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Featured Kicking Off With Genesis

Discussion in 'Bible Study Forum' started by Webers_Home, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:1-2

    Gen 38:1a . . About that time

    Joseph was 17 when he arrived in Egypt (Gen 37:2) and 30 when he
    became prime minister (Gen 41:46). When he went to work for Pharaoh; a
    14-year period began, consisting of two divisions-- seven years of plenty,
    and seven years of famine. After 9 of the 14 years had passed-- the 7 years
    of plenty, and 2 of the years of famine --Joseph summoned his dad to Egypt
    (Gen 45:6-9) which would add up to a period of only about 22 years or so.

    Some commentators feel that chapter 38 is out of place chronologically; that
    it really should have followed chapter 33 because there just isn't enough
    time lapsed-- from Joseph's arrival in Egypt and Jacob's subsequent arrival
    -for all the births; and all the growing-up time needed for the particulars in
    chapter 38 to reach an age mature enough to sleep with a woman and father
    a child (see Adam Clarke's Commentary for an analysis of the
    circumstances).

    "about that time" is so ambiguous, so vague, so unspecific, and the above
    mentioned time elements so narrow; that the phrase could simply indicate
    that the events of chapter 38 happened not right after Joseph went to Egypt,
    but most likely any time during the whole time Jacob was resident in
    Canaan; in other words: any time between chapter 33 and chapter 47.
    Joseph was 7 years old when Jacob returned to Canaan, and 17 when carted
    off to Egypt. So, adding 10 to the 22, would make the period of "about that
    time" equal to about 32 years total.

    Gen 38:1b . . Judah

    Judah's saga is pretty interesting because it concerns the Israeli tribal head
    chosen to perpetuate the Jewish line to Messiah (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

    Some people call this section in Genesis sordid; but I think it's actually kind
    of humorous because a very resourceful Gentile girl is going to really get one
    over on the "chosen people".

    Gen 38:1c . . left his brothers

    One can hardly blame Judah for wanting to put some distance between
    himself and the others once in a while. They were so cruel, so selfish, and so
    thoughtless. People of cruelty generally make bad company what with all
    their complaining, their sniping, their carping criticism, their tempers, and
    their propensity to harm people. If those boys were hard hearted against
    their own kid brother, just think how cruel they must have been with
    animals.

    Judah was no prize himself, that's true, but at least he wasn't a cold blooded
    murderer at heart. I have no doubt he felt very bad at Josephs' sobbing and
    begging for his life down in that pit. But I thoroughly suspect he felt that
    selling his kid brother into slavery was the only way he could possibly save
    the boy's life. Even if Joseph had escaped his brothers that day, they would
    always be looking for another opportunity to finish the job.

    Gen 38:1d . . and camped near a certain Adullamite whose name
    was Hirah.


    The community of Adullum was roughly 12 miles northwest of Hebron, and
    later apportioned to the tribe of Judah during Joshua's campaign. (Josh
    15:35)

    Some translations say that Judah "turned in" to Hirah; implying he lodged in
    Hirah's home rather than set up his own pavilion. The Hebrew word is natah
    (naw-taw') which simply means to stretch or spread out; which may indicate
    that Judah was into a little independent ranching on his own in the area;
    implying that Judah's spread neighbored Hirah's range land.

    Natah is one of those ambiguous words with more than one meaning; which
    only serves to accent a frustrating fact of life in the world of Bible
    scholarship that it's pretty near impossible to translate ancient Hebrew texts
    verbatim into the English language without making an inadvertent error here
    and there.

    Gen 38:2 . .There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite,
    whose name was Shua, and he married her and cohabited with her.


    From the spiritual aspect; Jacob's family was practically on an island in the
    midst of a sea infested with caribes. The only viable option for spouses in
    that predicament was either for a prospective Canaanite to be a God-fearing
    person, e.g. Melchizedek (Gen 14:18) or sincerely convert to Jacob's religion
    like Ruth did. (Ru 1:16, Ru 2:11-12)

    Whether the daughter converted isn't said. And since there existed no Divine
    prohibitions against intermarriage with Canaanites at this time-- Israel's
    covenanted law doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction (Gal 3:17) --then
    surely no one could possibly accuse Judah of a sin for marrying outside
    either his religion or his ethnic identity. However, since two of Shua's boys
    were incorrigible and ended up dead, slain by God, and none of her three
    male children by Judah were selected to forward Abraham's line to Messiah;
    Judah's choice doesn't look good.

    Gen 38:2 is tricky because at first glance it looks like the girl might be the
    daughter of a man named Shua. But in verse 12, the daughter's moniker in
    Hebrew is Bath-Shuwa' (see also 1Chrn 3:5) which is the very same moniker
    as Bathsheba's. (1Chrn 3:5)


    NOTE: In Hebrew, a daughter is a bath; and a son is a ben (e.g. Judah ben
    Hur).

    Bath-Shuwa' (or: Bath-Shua) just simply means a daughter of wealth; which
    isn't really a name at all, but a status. Exactly what the status of a
    "daughter of wealth" is supposed to convey about a girl is hard to tell.
    Perhaps it just means she's an eligible consideration for marriage-- like a girl
    who comes of a good family; but that doesn't necessarily mean that a blue
    blooded girl is the best choice. Things like education, breeding, and wealth
    are no guarantee that maybe a girl from across the tracks wouldn't make a
    much better wife and mother. (she'd certainly tend to be more frugal)
    _
     
  2. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:3-11b

    Gen 38:3-5 . . She conceived and bore a son, and he named him Er.
    She conceived again and bore a son, and named him Onan. Once
    again she bore a son, and named him Shelah; he was at Chezib when
    she bore him.

    The community of Chezib (a.k.a. Achzib and Chozeba) has been identified
    with Khirbet Kueizibah by somebody named Conder (Palestine Exploration,
    Jan. 1875). The Talmud mentions that a plain is in front of Chozeba; so
    Kueizibah has before it the valley of Berachoth (wady Arrub); which is a bit
    southwest of Adullum. So although Judah moved away from Bath-shua's
    parents, it wasn't far away.

    Gen 38:6 . . Judah got a wife for Er his first-born; her name was
    Tamar.

    Ms. Tamar is a total mystery. Neither her family, her ethnic identity, her
    age, her looks, her education, her material worth, nor anything else is
    known about her. But she's the one through whom God will bring Messiah
    into the world; so I think it's safe to say she was probably a much better
    woman than Bath-shua.

    Gen 38:7 . . But Er, Judah's first-born, was displeasing to The Lord,
    and The Lord took his life.

    Er has the distinction of being the very first member of the people of Israel--
    the chosen people --whom God personally clipped Himself. Er was only the
    beginning because God's chosen people weren't chosen to be His pampered
    pets; no, they were selected to be the number-one caretakers, and
    propagators, of the knowledge of God. So then, of all the people in the
    world, Jews have the least excuse for failure to comply with God's wishes
    because they have always had that information at their fingertips while a
    very large portion of the rest of the world; for many, many centuries, didn't.
    Therefore, the status of God's chosen people isn't something to be proud of;
    no, it's something to be afraid of.

    "Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel--
    against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt --saying:
    You only have I known of all the families of the earth: that's why I will
    punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:1-2)

    Gen 38:8 . .Then Judah said to Onan: Join with your brother's wife
    and do your duty by her as a brother-in-law, and provide offspring
    for your brother.


    NOTE: This is the first mention of adoption in the Bible. Others are Moses'
    adoption by an Egyptian princess, Manasseh's and Ephraim's adoption by
    Jacob, and Jesus' adoption by Joseph.

    According to Deut 5:2-4, the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with
    God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy isn't retroactive.
    So then Judah's directive wasn't a strict by-the-book legal requirement as
    stipulated by Deut 25:5-6; but was nevertheless something that God
    approved without it being a covenanted requirement.

    The "duty" to which Judah referred was apparently a widely accepted
    custom; not only in his own day, but in days preceding him. Some feel that
    the custom had its origin in the early-day practice of purchasing a wife
    rather than courting; so that she became a portion of the dead man's estate.
    As such, she remained the "property" (and the responsibility) of the clan;
    thus assuring widows of a livelihood, and of protection and security after
    their husband's death. In that respect, being a "mail order" bride had its
    advantages in an era when very few women had careers of their own outside
    the home or were entitled to assistance programs.

    Gen 38:9 . . But Onan, knowing that the seed would not count as
    his, spilled it on the ground whenever he joined with his brother's
    wife, so as not to provide offspring for his brother.

    It's been suggested that Onan's motivation for leaving his new wife childless
    was to make sure Er didn't posthumously cause his own inheritance to be
    reduced. As the firstborn, Er came in for a larger portion of Judah's estate
    than Onan. But with Er dead and out of the way, Onan became the firstborn
    by natural succession.

    Actually, Onan didn't have to marry Tamar; but if and when he did, it was an
    implied consent to try his best to engender a boy so the dead man would
    have someone to carry on his name. But Onan chose instead to take
    advantage of his brother's widow and use her like a harlot; and that was not
    only a cruel thing to do, but a fatal error too.

    Gen 38:10 . .What he did was displeasing to The Lord, and He took
    his life also.

    Some have attempted to use this passage as a proof text that it's a sin to
    practice contraception. But any honest examination of the facts testifies
    otherwise. Onan evaded his obligation, and married his brother's widow
    under false pretenses; apparently with the full intention of protecting his
    own inheritance rather than that of his deceased brother.

    That was unforgivable because it's all the same as fraud and breech of
    contract; not to mention deplorably uncaring about a widow's predicament
    (cf. Luke 7:11-15). Tamar had a legitimate right to a baby fathered by
    Judah's clan, and it was their moral, if not sacred, duty to make an honest
    attempt to provide her with not only a baby, but also a man by her side to
    take care of her too.

