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Genesis Per Day

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by WebersHome, May 8, 2017.

  1. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 36:1-12


    Chapter 36 is mostly a genealogy, so I'm only going to do just twelve of its forty-three verses.

    Gen 36:1 . .This is the line of Esau-- that is, Edom.

    Edom is from the Hebrew word 'Edom (ed-ome') which is the color red; and was the tag hung on him back in Gen 25:30.

    Gen 36:2-7 . . Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women-- Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite-- and also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore to Esau Eliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. Those were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

    . . . Esau took his wives, his sons and daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle and all his livestock, and all the property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land because of his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too many for them to dwell together, and the land where they sojourned could not support them because of their livestock.


    Just as Lot had done, Esau chose to migrate rather than remain and cause problems for Jacob. Some say Esau did this out of respect for Jacob's patriarchal position; but no one really knows why. Maybe Esau just thought the grass was greener elsewhere.

    Esau had done well for himself in spite of his loss of the birthright: which would have given him the lion's share of Isaac's estate-- and with no tax complications; heirs in those days made out pretty good.

    Gen 36:8 . . So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir-- Esau being Edom.

    Seir was the name of an oblong-shaped region extending south from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba-- a.k.a. Idumaea. Seir includes the ruins of Petra, which were used as a movie set in a portion of the Indiana Jones trilogy.

    Gen 36:9-12 . .These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau's wife Adah; Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. Timna was a concubine of Esau's son Eliphaz; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.

    Of all Esau's progeny, Mr. Amalek really stands out in the Bible as the father of a very disagreeable people. Keep in mind that all of Esau's clan, including Amalek, are just as much Abraham's biological kin as Jacob's family. (Deut 23:8)

    During his journey with the people of Israel, after their liberation from Egyptian slavery, Moses was attacked by Amalek's clan. (Ex 17:8-16, Deut 25:17-19) Thus resulting in a perpetual curse upon the Amalekites as a people. An Agagite (descendant of Amalek, 1Sam 15:2-8) named Haman initiated a large-scale genocide against Israel in the book of Esther.

    Haman's infamy is memorialized every year during the Jewish holiday of Purim. It's customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle noisemakers whenever the name of Haman is spoken in the Purim service.

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  2. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:1-4


    Gen 37:1-2a . . Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan. This, then, is the line of Jacob:

    Genesis doesn't list a big genealogy right here like the one for Esau in chapter 36, but rather, it's going to "follow" the line of Jacob from here on in to the end of Genesis.

    Gen 37:2b . . At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah.

    Although "his . . .wives" is vernacularly correct; there's no record of Jacob actually marrying either of those two servant-ettes. They were his concubines in the same manner as Hagar when Sarah pushed her handmaid off on Abraham as a "wife" (Gen 16:4). But when the male possessive pronoun "his" modifies the Hebrew word 'ishshah, it typically, though not always, indicates a man's spouse; so there you are.


    NOTE: Jacob was pretty much stuck with Bilhah and Zilpah because were he ever to emancipate them, he would forfeit any and all children the two servant women bore for him; which is exactly how Abraham disinherited his eldest son Ishmael. We talked about that back in chapter 21.

    The words "as a helper to" aren't in the actual Hebrew of that passage. They're what is known as inserted words that translators sometimes employ to smooth out texts so they'll clearly say what the translators think the author meant to convey. Some translators insert the preposition "with" at that point, so the passage reads; "At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers; the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah.

    Actually, Joseph was in charge of his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher; who were all older than him. And it was he who was responsible to manage the flocks because the phrase; "tended the flocks" actually connotes he was shepherding the flock; i.e. Joseph was the trail boss.

    Joseph's authority was also indicated by the "coat of many colors" that his dad made for him. The Hebrew word for "colors" is of uncertain meaning and some translators prefer to render it "long sleeves" rather than colors.

    It seems clear that the intent of this special garment was as a badge of Joseph's authority-- sort of like a military man's uniform --and of his favored position in the family. Joseph may well have been the only one of Jacob's twelve sons that he could fully trust since, for the most part, the older men had proved themselves beyond control in the past.

    The sons of Bilhah and Zilpah weren't really Joseph's full brothers, but half. The only full brother was Benjamin, and at this time, he was too young to go out on trail drives.

    Genesis displayed a pretty bad case of sibling rivalry back in chapter 4, which led to a younger brother's untimely death. This case of sibling rivalry would surely have resulted in Joseph's untimely demise if God hadn't intervened to prevent it. It's really sad that the majority of Jacob's sons were dishonorable men; the kind you definitely don't want your own daughter bringing home to meet the folks.

    Although Joseph was an intelligent boy, and a responsible person, he certainly lacked tact. His social skills were immature, and needed some serious refinement because he really had a way of boasting, and chafing his older brothers.

