Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) January 13
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Genesis 40:1--42:38

Context
The Cupbearer and the Baker

40:1 After these things happened, the cupbearer 1  to the king of Egypt and the royal baker 2  offended 3  their master, the king of Egypt. 40:2 Pharaoh was enraged with his two officials, 4  the cupbearer and the baker, 40:3 so he imprisoned them in the house of the captain of the guard in the same facility where Joseph was confined. 40:4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be their attendant, and he served them. 5 

They spent some time in custody. 6  40:5 Both of them, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream 7  the same night. 8  Each man’s dream had its own meaning. 9  40:6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were looking depressed. 10  40:7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” 11  40:8 They told him, “We both had dreams, 12  but there is no one to interpret them.” Joseph responded, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell them 13  to me.”

40:9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: 14  “In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. 40:10 On the vine there were three branches. As it budded, its blossoms opened and its clusters ripened into grapes. 40:11 Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes, squeezed them into his 15  cup, and put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 16 

40:12 “This is its meaning,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches represent 17  three days. 40:13 In three more days Pharaoh will reinstate you 18  and restore you to your office. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you did before 19  when you were cupbearer. 40:14 But remember me 20  when it goes well for you, and show 21  me kindness. 22  Make mention 23  of me to Pharaoh and bring me out of this prison, 24  40:15 for I really was kidnapped 25  from the land of the Hebrews and I have done nothing wrong here for which they should put me in a dungeon.”

40:16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the first dream was favorable, 26  he said to Joseph, “I also appeared in my dream and there were three baskets of white bread 27  on my head. 40:17 In the top basket there were baked goods of every kind for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them from the basket that was on my head.”

40:18 Joseph replied, “This is its meaning: The three baskets represent 28  three days. 40:19 In three more days Pharaoh will decapitate you 29  and impale you on a pole. Then the birds will eat your flesh from you.”

40:20 On the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday, so he gave a feast for all his servants. He “lifted up” 30  the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker in the midst of his servants. 40:21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his former position 31  so that he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand, 40:22 but the chief baker he impaled, just as Joseph had predicted. 32  40:23 But the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph – he forgot him. 33 

Joseph’s Rise to Power

41:1 At the end of two full years 34  Pharaoh had a dream. 35  As he was standing by the Nile, 41:2 seven fine-looking, fat cows were coming up out of the Nile, 36  and they grazed in the reeds. 41:3 Then seven bad-looking, thin cows were coming up after them from the Nile, 37  and they stood beside the other cows at the edge of the river. 38  41:4 The bad-looking, thin cows ate the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

41:5 Then he fell asleep again and had a second dream: There were seven heads of grain growing 39  on one stalk, healthy 40  and good. 41:6 Then 41  seven heads of grain, thin and burned by the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 41:7 The thin heads swallowed up the seven healthy and full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 42 

41:8 In the morning he 43  was troubled, so he called for 44  all the diviner-priests 45  of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, 46  but no one could interpret 47  them for him. 48  41:9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures. 49  41:10 Pharaoh was enraged with his servants, and he put me in prison in the house of the captain of the guards – me and the chief baker. 41:11 We each had a dream one night; each of us had a dream with its own meaning. 50  41:12 Now a young man, a Hebrew, a servant 51  of the captain of the guards, 52  was with us there. We told him our dreams, 53  and he interpreted the meaning of each of our respective dreams for us. 54  41:13 It happened just as he had said 55  to us – Pharaoh 56  restored me to my office, but he impaled the baker.” 57 

41:14 Then Pharaoh summoned 58  Joseph. So they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; he shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came before Pharaoh. 41:15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, 59  and there is no one who can interpret 60  it. But I have heard about you, that 61  you can interpret dreams.” 62  41:16 Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, 63  but God will speak concerning 64  the welfare of Pharaoh.” 65 

41:17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing 66  by the edge of the Nile. 41:18 Then seven fat and fine-looking cows were coming up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the reeds. 67  41:19 Then 68  seven other cows came up after them; they were scrawny, very bad-looking, and lean. I had never seen such bad-looking cows 69  as these in all the land of Egypt! 41:20 The lean, bad-looking cows ate up the seven 70  fat cows. 41:21 When they had eaten them, 71  no one would have known 72  that they had done so, for they were just as bad-looking as before. Then I woke up. 41:22 I also saw in my dream 73  seven heads of grain growing on one stalk, full and good. 41:23 Then 74  seven heads of grain, withered and thin and burned with the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 41:24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. So I told all this 75  to the diviner-priests, but no one could tell me its meaning.” 76 