    Gen 38:11a . .Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar: Stay
    as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up

    At this point, Judah did the unthinkable: he disowned his daughter-in-law.
    That just wasn't done. When a girl married into a clan; she became one with
    that clan. I can scarce believe Judah sent Tamar back to her father; and I'm
    honestly surprised Tamar's dad didn't march her right back to Judah's front
    door and get in his face about it and demand he fulfill his obligations to one
    of Israel's own widows.

    Gen 38:11b . . for he thought: He too might die like his brothers.

    No doubt Shelah's mom Bath-shua was by this time up in arms and
    protesting vehemently against any more marriages of her own sons to this
    "toxic" female.

    I've a pretty good notion of what Judah had in mind. He had no intention of
    letting Tamar anywhere near his one and only surviving male heir. As far as
    he was concerned, Tamar was nothing less than a Black Widow-- one of the
    those venomous spiders in the southwest that eats her mate for dinner after the
    poor hormone-driven slob fulfills his one and only purpose in life.
    _
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  3. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:11c-14

    Gen 38:11c . . So Tamar went to live in her father's house.

    Sending Tamar back home, as an unattached girl, Judah no doubt sincerely
    hoped she would meet somebody in her own neighborhood; maybe an old
    boyfriend or two, and remarry before Shelah got old enough; thus, his last
    son would be safe from Ms. Black Widow. But as it turned out, Tamar had
    more grit than Mattie Ross of Darnel County. Judah's clan owed her dead
    husband a baby boy, and that was that.

    You can hardly blame her. Jacob's clan was very wealthy, so that any
    children Tamar should produce by them, would have all the best that life had
    to offer in early-day Palestine; plus her grandchildren would be well taken
    care of too. Since nothing is said of her origin, Tamar may not have been a
    blue-blooded girl like her mother-in-law, but could have easily come from a
    low income community on the wrong side of the tracks. What would you do
    in the best interests of your children in that situation?

    Gen 38:12a . . As time went by, Judah's wife Bath-shua died.

    This event left Judah single, and eligible to remarry; so that Tamar and
    Judah are now both single adults; however, Tamar is betrothed, and that
    makes things a little complicated.

    Gen 38:12b . . After he got over her passing, Judah went up to
    Timnah to his sheepshearers, together with his friend Hirah the
    Adullamite.


    Timnah-- a.k.a. Tibneh: a deserted site southwest of Zorah, and two miles
    west of Ain Shems --was roughly 11 miles northwest from ancient Adullum
    towards Bethlehem.

    Gen 38:13-14a . . And it was told Tamar, saying: Look, your father
    in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep. So she took off her
    widow's garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself,
    and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah;


    The Hebrew words for "open place" are weird. They mean "an open eye".
    One of those words-- the one for "eye" --can also mean a spring or an
    artesian well (e.g. Gen 16:7). A wayside rest, like as can be usually found on
    many modern Federal highways, would probably qualify as an example of
    the "open place" to which Gen 38:14 refers.

    Tamar's rest stop likely included a source of water, not for cars, but for the
    animals that men either herded, rode upon, or used for pack animals when
    they traveled up and down the primitive trails and roads of ancient Palestine.

    Sheep-shearing occurs sometime in the spring, so the weather in Palestine
    at that season was sunny and warm.

    Veils weren't an eo ipso indication that a woman was loose, since Rebecca
    had worn one upon meeting her spouse-to-be Isaac (Gen 24:65). Although
    the text says that Tamar's veil covered her face (vs. 15), it likely not only
    covered her face, but her whole body, because veils were more like a burqa
    than the little mask-like nets that women sometimes wear to funerals;
    except that burqa's are cumbersome and ugly, whereas Tamar's veil was a
    lightweight wrap, and likely quite colorful and eye-catching; and conveyed
    an altogether different message than a woman in mourning.

    Gen 38:14b . . for she saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had
    not been given to him as wife.


    Actually, Shelah wasn't the one who owed Tamar an Israeli baby; it was
    Judah, the head of the clan, and that's why he's the one she's coming after
    rather than Judah's son.

    Tamar is a scary girl; and one you wouldn't want to trifle with. Not many
    women would have had the chutzpah to do what she did. To begin with, for
    a lone woman to sit out along a remote road, unescorted, like she did, was
    inherently dangerous, and could have led to all sorts of mischief.
    _
     
  4. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:15-17

    Gen 38:15a . .When Judah saw her, he thought she was a
    prostitute,


    The particular kind of prostitute in this episode is from the Hebrew word
    qedeshah (ked-ay-shaw') which isn't your typical working girl, but rather a
    devotee raising money for an established religion (Gen 38:21) typically a
    pagan kind of religion centered upon the worship of a goddess like Ashtoreth
    (a.k.a. Astarte). So one might say that a qedeshah's services were for a
    worthy cause. [/b]

    Gen 38:15b . . for she had covered her face.

    It's just amazing how difficult it is sometimes to recognize familiar people
    when they turn up in places we least expect them. Take Jesus for example.
    When he revived after his ordeal on the cross, people didn't know him right
    off: close friends like Mary Magdalena didn't recognize him at first even at
    close proximity (John 20:13-16).

    Another example is when Jesus came out to his followers' boat during a
    storm on open water. At first they thought he was a ghost, and Peter
    wouldn't believe it was Jesus until he gave him the power to walk on water
    himself (Matt 14:25-29).

    Gen 38:16-17 . . Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he
    went over to her by the roadside and said: Come now, let me sleep
    with you. And what will you give me to sleep with you? she asked.
    I'll send you a young goat from my flock; he said. Will you give me
    something as a pledge until you send it? she asked.


    The Hebrew word for "pledge" in that passage is 'arabown (ar-aw-bone')
    which means a pawn (given as security) as in pawn shop. This is the very
    first place in the Bible where that word is used. In the usury business, an
    'arabown is forfeited if the borrower fails to repay his loan. This is a very
    important principle in the divine plan.

    "In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of
    your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the
    Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance until the
    redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph
    1:13-14)

    The Greek word for "pledge" in that passage is arrhabon (ar-hrab-ohn')
    which means essentially the same as the Hebrew word 'arabown except that
    the Greek word indicates a little something extra.

    Real estate transactions usually involve a sum called the earnest money.
    Although it may be applied towards the purchase price of property, earnest
    money itself serves a specific purpose of its own in the real estate business.
    In some quarters; this is also called good faith money.

    When the contract, and all the other necessary documents are submitted to
    Escrow, the buyer is required to also submit a token amount of the purchase
    price. It's usually a relatively small number of dollars compared to the full
    price of the property. I think ours was just $1,000 back in 1988 on a
    $74,000 home. When the buyer follows through on their intent to purchase
    the property, the good faith money (minus some Escrow fees of course)
    goes towards the purchase.

    However, if the buyer loses interest in the property and decides to renege,
    then they forfeit the good faith money. No doubt that's done to discourage
    vacillating buyers from fiddling around with other people's time and money.

    So then, since God's Spirit is the earnest depicted in Eph 1:13-14; then,
    according to the principles underlying the arrhabon, should God betray a
    believer's trust by reneging on His promise to spare people who hear and
    believe the gospel, then He forfeits; and the believer gets to keep the Spirit
    regardless of their afterlife destiny.

    But of course God won't renege because, for one thing, He has quite a bit
    more integrity than that; plus doing so would not only embarrass Himself,
    but embarrass His son too as Jesus has given his word that believers have
    nothing to fear.

    "I assure you, those who heed my message, and believe in God who sent
    me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they
    have already passed from death into life." (John 5:24)

    There are people who actually believe the Bible's God can get away with
    reneging on His promises. A belief of that nature of course eo ipso insinuates
    that the Bible's God is capable of dishonesty and can't be trusted to make
    good on anything He says.
    _
     
  5. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:18-26

    Gen 38:18a . . He said: What pledge should I give you? Your seal
    and its cord, and the staff in your hand; she answered.


    The items that Tamar required for a pledge were akin to a photo ID or a
    thumb print in those days. Judah's staff wasn't just a kendo stick or a
    walking cane or a shepherd's crook. It was more like a king's scepter,
    specially made just for him, and served the express purpose of identifying
    him as the head of his tribe. Staffs were made of either wood or metal, and
    usually capped with a masthead. The quality of the staff would of course
    depend upon the material wherewithal of the person ordering it.

    Judah's seal could have been a small, uniquely engraved cylinder, or
    possibly a ring (e.g. Jer 22:24) but wasn't always worn on a finger. Way
    back in Judah's day, seals were sometimes worn around the neck with a
    necklace; or attached to personal walking sticks and/or staffs with a lanyard,
    and forced into wax or soft clay to leave an impressed "signature". The
    whole shebang-- seal, cord, and staff --was often a unit; and there were no
    two alike.

    The staff, with its cord and seal, was, of course, quite worthless for a shrine
    prostitute's purposes. In dollar value, it was nothing, as it couldn't be sold or
    traded. However, its value to Judah was why it was a good pledge item. He
    would certainly want it back.

    Gen 38:18b-23 . . So he gave them to her and mated with her, and
    she conceived by him. After she left, she took off her veil and put on
    her widow's clothes again.

    . . . Meanwhile, Judah sent the young goat by his friend the
    Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he
    did not find her. He asked the men who lived there: Where is the
    shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim? There hasn't
    been any shrine prostitute here; they said.

    . . . So he went back to Judah and said: I didn't find her. Besides, the
    men who lived there said there hasn't been any shrine prostitute
    here. Then Judah said: Let her keep what she has or we will become
    a disgrace. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't
    find her.


