Joseph sees his brothers in Egypt, and hears them recall their deafness
to his own cries from the pit years back, an overwhelming emotion wells
up in him. He has to turn away from them to hide his outburst.
As on previous occasions of weeping, Joseph has time, before his tears overwhelm
him, to make preparations. Before he breaks down, instead of withdrawing,
this time he sends away all onlookers. And the passion of his tears is almost
orgiastic. A whole verse is given to the description of the weeping, as
it echoes through the palace. His weeping is an eruption of the pain of
his loss, intensified to a point that compels him to give up the masquerade.
As Judah recalls the rememberings of his father, Joseph is overwhelmed by
the reality of his own absence; he weeps for the third time and reveals
Joseph's tears are perhaps those of which the Psalmist sings: "Though he
goes along weeping, carrying the seed bag, he shall come back with songs
of joy, carrying his sheaves".
writes of these tears:
What is to weep? To
weep is to sow. What is to laugh? To laugh is to reap. Look at this man
weeping as he goes. Why is he weeping? Because he is bearing in his arms
the burden of the grain he is about to sow. And now, see him coming back
in joy. Why is he laughing? Because he bears in his arms the sheaves of
the harvest. Laughter is the tangible harvest, plenitude. Tears are sowing;
they are effort, risk, the seed exposed to drought and to rot, the ear
of corn threatened by hail and by storms. Laughter is words, tears are
silence....It is not the harvest that is important: what is important
is the sowing, the risk, the tears. Hope is not in laughter and plentitude.
Hope is in tears, in the risk and in its silence.