Joseph couldn't hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, "Leave! Clear out - everyone leave!" So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers.
But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn't help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh's palace.
Joseph spoke to his brothers: "I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?" But his brothers couldn't say a word. They were speechless - they couldn't believe what they were hearing and seeing.
"Come closer to me," Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. "I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt.
But don't feel badly, don't blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives.
There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years - neither plowing nor harvesting.
God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance.
So you see, it wasn't you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.
"Hurry back to my father. Tell him, 'Your son Joseph says: I'm master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here.
I'll give you a place to live in Goshen where you'll be close to me - you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of.
I'll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I'll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you - you won't want for a thing.'
"Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it's me, my own mouth, telling you all this.
Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you've seen here, but don't take all day - hurry up and get my father down here."
Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.
He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him.
The story was reported in Pharaoh's palace: "Joseph's brothers have come." It was good news to Pharaoh and all who worked with him.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'This is the plan: Load up your pack animals; go to Canaan,
get your father and your families and bring them back here. I'll settle you on the best land in Egypt - you'll live off the fat of the land.'
"Also tell them this: 'Here's what I want you to do: Take wagons from Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives and load up your father and come back.
Don't worry about having to leave things behind; the best in all of Egypt will be yours.'"
And they did just that, the sons of Israel. Joseph gave them the wagons that Pharaoh had promised and food for the trip.
He outfitted all the brothers in brand-new clothes, but he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver and several suits of clothes.
He sent his father these gifts: ten donkeys loaded with Egypt's best products and another ten donkeys loaded with grain and bread, provisions for his father's journey back.
Then he sent his brothers off. As they left he told them, "Take it easy on the journey; try to get along with each other."
They left Egypt and went back to their father Jacob in Canaan.
When they told him, "Joseph is still alive - and he's the ruler over the whole land of Egypt!" he went numb; he couldn't believe his ears.
But the more they talked, telling him everything that Joseph had told them and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him back, the blood started to flow again - their father Jacob's spirit revived.
Israel said, "I've heard enough - my son Joseph is still alive. I've got to go and see him before I die."