    It might seem silly that Judah was concerned for his tribe's honor in this
    matter, but in those days, cult prostitutes did have a measure of respect in
    their community, and it wasn't unusual for every woman in the community
    to be expected to take a turn at supporting their "church" in that manner; so
    cult prostitution wasn't really looked upon as a vice but rather as a sacred
    obligation.

    Judah's failure to pay up could be construed by locals as mockery of their
    religion's way of doing business, thus insulting those who believed and
    practiced it; so he emphasized his effort to find the woman and make good
    on his I.O.U.

    This appears to me the first instance of religious tolerance in the Bible; and
    the circumstances are intriguing: to say the least.

    Gen 38:24 . . And it came to pass, about three months after, that
    Judah was told, saying: Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the
    harlot; furthermore she is with child by harlotry.


    At this time, Tamar was living with her dad; so Judah wouldn't have known
    she was expecting unless a rumor mill brought the news around.

    The word for "harlot" in Gen 38:24 is zanah (zaw-naw'), and the word for
    "harlotry" is zanuwn (zaw-noon') and both mean adultery. Tamar is accused
    of adultery because at this point, she's assumed betrothed (though not yet
    married) to Shelah. (cf. Matt 1:18-19)

    Gen 38:24 . . So Judah said: Bring her out and let her be burned!

    Since there were no Federal, nor any State, nor any Municipal laws in
    existence in primitive Palestine, local sheiks like Judah were the Supreme
    Court of their own tribes. Though Tamar was living back at home with her
    dad, she remained under Judah's jurisdiction because of her past marriages
    to two of Judah's sons.


    NOTE: I suspect Judah saw this turn of events as a golden opportunity to
    save his last surviving son from marrying Ms. Black Widow.

    Gen 38:25a . .When she was brought out,

    It's odd to me that Judah didn't attend Tamar's execution: possibly because
    he couldn't look her in the eye for reneging on his promise to give her
    Shelah. However; Judah was in for a very big jolt to his nervous system
    because Tamar produced a surprise witness.

    Gen 38:26 . . she sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man to
    whom these belong, I am with child. And she said: Please determine
    whose these are-- the signet and cord, and staff. So Judah
    acknowledged them and said: She has been more righteous than I,
    because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he never saw her
    again.


    Actually, neither Judah nor Tamar were "righteous" in this matter. His
    comment was relative. Though both had behaved rather badly; Tamar held
    the high moral ground. It's like movies today. The good guys and the bad
    guys are no longer distinctly moral and immoral and/or scrupulous and
    unscrupulous. Often both sides of the equation are immoral and
    unscrupulous; with the "good" guys just being more likable.
    _
     
  6. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 38:27-29

    Gen 38:27-28 . .When the time came for her to give birth, there
    were twins in her womb! While she was in labor, one of them put out
    his hand, and the midwife tied a crimson thread on that hand, to
    signify: This one came out first.


    According to modern medicine, a baby isn't really born until it's head is
    outside the womb; so that it's legal (in some states) to kill babies with a so
    called "dilation and extraction" abortion; which is a term coined by Ohio
    abortionist Dr. Martin Haskell for an abortion method in which he removes a
    baby's brain while it's head is still partially within the womb, and then
    completes the delivery by extracting the corpse. But in Tamar's day, even
    the exit of so much as a hand was counted birth: thus Zerah became
    Tamar's legal firstborn son.

    Gen 38:29 . . But just then he drew back his hand, and out came
    his brother; and she said: What a breach you have made for yourself!
    So he was named Perez (which means: break (as in break through a
    barrier or force a way through; viz: buck the line and/or go out of
    turn). Afterward his brother came out, on whose hand was the
    crimson thread; he was named Zerah (which means: a rising of light;
    viz: morning).


    Well . . regardless of Zerah's primo-genitive prerogatives, God bypassed him
    in Judah's line to Messiah; which, by Divine appointment went to Perez, the
    second-born. (Matt 1:1-3)


    NOTE: You'd think holy propriety would demand that the sacred line to
    Messiah be pure. I mean, after all, a child of adultery and incest hardly
    seems like a proper ancestor for the King of Kings. But no, an ancestry of
    adultery and/or incest makes no difference to Christ. In point of fact, in time
    a famous harlot from Jericho named Rahab produced yet another male in the
    line to the lamb of God (Matt 1:5). And let's not forget Ruth who descended
    from Lot sleeping with one of his own daughters in a cave. (cf. Gen 19:36
    37, Ruth 4:10, and Matt 1:5)

    According to Rom 8:3 Christ didn't come in the likeness of innocent flesh;
    no, he came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and his ancestry certainly proves
    it.
    _
     
  7. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 39:1-7

    Gen 39:1-3 . . Now when Joseph arrived in Egypt with the Ishmaelite traders, he
    was purchased by Potiphar, a member of the personal staff of Pharaoh, the king
    of Egypt. Potiphar was the captain of the palace guard. The Lord was with Joseph
    and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.
    Potiphar noticed this and realized that The Lord was with Joseph, giving him
    success in everything he did.


    The identity of the Pharaoh during this moment in history is a total mystery, and even
    that fact is a mystery in itself because Egypt was normally quite meticulous in recording
    its accomplishments, and the names of Egypt's dynastic successions are recorded
    practically without a break thru the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, clear on back to
    3,000 BC. But for some reason, so far unexplained, a blank occurs in its history
    between 1730 to 1580 BC.

    This absence of information puzzles Egyptologists; and thus far has only been
    satisfactorily explained by the conquering-- and subsequent dominance --of Egypt by an
    ancient people called the Hyksos; who were Semitic tribes from Syria and Canaan. The
    Hyksos were of a different mentality than the Egyptians and apparently weren't inclined
    to keep a meticulous record of their own accomplishments as had their vanquished
    predecessors before them.

    Not only is there a dearth of documents from that period, but there aren't even any
    monuments to testify of it. If perchance Joseph was in Egypt during the Hyksos, that
    might explain why there exists not one shred of archaeological evidence to corroborate
    the Bible in regards to its story of Joseph in Egypt.

    Joseph's success was, of course, in regards to his proficiency, and in no way says
    anything about his personal prosperity because as a slave, he had no income, owned
    no property, controlled no business ventures, nor maintained some sort of investment
    portfolio.

    How Potiphar found out that Yhvh was Joseph's god isn't said. But in knowing, he quite
    naturally credited Yhvh with Joseph's proficiency because people in those days were
    very superstitious. Even Potiphar's own name, which in Egyptian is Pa-di-pa-ra, means
    "the gift of the god Ra".

    Gen 39:3-6a . .So Joseph naturally became quite a favorite with him. Potiphar
    soon put Joseph in charge of his entire household and entrusted him with all his
    business. From the day Joseph was put in charge, Yhvh began to bless Potiphar
    for Joseph's sake.

    . . . All his household affairs began to run smoothly, and his crops and livestock
    flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over
    everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn't have a worry in the world,
    except to decide what he wanted to eat!


    This was all idyllic for Mr. Aristocrat; but unfortunately, there was a fly poised to plop
    itself into the ointment.

    Gen 39:6b-7 . . Now Joseph was young, well built, and handsome. After a while,
    his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph and said; Sleep with me.


    The apparent overture wasn't a request. Since Joseph was a slave, it wasn't necessary
    for Potiphar's wife to seduce him. She only had to give him an order, and he was
    expected to obey it.

    It's not uncommon to find women who feel trapped in an unfulfilling marriages. Henry
    David Thoreau once wrote that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Well;
    some of that "mass of men" includes women.

    Potiphar's wife (call her Anna for convenience) was an amorously active woman married
    to the wrong man. No children are listed for her husband so it's very possible Potiphar
    was a eunuch; a distinct possibility in ancient palaces. He might have been an older
    man too, maybe a bit too old.

    Anna probably didn't marry for love; but for security. That's understandable since
    women of that day didn't have a lot of career options, nor a minority status, nor
    retirement benefits, nor entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. For women in
    Anna's day, marriage was often a matter of survival rather than a matter of the heart.

    She was obviously still lively and maybe would have enjoyed dinner out and salsa
    dancing once or twice a week; while Potipher probably barely had enough energy left to
    plop down and fall asleep in his La-Z-Boy recliner after working 12-14 hours a day in the
    palace and just wanted to be left alone in his man cave with a can of beer and CNN.

    There are women who prefer older men; sometimes much older. But there are other
    women, like Anna, who prefer the young ones; however, sometimes life just doesn't give
    them any options.

    So then, what's a desperate housewife to do when her husband is old and boring, and
    here's this strapping, virile young slave guy around the house with you all day long?
    Well . .you're either going to drink a lot, get witchy, take pills, or make a move and see
    what happens. Unfortunately, Anna isn't going to be a very good sport about it.
    _
     
  8. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 39:8-23

    Gen 39:8-18 . . But Joseph refused. Look; he told her; my master
    trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has
    more authority than I do! He has held back nothing from me except
    you, because you are his wife. How could I ever do such a wicked
    thing? It would be a great sin against God.

    . . . She kept putting pressure on him day after day, but he refused
    to sleep with her, and he avoided her as much as possible. One day,
    however, no one else was around when he was doing his work inside
    the house. She came and grabbed him by his shirt, demanding: Sleep
    with me! Joseph tore himself away, but as he did, his shirt came off.
    She was left holding it as he ran from the house.

    . . .When she saw that she had his shirt and that he had fled, she
    began screaming. Soon all the men around the place came running.
    My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to humiliate us; she
    sobbed. He tried to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard my loud
    cries, he ran and left his shirt behind with me.

