Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gen 37, 39-44

Genesis 37
37.3 Since the Hebrew word describing it is used only here, it is difficult to be certian which type of quality characterizes the coat. Egyptian painting of this period depict well-dressed Canaanites wearing long-sleeved, embroidered garments with a fringed scarf wrapped diagonally from waist to knee. --IVP BBCOT
37.3 But in truth it was not a "coat of many colors," but a tunic reaching down to the arms and feet, such as princes and persons of distinction wore,* and it betokened to Joseph's brothers only too clearly, that their father intended to transfer to Joseph the right of the first-born. We know that the three oldest sons of Leah had unfitted themselves for it - Simon and Levi by their cruelty at Shechem, and Reuben by his crime at the "watchtower of the flock." What more natural than to bestow the privilege on the first-born of her whom Jacob had intended to make his only wife? ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT
37.24 The cisterns wee usually pear-shaped reseboirs, having relatively small openings at the top and larger hoolowed-out areas below to hole the water--although some of them were simply round or square holes in the ground. --NM&CofB
...some cisterns were constructed so they could be co verd with a stone and still allwo water to run into the cistern when it rained. --NM&CofB The prophet Jeremiah was also imprisoned by Malchiah, Indg Zedekiah's son, in a cistern that had been dug in the courtyard of a prison. --NM&CofB
37.34 Sackcloth was a rough cloth made of camel's hair, goat hair, hemp, cotton, or flax. ...worn as a sign of mourning or pentince. --NM&CofB
37.36 ...was responsible for the security of the kig's prisoners and for executing their sentences upon them. He was also the official guardian of the person, or body, of the king--the chief of the king's bodyguard. --NM&CofB
37.35 arose to comfort him… What a pitiful scene with Joseph's hating murderous siblings trying to comfort dad.
But even his bitterest lamentation expressed the hope and faith that he would meet his loved son in another world - for, he said: "I will go down into the grave (or into Sheol) unto my son, mourning. ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT Except by an incidental reference to it in the later confession of his brothers (Genesis 42:21), we are not told either of the tears or the entreaties with which Joseph vainly sought to move his brethren, nor of his journey into Egypt. ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT
I can only imagine how hard and "cold-blooded" and heartless his brothers must have been to sell him, crying and sobbing for mercy, to the slave traders.

Skipping 38 in a study of Joseph

Genesis 39
39.2 The Lord was with him... This was the real key to his success.
39.3 His master saw tha the Lord was with him... Again the Lord, not just personal talent.
39.9 How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? After all the talk about Potipher and his responsibility to him, it is God that he is concerned about sinning against.
39:16. keeping the cloak. Besides the interesting parallel to Joseph’s brothers’ taking his cloak, it should be noted that here again the cloak is to serve to identify Joseph. Garments often contained indications of status, rank or office and therefore could be used in such ways. —IVP BBCOT
39.19 to laugh at metsachaq: to sport, play, make sport, toy with, make a toy of With the comments in verse 14, it is obvious that this word means more that just to laugh. There is a strong sense of alleged dishonor and ethnic superiority in the allegation.
39.20 sohar that is here translated prison more precisely means a round tower or fortress. ... A similar prison in the king's residence is mentioned in Jeremiah 32;2. ... At other times, the proson was in the residence of the king's officials... (Jeremiah 37:15) --NM&CofB
39.20 An attempt at adultery was to be punished with1000 blows, and rape upon a free woman still more severely. ——C.F Keil in CotOT
39.20 One indication of Potiphar’s understanding of the affair between Joseph and his wife may be in the choice of prison. Rather than being executed for rape (as dictated in, for instance, the Middle Assyrian laws), Joseph was put into a royal prison holding political prisoners. This may have been a bit more comfortable (as prisons go), but more importantly it will put him in contact with members of Pharaoh’s court (Gen 40:1–23). —IVP BBCOT 39.21 But the Lord was with him… I just love the "But God" and "But the Lord" verses.
39.21 But even so Joseph remained steadfast. And, as if to set before us the other contrast between sight and faith, the sacred text expressly states it: "But" - a word on which our faith should often lay emphasis - "Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT

Genesis 40
40:1 The cupbearer was a high-ranking member of a monarch’s court (see Neh 1:11). He would have to be a trusted individual, since his primary responsibility was to taste all of his lord’s food and drink and thus prevent his lord from being poisoned. —IVP BBCOT
40.8 Dream interpretations were usually carried out by experts who had been trained in the available dream literature. More information is available from Mesopotamia than from Egypt. Both the Egyptians and the Babylonians compiled what we call dream books, which contain sample dreams along with the key to their interpretation. Since dreams often depended on symbolism, the interpreter would have to have access to these documents preserving the empirical data concerning past dreams and interpretations. It was believed that the gods communicated through dreams but not that they revealed the meanings of dreams. If they were going to reveal the meaning, why use a dream in the first place? But Joseph held a different view. He did not consult any “scientific” literature, but consulted God. Nevertheless, he interprets along the same lines as some of the dream literature would have suggested. ---??
40.20 The Eastern kings celebrated their birthdays by holding feasts and granting pardons to offenders. --NM&CofB
40.23 It is only like human nature that, in the day of his prosperity, "the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him!" ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT

Genesis 41
41.8 Egyptian priests who supposedly understood and could interpret sacred writings. .. They were sought our for direction and assistance on any subjects that required knowledge far out of the ordinary. --NM&CofB
41.8 Egypt, as well as the Mesopotamian and Hittite kingdoms, developed guilds of magicians whose task was to interpret signs and dreams and to concoct remedies for various types of medical problems through magical means. —IVP BBCOT 41.14 Egyptians only allowed a beard and hair to grow as a sighn of mourning, which was the reverse of the custom of the Hebrews... --NM&CofB
Everyone's head is bald and wevery beard is cut off (Isiahah 5.2) The Egyptians normal custom was to shave for both for reasons of cleanliness. --NM&CofB
41.15 I wonder if the it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it was in contrast to the priests / magicians who would have to consult their books.
41.16 God will… The giving credit to God and confidence in Him are admirable.
41.16 His years of slavery and imprisonment had indeed taught him humility and patience. Instead of calling attenion to the failures o fthe other wise men and stressing his own powers, he actied with utmost courtesy and restraint, and directed all praise to God. —Henry Morris in TGR 41.38 in whom is the Spirit of God… I am intrigued by what kind of acknowledgement this might have been. I don't have a commentary that comments specifically on the linguistic implications of this phrase, but Calvin comes through with something. "It is also to be observed that Pharaoh, though he had been infatuated by his soothsayers, nevertheless honours the gifts of the Spirit in Joseph: because God, indeed, never suffers man to become so brutalized, as not to feel His power, even in their darkness. And therefore whatever impious defection may hurry them away, there still abides with them a remaining sense of Deity. Meanwhile, that knowledge is of little worth, which does not correct a man's former madness; for he despises the God whom with his mouth he proclaims: confused divinity. This kind of knowledge often enlightens profane men, yet not so as to cause them to repent." You've got to love John Calvin (however many petals are on your tulip) in places like this.
41.41 Slaves were often promoted in those days. ...Daniel --NM&CofB
41.42 A signet ring is a finger ring that bears an engraved seal. The ring was used much like a signature today, although seals are still sometimes used for important documents, and most often are impressed with a signet. .... A Pharaoh's ring carried the highest authority in Egypt and empowered subordinates to act for the God. --NM&CofB
41.43 The “second chariot” would have been a chariot that followed immediately after Pharaoh’s chariot in state processions, or was so designed that it designated that the one riding in it was second-in-command to Pharaoh. --NM&CofB 41.45 To complete all, on his naturalization Joseph's name is changed to Zaphnath-paaneah, which most probably means "the supporter of life," or else "the food of the living," although others have rendered it "the savior of the world," and the Rabbis, but without sufficient reason, "the revealer of secrets." Finally, in order to give him a position among the highest nobles of the land, Pharaoh "gave him to wife Asenath" (probably "she who is of Neith," the Egyptian goddess of wisdom^), "the daughter of Poti-pherah ("dedicated to the sun"), priest of On," that is, the chief priest of the ancient ecclesiastical, literary, and probably also political capital of the land,^* "the City of the Sun." This is the more noteworthy, as the chief of the priesthood was generally chosen from among the nearest relatives of Pharaoh. ——Alfred Edersheim in TBHOT The marriage arranged for Joseph allied him with one of the most powerful priestly families in Egypt. —IVP BBCOT 41.51 Joseph called the name... Joseph gave both of his sons Hebrew names that acknowledged God's faithfulness to him in Egypt, the land of his affliction.
An interesting and significant aside in this account, it is observed that the two names for God are used quite selectively. Whenever Joseph was speaking to Egyptians about God, he used the name Elohim ("God"), as is befitting for those to whom God could be known only as mighty Creator and Sovereign (note Genesis 39:9; 40:8; 41:16, 25, 28, 32). Whenever the inspired writer of the narrative made comment about God's dealing with Joseph, however, he used the covenant name Jehovah ("Lord") as this was the redemptive name by which He had made Himself specially known to the people of His peculiar promises (note Genesis 39:2, 3, 5, 21, 23). —Henry Morris in TGR It should also be noted that the name Jehovah was probably not revealed until Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus. So Joseph would speak with the name that God had revealed so far and the author of Genesis, Moses, would use the name Jehovah where it was fitting in his inspired narrative.