41:25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both dreams of Pharaoh have the same meaning. 77  God has revealed 78  to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 79  41:26 The seven good cows represent seven years, and the seven good heads of grain represent seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 80  41:27 The seven lean, bad-looking cows that came up after them represent seven years, as do the seven empty heads of grain burned with the east wind. They represent 81  seven years of famine. 41:28 This is just what I told 82  Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 41:29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 41:30 But seven years of famine will occur 83  after them, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will devastate 84  the land. 41:31 The previous abundance of the land will not be remembered 85  because of the famine that follows, for the famine will be very severe. 86  41:32 The dream was repeated to Pharaoh 87  because the matter has been decreed 88  by God, and God will make it happen soon. 89 

41:33 “So now Pharaoh should look 90  for a wise and discerning man 91  and give him authority 92  over all the land of Egypt. 41:34 Pharaoh should do 93  this – he should appoint 94  officials 95  throughout the land to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt 96  during the seven years of abundance. 41:35 They should gather all the excess food 97  during these good years that are coming. By Pharaoh’s authority 98  they should store up grain so the cities will have food, 99  and they should preserve it. 100  41:36 This food should be held in storage for the land in preparation for the seven years of famine that will occur throughout the land of Egypt. In this way the land will survive the famine.” 101 

41:37 This advice made sense to Pharaoh and all his officials. 102  41:38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find a man like Joseph, 103  one in whom the Spirit of God is present?” 104  41:39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning 105  as you are! 41:40 You will oversee my household, and all my people will submit to your commands. 106  Only I, the king, will be greater than you. 107 

41:41 “See here,” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I place 108  you in authority over all the land of Egypt.” 109  41:42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his own hand and put it on Joseph’s. He clothed him with fine linen 110  clothes and put a gold chain around his neck. 41:43 Pharaoh 111  had him ride in the chariot used by his second-in-command, 112  and they cried out before him, “Kneel down!” 113  So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 41:44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission 114  no one 115  will move his hand or his foot 116  in all the land of Egypt.” 41:45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. 117  He also gave him Asenath 118  daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, 119  to be his wife. So Joseph took charge of 120  all the land of Egypt.

41:46 Now Joseph was 30 years old 121  when he began serving 122  Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph was commissioned by 123  Pharaoh and was in charge of 124  all the land of Egypt. 41:47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced large, bountiful harvests. 125  41:48 Joseph 126  collected all the excess food 127  in the land of Egypt during the seven years and stored it in the cities. 128  In every city he put the food gathered from the fields around it. 41:49 Joseph stored up a vast amount of grain, like the sand of the sea, 129  until he stopped measuring it because it was impossible to measure.

41:50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine came. 130  Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, was their mother. 131  41:51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 132  saying, 133  “Certainly 134  God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 41:52 He named the second child Ephraim, 135  saying, 136  “Certainly 137  God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

41:53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 41:54 Then the seven years of famine began, 138  just as Joseph had predicted. There was famine in all the other lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 41:55 When all the land of Egypt experienced the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to all the people of Egypt, 139  “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”

41:56 While the famine was over all the earth, 140  Joseph opened the storehouses 141  and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 41:57 People from every country 142  came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the famine was severe throughout the earth.

Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt

42:1 When Jacob heard 143  there was grain in Egypt, he 144  said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?” 145  42:2 He then said, “Look, I hear that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us 146  so that we may live 147  and not die.” 148 

42:3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 42:4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, 149  for he said, 150  “What if some accident 151  happens 152  to him?” 42:5 So Israel’s sons came to buy grain among the other travelers, 153  for the famine was severe in the land of Canaan.

42:6 Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country. 154  Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down 155  before him with 156  their faces to the ground. 42:7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger 157  to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered, 158  “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.” 159 

42:8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 42:9 Then Joseph remembered 160  the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!” 161 

42:10 But they exclaimed, 162  “No, my lord! Your servants have come to buy grain for food! 42:11 We are all the sons of one man; we are honest men! Your servants are not spies.”

