What does Genesis 45:1 mean?Joseph fought to control his emotions in response to seeing the brothers who sold him into slavery 22 years ago (Genesis 37:24–28). They have visited Egypt to buy food but did not recognize him (Genesis 42:7–8) in his role as the nation's governor. He wept after finally setting eyes on his younger brother Benjamin (Genesis 43:29–30). He has tested his brothers with a silver cup, to see if they would abandon Benjamin (Genesis 44:1–6).
Judah's sacrificial plea has finally brought Joseph to the end of his resolve (Genesis 44:18–34). After hearing how his father grieved for him and would grieve for Benjamin—and then hearing Judah's noble offer to take Benjamin's place as a slave in Egypt—Joseph can't hold it back any longer.
He begins to cry and orders everyone but his 11 brothers to leave the room. This would have been unusual for everyone present. Joseph is now an influential leader of the nation (Genesis 41:44), with all the trappings of power. Joseph may have been speaking to his brothers through an interpreter this whole time (Genesis 42:23), to further disguise the fact that he was a Hebrew. In addition, Joseph's servants would be hesitant to leave him alone in a room with accused criminals.
Still, when the time had come to reveal his true identity, Joseph did not want to share the moment with anyone but his brothers.