    Gen 37:2b . . And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father.

    Whether or not the "reports" could be construed as tattling is debatable. After all, Joseph, as trail boss, was directly responsible to Jacob.

    It's been my experience that upper management doesn't want to hear those kinds of reports. All they want to know is whether or not the company is meeting its deadlines and operating at a profit. It's lower management's responsibility to manage the work force so that upper management can remain undistracted to do other things that are far more worthy of their time, their talents, and their attention. A lower manager who can't rectify personnel problems in their own department usually gets fired and replaced by somebody who can.

    Gen 37:3a . . Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons

    Uh-oh! Doesn't that sound familiar? Isaac had his favorite too: Mr. Esau. There's nothing like favoritism to divide a family and guarantee it becoming an ugly environment festering with sibling rivalry, yet that is so human a thing to do. Put grown-ups in a group of kids and in no time at all, the grown-ups will gravitate towards favorites, and become merely tolerant of the others.

    Gen 37:3b . . for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.

    The "ornamented tunic" is all the same as what's usually known as the coat of many colors.

    One might be tempted to think Joseph was Jacob's favorite son because of his love for Rachel; but Genesis says it was because Joseph was "the child of his old age". Well, Benjamin was a child of Jacob's old age too but not nearly as favored. So the real meaning may be that Joseph was a child of wisdom, i.e. the intelligence of an older man; viz: Joseph was smart beyond his years and thus more a peer to Jacob rather than just another mouth to feed.

    Gen 37:4 . . And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him.

    Genesis doesn't say the brothers wouldn't speak a friendly word; it says they "couldn't".

    Hatred does that to people. It just kills a person overcome with malice to be nice to the people they hate. They just can't do it. Their eyes narrow, their lips tighten, they look away, they become thin-skinned, their minds fill with epithets, they constantly take offense and can barely keep a civil tongue in their head, if at all, because deep in their hearts, they want the object of their hatred either dead or thoroughly disfigured and/or smitten with some sort of terrible misfortune.

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  3. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:5-17


    Gen 37:5-8 . . Once Joseph had a dream which he told to his brothers; and they hated him even more.

    . . . He said to them: Hear this dream which I have dreamed. There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.

    . . . His brothers answered: Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us? And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams.


    Joseph's dream was valid enough, and it even eventually came true; but considering the already hostile mood festering against him among his brothers, Joseph really should have kept the dream to himself. There wasn't any real need for the others to know about it anyway, and I just have to wonder if maybe Joseph wasn't gloating over them just a little.

    Gen 37:9-11 . . He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying; Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.

    . . . And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. What; he said to him; is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground? So his brothers were wrought up at him, and his father kept the matter in mind.


    As the family's prophet, Jacob's inspired intuition instantly caught the dream's message; though he was a bit indignant. However, Jacob didn't brush the dream off because his prophetic insight told him there just might be something to it.

    Jacob interpreted the "moon" in the dream sequence to be Rachel. One might ask: How could she be subject to Joseph while she was dead? Well; because she's coming back; in point of fact, they're all coming back some day to live in that land when Messiah returns to rule it.

    "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God." (Luke 13:28-29)


    NOTE: Luke quotes Jesus as saying "kingdom of God" while Matthew quotes him as saying "kingdom of heaven" (Matt 8:11-12) which indicates that both terms speak of the same kingdom; and in both instances, the kingdom is on earth rather than somewhere out in the celestial regions.

    So then, where Christ testified that one must be spirit-born to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-8) it's the same as saying one must be spirit-born to enter the kingdom of heaven. This may seem like a superfluous detail but when dealing with cultists like the Jehovah's Witnesses; it matters.

    Gen 37:12-14a . . One time, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flock at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph: Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them. He answered: I am ready. And he said to him: Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word. So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

    A guy like Joseph is every supervisor's dream. When asked to do something, his response was; "I am ready."

    Hebron (a.k.a. Hevron, a.k.a. Al Khalil) is still on the map. It's about 18½ miles west of the Dead Sea, as the crow flies, and about 20½ miles south of Jerusalem.

    Shechem (a.k.a. Nablus) is still on the map too. It's about 48 miles north of Jerusalem; ergo: 68½ miles north of Hebron.

    So Joseph had a long ways to go. It's amazing that people pastured their herds so far from home in those days; but then it wasn't unusual for out-west cattle barons during America's 1800's to pasture cows that far; and even farther.

    The Prairie Cattle Company once ranged 156,000 cows on five million acres of land. At 640 acres per square mile; that factors out to something like 7,812 square miles; viz: an 88⅜ mile square; which really isn't all that big when you think about it. It's a lot of area; but 88⅜ miles is really not all that great a distance for an automobile; though the distance around the perimeter would be something like 353½ miles. At 55 mph it would take roughly 6½ hours start to finish-- quite a bit longer on a camel and/or a donkey's back.

