Genesis 45:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 45:5, NIV: And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

Genesis 45:5, ESV: And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 45:5, KJV: Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 45:5, NASB: Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to save lives.

Genesis 45:5, NLT: But don't be upset, and don't be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

Genesis 45:5, CSB: And now don't be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.

What does Genesis 45:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

More than twenty years after selling their seventeen-year-old brother into slavery (Genesis 37:24–28), Jacob's sons are at the mercy of an incredibly powerful Egyptian governor. They have just learned that this man is the very person they betrayed long ago (Genesis 45:1–4). Their shock and terror are understandable. Only the youngest, Benjamin, was not involved in Joseph's enslavement. The oldest ten have good reason to fear for their lives. Joseph has the moral right—and the power—to end their lives for what they had done to him.

Fortunately for the brothers, Joseph quickly tries to put them at ease. He even tells them not to be hard on themselves. Instead, Joseph explains his perspective about all that has happened to him. Clearly, Joseph has spent much time thinking about the meaning behind his unusual experiences. The summary of his thoughts is profound: God sent me here to save lives. Joseph will restate the same idea later in this passage (Genesis 45:7).

This is among the most crucial concepts in all of Christianity: God works in the world, even through human evil, to accomplish great good. Realizing this truth allowed Joseph to forgive his brothers for their crime. His position is not that they are innocent—only that God had a greater and better purpose for allowing them to do what they did. Without Joseph's suffering, he would not have been in this position of power. With his power, he can now rescue his people from starvation (Genesis 45:6–8).