42:12 “No,” he insisted, “but you have come to see if our land is vulnerable.” 163  42:13 They replied, “Your servants are from a family of twelve brothers. 164  We are the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father at this time, 165  and one is no longer alive.” 166 

42:14 But Joseph told them, “It is just as I said to you: 167  You are spies! 42:15 You will be tested in this way: As surely as Pharaoh lives, 168  you will not depart from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 42:16 One of you must go and get 169  your brother, while 170  the rest of you remain in prison. 171  In this way your words may be tested to see if 172  you are telling the truth. 173  If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 42:17 He imprisoned 174  them all for three days. 42:18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say 175  and you will live, 176  for I fear God. 177  42:19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison 178  while the rest of you go 179  and take grain back for your hungry families. 180  42:20 But you must bring 181  your youngest brother to me. Then 182  your words will be verified 183  and you will not die.” They did as he said. 184 

42:21 They said to one other, 185  “Surely we’re being punished 186  because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was 187  when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress 188  has come on us!” 42:22 Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I say to you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy,’ but you wouldn’t listen? So now we must pay for shedding his blood!” 189  42:23 (Now 190  they did not know that Joseph could understand them, 191  for he was speaking through an interpreter.) 192  42:24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned around and spoke to them again, 193  he had Simeon taken 194  from them and tied up 195  before their eyes.

42:25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill 196  their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. His orders were carried out. 197  42:26 So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. 198 

42:27 When one of them 199  opened his sack to get feed for his donkey at their resting place, 200  he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. 201  42:28 He said to his brothers, “My money was returned! Here it is in my sack!” They were dismayed; 202  they turned trembling one to another 203  and said, “What in the world has God done to us?” 204 

42:29 They returned to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him all the things that had happened to them, saying, 42:30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us 205  as if we were 206  spying on the land. 42:31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies! 42:32 We are from a family of twelve brothers; we are the sons of one father. 207  One is no longer alive, 208  and the youngest is with our father at this time 209  in the land of Canaan.’

42:33 “Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain 210  for your hungry households and go. 42:34 But bring your youngest brother back to me so I will know 211  that you are honest men and not spies. 212  Then I will give your brother back to you and you may move about freely in the land.’” 213 

42:35 When they were emptying their sacks, there was each man’s bag of money in his sack! When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were afraid. 42:36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone. 214  Simeon is gone. 215  And now you want to take 216  Benjamin! Everything is against me.”

42:37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may 217  put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care 218  and I will bring him back to you.” 42:38 But Jacob 219  replied, “My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. 220  If an accident happens to him on the journey you have to make, then you will bring down my gray hair 221  in sorrow to the grave.” 222 

1 sn The Hebrew term cupbearer corresponds to the Egyptian wb’, an official (frequently a foreigner) who often became a confidant of the king and wielded political power (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 248). Nehemiah held this post in Persia.

2 sn The baker may be the Egyptian retehti, the head of the bakers, who had privileges in the royal court.

3 sn The Hebrew verb translated offended here is the same one translated “sin” in 39:9. Perhaps there is an intended contrast between these officials, who deserve to be imprisoned, and Joseph, who refused to sin against God, but was thrown into prison in spite of his innocence.

4 tn The Hebrew word סָרִיס (saris), used here of these two men and of Potiphar (see 39:1), normally means “eunuch.” But evidence from Akkadian texts shows that in early times the title was used of a court official in general. Only later did it become more specialized in its use.

5 sn He served them. This is the same Hebrew verb, meaning “to serve as a personal attendant,” that was translated “became [his] servant” in 39:4.

6 tn Heb “they were days in custody.”

7 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”

8 tn Heb “a man his dream in one night.”

9 tn Heb “a man according to the interpretation of his dream.”

10 tn The verb זָעַף (zaaf) only occurs here and Dan 1:10. It means “to be sick, to be emaciated,” probably in this case because of depression.

11 tn Heb “why are your faces sad today?”

12 tn Heb “a dream we dreamed.”

13 tn The word “them” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

14 tn The Hebrew text adds “and he said to him.” This has not been translated because it is redundant in English.

15 tn Heb “the cup of Pharaoh.” The pronoun “his” has been used here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

16 sn The cupbearer’s dream is dominated by sets of three: three branches, three stages of growth, and three actions of the cupbearer.

17 tn Heb “the three branches [are].”

18 tn Heb “Pharaoh will lift up your head.” This Hebrew idiom usually refers to restoring dignity, office, or power. It is comparable to the modern saying “someone can hold his head up high.”

19 tn Heb “according to the former custom.”