    . . . She kept the shirt with her, and when her husband came home
    that night, she told him her story. That Hebrew slave you've had
    around here tried to humiliate me; she said. I was saved only by my
    screams. He ran out, leaving his shirt behind!


    Joseph's situation parallels a case in Harper Lee's book To Kill A Mockingbird
    where a promiscuous woman accuses an innocent man of rape in order to
    cover up her own indiscretions.

    Scorned women can be very cruel. When I was a youthful, good-looking guy,
    the wife (whom I was careful to avoid) of a good friend accused me to her
    husband of going off on her with abusive language in a tirade. To defend
    myself and expose his wife for the liar that she was, would have meant
    causing my friend deep humiliation; so I elected to keep silent and take the
    pain. Our friendship was of course ruined, and we parted. A few months
    later, I was told they divorced. Like that was any big surprise.

    Gen 39:19-20a . .When his master heard the story that his wife
    told him, namely; "Thus and so your slave did to me" he was furious.
    So Joseph’s master had him put in prison, where the king’s prisoners
    were confined.


    I've no doubt Potiphar didn't believe a word of his wife's story or otherwise
    he would have put Joseph to death rather than in a cushy jail where political
    prisoners were kept, but what was he to do? Stick up for a slave over his
    wife? Not happening. So Joseph was sacrificed to keep peace in the home.

    Gen 39:20-23 . . But while Joseph was there in the prison, Yhvh
    was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the
    eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all
    those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that
    was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under
    Joseph's care, because Yhvh was with Joseph and gave him success
    in whatever he did.


    A trustee's lot in prison is much more agreeable than regular inmates.
    Joseph was very fortunate to have the Lord in his corner otherwise he might
    have been neglected; but as a trustee, he could roam about the cell block
    like as if he were one of the guards.

    It would appear to the uninformed that Joseph had a natural aptitude for
    management; but actually he didn't; no, he was supernaturally-gifted. That
    is quite an advantage-- a resentful rival might even say: an unfair
    advantage.
    _
     
  9. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 40:1-4a

    Joseph was 17 when he arrived in Egypt, and 30 when he became prime
    minister. So 13 years of his young adulthood were wasted in servitude and
    prison; and all that time without even so much as a date or a girlfriend.
    More than a full decade of the best years of his life went by with no female
    companionship whatsoever.

    A man's libido peaks in the years between 18 and 24, then begins tapering
    off as he gradually gets older. Since there is no record of Joseph's
    association with a special girl back home in Palestine, I think it's safe to
    conclude that he had never cuddled with a girl in his entire life till he got
    married sometime in his thirties. So you can see that Joseph was not only
    robbed of the best years of his life, but totally missed out on something
    that's very important to the psychological well being of the average red
    blooded guy.

    As Joseph got older, and began to realize that life was passing him by, and
    that his youth was ebbing away, he no doubt began to wonder if maybe his
    current situation wasn't permanent; and as the days and years continued to
    go by one after another, he must have become frightened, depressed, and
    desperate as he saw no plausible way to remedy his predicament and get his
    life back.

    We used to joke among ourselves as professional welders that adverse
    conditions in the workplace build character. (chuckle) Like as if any blue
    collar skull needs "character" for anything. However, people destined for
    greatness can benefit immensely from character-building experiences that
    serve to temper their success; for example Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was
    immensely privileged and harbored a horrid superiority complex. Polio really
    humbled him, and in time, Roosevelt's handicap made him a much better
    man and a much better leader.

    I've seen people's leadership and responsibility handed to them on the silver
    platter of privilege; resulting in their treating lower ranking employees with
    thoughtless contempt. If those managers had only started out laboring in
    construction, selling luggage, shackled in slavery, or convicted of crimes
    they didn't commit; then maybe they would have developed a sensitivity
    that would have made them, not just managers, but great managers.

    Under normal circumstances, Joseph's alleged crime was punishable by
    death. So then, since he wasn't executed, but instead put in a prison
    normally reserved for political prisoners, his circumstances tend to support
    the opinion that Potiphar didn't believe his wife's story at all.

    Gen 40:1a . . Some time later,

    Exactly how long Joseph had been in prison prior to this next section is
    uncertain. However, his age would have been near 28 since it will be just
    two years afterwards that he's released (Gen 41:1).

    Gen 40:1b-4a . . the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt
    gave offense to their lord the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with
    his two courtiers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put
    them in custody, in the house of the chief steward, in the same
    prison house where Joseph was confined. The chief steward
    assigned Joseph to them, and he attended them.


    The "chief steward" was Mr. Potiphar (Gen 39:1).

    Exactly what these two muckity-mucks did to warrant being placed under
    arrest isn't said, but since both men's functions were directly related to
    Pharaoh's nourishment; it's reasonable to assume their offenses most likely
    had something to do with the King's table. Perhaps the beverages, as well as
    the food, just happened to be tainted both at the same time, thus
    suggesting a conspiracy to poison their master. Since they weren't
    summarily executed, it's apparent that they're just suspects at this point,
    and being held without bail until Potiphar's secret service completed an
    investigation into the matter. It's entirely possible that some of the lower
    ranking members of the kitchen staff are being held too, though not in the
    same place.

    Cupbearers weren't just flunky taste testers, but were savvy advisors: thus,
    in a position of great influence. They were also saddled with the
    responsibility of supervising the King's vineyards in order to ensure their
    potentate received only the very best beverages deserving of the rank. So
    cupbearers were very competent men who knew a thing or two about not
    only diplomacy, but also the wine business. Egyptian documents testify to
    their wealth and power (cf. Neh 2:1).

    Although the baker wasn't up as high as a cupbearer, his duties were still
    critical. He didn't just make cookies and coffee cake, and/or supervise the
    kitchen staff, but did the shopping too. He sniffed all the meats, fowls, and
    fishes, and nibbled all the vegetables before they were ever brought inside
    the castle. Without the benefit of refrigeration, his responsibility was very
    great since his master could easily become gravely ill, and quite possibly die,
    from eating spoiled foods.

    To be placed at the service of these two high ranking courtiers was really an
    honor, even though they were just as much locked up as Joseph. However,
    he was a slave and they were courtiers; so there was a big difference in rank
    even behind bars. But the two men had it pretty cushy. They weren't treated
    like common convicts; no, they each had a very competent, fully
    experienced butler with impeccable references at their service-- Mr. Joseph
    ben Jacob.
    _
     
  10. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 40:4b-17

    Gen 40:4b-8a . . After they had been in custody for some time,
    each of the two men-- the cupbearer and the baker of the king of
    Egypt, who were being held in prison --had a dream the same night,
    and each dream had a meaning of its own.

    . . .When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they
    were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody
    with him in his master's house: Why are your faces so sad today? We
    both had dreams; they answered, but there is no one to interpret
    them. Then Joseph said to them: Do not interpretations belong to
    God?

    Actually, in the literal, Joseph said: Aren't interpretations with the gods?
    Because the word for "God" isn't Yhvh, rather, it's 'elohiym (el-o-heem')
    which isn't one of the creator's proper names, but a generic plural noun for
    all gods, both the true and the false.

    Gen 40:8b . . Please tell me.

    There's no record up to this point of Joseph ever interpreting a dream, not
    even his own. He dreamed in the past (e.g. Gen 37:5-7, Gen 37:9) but at
    the time he didn't know what his dreams meant; and in this particular
    instance, I seriously doubt he believed himself able to interpret a one. I
    think he was just curious. Jail is boring; what else was there to talk about?
    So what's going to happen next was probably just as big a surprise to him as
    it was to them.

    Incidentally, there's no record of God ever speaking one-on-one with Joseph.
    He believed God was providentially active in his life, but was given no
    apparitions of any kind whatsoever to corroborate his confidence other than
    the fulfillment of his interpretations of people's dreams; which aren't eo ipso
    evidence of God at work. (e.g. Acts 16:16)

    People's dreams normally don't stick in their memories for very long; but
    these two men's dreams seemed (to them anyway) to be of a mysteriously
    symbolic significance, and so disturbing that they can't get the details out of
    their minds.

    In psychoanalysis, dreams are of interest because they're often expressions
    of subconscious anxieties and inner conflicts rather than portents and/or
    omens.

    Dreams are both common and normal, and surely no one should try to
    derive a message from God out of them. But these men's dreams defied
    psychoanalysis because they were so weird and unnatural.

    Had they been at liberty, they no doubt would have contacted one of
    Pharaoh's astrologers, or an occultist or a diviner, or a highly intuitive wiz
    kid to tell them the meanings. But for now they're stuck with Joseph-- a nice
    enough young fellow; but a total unknown in their world regarding matters
    of paranormal precognition.

    Gen 40:9-13 . .Then the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph.
    He said to him: In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. On the
    vine were three branches. It had barely budded, when out came its
    blossoms and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in
    my hand, and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh's cup,
    and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.

    . . . Joseph said to him: This is its interpretation: The three branches
    are three days. In three days Pharaoh will pardon you and restore
    you to your post; you will place Pharaoh's cup in his hand, as was
    your custom formerly when you were his cupbearer.

    From whence Joseph got his interpretation isn't stated. Genesis doesn't say
    he heard a voice, nor does it clearly say that God gave Joseph the
    interpretation. For all Joseph knew, (and them too) he was just taking a wild
    guess. It probably came right out of his head sort of like intuition or an
    imaginative locution.

    Gen 40:14 . . But remember me when all is well with you again,
    and do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh, so as to free
    me from this place.

    Don't worry, he won't; nor did he promise to.

    Gen 40:15 . . For in truth, I was kidnapped from the land of the
    Hebrews; nor have I done anything here that they should have put
    me in the dungeon.

