The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 41

Gen 41:1

Vv 1-4: Judgments upon gods. Vv 5-7: Judgments upon the fruits of the gods.

PHARAOH: Apparently a new Pharaoh: cp implications of vv 9,10,13. The 2-year delay had served to bring a more favorable king to throne.

Gen 41:2

2 kinds of cattle indigenous to Egypt -- answering to 2 sorts here described. The fat cattle were sacrificial stock, dedicated to Hathor, the cow-headed goddess. Here, in dream, she is unable to protect her own charges (Tes 52:309).

RIVER: The Heb word always refers to the Nile (cp v 1).

Gen 41:7

Perh these dreams were so esp emphatic, or different from the ordinary night musings.

Gen 41:8

NO ONE COULD INTERPRET THEM FOR HIM: "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1Co 1:20).

Gen 41:12

YOUNG: About 30 years old: v 46.

Gen 41:14

DUNGEON: Heb "bowr" = "pit". It was different from ordinary prison in being more severe as a place of punishment. It consisted of a deep well or cistern (Jer 38:6) and it was a punishment common in Egypt (Gen 39:20; 40:3; here; 42:19).

SHAVED: Peculiar to Egypt. A disgrace in Israel. Long hair = mourning, in Egypt. No mourner could enter presence of Pharaoh (Gen 50:4).

CHANGED HIS CLOTHES: Coming out of the "prison", he then changed his "clothes", before going to stand before the great "King"!

Gen 41:16

Joseph is ready to give the credit and honor to God, as being interpreter of dreams (cp Dan 2:28,47).

Gen 41:25

Here the lines are drawn: the One God of Israel versus the many gods of Egypt.

Gen 41:32

Joseph now expands upon his mandate: not just to interpret but to advise! "Now is my time, finally, to speak; this is from God!" The rationale for doubling the dream is given in Gen 41:32: God would definitely bring the events to pass in a short time. Cp Heb 6:17,18 and Mat 5:37.

Gen 41:33

Joseph writes his own "job description": a further inspired revelation.

Gen 41:34

A FIFTH OF THE HARVEST OF EGYPT: If x = a good year, and y = a bad year, then: 4/5 x = y + 1/5 x, or y = 3/5 x. So, the harvest of a poor year = 60% of the harvest of a good year.

It has been asked, why a half part was not ordered to be bought up by Pharaoh, since there were to be as many years of famine as of plenty? To this it is could be replied, that besides this fifth part taken up, as there might be an old stock of former years, so there would be something considerable remain of these seven years of plenty, which men of substance would lay up, as Pharaoh did. Besides, a fifth part might be equal to the crop of an ordinary year, or near it: to which may be added, that in times of famine men live more sparingly, as they are obliged, and therefore such a quantity would go the further; as well as it may be considered, that notwithstanding the barrenness of the land in general, yet in some places, especially on the banks of the Nile, some corn might be produced during the general famine; so that upon the whole a fifth part might be judged sufficient to answer the extremity of the seven years of famine, and even to allow a distribution to other countries, which it obviously did.

Gen 41:38

The Spirit of God: in Daniel (Dan 5:11); in Joseph (Gen 41:38); clothed Gideon (Jdg 6:34); clothed Amasai (1Ch 12:18); clothed Zechariah (2Ch 24:20); came upon Balaam (Num 24:2); came upon Saul (1Sa 10:10).

Gen 41:39

The "Gentile" is the first to acknowledge that the one true God is with "Joseph"!

Gen 41:40

Two stages: First "Joseph" rules over the "King's" "household"... then later (v 41) over all the King's whole dominion!

TO SUBMIT TO YOUR ORDERS: Lit, "will kiss you" -- ie render homage and obedience to your words (cp Psa 2:12).

Gen 41:42

Once again, Joseph appears as the "high priest" which his brothers envied. (High Priest -- robes -- as well as King -- signet ring!)

Gen 41:43

Typ Christ -- taken from "prison", and promoted by God to be ruler over all Israel: Mic 5:2; Mat 2:6; Phi 2:9,10.

Gen 41:45

Joseph marries a Gentile bride (typ Christ and a Gentile church)... who seems to convert to worship the God of Israel (v 51n).

ZAPHENATH-PANEAH: Egyptian for "supporter of life", or "savior of the world". "The meaning of this Egyptian name has been given as 'Saviour of the World.' Joseph, 'the Increaser', has been true to his Jewish name also. He has increased in favour with God and with man, his work is about to increase the exposure of the Gospel that was preached to Abraham his great grandfather. His policies will increase the provision necessary to feed and sustain the 'world' through a long cycle of drought. Next to Pharaoh, he is king and he is also a priest -- a king-priest with policies uncommon to man, able to 'heal' the sickness of Egypt's malady, when the drought became fully manifest. In so many ways, this young man is a thought-provoking type of our Lord Jesus Christ" (CY).

ASENATH: "Pertaining to Neith", goddess of wisdom, queen of heaven.

Gen 41:46

Was it perh court procedure for a man to give his age when brought into the presence of Pharaoh? (cp Gen 47:8,9; Exo 7:7).

30 YEARS: Luk 3:23.

Joseph is now in his thirtieth year. He has been in prison a long time, serving time for a crime that he never committed. At least two years have passed since he told the meaning of dreams to the butler and the baker. We know not how long before that incident he had been incarcerated. What a long time for Joseph to experience the sickness of hope deferred! But the time of his enlargement came when he had sufficiently learned the lessons of God designed for him; and the plans of Providence were matured. Thirteen years have passed since he was forcibly removed from his family dwelling in Canaan. Where were you 13 years ago? Could you imagine being so long separated from those you love? How would you or I have handled the incredible loneliness, the isolation, and the absence of familiar sights, sounds, smells and mode of worship?

Gen 41:51

(1) Asenath, mother of Manasseh, was made to forget her father's (idolatrous) house: Psa 45:10, Deu 21:13 (re Hezekiah and his Gentile bride). Manasseh, the firstborn, sym the Jews, "my (new) father's house". (2) Or, poss, God had at last brought Joseph blessings so that his years of slavery and loneliness were forgotten.

Some things should be forgotten. Joseph could have wasted his life dwelling on the injustices he suffered. As a youth, his brothers sold him into slavery, and he was forced to live in a hostile land. He had to spend his teenage and adult years away from his beloved father. Joseph even spent time in prison. In spite of all he endured, he harbored no resentment. In fact, he named his son Manasseh, which means "forgetting." He explained, "For God... hath made me forget." Some things need to be dropped from the believer's memory. He shouldn't harbor wrongs done to him. He mustn't let some unkind word keep him from maturing in Christ as he should. And he should never use another's insensitivity as his excuse for not serving the Lord. Are there things in our past that we need to forgive and forget?

Gen 41:52

Ephraim, the younger, symbolizes Gentiles. "Fruitful in land of affliction": Gen 48:12-20.

Gen 41:55

The "king of this world" (Pharaoh) is approached by the poor and needy and hungry of this world, but he can do nothing. So he sends them with a beseeching message to the "savior of the world" (Joseph: v 45). Only in him could man find deliverance.

Gen 41:57

Typ all nations, which come to Christ for the true "bread of life".

THE FAMINE WAS SEVERE IN ALL THE WORLD: This worldwide famine was all for the point of bringing the trial of famine upon Jacob's family in Canaan (Gen 42:5).

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