20 tn Heb “but you have remembered me with you.” The perfect verbal form may be used rhetorically here to emphasize Joseph’s desire to be remembered. He speaks of the action as already being accomplished in order to make it clear that he expects it to be done. The form can be translated as volitional, expressing a plea or a request.

21 tn This perfect verbal form with the prefixed conjunction (and the two that immediately follow) carry the same force as the preceding perfect.

22 tn Heb “deal with me [in] kindness.”

23 tn The verb זָכַר (zakhar) in the Hiphil stem means “to cause to remember, to make mention, to boast.” The implication is that Joseph would be pleased for them to tell his story and give him the credit due him so that Pharaoh would release him. Since Pharaoh had never met Joseph, the simple translation of “cause him to remember me” would mean little.

24 tn Heb “house.” The word “prison” has been substituted in the translation for clarity.

25 tn The verb גָּנַב (ganav) means “to steal,” but in the Piel/Pual stem “to steal away.” The idea of “kidnap” would be closer to the sense, meaning he was stolen and carried off. The preceding infinitive absolute underscores the point Joseph is making.

26 tn Heb “that [the] interpretation [was] good.” The words “the first dream” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

27 tn Or “three wicker baskets.” The meaning of the Hebrew noun חֹרִי (khori, “white bread, cake”) is uncertain; some have suggested the meaning “wicker” instead. Comparison with texts from Ebla suggests the meaning “pastries made with white flour” (M. Dahood, “Eblaite h¬a-rí and Genesis 40,16 h£o„rî,” BN 13 [1980]: 14-16).

28 tn Heb “the three baskets [are].”

29 tn Heb “Pharaoh will lift up your head from upon you.” Joseph repeats the same expression from the first interpretation (see v. 13), but with the added words “from upon you,” which allow the statement to have a more literal and ominous meaning – the baker will be decapitated.

30 tn The translation puts the verb in quotation marks because it is used rhetorically here and has a double meaning. With respect to the cup bearer it means “reinstate” (see v. 13), but with respect to the baker it means “decapitate” (see v. 19).

31 tn Heb “his cupbearing.”

32 tn Heb “had interpreted for them.”

sn The dreams were fulfilled exactly as Joseph had predicted, down to the very detail. Here was confirmation that Joseph could interpret dreams and that his own dreams were still valid. It would have been a tremendous encouragement to his faith, but it would also have been a great disappointment to spend two more years in jail.

33 tn The wayyiqtol verbal form here has a reiterative or emphasizing function.

34 tn Heb “two years, days.”

35 tn Heb “was dreaming.”

36 tn Heb “And look, he was standing by the Nile, and look, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, attractive of appearance and fat of flesh.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the audience to see the dream through Pharaoh’s eyes.

37 tn Heb “And look, seven other cows were coming up after them from the Nile, bad of appearance and thin of flesh.”

38 tn Heb “the Nile.” This has been replaced by “the river” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

39 tn Heb “coming up.”

40 tn Heb “fat.”

41 tn Heb “And look.”

42 tn Heb “And look, a dream.”

sn Pharaoh’s two dreams, as explained in the following verses, pertained to the economy of Egypt. Because of the Nile River, the land of Egypt weathered all kinds of famines – there was usually grain in Egypt, and if there was grain and water the livestock would flourish. These two dreams, however, indicated that poverty would overtake plenty and that the blessing of the herd and the field would cease.

43 tn Heb “his spirit.”

44 tn Heb “he sent and called,” which indicates an official summons.

45 tn The Hebrew term חַרְטֹם (khartom) is an Egyptian loanword (hyr-tp) that describes a class of priests who were skilled in such interpretations.

46 tn The Hebrew text has the singular (though the Samaritan Pentateuch reads the plural). If retained, the singular must be collective for the set of dreams. Note the plural pronoun “them,” referring to the dreams, in the next clause. However, note that in v. 15 Pharaoh uses the singular to refer to the two dreams. In vv. 17-24 Pharaoh seems to treat the dreams as two parts of one dream (see especially v. 22).

47 tn “there was no interpreter.”

48 tn Heb “for Pharaoh.” The pronoun “him” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.

49 tn Heb “sins, offenses.” He probably refers here to the offenses that landed him in prison (see 40:1).

50 tn Heb “and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he, each according to the interpretation of his dream we dreamed.”

51 tn Or “slave.”

52 tn Heb “a servant to the captain of the guards.” On this construction see GKC 419-20 §129.c.