    Joseph was telling the truth, but not the whole truth. He was in prison for
    the crime of rape. Whether he actually did it or not is immaterial. And he
    wasn't realistic: Joseph couldn't reasonably expect a courtier to take the
    word of a criminal; and a slave at that.

    Gen 40:16a . .When the chief baker saw how favorably he had
    interpreted,

    Apparently, for reasons unstated, the baker was somewhat reluctant to
    share his dream with Joseph at first, but relented when the first dream had a
    happy ending.

    Gen 40:16b-17 . . he said to Joseph: In my dream, similarly, there
    were three openwork baskets on my head. In the uppermost basket
    were all kinds of food for Pharaoh that a baker prepares; and the
    birds were eating it out of the basket above my head.

    Birds are usually an ill omen in Scripture; sort of like the connotation borne
    by serpents. So, now it comes out why the baker was reluctant to tell his
    dream. If Pharaoh ever suspected that his food was being picked over by
    birds, he would be very disappointed in the quality of the care that a
    potentate had a right to expect from his own personal team of cooks. Food
    left uncovered, exposed and out in the open, is certainly not food fit for a
    king.

    The baker's dream may have been his subconscious at work reminiscing the
    error of his ways. Up till now, the baker had no doubt insisted upon his
    innocence; which was nothing less than feigned since he knew very well with
    whom the real fault lay between himself and the cupbearer.

    Apparently Pharaoh had actually gotten some sort of food poisoning, and the
    investigation underway by Potiphar sought to find the source; and likely to
    determine if it was in any way evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate
    Pharaoh.
    _
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  11. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 40:18-23

    Gen 40:18-19 . . Joseph answered: This is its interpretation: The
    three baskets are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift off your
    head and gibbet you upon a pole; and the birds will pick off your
    flesh.


    It's lucky for the baker that he would be already dead before the gibbeting
    because a common method of gibbeting in those days was impaling; which
    was a grizzly spectacle. Wooden poles, about three to four inches in
    diameter were sharpened to a pencil point and forcibly inserted into the
    abdomen, up into the rib cage to catch on the spine in back of the throat;
    and the pole was then set upright to suspend the victim above the ground
    like human shish kabob.

    I'm looking here at an impaling on an Assyrian stone relief-- in the
    July/August 2006 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review --commissioned by
    Sennacherib for his palace at Ninevah to celebrate the capture of Lachish.
    The victims are three Israelites who still have their heads; strongly
    suggesting that they were alive when the poles were run into their bellies
    and up into their upper torsos.

    Nobody could possibly survive an injury like that for more than a few
    seconds. The pole would not only penetrate the stomach, but also the liver,
    diaphragm, lungs, some large blood vessels, and the bronchial tubes;
    resulting in almost instant death-- quite excruciating, and very bloody.

    Public impaling was no doubt a very effective deterrent to insurrection; and
    nobody in those days seemed overly concerned about executing criminals in
    a "humane" manner. Cruel and unusual punishments were the norm; and
    nobody dared stage an "Occupy Wall Street" protest about them lest their
    days end in like fashion.

    Gen 40:20a . . Pharaoh's birthday came three days later, and he
    gave a banquet for all his officials and household staff.


    What really is the purpose of a birthday party anyway if not to celebrate the
    continuance of your own existence?

    For guys in Pharaoh's position (e.g. Kim Jong Un of N. Korea, Robert Mugabe
    of Zimbabwe, and Thein Sein of Myanmar) life is good: better than what you
    could ever hope to ask for; and of course that's cause for celebration. But for
    the majority of their subjects, life wasn't all that good, and nothing to
    celebrate. No doubt relatively few Egyptians in that day derived a significant
    amount of pleasure from their own existence.

    People normally count Job as one of the most righteous men who ever lived,
    yet when he lost his health and wealth, Job cursed the day of his birth and
    wished he was never born. (Job 3:1-26)

    Gen 40:20b-23 . . He sent for his chief cup-bearer and chief baker,
    and they were brought to him from the prison. He then restored the
    chief cup-bearer to his former position, but he sentenced the chief
    baker to be impaled on a pole, just as Joseph had predicted.
    Pharaoh's cup-bearer, however, promptly forgot all about Joseph,
    never giving him another thought.


    One might wonder how it was possible for the cup-bearer to not be
    thoroughly amazed enough at the fulfillment of Joseph's predictions to begin
    exclaiming his prison experience with such enthusiasm as to totally rivet the
    attention of every single one of Pharaoh's courtiers and instantly secure
    Joseph's freedom.

    But if we take into account the hand of God in the glove of His people's
    history, then it seems reasonable to conclude that God didn't want Joseph in
    the limelight just yet; so he put a mental block in the cup man's head to
    silence him for the time being.

    No doubt when Joseph was apprised of recent developments by his friend
    Potiphar, he was deeply disappointed, and probably a bit consternated too.
    Joseph probably assumed-- and with good reason --that those successful
    predictions were his ticket to freedom at last.

    But even if Pharaoh had taken note of Joseph at this particular point in the
    narrative, he was still Potiphar's property, and would have to remain in
    custody because of his "affair" with Potiphar's wife. Dreams or no dreams,
    does anyone seriously believe that Pharaoh would have taken the word of a
    slave over one of his own trusted courtiers?

    So even had the cup-bearer brought Joseph's ability to Pharaoh's attention,
    it probably wouldn't have succeeded in gaining him the degree of freedom
    he really wanted. In point of fact, it may have even resulted in his death
    because Pharaoh would certainly want to know why Joseph hadn't been
    summarily executed on the spot for rape. No; bringing Joseph to Pharaoh's
    attention at this point would have caused problems for both the slave and
    his master.
    _
     
  12. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:1-8

    Gen 41:1a . .Two years later

    Poor Joseph. He's now at the very threshold of his fourth decade of life and
    still hasn't slept with a girl, nor does he even really have a life of his own. He
    was under his dad's thumb for seventeen years as a kid, and now he's been
    a slave in a foreign country for thirteen; and has nothing to show for it
    whatsoever. Everybody would like their lives to count for something; but it
    looks like Joseph's is slipping away like water through a leaky bucket.

    The very young often don't think far enough ahead. It's not till they hit their
    thirties that the aging process begins to work wonders on their perspective.
    I'm 68 as of this writing, and every time I see someone in their seventies, it
    only serves to make me sad as I realize that it's my own near-future I'm
    looking at. One day I'll look back at 68 and be amazed how young that was
    in comparison. But right now; I feel very old.

    Gen 41:1b-7a . . Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was
    standing by the Nile. And lo, from the Nile there came up seven
    heifers, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. Then
    behold, seven other heifers came up after them from the Nile,
    ragged and bony, and they stood by the other heifers on the bank of
    the Nile. And the ragged and bony heifers ate the seven sleek and fat
    ones. Then Pharaoh awoke.

    . . . And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven
    ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then
    behold, seven ears, shriveled and dehydrated by the east wind,
    sprouted up after them. And the shriveled ears devoured the seven
    plump and full ears.


    Pharaoh's dreams are all the more disturbing because they contain incidents
    that are contrary to nature. Cows, as a rule, aren't carnivorous; and ears of
    grain derive their nourishment from the stems of their own parent plant, not
    dining upon each other.

    The scenes in both dreams are extremely violent with the cows and the ears
    not just sitting down to dinner, but literally attacking their neighbors with
    desperate savagery, like ravenous caribes: eating everything-- flesh, hide,
    hooves, bones, grains, chaff, and all --raw and uncooked.

    Gen 41:7b . .Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.

    The first dream was disturbing enough to wake Pharaoh from his sleep. But
    the second was so vivid and so real that when he awoke, he was actually
    surprised it was just a dream. And with that last dream, I'd not be surprised
    he was very relieved to discover it wasn't a reality.

    Gen 41:8a . .The next morning, as he thought about it, Pharaoh
    became agitated as to what the dreams might mean. So he called for
    all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them about his
    dreams,


    Magicians in those days were not the same as the sleight-of-hand
    entertainers of our own day. Those occultists were scary; they used dark
    arts that actually worked, and they were really and truly in touch with
    paranormal powers. The magicians who opposed Moses (Ex 7:11) were able
    to duplicate several of God's miracles; so ancient magicians were
    legitimately powerful sorcerers and to be seriously reckoned with.

    I think it was mentioned previously that "wise men" were highly educated
    men of extraordinary intelligence; sort of like ancient college professors and
    wiz kids. Although Moses himself isn't stated to have been a wise man; he is
    stated to have been educated in all that Egypt had to offer. (Acts 7:22)

    Incidentally, although Genesis never mentions God directly in Joseph's life,
    Stephen confirms that it was God's providence that made the young man so
    successful, and protected him from mortal harm. (Acts 7:9-10)

    Gen 41:8b . . but not one of them could suggest what they meant.

    No doubt the magicians and wise men would normally have guessed the
    meaning of Pharaoh's dreams in an instant via their connections with the
    dark world. But this time the dark world wasn't responsible for those two
    dreams, and apparently God held the spirits in check and prevented them
    from making any contact whatsoever with Pharaoh's counselors.

    That had to be a very tense moment for the think tank. Potentates have
    been known to execute brain trusts for failure to produce. (Dan 2:1-12)

    One might ask how the dark beings can interpret dreams to foretell future
    events. Well . . there's a lot of activity going on in the unseen world; and
    quite a bit of it is being done by good angels. All that the dark angels have
    to do is spy on the good angels and they can pretty much figure out what's
    coming up.

    Whenever you see men digging a huge, deep, square hole in a city lot, then
    logic and experience tells you that a new building is going up. Well . . the
    dark world has had thousands of years of experience; so factor that in and
    it's not too difficult to understand how they come to know so much about the
    future. And then too, you have to expect that the dark world is digging their
    own holes at the same time; and they'd quite naturally be experts on the
    outcomes of those.
    _
     
  13. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:9-14

    Gen 41:9-13 . .Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh: Today I
    am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his
    servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of
    the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and
    each dream had a meaning of its own.

    . . . Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain
    of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for
    us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things
    turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to
    my position, and the other man was hanged.


    Why wait till now to talk about Josephs' abilities? Well . . first off, God more
    than likely put a mental block in the cupbearers head to forget all about
    Joseph; and that mental block could have been something as simple as a
    very reasonable decision on the cupbearer's part. Pharaoh already had a
    corps of magicians and wise men who were actually very proficient at their
    jobs. What need was there to suggest taking on another one; and a Hebrew
    slave at that?

    No doubt during the performance of his duties over time, the cupbearer had
    seen lots of dreams correctly interpreted, so Joseph's dog and pony show
    was nothing new to him. The kind of mental block where people talk
    themselves out of something, is quite normal and very common. But now,
    circumstances are going to twinge the cupbearer's conscience, not just about
    Josephs' ability, but the fact that Joseph had practically begged the man to
    talk to Pharaoh and get him released as a return for the favor.

    Gen 41:14a . . So Pharaoh sent for Joseph,

    Normally, Egyptians didn't associate with Hebrews (cf. Gen 43:32) and that
    cultural barrier no doubt factored in to the cupbearer's mental block. But
    Pharaoh was at his wit's end, and was favorably disposed to swallow his
    pride for a matter that, to him, seemed of the utmost importance to not only
    himself, but also to the welfare of his whole country.

    Gen 41:14b . . and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.

    All this was done so that Joseph could appear in court that very day, not
    some other time. Pharaoh was anxious.

    Gen 41:14c . .When he had shaved and changed his clothes,

    Shaving for an Egyptian meant not only trimming and sculpting their beards
    (by now, Joseph must have looked like Rumpelstiltskin) but also cutting their
    hair; actually shaving their scalps bald like Vin Diesel. According to
    Herodotus, the Egyptians had extreme care for cleanliness and would let
    their hair and beards grow out only during periods of mourning.

    Gen 41:14d . . he came before Pharaoh.

    Jiminy! Here's this no-account sheep rancher from the outback getting the
    full-on attention of one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful,
    monarchs in the world of that day!

    You know, there comes a day-- and that day may never come for some
    people --when you get that big break. It's at that moment when you better
    have your ducks in a row and your peas in their pods because opportunity
    knocks only for those who are prepared for it. For all others, it's bye-bye;
    and don't call us; we'll call you-- or worse. If Joseph blows his big moment,
    he could very well end up not just sent back to prison for life; but gibbeted
    just like the baker. This is a tense moment, and somebody's life is about to
    change.
    _
     
  14. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:15-24

    Gen 41:15 . . I had a dream last night; Pharaoh told him; and none
    of these men can tell me what it means. But I have heard that you
    can interpret dreams, and that is why I have summoned you.


    Potiphar of course would have been responsible for delivering Joseph, and
    probably informed him of the purpose. But just to set his mind at ease, I'm
    assuming Pharaoh himself personally informs Joseph of the reason why he's
    there because when prisoners like Joseph were summoned to a Pharaoh, it
    was more than likely for trial.

    Gen 41:16 . . It is beyond my power to do this; Joseph replied. But
    God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease.


    A verse like that is ambiguous since the Hebrew word translated "God" in
    that verse is plural so that verse could just as accurately be read: "But the
    gods will tell you what it means . . ." However, Pharaoh would have no
    problem with the god being Yhvh because his land was literally infested with
    gods and were a common part of everyday Egyptian life.

    Although Mr. Pharaoh is probably not going to like what he hears, at least
    he'll have the peace of mind of knowing what to expect. How many of us
    really want our doctors to lie to us? No, we want the truth; even if it's
    terminal cancer.

    Gen 41:17a . . So Pharaoh told him the dream.

    Pharaoh is really grasping at straws here since Joseph had no credentials nor
    could produce any references aside from the cup-bearer's to recommend
    him and vouch for his skills; and he had only one successful interpretation to
    his credit thus far; so you can see just how desperate Pharaoh really is.

    Gen 41:17b . . I was standing on the bank of the Nile River; he
    said.


    The Nile River's role in the dream is highly significant since it was a major
    factor in Egypt's economy; especially its agriculture. Every year the Nile
    overflowed it banks; leaving behind a deposit of silt; which kept the land's
    flood plain replenished with a nice new layer of fresh topsoil. Take away the
    Nile's flooding, and eventually the soils would become depleted in an era
    when hardly anybody knew anything about crop rotation.

    Not only that, but winds coming in from the eastern deserts would not only
    dry the soils out and blow them away, but in the process leave behind sands
    that would eventually render the land unproductive like during America's
    depression era when its croplands turned into dust bowls.

    Lower the Nile's water level significantly, and it would make irrigation very
    difficult in a time without pumps powered by internal combustion engines or
    electric motors.

    Joseph is going to predict a famine; and in those days, as even now, famines
    were caused by insufficient rainfall. Reduced rainfall results in less natural
    irrigation and less runoff, so that Egypt's worst fears will be realized: crops
    will dry up, the Nile won't overflow its banks, and its levels will shrink.

    Back in chapter 2, Genesis says that a flow welled up from the ground to
    water the whole surface of the earth, and a river watered the garden of
    Eden. River systems irrigate the subsoil and replenish aquifers. Lower a river
    system too much, and see what happens.

    I can recall an instance, I think it was somewhere in Australia, where the
    natural aquifer below a farmer's land went down because a marsh nearby
    was drained for commercial purposes. The aquifer was like a dam. When it
    went down, salt water moved in to take its place and the stuff percolated up
    and flooded the man's property. All his trees died and the land became good
    for nothing. Tamper with nature too much; and nature will tamper with you.

    Gen 41:18a . . when out of the river

    That is so perfect because the Nile was Egypt's source of life; so that
    whatever happened to the Nile, or whatever the Nile produced, effected
    Egyptian life in a big way.

    During Moses' confrontation with Pharaoh in the book of Exodus, the Nile
    was turned into blood (Ex 7:17-25), and subsequently Egypt's streams,
    rivers, ponds, and their pools. Next, God made the Nile produce myriads of
    frogs (Ex 8:1-6), so that the frogs were so thick, they became a serious
    infestation. So then, the Nile, which ordinarily was a blessing, became a
    superfund site.

    Gen 41:18b-24a . . there came up seven heifers, sleek and fat; and
    they grazed in the marsh grass. After them, seven other heifers
    came up-- ragged and bony, I had never seen such ugly cows in all
    the land of Egypt. The hideous heifers ate up the seven fat heifers
    that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell
    that they had done so; they looked just as hideous as before. Then I
    woke up.

    . . . In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good,
    growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted--
    withered and thin and dehydrated by the east wind. The thin heads
    of grain swallowed up the seven good heads.


    This second dream sounds like a redux of The Little Shop Of Horrors.

    Gen 41:24b . . I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it
    to me.


    Since Pharaoh's brain trust couldn't figure out the dreams, then they
    certainly wouldn't be able to devise effective contingency plans to deal with
    their meanings. It's always nice to know the future so you can get ready for
    it; and certainly nobody likes to be kept in the dark.
    _
     
  15. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:25-32

    Gen 41:25a . .Then Joseph said to Pharaoh:

    Note Joseph's quick response time. He didn't even go off and pray about it
    and wait for an answer from God-- no: right to it. Since Genesis doesn't say
    that God spoke inside Joseph's head, or by an audible dictation that only his
    own ears could hear; then I have to assume he figured out the meanings of
    those dreams by intuition.

    That's not an unreasonable assumption. Even in the secular world, there are
    people who have the Midas touch; good investments just seem to come
    second nature to them. And how about "gifted" musicians, painters, and
    sculptors? I once watched spell bound as a young man drew pencil drawings
    of super heroes. He made no erasures, and the heroes came out in perfect
    physical proportion; in any posture he chose for them; and viewed from any
    angle.

    I asked him how he did it. He said he didn't know; they just came out. Well;
    Joseph's gift wasn't music, or charcoal, or pencil, or mathematics, or paints,
    or sculpture, or architecture, or engineering. His gift was dreams; and he
    was really good at it too. But if you were to ask him how he did it; he'd not
    answer "I don't know; they just come out". Instead; he would no doubt
    answer it was a gift from the gods; especially one god in particular.

    Gen 41:25b-32 . . Both dreams mean the same thing. God was
    telling you what he is about to do. The seven fat cows and the seven
    plump heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The
    seven thin, ugly cows and the seven withered heads of grain
    represent seven years of famine. This will happen just as I have
    described it, for God has shown you what he is about to do.

    . . .The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity
    throughout the land of Egypt. But afterward there will be seven
    years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten and
    wiped out. Famine will destroy the land. This famine will be so
    terrible that even the memory of the good years will be erased. As
    for having the dream twice, it means that the matter has been
    decreed by God and that he will make these events happen soon.


    The "twice" method was first seen in Gen 37:5-11. Peter's vision (Acts 10:9
    17) was the same one three times over, while Joseph's and Pharaoh's two
    dreams apiece were redundant, indicating that God meant business and
    wasn't going to change His mind regarding this matter. You know though,
    with some people, no matter how many times, or in how many ways, you try
    to tell them something, they refuse to listen; like when a girl keeps saying
    NO to a boy's advances and he just keeps coming on anyway because for
    some strange reason the boy thinks she doesn't mean it; and he's somehow
    convinced that her protests aren't serious.

