So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.” (Genesis 46:29-30)
We can only imagine the emotions that were on display during this reunion. A father and son, separated for years through an act of cruelty, were suddenly reunited. Jacob’s comment, “Let me die since I have seen your face” suggests that being joined to his long lost son made his life whole again — he could die in peace. It also reminds us of the joy that filled Simeon, the righteous man who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” when he saw the infant Messiah (Luke 2:25-32). He too determined that he could leave this world in peace, knowing that God had kept His promise to His people Israel.
But back to Jacob: one has to wonder whether or not he learned of what really happened between Joseph and his brothers? There are things he said from time to time that suggests he was suspicious but nothing indicates that he was certain of it. Rabbinical commentary says emphatically, “No.” If that is so then another of Joseph’s virtues is amplified — he did not reveal it to his father. The fact that he refused to “uncover their nakedness” before Jacob is evidence that he truly forgave them and that he understood his suffering was part of God’s plan. It is also proof that Joseph was truly a man filled with the Spirit of God.
All of us need to embrace the virtue that is displayed here. It is one thing for us to forgive those who have hurt us; it is another to resist the temptation to expose their sin. I’m not saying that sins need to be swept under the rug and ignored but Scripture does suggest that we aren’t necessarily the ones who should be eager to expose the sin of others. To the contrary, we should be the ones who emulate the attributes of our Heavenly Father; be quick to forgive and to keep those forgiven sins in the sea of forgetfulness.
Blessings and Shalom,