53 tn The words “our dreams” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

54 tn Heb “and he interpreted for us our dreams, each according to his dream he interpreted.”

55 tn Heb “interpreted.”

56 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

57 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the baker) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

58 tn Heb “and Pharaoh sent and called,” indicating a summons to the royal court.

59 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”

60 tn Heb “there is no one interpreting.”

61 tn Heb “saying.”

62 tn Heb “you hear a dream to interpret it,” which may mean, “you only have to hear a dream to be able to interpret it.”

63 tn Heb “not within me.”

64 tn Heb “God will answer.”

65 tn The expression שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה (shÿlom paroh) is here rendered “the welfare of Pharaoh” because the dream will be about life in his land. Some interpret it to mean an answer of “peace” – one that will calm his heart, or give him the answer that he desires (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT).

66 tn Heb “In my dream look, I was standing.” The use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here (and also in vv. 18, 19, 22, 23) invites the hearer (within the context of the narrative, Joseph; but in the broader sense the reader or hearer of the Book of Genesis) to observe the scene through Pharaoh’s eyes.

67 tn Heb “and look, from the Nile seven cows were coming up, fat of flesh and attractive of appearance, and they grazed in the reeds.”

68 tn Heb “And look.”

69 tn The word “cows” is supplied here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

70 tn Heb “the seven first fat cows.”

71 tn Heb “when they went inside them.”

72 tn Heb “it was not known.”

73 tn Heb “and I saw in my dream and look.”

74 tn Heb “And look.”

75 tn The words “all this” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

76 tn Heb “and there was no one telling me.”

77 tn Heb “the dream of Pharaoh is one.”

78 tn Heb “declared.”

79 tn The active participle here indicates what is imminent.

80 tn Heb “one dream it is.”

81 tn Heb “are.” Another option is to translate, “There will be seven years of famine.”

82 tn Heb “it is the word that I spoke.”

83 tn The perfect with the vav consecutive continues the time frame of the preceding participle, which has an imminent future nuance here.

84 tn The Hebrew verb כָּלָה (kalah) in the Piel stem means “to finish, to destroy, to bring an end to.” The severity of the famine will ruin the land of Egypt.

85 tn Heb “known.”

86 tn Or “heavy.”

87 tn Heb “and concerning the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh two times.” The Niphal infinitive here is the object of the preposition; it is followed by the subjective genitive “of the dream.”

88 tn Heb “established.”

89 tn The clause combines a participle and an infinitive construct: God “is hurrying…to do it,” meaning he is going to do it soon.

90 tn Heb “let Pharaoh look.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.

91 tn Heb “a man discerning and wise.” The order of the terms is rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

92 tn Heb “and let him set him.”

93 tn The imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance here. The Samaritan Pentateuch has a jussive form here, “and let [Pharaoh] do.”

94 tn Heb “and let him appoint.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.

95 tn Heb “appointees.” The noun is a cognate accusative of the preceding verb. Since “appoint appointees” would be redundant in English, the term “officials” was used in the translation instead.

96 tn Heb “and he shall collect a fifth of the land of Egypt.” The language is figurative (metonymy); it means what the land produces, i.e., the harvest.

97 tn Heb “all the food.”

98 tn Heb “under the hand of Pharaoh.”

99 tn Heb “[for] food in the cities.” The noun translated “food” is an adverbial accusative in the sentence.

100 tn The perfect with vav (ו) consecutive carries the same force as the sequence of jussives before it.

101 tn Heb “and the land will not be cut off in the famine.”

102 tn Heb “and the matter was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.”

103 tn Heb “like this,” but the referent could be misunderstood to be a man like that described by Joseph in v. 33, rather than Joseph himself. For this reason the proper name “Joseph” has been supplied in the translation.

104 tn The rhetorical question expects the answer “No, of course not!”

105 tn Heb “as discerning and wise.” The order has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

106 tn Heb “and at your mouth (i.e., instructions) all my people will kiss.” G. J. Wenham translates this “shall kowtow to your instruction” (Genesis [WBC], 2:395). Although there is some textual support for reading “will be judged, ruled by you,” this is probably an attempt to capture the significance of this word. Wenham lists a number of references where individuals have tried to make connections with other words or expressions – such as a root meaning “order themselves” lying behind “kiss,” or an idiomatic idea of “kiss” meaning “seal the mouth,” and so “be silent and submit to.” See K. A. Kitchen, “The Term Nsq in Genesis 41:40,” ExpTim 69 (1957): 30; D. S. Sperling, “Genesis 41:40: A New Interpretation,” JANESCU 10 (1978): 113-19.

