We have here the good news brought to Jacob. 1. The relation of it, at first, sunk his spirits. When, without any preamble, his sons came in, crying, Joseph is yet alive, each striving which should first proclaim it, perhaps he thought they bantered him, and the affront grieved him; or the very mention of Joseph’s name revived his sorrow, so that his heart fainted, Gen. 45:26. It was a good while before he came to himself. He was in such care and fear about the rest of them that at this time it would have been joy enough to him to hear that Simeon was released, and that Benjamin had come safely home (for he had been ready to despair concerning both these); but to hear that Joseph is alive is too good news to be true; he faints, for he believes it not. Note, We faint, because we do not believe; David himself had fainted if he had not believed, Ps. 27:13. 2. The confirmation of it, by degrees, revived his spirit. Jacob had easily believed his sons formerly when they told him, Joseph is dead; but he can hardly believe them now that they tell him, Joseph is alive. Weak and tender spirits are influenced more by fear than hope, and are more apt to receive impressions that are discouraging than those that are encouraging. But at length Jacob is convinced of the truth of the story, especially when he sees the waggons which were sent to carry him (for seeing is believing), then his spirit revived. Death is as the waggons which are sent to fetch us to Christ: the very sight of it approaching should revive us. Now Jacob is called Israel (Gen. 45:28), for he begins to recover his wonted vigour. (1.) It pleases him to think that Joseph is alive. He says nothing of Joseph’s glory, of which they told him; it was enough to him that Joseph was alive. Note, Those that would be content with less degrees of comfort are best prepared for greater. (2.) It pleases him to think of going to see him. Though he was old, and the journey long, yet he would go to see Joseph, because Joseph’s business would not permit him to come to see him. Observe, He says, “I will go and see him,” not, “I will go and live with him;” Jacob was old, and did not expect to live long; “But I will go and see him before I die, and then let me depart in peace; let my eyes be refreshed with this sight before they are closed, and then it is enough, I need no more to make me happy in this world.” Note, It is good for us all to make death familiar to us, and to speak of it as near, that we may think how little we have to do before we die, that we may do it with all our might, and may enjoy our comforts as those that must quickly die, and leave them.
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