It Is Well

They brought into the house to [Joseph] the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare and said, "Is your father well ... is he still alive?"
GENESIS 43:26-27
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It Is Well
Joseph wishes them peace. This is the way the Hebrew reads. It means that he greets them in a friendly manner. Psalm 122:6 says: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!" This means: "Pray that prosperity and health may come upon it." In our salutations we wish others well by saying: "God grant you grace!" "God give you a good morning, a good evening!" "God bless you, and be your Benefactor!" "God be gracious to you, and grant you success and salvation!" For this is what peace means to the Hebrews. Thus Joseph continues to show kindness and special love toward his brothers. As a result they are firmly persuaded that he is kind, mild, and favorable. And yet he conducts himself in a manner that befits a magistrate who must keep discipline—a magistrate of whom mercy and kindness are the chief adornment. Then he inquires about the health of his father. "Does your father, this old man, have peace?" he asks. They reply: "There is peace." And from this reply one can gather the force of this word, just as above, in Genesis 37:14, Jacob sends his son Joseph to see whether his brothers, the sheep, and the cattle have peace, that is, whether it is well with them.
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