321. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion with the verse: "And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, 'Who are those with you?' And he said, 'The children which Elohim has graciously given Your servant'" (Beresheet 33:5). Come and see that the wicked one allowed his eyes to gaze at the women. Due to him, JACOB had to make some arrangements. Jacob placed the handmaidens in front, and their sons, who were a little more important, behind them. Leah followed behind them, and her sons were behind her. Behind them was Joseph and behind him Rachel. And he HIMSELF went in front of all of them.
322. (THIS IS ANOTHER VERSION, EXPLAINING DIFFERENTLY). After they all bowed down, it is written: "Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves" (Ibid. 6). Afterward, it says, "And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves" (Ibid. 7). HE ASKS: But Joseph was last behind Rachel and Rachel was in front of him, AND NOT JOSEPH IN FRONT OF RACHEL. HE REPLIES: It is just that when this good son, beloved son, the righteous in the world, Joseph, noticed that the eyes of the wicked were staring at the women, he was fearful for his mother. THEN he came out from behind her and spread his arms and his body and covered her, so that wicked one would not place his eyes on his mother. How much did he inflate his size? Six cubits to each direction, so he covered her up so that the eyes of the wicked one shall have no effect over her. CONSEQUENTLY, AT THE START, JOSEPH WAS INDEED BEHIND HER, AS IT IS WRITTEN EARLIER. HOWEVER, HE LATER CAME OUT FROM BEHIND HER AND WENT IN FRONT OF HER.