    Personally, I would have been concerned about Joseph's safety more than anything else; but apparently nobody interfered with Jacob's family in those days (Gen 35:5) so they pretty much had carte blanche to graze wherever they liked in those parts.

    Gen 37:14b-17 . .When he reached Shechem, a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him: What are you looking for? He answered: I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing? The man said: They have gone from here, for I heard them say "Let us go to Dothan". So Joseph followed his brothers and found them at Dothan.

    It's interesting that the man isn't on record asking Joseph who he was nor who his brothers might be. Probably everybody around Shechem knew Jacob's family personally because they had all lived around there for some time before moving south. In America's olde West, people knew each other for miles around because, quite simply, there just wasn't all that many people to know.

    Dothan has yet to be precisely located. Some say it was about 12 miles north of Shechem; but that's really only an educated guess. Years later, Dothan became the stage for a pretty exciting event. (2Kgs 6:8-23)

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  4. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:18-20


    Gen 37:18a . .They saw him from afar,

    Just how far isn't said; though it was probably the youngest among Joseph's brothers who saw and recognized him first. A few of the men were getting up in years at this time and were well past young adulthood.

    Optical science is relatively recent. For millennia, people got by on just their natural eyesight without the aid of lenses. Prior to the invention of eyeglasses, Solomon rued that one of the curses of old age is failing eyesight. (Ecc 12:1-2)

    The first recorded use of a "corrective" lens was by the emperor Nero (ce 37-68) who was known to watch the gladiatorial games through an emerald, presumably to correct for myopia. The gem probably wasn't ground to any specific prescription, nor even any particular shape. Nero probably discovered, like any kid does with a water glass, that the shape of the stone somehow modified light; and as luck would have it, Nero's emerald worked pretty well for him.

    The Arabs had some understanding of lenses sometime around ce 1200, and eyeglasses began to come into common use in Italy around ce 1300. Practically all advances in the science of optics have taken place within just the last thousand years, so when the Bible says people like Isaac had "dim" eyes, it probably just means they could have used a pair of glasses.

    Gen 37:18b-20 . . and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. They said to one another: Here comes that dreamer! Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say a savage beast devoured him. We shall see what comes of his dreams!

    The brothers' display of intended cruelty to their own kid brother Joseph is shocking coming from the sacred patriarchs of the people of Israel.

    I seriously doubt the brothers were intent upon ending Joseph's life only so his dreams wouldn't come true. That was just bombastic rhetoric. Truth is: they just hated him; simple as that.

    Isn't it odd that when people hate someone they want them dead? How about maybe a beating instead? Why not throw hot coffee or scalding water in their face, or maybe singe their back with a hot steam iron while they're sleeping? Why death? Because death is all that will truly satisfy the human heart's hatred. Maybe nobody reading this will ever actually murder anybody; but that doesn't mean you aren't a murder. Wishing somebody would die, is the wish of a murderer's heart; and that's the plain truth of it.

    "Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer" (1John 3:15)

    The koiné Greek word for "brother" in that passage is adelphos (ad-el-fos') which refers to one's kin rather than to one's neighbor.

    Hatred for one's kin doesn't make the hater guilty of murder; it's only saying that someone harboring hatred for their kin has the nature of a murderer. For example: if a lion never ate meat even once in it's life, it would still be a carnivore because lions have the nature of a carnivore. In like manner, if kin-haters never get around to killing the objects of their hate; they would still be murderers because they have the nature of a murderer.

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  5. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:21-25a


    Gen 37:21-22 . . But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said: Let us not take his life. And Reuben went on: Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves-- intending to save him from them and restore him to his father.

    The suggestion to murder Joseph was apparently discussed in private among only some of the brothers at first. When they attempted to bring Reuben in on it, he balked. Reuben, the eldest son, seems to be the one dissenting opinion in Joseph's case-- so far. Exactly why, is not stated; but even though he messed up by sleeping with his father's concubine; that doesn't mean he's okay with murdering his own kid brother.

    No doubt Simeon and Levi had no reservations about ending Joseph's life on the spot; having already displayed malicious tempers and made their bones while handling their sister's scandal back in chapter 34. Reuben's balk seems honestly motivated by a sincere concern for his dad's paternal feelings. Reuben already hurt Jacob's feelings once before by sleeping with his concubine. I don't think he wanted to do that again.

    Gen 37:23-24 . .When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing, and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

    Some of the brothers would have sorely loved to burn that "despicable" coat to ashes since it fully represented their kid brother's lording it over them.

    The Hebrew word for "pit" is bowr (bore); and means a hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison). Bowr is variously translated cistern, well, prison, dungeon, and sometimes a pit as bottomless; viz: an abyss.

