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
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
RIVER: The Heb word always refers to the Nile (cp v
Perh these dreams were so esp emphatic, or different from the
ordinary night musings.
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).
YOUNG: About 30 years old: v 46.
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
CHANGED HIS CLOTHES: Coming out of the "prison", he
then changed his "clothes", before going to stand before the great
Joseph is ready to give the credit and honor to God, as being
interpreter of dreams (cp Dan 2:28,47).
Here the lines are drawn: the One God of Israel versus the
many gods of Egypt.
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.
Joseph writes his own "job description": a further inspired
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.
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).
The "Gentile" is the first to acknowledge that the one true
God is with "Joseph"!
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).
Once again, Joseph appears as the "high priest" which his
brothers envied. (High Priest -- robes -- as well as King -- signet
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.
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
ASENATH: "Pertaining to Neith", goddess of wisdom,
queen of heaven.
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?
(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?
Ephraim, the younger, symbolizes Gentiles. "Fruitful in land
of affliction": Gen 48:12-20.
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.
Typ all nations, which come to Christ for the true "bread of
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).