am Joseph! Is my father still alive? The brothers knew this man crying before them as Zaphenath-paneah. But now he is saying that his name is Joseph and he is speaking in their language. The description of the brothers’ response to this news is almost humorous. They could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. We can only imagine the explosion of thoughts in the minds of these men. There is wondering why they were not able to speak. One minute you are pleading for your brother’s and father’s life, next you are confronted with the fact that the man whom you were dealing with, the second in charge of all Egypt, is saying that he is Joseph. b. This was God’s plan. Joseph asks his brothers, who are still on the ground, to come near to him. And so they get up and move closer to him. Then he tells them that he is their brother Joseph who they sold into Egypt. He has already heard them talk about their shame and guilt from the evil they did against him and so he quickly tries to comfort them. He tells them not to be distressed or angry with themselves because they sold him. He doesn’t pretend that they didn’t wrong him nor does he make excuses for them. But he does explain the real reason why all of this is happening. God planned to send him to Egypt before his brothers to preserve life, to preserve a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for them many survivors. It was God not them that sent Joseph to Egypt. Joseph could have complained and cast blame on his brothers but Joseph had a godly perspective on what happened. Joseph learned that God can use the evil and schemes of wicked men and the suffering of his children to bring about good. A good that they couldn’t even dream of. Joseph also gets them up to speed on all that is going on. He tells them that they are in year 2 of the seven-year famine. He explains that he was a father to Pharaoh, or in other words, he was his advisor or closest counselor and lord of all his house and ruler over Egypt. He also reveals to them that he has a plan. They need to go to Jacob and tell him that his son Joseph was made lord of all Egypt by God. They are to come and live in the land of Goshen and he will provide for them for the next five years of the famine. As Joseph is talking, he sees that they are starting to grasp what is going on. “Now your eyes see,” he says. Again he repeats that they have to go to Jacob and bring him to Egypt. Then he walks over to each of his brothers, starting with his full brother Benjamin, and hugs and weeps with them. Finally, the brothers were convinced and they were able to talk. No doubt they had many questions and Joseph had stories to tell. All had been forgiven and the brothers, who all had grown in age, maturity, and faith were now closer than they had ever been. William Cowper in his hymn God Move in a Mysterious Way captures the idea of what Joseph says. God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm. You fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head. His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding ev’ry hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r. Blind unbelief is sure to err And scan his work in vain. God is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain.