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Gen. 41:41-57, feast and famine

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    We've all experienced changes in our lives, but Joseph's life was amazing. The pampered son, hated by his brothers as a start. Then sold into slavery. Then in a dungeon for years after his owner's wife lied about him. And then, in one day, he goes from being a prisoner to being the head of all Egypt, just under the Pharaoh. "Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I am Pharaoh, but wihtout your word no one will life a hand or foot in all Egypt.'"

    Whoa! I wonder what Potipher's wife was thinking THEN? I his quiet moments, I wonder what Joseph thought of everything. What a strange and extreme bunch of changes for a young man of thirty!

    Pharaoh also gave him a new name and a wife, the daughter of a priest of the sun god.

    Joseph takes his new responsibilities seriously. The first thing he does is travel throughout Egypt. And for seven years, the harvests are so plentiful that even though the crops are being stored in large storehouses in each city in Egypt, there is so much that eventually they stop even trying to keep track!

    During these first seven years of abundance, Joseph and his wife are also blessed with two sons. I used to wonder if Joseph ever thought about his family, or if he ever wanted to contact them. But look at the name of his firstborn: Manasseh. It sounds like, and may be derived from the Hebrew for 'forget.' The text records Joseph as saying, "It is because God has made me forget all my touble and all my father's household."

    "The second son he named Ephraim [which sounds like the Hebrew for 'twice fruitful'] and said, 'It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.'"

    And then, when Joseph is 37, the years of famine commence.

    What is interesting is that Joseph did not open the storehouses of food to the people until the famine had spread over the whole country. We don't know how long that took, but my own idea is that he waited until those who had, had finished selling to others. This enabled them to make the profits that they deserved from their labors.

    The famine was very widespread. The word in the Hebrew for how far is extended is 'eres.' This is an extremely general word for any geographic area. It is translated, variously, in the Bible as land or lands, earth, ground, country or countries, region, world, territory, area, fields, district, etc. etc. So while the King James translates how far the famine spread as "all lands" and the NIV as "all the world," the meaning is NOT clear except that we know the famine was widespread and not confined to Egypt. It may have extended throughout the Middle East, or it might have simply hit the areas which grew the food: Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. All we really know is that it was widespread and it lasted seven full years.

    There is a bit more of a clue as to how far it extended if we go into Genesis 47:13 -- "There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was sever; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine." So the NIV's 'whole world' and the KJV's 'all lands' may actualy only be referring to the world or the lands within the direct Egyptian sphere of influence!


    It's always interesting to see how those who want to challenge the Bible will consider only the English translations and not take the time to look into material from the original language! We can learn a lot more the more we study as much as we can. It also makes us much more able to respond to critics and mockers, most of whom really do not know what they are talking about!
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Oct 10, 2001
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