4 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. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Joseph has his brothers come nearer and speaks to them on a more intimate level. He assures them that truly he is their brother, and he proves it by recounting something that only he could now: how they betrayed him and sold him into Egypt. But he does not bring it up to shame them, he immediately follows it up by saying that he has no ill feelings on the matter. God has had a hand in it for good.
I can only imagine that when he was first sold into Egypt Joseph must have had a deluge of negative feelings. But now he sees it only as a blessed opportunity. He has been called to do a great thing, to preserve lives through “a great deliverance,” and he seems positively thrilled to have been a part of this work.
Another interesting note is that we find out how many years of famine had transpired thus far: two. In only two years Jacob and his sons had been brought to death’s door twice, and they weren’t even a third of the way through the ordeal! Truly they would have perished, and who knows how many more, if Joseph hadn’t been there to save the day!