And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom you spoke unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto you, my son.
All Commentaries on Genesis 43:29 Go To Genesis 43
Ambrose of Milan
Now “raising his eyes he saw Benjamin, his brother by the same mother.” The moral sense is that we see those we love before others, and the gaze of our eyes lights first on those whom we consider first in our mind’s eye. And for the most part, when we are busy all around with another mental employment, we do not see those whom we find before our eyes. Thus our sight is directed by the guidance of our mind. And so, holy Joseph saw Benjamin his brother; he remembered him, he looked for him, he almost had not seen his brothers in Benjamin’s absence because the sight of them was of no help whatsoever. Neither was he satisfied only to have seen him; as if not knowing him, Joseph asked, “Is this your youngest brother?” It is the way and the favor of love that we should possess those we love not only with our eyes but also by our conversation. Joseph had recognized his beloved brother, but he asked for this reason, that he might speak the name of him that he had in his heart. Indeed, Joseph did not wait for a reply but at once blessed him and was troubled at the attainment of his wish. Now “his heart was tormented,” because his freedom to embrace the brother he longed for was postponed. Thereupon, “entering into his chamber he wept and washed his face and restrained himself.” The stings of a great love swiftly prick the heart, unless the reins of desire are relaxed. Joseph was being overcome by feeling but put off by deliberation; reason was in contest with love. He wept, so that he could moderate the surges of his holy love.