    Everybody accepted Joseph's interpretation without question-- Pharaoh and
    all the magicians and wise men (Gen 41:37) --and that is pretty amazing in
    itself.

    Suppose you were President Obama in San Diego for a one-night campaign
    fund raiser and a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the President said
    he heard that the Border Patrol had an illegal immigrant from Sinaloa in
    custody for rape down in San Ysidro who says he knows exactly how to
    balance the Federal budget, stop processed food from poisoning Americans,
    eradicate genetically engineered crops, solve all your problems with Iran and
    North Korea, and get America out of Afghanistan. Would you be interested? I
    don't think so; you'd have to be pretty desperate.

    I believe that while Pharaoh and his corps of geniuses were listening to
    Joseph's interpretation, God was doing a number on their minds so that they
    would accept what Joseph was telling them; and by the time he finished,
    they were amazed that they hadn't thought of the interpretation themselves
    because it seemed not only quite simple, and obviously true; but also the
    only possible explanation.

    God wasn't bringing all these things to pass for the purpose of embarrassing
    or of dethroning the king of Egypt (not this one anyway). As a matter of
    fact, Pharaoh's control over the country would be strengthened by these
    events. The underlying purpose of it all had to do rather with God's plans
    and purposes for the people of Israel. Therefore, not only did God give
    Pharaoh the dreams, and give Joseph the true interpretation of the dreams,
    but also provided an effective action plan for Egypt's survival.

    People often complain that they can't respect a hell-fire God because He only
    uses the threat of eternal suffering as coercion to get people in line. But the
    Bible's talk of hell and eternal suffering isn't meant to intimidate people. No,
    it's just like Pharaoh's dreams: talk of hell and eternal suffering is meant as
    an early warning of things to come-- inevitable things.

    A Danger Foreseen;
    Is Half-Avoided.

    Cheyenne Proverb
    _
     
  16. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:33-36

    Gen 41:33-36 . . Now therefore I suggest Pharaoh look out a man
    discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh
    do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the
    fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.

    . . . And have them gather all the food of those good years that
    come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them
    keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land
    against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of
    Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.


    A grain czar "wise and discreet" was necessary so that the man appointed
    wouldn't be tempted to profit from his own country's misfortune like so
    many of Wall Street's psychopathic barracudas are wont to do. Thank God
    Pharaoh had the cool to realize that what his country faced was not just long
    lines at the gas pumps, but nothing less than a full blown national
    emergency.

    On the other hand, a central bureaucracy could easily lead to despotism, red
    tape, favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, corruption, payoffs, bribes, artificial
    shortages, black marketing, and political manipulation; especially if all the
    available food supplies were in the hands of self-serving corporations like
    ENRON, Monsanto, Bechtel, and Nestlé.

    The success of Joseph's plan relied heavily upon the integrity of its
    administrator. The right man would be a savior; the wrong man could
    become a tyrant; and if the top man was a crook, everybody under him
    could be expected to be crooked too, and instead of a program intended to
    help the poor, it would only serve as a golden opportunity to line the pockets
    of officials like Indian Agents of the old west who embezzled Native
    Americans out of thousands of dollars worth of food, tools, livestock,
    implements, shelter, and clothing.

    It's been shown by historians that tithing was practiced in ancient Egypt and
    other nations, as a form of taxes or tribute to the king; but a 20 percent levy
    would be very unusual, and might well be resisted, especially if enacted by
    an unpopular sovereign. Thus, the chief administrator of Joseph's plan would
    have to be skilled in diplomacy and persuasion: a veritable expert on how to
    win friends and influence people.

    Actually, the 20 percent wasn't a hardship. Egypt's agricultural production
    was so good that no doubt at least 20 percent went to waste anyway even
    after all the people were satisfied and Egypt's export commitments were
    fulfilled. (Here in the USA, we waste upwards of 40% of our annual
    purchases of food)

    Some citizens might gripe at first, but it's hard to feel deprived when things
    are going good. The seven years of plenty would be a time of bumper crops
    and overabundance; and heck, you could give the children's food to the dogs
    and not hurt them. The only real malcontents in Egypt would be people who
    are never happy about anything anyway.

    Americans themselves have so much left over that there's enough perfectly
    good food thrown out in the dumpsters behind super markets and fast food
    chains like Wendy's, Carl's Jr, Subway, McDonalds. Arby's, Taco Bell,
    Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King to easily feed every homeless
    person in the USA three meals a day. And that's not even counting all the
    other restaurants and food courts that are tossing out literally tons of edible
    garbage every hour of the business day.

    Although someone might get the wrong impression, there was really no
    indication in Joseph's presentation that he was throwing his hat in the ring.
    Such a thought could hardly have crossed his sheep-herder's mind. The last
    thing Joseph wanted was a long-term commitment to Federal employment in
    a foreign country when the only thing on his mind was getting back home to
    his dad in Hebron.

    Joseph was not only an alien, but a slave; and a jailbird accused of rape. He
    had never held a political office of any kind whatsoever. His only experience
    in business management was the oversight of Potiphar's household affairs;
    nor had he any experience in either running or participating in a bureaucracy
    of the magnitude of which he spoke.

    But there are people like Joseph who have a God-given natural aptitude in
    certain areas. The don't need training and they don't need experience.
    They're like some combat platoon sergeants who, when you throw them into
    the mouths of canons, don't panic and don't get flustered. They perform like
    they've been doing that sort of thing all their lives.

    Joseph probably wasn't aware that he had a God-given knack for running a
    big show like a national food bank. But God was, and that's exactly why He's
    going to persuade those big shots to put His own man in charge because the
    very survival of the people of Israel heavily depends upon an effective
    contingency to meet those inevitable seven years of famine; and even after
    the famine ended, there would still yet be a time of recovery before Egypt
    got back up to speed.
    _
     
  17. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:37-46a

    Gen 41:37-38 . . Joseph's suggestions were well received by
    Pharaoh and his advisers. And Pharaoh said to his courtiers: Could
    we find another like him, a man in whom is the spirit of the gods?


    If there was one thing those old-time pagans valued, it was a connection to
    the spirit world, and they sensed that Joseph had it. I think they were not
    only in awe of him, but maybe even just a bit afraid of him too.

    The Hebrew word for "gods" is 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is both plural
    and ambiguous, so you could just as easily translate it gods as God; but in
    the Egypt of that day and age, "gods" makes more sense.

    Joseph is going to become very popular with Pharaoh, and it's all to the one
    true god's credit.

    "God was with him . . . and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of
    Pharaoh, king of Egypt." (Acts 7:9-10)

    The Greek word for "favor" in that verse is charis (khar'-ece) which is the
    very word translated "grace" in English versions of the New Testament. So
    then, you could say that Joseph found grace in the eyes of Pharaoh just like
    Noah found grace in the eyes of God back in Gen 6:8.

    Putting it all together, it says that Pharaoh was inclined to bless Joseph just
    like God was inclined to bless Noah; viz: to do good for him; provide for him,
    and protect him from harm. God trusted Noah, and assigned him the
    Herculean task of building the ark. Pharaoh trusted Joseph, and assigned
    him the Herculean task of implementing a plan to save his country from
    certain ruin. Noah's ark kept the human race alive. Joseph's plan kept the
    Egyptians alive (and his family too). Quite a few parallels in Noah and
    Joseph.

    But in order for Joseph's plan to work, he had to have absolute power in the
    country of Egypt. Everybody had to fear him so they'd be sure to cooperate.

    Gen 41:39-43 . .Then Pharaoh said to Joseph; Since God has made
    all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.
    You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit
    to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than
    you. So Pharaoh said to Joseph; I hereby put you in charge of the
    whole land of Egypt.

    . . .Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on
    Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold
    chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in
    command, and men shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put
    him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.


    Pharaoh's signet ring was for signing documents and authorizing whatever
    purchases and requisitions Joseph might need to fulfill his duties; and for
    mustering and/or conscripting the necessary manpower to get it all done.
    That signet ring was terrifying. With it, Joseph could actually order people
    gibbeted if he wanted and nobody would question it. (Hag 2:20-23)

    Gen 41:44 . . Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph; Though I am
    Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or
    foot in all the land of Egypt.


    Although Joseph was directly responsible to Pharaoh and to no one else, his
    powers were limited. He couldn't wage war or set foreign policy. He had no
    say in the balance of trade, or the colonization of foreign lands. There were
    other people taking care of those operations. Joseph's jurisdiction for the
    moment was related to the task he was assigned, sort of like the head of
    homeland security, a drug czar, or a FEMA commander. Joseph's position
    was in supreme oversight of Egypt's domestic product.

    Gen 41:45a . . Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Tsophnath
    Pa'neach, and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti
    phera, priest of On.


    Tsophnath Pa'neach was an Egyptian name, same as Moses is an Egyptian
    name; which reflected Joseph's transition from Palestinian goat-herder to a
    naturalized Egyptian citizen; which of course had the effect of emancipating
    him from slavery.

    Poti-phera is essentially the same name as Joseph's original master:
    Potiphar.

    The city of On was possibly Heliopolis, a city dedicated to the worship of the
    Sun god.

    Priests were a highly respected caste in Egypt. Having a father-in-law in the
    priesthood secured Joseph a privileged social status appropriate for a man in
    his position, and no doubt landed some good connections right in his lap.
    There's no record that Joseph protested the marriage, but likely saw it as an
    advantage he could exploit.

    Joseph's fortunes bring to mind the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. For years
    The Terminator was just a big clunky muscleman; an ex body builder from
    Thal bei Graz Austria who made it good in Hollywood, and then one day
    found himself Governor of Cah-lee-forn-yah. Mr. Schwarzenegger though, in
    contrast to Joseph, is ambitious and worked hard for his success; it wasn't
    handed to him on a silver platter like Joseph's, but you kind of get the idea.