107 tn Heb “only the throne, I will be greater than you.”

108 tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is descriptive of a present action. Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, in which case Pharaoh describes a still future action as if it had already occurred in order to emphasize its certainty. In this case one could translate “I have placed” or “I will place.” The verb נָתַן (natan) is translated here as “to place in authority [over].”

109 sn Joseph became the grand vizier of the land of Egypt. See W. A. Ward, “The Egyptian Office of Joseph,” JSS 5 (1960): 144-50; and R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 129-31.

110 tn The Hebrew word שֵׁשׁ (shesh) is an Egyptian loanword that describes the fine linen robes that Egyptian royalty wore. The clothing signified Joseph’s rank.

111 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

112 tn Heb “and he caused him to ride in the second chariot which was his.”

113 tn The verb form appears to be a causative imperative from a verbal root meaning “to kneel.” It is a homonym of the word “bless” (identical in root letters but not related etymologically).

114 tn Heb “apart from you.”

115 tn Heb “no man,” but here “man” is generic, referring to people in general.

116 tn The idiom “lift up hand or foot” means “take any action” here.

117 sn The meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah, is uncertain. Many recent commentators have followed the proposal of G. Steindorff that it means “the god has said, ‘he will live’” (“Der Name Josephs Saphenat-Pa‘neach,” ZÄS 31 [1889]: 41-42); others have suggested “the god speaks and lives” (see BDB 861 s.v. צָפְנָת פַּעְנֵחַ); “the man he knows” (J. Vergote, Joseph en Égypte, 145); or “Joseph [who is called] áIp-àankh” (K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 1262).

118 sn The name Asenath may mean “she belongs to the goddess Neit” (see HALOT 74 s.v. אָֽסְנַת). A novel was written at the beginning of the first century entitled Joseph and Asenath, which included a legendary account of the conversion of Asenath to Joseph’s faith in Yahweh. However, all that can be determined from this chapter is that their children received Hebrew names. See also V. Aptowitzer, “Asenath, the Wife of Joseph – a Haggadic Literary-Historical Study,” HUCA 1 (1924): 239-306.

119 sn On (also in v. 50) is another name for the city of Heliopolis.

120 tn Heb “and he passed through.”

121 tn Heb “a son of thirty years.”

122 tn Heb “when he stood before.”

123 tn Heb “went out from before.”

124 tn Heb “and he passed through all the land of Egypt”; this phrase is interpreted by JPS to mean that Joseph “emerged in charge of the whole land.”

125 tn Heb “brought forth by handfuls.”

126 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

127 tn Heb “all the food.”

128 tn Heb “of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt and placed food in the cities.”

129 tn Heb “and Joseph gathered grain like the sand of the sea, multiplying much.” To emphasize the vast amount of grain he stored up, the Hebrew text modifies the verb “gathered” with an infinitive absolute and an adverb.

130 tn Heb “before the year of the famine came.”

131 tn Heb “gave birth for him.”

132 sn The name Manasseh (מְנַשֶּׁה, mÿnasheh) describes God’s activity on behalf of Joseph, explaining in general the significance of his change of fortune. The name is a Piel participle, suggesting the meaning “he who brings about forgetfulness.” The Hebrew verb נַשַּׁנִי (nashani) may have been used instead of the normal נִשַּׁנִי (nishani) to provide a closer sound play with the name. The giving of this Hebrew name to his son shows that Joseph retained his heritage and faith; and it shows that a brighter future was in store for him.

133 tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

134 tn Or “for.”

135 sn The name Ephraim (אֶפְרַיִם, ’efrayim), a form of the Hebrew verb פָּרָה (parah), means “to bear fruit.” The theme of fruitfulness is connected with this line of the family from Rachel (30:2) on down (see Gen 49:22, Deut 33:13-17, and Hos 13:15). But there is some difficulty with the name “Ephraim” itself. It appears to be a dual, for which F. Delitzsch simply said it meant “double fruitfulness” (New Commentary on Genesis, 2:305). G. J. Spurrell suggested it was a diphthongal pronunciation of a name ending in -an or -am, often thought to be dual suffixes (Notes on the text of the book of Genesis, 334). Many, however, simply connect the name to the territory of Ephraim and interpret it to be “fertile land” (C. Fontinoy, “Les noms de lieux en -ayim dans la Bible,” UF 3 [1971]: 33-40). The dual would then be an old locative ending. There is no doubt that the name became attached to the land in which the tribe settled, and it is possible that is where the dual ending came from, but in this story it refers to Joseph’s God-given fruitfulness.

