During the famine in Canaan, Yakov sent his sons to Egypt, and they were captured and imprisoned. Unbeknownst to them, their captor was actually their long lost brother Yosef. In prison, they discussed their situation:
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל-אָחִיו, אֲבָל אֲשֵׁמִים אֲנַחְנוּ עַל-אָחִינוּ, אֲשֶׁר רָאִינוּ צָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ בְּהִתְחַנְנוֹ אֵלֵינוּ, וְלֹא שָׁמָעְנוּ; עַל-כֵּן בָּאָה אֵלֵינוּ, הַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת – The brothers lamented to each other, “We are guilty for what we did to our brother! We saw his suffering, when he pleaded with us, and we ignored him! We have brought this on ourselves!” (42:21)
But on reviewing the entire episode, no reference is made to Yosef talking to them once their decision was made to get rid of him.
R’ Shlomo Freifeld suggests a beautifully simple truism as a resolution.
When a person doesn’t want to see something, they are literally blind to it. To the brothers eyes, their minds were made up – he was gone. Of course he begged and cried; but did they notice? Not at all – and the Torah records that he didn’t make a sound, because they were the actors in that story. To their eye, he didn’t make a noise.
It was only in hindsight, sitting in jail, that they could take stock and relive their terrible ordeal. They saw events with no bias, and realised their folly. They couldn’t see the forest for all the trees.