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Genesis 43:32-34

Context
43:32 They set a place for him, a separate place for his brothers, 1  and another for the Egyptians who were eating with him. (The Egyptians are not able to eat with Hebrews, for the Egyptians think it is disgusting 2  to do so.) 3  43:33 They sat before him, arranged by order of birth, beginning with the firstborn and ending with the youngest. 4  The men looked at each other in astonishment. 5  43:34 He gave them portions of the food set before him, 6  but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk. 7 

1 tn Heb “them”; the referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Or “disgraceful.” The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, “abomination”) describes something that is loathsome or off-limits. For other practices the Egyptians considered disgusting, see Gen 46:34 and Exod 8:22.

3 tn Heb “and they set for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for the Egyptians are not able to eat food with the Hebrews, for it is an abomination for the Egyptians.” The imperfect verbal form in the explanatory clause is taken as habitual in force, indicating a practice that was still in effect in the narrator’s time.

sn That the Egyptians found eating with foreigners disgusting is well-attested in extra-biblical literature by writers like Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo.

4 tn Heb “the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth.”

5 sn The brothers’ astonishment indicates that Joseph arranged them in this way. They were astonished because there was no way, as far as they were concerned, that Joseph could have known the order of their birth.

6 tn Heb “and he lifted up portions from before his face to them.”

7 tn Heb “and they drank and were intoxicated with him” (cf. NIV “drank freely with him”; NEB “grew merry”; NRSV “were merry”). The brothers were apparently relaxed and set at ease, despite Joseph’s obvious favoritism toward Benjamin.



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