Thank you all for the warm responses on this Torah Portion. Many asked me to publish part two, and I did my best to write something. Praying for all those affected by the storms throughout KY and multiple states, and those with covid and other health issues.
Vayigash Part 2: “And he drew near”
Suddenly, Joseph loses control. Over 20 years of emotions locked up inside of his soul now bursting to be released.
“Send everyone away from me!”
The room filled with servants and guardsmen hurrying to leave. A hush falls over the air. The sons of Israel wonder what will become of themselves. The strange manner of the ruler has had each of them baffled. The men who slaughtered the masses over their sister’s virginity years ago, now shudder in fear, as Joseph rises from his seat.
Judah thinks the Pharaoh in charge is on the verge of a manic episode or breakdown, and he and his brothers have already been accused of being spies. They had found their money returned to their sacks and even this Zaphenath-paneah’s silver divination cup. Judah finds his name intriguing. He has been told it means “revealer of secrets or stored beautiful rest.” Either way, neither he nor his brothers have ever stood in front of anyone with his strange mannerisms and authority. Judah replays his pleas for his brother Benjamin and wonders what will happen next. “Will we be hung or worse?” His father’s face flashes before him and he can hear the haunt of it from far away, “Judah, why did you bring this trouble upon me? “Why did you tell the man you had another brother?”
Judah’s heart sinks with grief. He remembers his oath to his father.
The Egyptian standing before them has a black substance around his eyes to reduce the sun’s fierce glare in the desert heat. He is clad in a linen kilt, and atop his head is a daunting headdress with delicate accordion pleating and a serpent gilded in gold and black adorns the top. His accent is thick, and with a passion-filled voice, he commands the room that is not emptying fast enough for him,
“Send everyone away from me!”
Judah and his brothers look on in disbelief. Then suddenly, the man who has caused them such fear is breaking like a shattered pot in front of them. The sound of his anguish mixed with sorrow filled up the room and the desert. It was so thunderous indeed that the Nile raised its head in disbelief.
Joseph swallows hard and wipes the darned running dye from his eyes, squares his
shoulders, and speaks with authority through intense grief.
“I AM JOSEPH!”
“IS MY FATHER STILL ALIVE?”
Judah, Reuben, Asher, and Levi stare in shock. The others are terrified to answer. A whirlwind of time is swirling around them like a tornado. It fills their loins. They suck in air and stare ahead at a man who is beyond recognizable. Dan studies his face for any clue. Could this be Joseph? The one we sold into slavery. The one we had to create a crime scene to wash the blood off our filthy hands deceitfully. Surely not.
Joseph walks closer to them and takes off his headdress.
“Please come near me,” he says, but they stand frozen like statues in a museum. Each brother is now studying Joseph’s features and straining to hear the voice of a 17-year-old boy begging for his life on a hot summer day when no one would heed. Who is this man standing before them with such power? Could it be the dreamer? What is to become of us? Will he place us in prison? All brothers stare in disbelief. Now the trickery of their travels for grain is making sense, and the power their brother has is intimidating.
Joseph sees the shock and horror on their faces. He longs to see his father, which has come front and center now.
“Come closer,” he says as he lowers his crook and flail. Joseph opens his arms and motions.
“I am Joseph, your brother.” I am the one you sold into Egypt!”
The sons of Israel’s hearts are now beating with such strength it bleats in their
eardrums. Again, Joseph remembers the God of his father’s words, and his disposition changes.
“Do not be distressed and do not be angry. Do not be fearful that you sold me into this place. The Holy One, Blessed be He, sent me before you to save lives. The famine has been fierce these two years, but five more years are to come.
“Now return quickly to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen and be near me—you and your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. And there I will provide for you because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise, you and your household and everything you own will come to destitution.’”
Behold! You and my brother Benjamin can see that I, Joseph, am the one speaking with you. Tell my father about all my splendor in Egypt and everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”
Then Joseph threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept as they embraced. Joseph kissed each of his brothers as he wept over them.
And afterward, his brothers talked with him. (Genesis 45:9-15, ESV).
A moment in time—a “Then suddenly”—a lifetime of moments has just occurred in Joseph’s life and his brothers within a matter of minutes. Joseph has been validated, vindicated, and he has forgiven. Joseph feels as if he has sprung forth from a sheath. Like his mother’s identity stolen from her on her wedding night, his identity has been hidden for so long behind a mask, but now he knows exactly who he is. Joseph knows that he is a man. he is more aware of his identity than he ever has been. For the first time in Joseph’s life, suddenly, he knows who he is and why he has journeyed through years of the most profound loneliness. Far away in Egypt. He had experienced betrayal, abandonment, and rejection that shredded his heart. But now his gifts, authority, and callings were surreal to him. Joseph stands in wonder, replaying the words he just spoke to his brothers, and is in awe that they flowed out of his mouth with such ease. That he had forgiven and now would see the face of his father. And Joseph is not ashamed of the man he has become. Even without a father to see him become a man. Yes, suddenly the Seer sees. He sees himself, and out of nowhere, he erupts,
“Tell my father about all my splendor!”
And this is where I want to stop in the story and minister to you, my readers. Your
heavenly Father sees your splendor. All good and perfect gifts come down from
the Father of Lights. You were created in His image, and He has called you for
a plan and purpose. Your earthly father or siblings, or spouse, or others might
not see you as you are, but the Holy One sees you, and your Heavenly Father
will take the pit, the betrayal, the rejection, mocking, and prison of self-entombment and use it for His Glory.
Oh, tell my father about all my splendor!!
Tell your Father about all your splendor because He created you in His Glory!! Give Him Praise this day!
“Then Joseph sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving, he said to
them, “Do not quarrel on the way!”
Joseph’s brothers went up out of Egypt, and we will too, only to go back again. Once his brothers reached their father, they were prepared to tell him. There would be no blame game. Joseph stated no quarreling, No confessing to their aged father about their past blood-stained hands. No need to worry him with more of their acts of unrighteousness. It was now time to move forward and do the right thing.
They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, and with a loud joyous cry, they belted, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!”
Jacob stood in awe. He did not believe them. “It cannot be!” Israel shouted. Why would you say such a thing?
Judah said, “Father, I have seen him with my own eyes. It is indeed Joseph, and he is longing to see you. Look at the wagons he has sent.” Once Jacob’s sons revealed what had transpired, and Benjamin told his father how he had held his brother weeping, over seeing him again after all these years, Israel believed. Suddenly, like a newborn baby kicking and inhaling the Ruach, he was revived, and his body and disposition changed.
“ENOUGH!” declared Israel. “My son Joseph is still alive! I must go see him before I die.”