    Mr. Schwarzenegger, like Joseph, married well too: a Kennedy girl no less.
    His marriage to Maria Shriver gave him an in with the Kennedy clan and
    access to the speaking and writing skills of an intelligent, widely respected,
    female journalist. A few political pundits are pretty sure that Maria's "Women
    Joining Arnold" website was responsible for gaining her husband a large
    block of female voters in the aftermath of his "groping" accusation. Good
    connections are always an asset in the political world.

    Everything Pharaoh did for Joseph worked in his favor towards giving him a
    highly visible public profile.

    Gen 41:45b-46a . .Thus Joseph emerged in charge of the land of
    Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of
    Pharaoh king of Egypt.


    Joseph went from slave to aristocrat practically overnight; and with neither
    political, nor business experience on his résumé whatsoever.
    _
     
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    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:46b

    Gen 41:46b . . Leaving Pharaoh's presence, Joseph traveled
    through all the land of Egypt.


    That reminds me of how U.S. Presidents fly over disaster areas in a
    helicopter to "assess" the situation. Well Joseph didn't have a whirlybird at
    his disposal. If he was going to assess Egypt's agricultural assets first hand,
    and decide where to strategically locate his granaries, then he would have to
    do it in that spiffy government-provided conveyance that came with his job.

    Joseph would actually get himself dirty down on the ground on Egypt's
    highways, byways, townships, and farmlands, rather than cruising aloft in
    the luxury and comfort of an Air Force One and delegating all the leg work to
    a corps of go-fers and fact-finders.

    Joseph hasn't seen his dad for 13 years now, and if there ever was a golden
    opportunity for him to escape and get back to Canaan, this was it. But he
    couldn't. Joseph was in a catch-22. If he went back home at this point, the
    coming famine might destroy his own family. He had to stay and make sure
    Egypt became the world's bread basket so his kin would have somewhere to
    go and get food when those seven years of desperate want finally came
    along.

    True, Pharaoh could just appoint someone else to the task if Joseph deserted
    his post, but Joseph couldn't take the chance his replacement wouldn't be a
    devil instead of a savior. Sometimes, when you want the job done right, you
    just have to do it yourself.

    Then too, taking off now might cause Pharaoh to lose confidence in Joseph's
    predictions. He might suspect, and who wouldn't, that Joseph made it all up
    just so's he could get out of jail. Then Pharaoh would probably cancel any
    and all preparations for the years ahead; with tragic consequences. No,
    Joseph was stuck.
    _
     
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    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 41:47-52

    Gen 41:47-49 . . During the seven years of abundance the land
    produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those
    seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each
    city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored
    up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much
    that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.


    When there's small amounts to work with, it's easy to use small containers
    to tally it. But Egypt's abundance was so great that it was impractical to tally
    the grain with standard containers. Instead, I would think Joseph did it
    simply by building his silos to a standard size and dimension. So, instead of
    tallying "bushels" of grain, Joseph simplified the process by tallying silos.

    Although storing the grain near the communities where it was grown was a
    practical consideration for later distribution, it was also a wise diplomatic
    move. When people see their hard-earned things carted off to the unknown,
    it makes them nervous about getting their stuff back. Putting his granaries
    nearby, reassured local growers and consumers that Joseph meant well by
    them and wasn't just taxing their produce for personal profit.

    I would like to think that Joseph employed local labor for the construction of
    his granaries rather than contracting it out to a global construction company
    that polished the apple with him via his father-in-law's contacts; thus once
    again showing good faith by injecting wages into local economies. Little by
    little, Joseph was gaining the Egyptians' trust, which must have no doubt
    pleased Pharaoh well and made him feel pretty good about his choice of man
    for the job.

    Meanwhile, back on the home front, Joseph's marriage was holding up okay
    and he became the father of two boys.

    Gen 41:50 . . Before the years of famine came, Joseph became the
    father of two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of
    On, bore to him.


    In the Bible, it's the fathers who determine tribal ancestry; so the two boys
    were Hebrews by birth rather than Egyptians. I don't know how Mr. Poti-
    phera felt about that, but what was he to do? One of the most powerful, if
    not the most powerful, monarchs on earth had arranged his daughter's
    marriage to Joseph so there really wasn't much he could say about it.

    Gen 41:51 . . Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said;
    God has made me forget all my troubles and the family of my father.


    The meaning of Manessah's name in Hebrew is self explanatory. However,
    there is just no way that Joseph forgot all about his family. That verse has to
    be interpreted according to the progress of the narrative.

    I seriously doubt that God deleted Joseph's memory; but rather, helped him
    to get over doting about his misfortunes. Doting can lead to serious
    psychological damage, dark thoughts, and long term depression, and/or in
    the case of anger, it can lead to malice and sleepless nights plotting
    revenge, or rehearsing retorts over and over again to counter something
    someone said that you didn't like.

    Though they weren't ideal, Joseph was at peace with his current
    circumstances. Exactly how God brought him to that point isn't stated. But in
    chapters ahead, Joseph will inform his brothers that his misfortunes actually
    benefited everyone so that Joseph became a savior; not only to Egypt, but
    to his own family as well (Gen 45:4-11, Gen 50:20).

    So then, in the end, Joseph accepted his plight graciously and held no hard
    feelings towards anyone in particular, nor was he blue and sad about being
    away from home all those years because he was fully aware it all worked
    toward the greater good.

    Since Joseph couldn't leave Egypt himself to go home and visit his family,
    then one has to wonder why he didn't dispatch a messenger to let his dad
    know he was okay. Well; for one thing, to do so would have exposed his
    brothers' murderous scheme, and who knows what kind of disharmony that
    would have created in Jacob's home. This was one of those cases where it's
    better to follow the advice of some Beatles' lyrics; "Words of wisdom: let it
    be."

    But seriously, I doubt Jacob would have believed it was actually his very own
    Joseph in Pharaoh's court but would have automatically assumed it was a
    cruel hoax. Later, Joseph is going to be sure that his brothers understand
    that they weren't being told second-hand about his prosperity, nor being fed
    a rumor; but were hearing about it from their long-lost brother's very own
    lips. (Gen 45:12-13)

    Gen 41:52 . . Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said;
    God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.


    Ephraim's name actually means "doubly fruitful" viz: bumper-crop fruitful;
    which is obviously in recognition of God's providence in a place where a man
    of God would certainly least expect to find it.

    I still think that Joseph had given up all hope of having a normal life and a
    family of his own; but as it turns out, he got both anyway in spite of his
    unfortunate circumstances. Maybe he'd rather have married a girl back
    home, but you know what they say: Beggars can't be choosers. At least
    Joseph was no longer a jailed slave locked up as an accused rapist with no
    future at all. Asenath and Poti-phera may not have been Joseph's ideal in
    laws, but things could have turned out a lot worse.
    _
     
  20. Webers_Home

    Webers_Home Well-Known Member

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    .
    Genesis 41:53-57

    Gen 41:53-54 . . At last the seven years of plenty came to an end.
    Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted.
    There were crop failures in all the surrounding countries, too, but in
    Egypt there was plenty of grain in the storehouses.


    Joseph had made no mention of the misfortunes of Egypt's neighbors to
    Pharaoh. But now comes out the reason for Egypt's incredible over
    abundance during the good years. It wasn't meant just to sustain their own
    selves that God had so blessed the Egyptians, no, all around them countries
    were effected, became desperate, and forced to look outside themselves for
    relief.

    In order for the countries all around Egypt to experience the famine, it would
    mean that they too were experiencing severe reductions in annual rainfall.
    Though northern Egypt, around the Nile delta, normally receives very little
    rain to begin with, it's agriculture prospers because of heavy rainfalls way
    down in Africa that feed tributaries flowing into the Nile; e.g. the Blue Nile.
    We're talking about a massive watershed encompassing several thousands
    of square miles of Africa's countryside. And that, added to the surrounding
    countries, really adds up to an incredibly large geographic area effected by
    an unbelievable large-scale drought.

    Gen 41:53-56 . .Throughout the land of Egypt the people began to
    starve. They pleaded with Pharaoh for food, and he told them; Go to
    Joseph and do whatever he tells you. So with severe famine
    everywhere in the land, Joseph opened up the storehouses and sold
    grain to the Egyptians.


    Advocates of a welfare state might question Joseph's ethical integrity and
    want to know why he "sold" grain to his fellow citizens instead of just doling
    it out in soup lines. Well, for one thing, quite a few of the Egyptians had
    good incomes (Ex 3:20-22, Ex 11:2). They were quite prosperous and could
    easily afford to pay-- at least at first. Secondly, Joseph answered to a higher
    power than himself. It was his duty to look out for Pharaoh's best interests,
    and make sure his boss received adequate taxes even during lean years (cf.
    Matt 25:14-30, 1Cor 4:1-2, 1Pet 4:10).

    Gen 41:57 . . And people from surrounding lands also came to
    Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe
    throughout the world.


    The "world" wasn't the whole planet, nor did the drought effect the whole
    planet as the Flood had. The famine was severe throughout the world, but
    not everywhere under the whole sky (cf. Gen 7:19); meaning that wherever
    the famine was, it was severe; as opposed to severe in some places while
    tolerable in others; viz: nobody had it good. Wherever that famine went, if it
    went there at all, then it was all bad rather than some bad and some not so
    bad.

    At this point, Joseph had been away from home for twenty years (cf. Gen
    37:2, Gen 41:46, Gen 41:53) and had seen neither his dad nor his brothers
    even once in all that time. When he was sold into slavery, Joseph was just a
    young teen-ager; now he's in his late thirties. He was just a boy then; now
    he's a man.
    _
     
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