25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. 27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: 28 And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.
The news that Joseph is still alive is too incredible for Jacob to believe. Only as he hears all the words that Joseph spoke and sees the gift that his long-lost son sent to him does the truth settle into his heart.
We hear nothing of Jacob’s response to his sons selling Joseph into Egypt. A thought occurs to me that possibly they didn’t tell him. Could they have maintained that they really thought Joseph was consumed by a beast and they’re just as surprised as their father to find out that he’s really alive?
I very much like to think that this wasn’t the case. Jacob would want to know how his son survived, and that would mean that Joseph himself would have to be willing to fabricate a story and lie to his father’s face. And Benjamin would also have to be complicit in the deceit. Doing that would make Joseph and Benjamin become a part of the other brothers’ sin, and I find myself unwilling to accept that they would do that.
And so, though we have no record of what happened, I assume that the truth was made known to Jacob, and that somehow he made his peace with it. Perhaps he was able to surrender his anger towards his other sons by the joy of knowing that “Joseph my son is yet alive,” and “I will go and see him before I die.”