Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
The Recognition. - Gen 45:1. After this appeal, in which Judah, speaking for his brethren, had shown the tenderest affection for the old man who had been bowed down by their sin, and the most devoted fraternal love and fidelity to the only remaining son of his beloved Rachel, and had given a sufficient proof of the change of mind, the true conversion, that had taken place in themselves, Joseph could not restrain himself any longer in relation to all those who stood round him. He was obliged to relinquish the part which he had hitherto acted for the purpose of testing his brothers' hearts, and to give full vent to his feelings. "He called out: Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man (of his Egyptian attendants) with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brethren," quia effusio illa affectuum et στοργῆς erga fratres et parentem tanta fuit, ut non posset ferre alienorum praesentiam et aspectum (Luther).
As soon as all the rest were gone, he broke out into such loud weeping, that the Egyptians outside could hear it; and the house of Pharaoh, i.e., the royal family, was told of it (cf. Gen 45:2 and Gen 45:16). He then said to his brethren: "I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?" That his father was still living, he had not only been informed before (Gen 43:27), but had just been told again; but his filial heart impels him to make sure of it once more. "But his brethren could not answer him, for they were terrified before him:" they were so smitten in their consciences, that from astonishment and terror they could not utter a word.
Joseph then bade his brethren approach nearer, and said: "I am Joseph, your brother, whom he sold into Egypt. But now be not grieved nor angry with yourselves (בּעיניכם אל־חר as in Gen 31:35) that ye sold me hither; for God hath sent me before you to preserve life." Sic enim Joseph interpretatur venditionem. Vos quidem me vendidistis, sed Deus emit, asseruit et vindicavit me sibi pastorem, principem et salvatorem populorum eodem consilio, quo videbar amissus et perditus (Luther). "For," he continues in explanation, "now there are two years of famine in the land, and there are five years more, in which there will be no ploughing and reaping. And God hath sent me before you to establish you a remnant (cf. Sa2 14:7) upon the earth (i.e., to secure to you the preservation of the tribe and of posterity during this famine), and to preserve your lives to a great deliverance," i.e., to a great nation delivered from destruction, cf. Gen 50:20. פּליטה that which has escaped, the band of men or multitude escaped from death and destruction (Kg2 19:30-31). Joseph announced prophetically here, that God had brought him into Egypt to preserve through him the family which He had chosen for His own nation, and to deliver them out of the danger of starvation which threatened them now, as a very great nation.
"And now (this was truly the case) it was not you that sent me hither; but God (Ha-Elohim, the personal God, on contrast with his brethren) hath made me a father to Pharaoh (i.e., his most confidential counsellor and friend; cf. 1 Macc. 11:32, Ges. thes. 7), and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt;" cf. Gen 41:40-41.
Joseph then directed his brethren to go up to their father with all speed, and invite him in his name to come without delay, with all his family and possessions, into Egypt, where he would keep him near himself, in the land of Goshen (see Gen 47:11), that he might not perish in the still remaining five years of famine. הוּרשׁ: Gen 45:11, lit., to be robbed of one's possessions, to be taken possession of by another, from ירשׁ to take possession.
But the brethren were so taken by surprise and overpowered by this unexpected discovery, that to convince them of the reality of the whole affair, Joseph was obliged to add, "Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
And tell my father all my glory in Egypt, and all that ye have seen, and bring my father quickly hither."
He then fell upon Benjamin's neck and wept, and kissed all his brethren and wept on them, i.e., whilst embracing them; "and after that, his brethren talked with him." כּן אחרי: after Joseph by a triple assurance, that what they had done was the leading of God for their own good, had dispelled their fear of retribution, and, by embracing and kissing them with tears, had sealed the truth and sincerity of his words.
Invitation to Jacob to Come into Egypt. - Gen 45:16. The report of the arrival of Joseph's brethren soon found it sway into the palace, and made so favourable an impression upon Pharaoh and his courtiers, that the king sent a message through Joseph to his brethren to come with their father and their families ("your houses") into Egypt, saying that he would give them "the good of the land of Egypt," and they should eat "the fat of the land." טוּב, "the good," is not the best part, but the good things (produce) of the land, as in Gen 45:20, Gen 45:23, Gen 24:10; Kg2 8:9. חלב, fat, i.e., the finest productions.
At the same time Pharaoh empowered Joseph ("thou art commanded") to give his brethren carriages to take with them, in which to convey their children and wives and their aged father, and recommended them to leave their goods behind them in Canaan, for the good of all Egypt was at their service. From time immemorial Egypt was rich in small, two-wheeled carriages, which could be used even where there were no roads (cf. Gen 50:9; Exo 14:6. with Isa 36:9). "Let not your eye look with mourning (תּחס) at your goods;" i.e., do not trouble about the house-furniture which you are obliged to leave behind. The good-will manifested in this invitation of Pharaoh towards Jacob's family was to be attributed to the feeling of gratitude to Joseph, and "is related circumstantially, because this free and honourable invitation involved the right of Israel to leave Egypt again without obstruction" (Delitzsch).
The sons of Israel carried out the instructions of Joseph and the invitation of Pharaoh (Gen 45:25-27). But Joseph not only sent carriages according to Pharaoh's directions, and food for the journey, he also gave them presents, changes of raiment, a suit for every one, and five suits for Benjamin, as well as 300 shekels of silver. שׂמלות חלפות: change of clothes, clothes to change; i.e., dress clothes which were worn on special occasions and frequently changed (Jdg 13:12-13, Jdg 13:19; Kg2 5:5). "And to his father he sent like these;" i.e., not changes of clothes, but presents also, viz., ten asses "carrying of the good of Egypt," and ten she-asses with corn and provisions for the journey; and sent them off with the injunction: אל־תּרגּזוּ :noitcnu, μὴ ὀργἱζεσθε (lxx), "do not get angry by the way." Placatus erat Joseph fratribus, simul eos admonet, ne quid turbarum moveant. Timendum enim erat, ne quisque se purgando crimen transferre in alios studeret atque its surgeret contentio (Calvin).
When they got back, and brought word to their father, "Joseph is still living, yea (וכי an emphatic assurance, Ewald, 3306) he is ruler in all the land of Egypt, his heart stopped, for he believed them not;" i.e., his heart did not beat at this joyful news, for he put no faith in what they said. It was not till they told him all that Joseph had said, and he saw the carriages that Joseph had sent, that "the spirit of their father Jacob revived; and Israel said: It is enough! Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die." Observe the significant interchange of Jacob and Israel. When once the crushed spirit of the old man was revived by the certainty that his son Joseph was still alive, Jacob was changed into Israel, the "conqueror overcoming his grief at the previous misconduct of his sons" (Fr. v. Meyer).