Bible Commentary: Genesis 45

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Bible Commentary

Genesis 45

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Parallels in Scripture

One can see a thematic parallel between the entire story of Joseph and the story of Jesus. Joseph was sent in bonds to Egypt so that ultimately he would be exalted and his family enabled to survive the famine. In like manner, Jesus was sent ahead to suffer for others, has been exalted to the highest office and will deliver all mankind from death as a result.

Joseph saw God's hand in everything that had happened—from his first visionary dreams to his enslavement, imprisonment, exaltation and, at last, reconciliation with his family. In chapter 50, he tells his brothers, "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" (verse 20). And permeating Joseph's pronouncement of God's guidance of events was the expression of forgiveness for all that they had done to him. Similarly, the covenant that offers us eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is surrounded by forgiveness—of those who brought about the necessity of His death. With this in mind, we should all take special heed to Joseph's petitioning his brothers to "come down to me, do not tarry" (Genesis 45:9 Genesis 45:9Haste you, and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus said your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt: come down to me, tarry not:
American King James Version×
), for Christ likewise calls us to follow and abide with Him—let us not delay in doing so.

Chapter 45 ends with wonderful news for Jacob. For more than two decades he has believed that Joseph his son is dead, and has never gotten over it (compare Genesis 42:35 Genesis 42:35And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
American King James Version×
, Genesis 42:38 Genesis 42:38And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which you go, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
American King James Version×
). Now concerned about the fate of the rest of his sons down in Egypt, they return with the happiest announcement imaginable—in fact, beyond his imagination: "'Joseph is alive,' they shouted to him. 'And he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!'" (Genesis 45:26 Genesis 45:26And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not.
American King James Version×
, Living Bible). This seemed utterly and hopelessly preposterous. "Jacob was stunned at the news—he couldn't believe it" (verse 26, New Living Translation). Slowly, though, he finally came around. "But when they had given him Joseph's messages, and when he saw the wagons loaded with the food sent by Joseph, his spirit revived. Then Jacob said, 'It must be true! My son Joseph is alive! I will go and see him before I die'" (verse 27, NLT). Yes, it was possible after all—beyond all hope, beyond all reason, beyond his wildest dreams—because the God of Jacob and Joseph was, and is, the Ruler of heaven and earth. And with Him all things are possible.

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