Genesis 42
42.18 for I fear God... I wonder how common an expression like this was among pagan rulers and / or officials. I can't see Joseph saying something that would give him away, but I have a hard time seeing Pharaoh or high Egyptian official saying something like that.
42.21 this distress has come upon us… It is interesting how distress in our circumstances so often remind us of God's role as judge and avenger.
42.25 Coined money was not invented and put into common use until the sixth century b.c. Thus precious metals, gems, spices, incense and other luxury items were bartered by weight. Their relative value would also depend on scarcity. Silver was used throughout antiquity as a common item of exchange. Since Egypt lacked native silver deposits, this metal was particularly desirable as a standard for business transactions. —IVP BBCOT
42.25 The second bag or sack mentioned here was probably the bag that was often used by shepherds and travelers to carry their personal supplies while on a short journey—it would normally hold enough supplies for a day or two. It was usually made of animal skins and carried across the shoulders, much like a woman’s purse today. --NM&CofB 42.28 What is this that God has done to us? I don't sense a lot of true repentance and spiritual sensitivity in this statement. It is a question that is often asked when bad things happen.
42.36 Exactly what satisfaction he thought his father could get out of killing two of his grandsons, after already losing his sons, is hardly clear. —Henry Morris in TGR :o)

Genesis 43
43.10 The animal was then skinned, dressed, cut into pieces, and the pieces carried on trays to the cooking area, where it was immediately prepared for dinner so that there wasn’t sufficient time for the meat to begin to go bad. Since there was no way to preserve meat in those days, the animal was not killed until it was time to cook it. In our verse-text Joseph orders his steward to “slaughter an animal and prepare dinner (slay, and make ready, KJV), so that little time passed between the slaughter and the eating. --NM&CofB
43:11 The gifts that were sent by Jacob to Joseph represent the costliest and thus the most pleasing items available. Only the balm, honey/syrup and nuts would have been actual products of Canaan. The spices and myrrh were imported and thus were precious gifts intended to buy favorable treatment from Pharaoh’s representative. —IVP BBCOT
43.31 The frequency with which the word is mentioned indicates that bread, not vegetables or meat, was the basic food of ancient people. It is probably for this reason that in most Bible translations several of the seven Hebrew words for bread are translated food or meal. --NM&CofB 43.32 The Egyptians also detested what they considered the lawless ways of wandering shepherds who had no fixed home, and moved from place to place with each change of the season in search of food, water, and grazing land. --NM&CofB

Genesis 44
44.34 It seems that a true change of heart has taken place in Judah, which is pretty remarkable after his charming performance in chapter 38. I have often wondered why chapter 38 was in the Bible. The contrast it presents to the present Judah could be part of the reason.

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