136 tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

137 tn Or “for.”

138 tn Heb “began to arrive.”

139 tn Heb “to all Egypt.” The name of the country is used by metonymy for the inhabitants.

140 tn Or “over the entire land”; Heb “over all the face of the earth.” The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal to the next clause.

141 tc The MT reads “he opened all that was in [or “among”] them.” The translation follows the reading of the LXX and Syriac versions.

142 tn Heb “all the earth,” which refers here (by metonymy) to the people of the earth. Note that the following verb is plural in form, indicating that the inhabitants of the earth are in view.

143 tn Heb “saw.”

144 tn Heb “Jacob.” Here the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

145 sn Why are you looking at each other? The point of Jacob’s question is that his sons should be going to get grain rather than sitting around doing nothing. Jacob, as the patriarch, still makes the decisions for the whole clan.

146 tn Heb “and buy for us from there.” The word “grain,” the direct object of “buy,” has been supplied for clarity, and the words “from there” have been omitted in the translation for stylistic reasons.

147 tn Following the imperatives, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav expresses purpose of result.

148 tn The imperfect tense continues the nuance of the verb before it.

149 tn Heb “But Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, Jacob did not send with his brothers.” The disjunctive clause highlights the contrast between Benjamin and the other ten.

150 tn The Hebrew verb אָמַר (’amar, “to say”) could also be translated “thought” (i.e., “he said to himself”) here, giving Jacob’s reasoning rather than spoken words.

151 tn The Hebrew noun אָסוֹן (’ason) is a rare word meaning “accident, harm.” Apart from its use in these passages it occurs in Exodus 21:22-23 of an accident to a pregnant woman. The term is a rather general one, but Jacob was no doubt thinking of his loss of Joseph.

152 tn Heb “encounters.”

153 tn Heb “in the midst of the coming ones.”

154 tn The disjunctive clause either introduces a new episode in the unfolding drama or provides the reader with supplemental information necessary to understanding the story.

155 sn Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him. Here is the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams (see Gen 37). But it is not the complete fulfillment, since all his brothers and his parents must come. The point of the dream, of course, was not simply to get the family to bow to Joseph, but that Joseph would be placed in a position of rule and authority to save the family and the world (41:57).

156 tn The word “faces” is an adverbial accusative, so the preposition has been supplied in the translation.

157 sn But pretended to be a stranger. Joseph intends to test his brothers to see if they have changed and have the integrity to be patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He will do this by putting them in the same situations that they and he were in before. The first test will be to awaken their conscience.

158 tn Heb “said.”

159 tn The verb is denominative, meaning “to buy grain”; the word “food” could simply be the direct object, but may also be an adverbial accusative.

160 sn You are spies. Joseph wanted to see how his brothers would react if they were accused of spying.

161 tn Heb “to see the nakedness of the land you have come.”

162 tn Heb “and they said to him.” In context this is best understood as an exclamation.

163 tn Heb “and he said, ‘No, for the nakedness of the land you have come to see.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for clarity.

164 tn Heb “twelve [were] your servants, brothers [are] we.”

165 tn Heb “today.”

166 tn Heb “and the one is not.”

167 tn Heb “to you, saying.”

168 tn Heb “[By] the life of Pharaoh.”

sn As surely as Pharaoh lives. Joseph uses an oath formula to let the brothers know the certainty of what he said. There is some discussion in the commentaries on swearing by the life of Pharaoh, but since the formulation here reflects the Hebrew practice, it would be hard to connect the ideas exactly to Egyptian practices. Joseph did this to make the point in a way that his Hebrew brothers would understand. See M. R. Lehmann, “Biblical Oaths,” ZAW 81 (1969): 74-92.

169 tn Heb “send from you one and let him take.” After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose.

170 tn The disjunctive clause is here circumstantial-temporal.

171 tn Heb “bound.”

172 tn The words “to see” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

173 tn Heb “the truth [is] with you.”

174 sn The same Hebrew word is used for Joseph’s imprisonment in 40:3, 4, 7. There is some mirroring going on in the narrative. The Hebrew word used here (אָסַף, ’asaf, “to gather”) is not normally used in a context like this (for placing someone in prison), but it forms a wordplay on the name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yosoef) and keeps the comparison working.

