“Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.” (45:1,2).
‘Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.’ (From ‘God moves in a mysterious way’ by William Cowper).
‘When the cup was found upon Benjamin, they would have a pretext for leaving him to be a slave. But we cannot judge what men are now, by what they have been formerly; nor what they will do, by what they have done.’ Matthew Henry.
This is the final test for the brothers. How will they treat Benjamin (who was Joseph’s full brother if you remember? They shared the same mother, and Benjamin was evidently now his father’s darling). Judah shows a truly repentant heart. He can only cast himself on Joseph’s mercy. In it all, he shows a caring, compassionate heart towards his aged father and his younger brother, and a willingness to take responsibility – and suffer for it. Although the brothers may not be guilty of theft, they recognise the righteousness of God, and they face the fact that their previous sins are catching up with them and finding them out.
Once Joseph saw this true penitence at work, he revealed his deepest heart to them. The dam burst, and how those pent up emotions overflowed.