2

In Genesis 50:15-17 the Bible says that after Jacob died Joseph's brothers were afraid he would turn on them and they told Joseph that their father had a death wish: that Joseph forgave them. Were they telling the truth?

1

The passage of Ps 50:15-20 is:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge? Then he will surely repay us for all the evil that we did to him.” 16So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Before he died, your father commanded, 17‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I beg you, please forgive the transgression and sin of your brothers, for they did you wrong.’ So now, Joseph, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18His brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!” 19But Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people. 21Therefore do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones.” So Joseph reassured his brothers and spoke kindly to them.

The conversation that the brothers report about their father is not recorded in Scripture so we do not know if they report it accurately. Regardless, Joseph was very ready to forgive as his reply demonstrates. (v19-21). Ellicott reaches a similar conclusion:

(16, 17) Thy father did command . . . --Many Jewish expositors consider that this was untrue, and that Jacob was never made aware of the fact that his brethren had sold Joseph into slavery. It is, however, probable, from Genesis 49:6, that Jacob not only knew of it, but saw in Simeon and Levi the chief offenders. But besides the father's authority the message brings a twofold influence to bear upon Joseph: for first it reminds him that they were his brethren, and next, that they shared the same religious faith--no slight band of union in a country where the religion was so unlike their own.

1

Genesis 50

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

From a character analysis perspective on Jacob and Joseph. There is no record in the Scripture that Jacob had said these words because Jacob didn't say it. Jacob didn't say it because he didn't think he needed to. He didn't think that it would be an issue. He didn't think that Joseph had or would hold a grudge against his brothers.

Genesis 50:15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”

The brothers worried too much as shown by the reaction of Joseph after they had delivered the supposed message from their father.

Genesis 50

17 When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

In conclusion, whether Jacob had said those words does not really matter. Jacob knew that Joseph had forgiven them already in his heart. Jacob had faith that coming to Egypt was part of the covenantal plan of God for the sons of Abraham.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.