Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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When Joseph saw his brothers bowing down to him, he was not hasty to reveal his glory to them (cf. 45:13). Not until his brothers’ third trip did he reveal himself to them and expose his glory to them. Concealing our glory is even more difficult than holding back our excitement. You may be successful in restraining your excitement, but it is virtually impossible for anyone not to expose his glory. Joseph, however, was successful in this matter. He did not reveal his glory to his brothers immediately. This is another reason Joseph represents the reigning aspect of the mature life. He certainly had the qualifications of a ruler. Not until our self and our natural man have been thoroughly dealt with can we keep from revealing our glory to others. Joseph was a man who had been thoroughly dealt with and who was living under the rulership of the Spirit. Thus, he was qualified to be the reigning aspect of the mature life.

My burden in these messages is not merely to pass on teachings. It is to help you see the life in the book of Genesis and to know the way of life. The life manifested in the story of Joseph is not the human life, much less the fallen life. Moreover, it is not even the good natural life. Rather, it is the resurrection life, the life of God. Although Joseph was in an exciting situation, he did not display any looseness. This is life. With Joseph we see not only life, but also the way of life, which is to keep ourselves under control. Never think that Joseph was not human. He was full of human feelings and sentiments, but he kept himself with all his feelings under the rulership of the Spirit. Therefore, in Joseph we see not only the mature life, but a reigning life and the way of this reigning life. We all, especially the young people, need such a life and such a way that is the reigning aspect of a mature person. This life is not easily excited, and it does not reveal its glory. Instead, in the midst of excitement it remains calm, controls itself, and conceals its glory.


Joseph was very wise in dealing with his brothers. He was not at all loose. If I had been Joseph, I would have said to them, "Hallelujah, let us dance and have a feast! Let us be happy together." But Joseph did nothing like this. On the contrary, he was calm, sober, and wise. Joseph did not say, "Reuben and Judah, you did what was right. But you, Simeon, were wrong, because you took the lead to put me into the pit. You need to be punished for this." Instead of saying such things, Joseph was wise in at least three ways.

A. Causing Them to Realize Their Guilt
in Hating and Selling Him

Joseph put all his brothers into prison for three days. He did this for the purpose of causing them to realize their guilt in hating him and in selling him (42:21). If I had been Joseph, I would have put them into prison for three hours. I would have been too excited to keep them there any longer. I would not have been able to wait until I could feast with my brothers. Even if my brothers could have been patient, I would not have had the patience to wait three days. Three hours, however, would not have been adequate for Joseph’s brothers to realize their guilt. They needed to be in prison for three days. During those days, they must have talked a great deal about what they had done to Joseph. Thinking that Joseph was not able to understand them, they even spoke in Joseph’s presence about what they had done to him. But Joseph knew what they were talking about. How Joseph’s brothers regretted what they had done to him! But Joseph seemed to say to himself, "Talk is not adequate. I should put them into prison so that they can become sober. Let them fellowship with one another in prison for three days and three nights." This was Joseph’s way to cause his brothers to have a thorough realization of their guilt. When we are in a pleasant situation, it is difficult to realize our guilt and to repent. But if we are cast into prison, it is easy for us to repent and to condemn ourselves.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 116, by Witness Lee)