175 tn Heb “Do this.”

176 tn After the preceding imperative, the imperative with vav (ו) can, as here, indicate logical sequence.

177 sn For I fear God. Joseph brings God into the picture to awaken his brothers’ consciences. The godly person cares about the welfare of people, whether they live or die. So he will send grain back, but keep one of them in Egypt. This action contrasts with their crime of selling their brother into slavery.

178 tn Heb “bound in the house of your prison.”

179 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal.

180 tn Heb “[for] the hunger of your households.”

181 tn The imperfect here has an injunctive force.

182 tn After the injunctive imperfect, this imperfect with vav indicates purpose or result.

183 tn The Niphal form of the verb has the sense of “to be faithful; to be sure; to be reliable.” Joseph will test his brothers to see if their words are true.

184 tn Heb “and they did so.”

185 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.”

186 tn Or “we are guilty”; the Hebrew word can also refer to the effect of being guilty, i.e., “we are being punished for guilt.”

187 tn Heb “the distress of his soul.”

188 sn The repetition of the Hebrew noun translated distress draws attention to the fact that they regard their present distress as appropriate punishment for their refusal to ignore their brother when he was in distress.

189 tn Heb “and also his blood, look, it is required.” God requires compensation, as it were, from those who shed innocent blood (see Gen 9:6). In other words, God exacts punishment for the crime of murder.

190 tn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information that is important to the story.

191 tn “was listening.” The brothers were not aware that Joseph could understand them as they spoke the preceding words in their native language.

192 tn Heb “for [there was] an interpreter between them.” On the meaning of the word here translated “interpreter” see HALOT 590 s.v. מֵלִיץ and M. A. Canney, “The Hebrew melis (Prov IX 12; Gen XLII 2-3),” AJSL 40 (1923/24): 135-37.

193 tn Heb “and he turned to them and spoke to them.”

194 tn Heb “took Simeon.” This was probably done at Joseph’s command, however; the grand vizier of Egypt would not have personally seized a prisoner.

195 tn Heb “and he bound him.” See the note on the preceding verb “taken.”

196 tn Heb “and they filled.” The clause appears to be elliptical; one expects “Joseph gave orders to fill…and they filled.” See GKC 386 §120.f.

197 tn Heb “and he did for them so.” Joseph would appear to be the subject of the singular verb. If the text is retained, the statement seems to be a summary of the preceding, more detailed statement. However, some read the verb as plural, “and they did for them so.” In this case the statement indicates that Joseph’s subordinates carried out his orders. Another alternative is to read the singular verb as passive (with unspecified subject), “and this was done for them so” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).

198 tn Heb “and they went from there.”

199 tn Heb “and the one.” The article indicates that the individual is vivid in the mind of the narrator, yet it is not important to identify him by name.

200 tn Heb “at the lodging place.”

201 tn Heb “and look, it [was] in the mouth of his sack.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to look through the eyes of the character and thereby draws attention to the money.

202 tn Heb “and their heart went out.” Since this expression is used only here, the exact meaning is unclear. The following statement suggests that it may refer to a sudden loss of emotional strength, so “They were dismayed” adequately conveys the meaning (cf. NRSV); NIV has “Their hearts sank.”

203 tn Heb “and they trembled, a man to his neighbor.”

204 tn Heb “What is this God has done to us?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question.

205 tn Heb “made us.”

206 tn The words “if we were” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

207 tn Heb “twelve [were] we, brothers, sons of our father [are] we.”

208 tn Heb “the one is not.”

209 tn Heb “today.”

210 tn The word “grain” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

211 tn After the imperative, the cohortative with prefixed vav indicates purpose/result.

212 tn Heb “that you are not spies, that you are honest men.”

213 sn Joseph’s brothers soften the news considerably, making it sound like Simeon was a guest of Joseph (Leave one of your brothers with me) instead of being bound in prison. They do not mention the threat of death and do not at this time speak of the money in the one sack.

214 tn Heb “is not.”

215 tn Heb “is not.”

216 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is desiderative here.

217 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is permissive here.

218 tn Heb “my hand.”

219 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

220 sn The expression he alone is left meant that (so far as Jacob knew) Benjamin was the only surviving child of his mother Rachel.

221 sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole – they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble.

222 tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.



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