Genesis 45:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 45:4, NIV: Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come close to me.' When they had done so, he said, 'I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

Genesis 45:4, ESV: So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

Genesis 45:4, KJV: And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.

Genesis 45:4, NASB: Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'Please come closer to me.' And they came closer. And he said, 'I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold to Egypt.

Genesis 45:4, NLT: 'Please, come closer,' he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, 'I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.

Genesis 45:4, CSB: Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please, come near me," and they came near. "I am Joseph, your brother," he said, "the one you sold into Egypt.

What does Genesis 45:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph has finally revealed his identity (Genesis 42:7–8) to his 11 brothers (Genesis 45:1–3). Ten of those brothers were involved in selling Joseph into slavery more than twenty years earlier (Genesis 37:24–28). They did not know that Joseph would rise to become the second most powerful man in Egypt (Genesis 41:40). When he first identifies himself, their initial reaction is shock and fear.

Their shock comes from the unexpected reappearance of their brother. The last time they knowingly spoke to Joseph, he was a seventeen-year-old Hebrew shepherd (Genesis 37:1–2), begging for his life (Genesis 42:21). Now he is nearly 40 years old (Genesis 41:46–48), dressed as an Egyptian noble (Genesis 41:42), speaking the Egyptian language (Genesis 42:23), and wielding immense power (Genesis 41:44). Their fear comes from an expectation of revenge. The ten older brothers know they are guilty of heinous sin in their treatment of Joseph (Genesis 42:21–23; 44:16). The victim of their evil now has unlimited power over them. Combined, it's likely difficult for the men to even believe that this is happening.

Joseph wants to convince them. He asks them to come near and look at him more closely. He clarifies that he is the one they sold into slavery. Growing understanding, in this case, probably led to growing fear. As their reunion continues, Joseph will attempt to put his brothers at ease (Genesis 45:5–8)