And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
Read Chapter 43
Ambrose of Milan
“And they brought him the presents.” We bring the presents; he renews the banquet. He says, “Serve the bread,” which the Hebrews take by themselves, but the Egyptians cannot eat it. But how generous was his kindness before the banquet! What a moral lesson in his practice of consideration and courtesy! The brothers were still suspicious concerning the false accusation that they thought was being prepared against them by Joseph. He invited them to dinner. Their inclination wavered; his kindness persevered. He is the first to speak, the first to ask, “How are you?” And again he says, “Is the old man your father well?” It is the part of a superior to invite the inferior to conversation, to inspire confidence in his discourse, to ask not only after them but also after their parents. They answer him, “Your servant, our father, is well.” Joseph said “the old man” so as to do him honor; they called him “servant” so as to offer the service of their humility. “Old age” suggests honor and dignity, whereas “servitude” appears submissive and more closely related to modesty than to pride.