then joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. he cried, “make everyone go out from me.” so no one stayed with him when joseph made himself known to his brothers. [genesis 45:1]
all who stood by him
for the first time in a long time, joseph stood alone.
as a man of astounding authority, joseph was surrounded by a team of servants. a man of joseph’s position does not just walk around by himself. while joseph the prisoner certainly understood being alone, joseph the ruler was never lacking people to stand by him.
this ‘executive staff’ was at his command, supporting him in carrying out his work. among this staff was an interpreter, who had been translating between joseph and these men. how strange it must have seemed to send out even the translator to be left alone with these foreigners accused of treachery!
so no one stayed with him
joseph, who was accustomed to so many standing by him, now finds himself standing alone, face to face with his brothers. the last time this had happened, they had betrayed and sold him into slavery. in this moment, that long-ago event must have been heartbreakingly present.
no longer able to restrain the mountain of emotions welling up within him, joseph faced his brothers by himself. yet he understood that even now he was not alone. he knew that there is one who had stood by him faithfully throughout his life, who was with him now, who had orchestrated this redemptive moment, who was leading him to proclaim the truth, and who offered forgiveness.
our God is ever present. our God is active, working in and through every situation. joseph understood this, and it gave him strength, grace, and peace. joseph had sent everyone away, but as it turns out, joseph had never been alone.
~ jason soroski