    The "pit" may have been one of two widely-known natural water tanks in that area. Some commentators believe the word "Dothan" means two wells, or two natural tanks; like the Terrapin Tanks in the 1948 western movie The 3 Godfathers with John Wayne and Ward Bond. I seriously doubt that experienced drovers like Jacob's sons would have dropped Joseph in a tank with water because if he were to die in there; his putrefying body would have contaminated it; thus rendering the precious resource unfit for drovers and their herds. Natural water sources were essential to the safety of both man and beast in those days.

    Ancient Jewish commentators made the tank home to some lethal critters.

    T. And when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his garment, the figured garment that was on him, and took and threw him into the pit; but the pit was empty, no water was therein, but serpents and scorpions were in it. (Targum Jonathan)

    Gen 37:25a . .Then they sat down to a meal.

    Would you be comfortable sitting down to a meal while listening to somebody weeping and sobbing in the background? According to Gen 42:21 that's what Joseph's brothers did. He spent some of his time down in that tank begging for his life; and they just kept right on dining like he wasn't even there.

    I read a story of the torture and mistreatment of captives in Sadaam Hussein's pre-invasion jails. This one poor Iraqi man was forced sit down upon the jagged neck of a broken glass pop bottle; and while the bottle filled with blood from his torn bowel, Iraqi police played a game of cards.

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  6. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:25b-28


    Gen 37:25b . . Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt.

    In our day, the Ishmaelites would be driving diesel trucks loaded with flat screen TVs, 501 Levi jeans, Nike sports apparel, Apple iPhones, and Doritos.

    The gum may have been tragacanth, or goats-thorn gum, because it was supposed to be obtained from that plant.

    The balm (or balsam) is an aromatic substance obtained from a plant of the genus Amyris, which is a native of Gilead. In point of biblical fact, Gilead was famous for its balm (Jer 8:22, Jer 46:11). Balms were of medical value in those days.

    The ladanum was probably labdanum, (possibly myrrh), a yellowish brown to reddish brown aromatic gum resin with a bitter, slightly pungent taste obtained from a tree (esp. Commiphora abyssinica of the family Burseraceae) of eastern Africa and Arabia.

    Gilead was located in the modern-day country of Jordan-- a mountainous region on the east side of the Jordan River extending from the Sea of Galilee down to the north end of the Dead Sea. It's about sixty miles long and twenty miles wide. Its scenery is beautiful; the hills are fertile and crowned with forests. It was on Gilead's western boundary that Jacob confronted Laban in chapter 31, and also on Gilead's western boundary where Jacob grappled with the angel in chapter 32.

    The land of Gilead connected to a major trade route (spice road) from Turkey and Mesopotamia to Egypt; and all points in between. Quite possibly the Ishmaelites were following a track that would eventually take them right down the very road that Hagar had taken towards Shur on her flight from Sarah back in chapter 16.

    The Ishmaelites were a blended people consisting of the families of Ishmael and Midian, who were Abraham's progeny (Gen 16:15, Gen 25:2). The two ethnic designations-- Midianites and Ishmaelites --are interchangeable (e.g. Gen 37:28, Jdgs 8:24, Jdgs 8:26). Since the Ishmaelites were Abraham's progeny, then they were blood kin to Jacob's clan; ergo: blood kin not only to Joseph, but also to all the rest of the people of Israel.

    Gen 37:26-27 . .Then Judah said to his brothers: What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh. His brothers agreed.

    Judah's alternative made good sea sense. There was always the risk that somebody might rescue Joseph out of that tank and he would then high-tail it for home and tattle on his brothers for what they did to him. With him an anonymous slave, miles and miles away in Egypt, everything would work out just the way most of them wanted, and the brothers would get a little something in return for Joseph's hide.

    Gen 37:28 . .When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the pit. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt.

    The money in this instance isn't by weight as it had been in the purchase of Sarah's cemetery back in chapter 23. This money is by the piece; of which the precise nomenclature and value are currently unknown. They could have been any size and worth; depending upon international merchant agreements in those days. Joseph was sold at a price that Moses' Law later fixed for juveniles. (Lev 27:5)

    Incidentally, Christ was sold out for thirty pieces of silver (Matt 26:15) about which the Bible says was a "lordly" price. (Zech 11:12-13)

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  7. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 37:29-36


    Gen 37:29-30 . .When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes. Returning to his brothers, he said: The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?

    Precisely where, and why, Reuben wasn't present when his brothers sold Joseph isn't stated.

    Reuben wasn't privy to his brothers' scheme to sell Joseph so he innocently "informs" them of their kid brother's disappearance. Imagine his dismay to discover that they, of all people, sold their own blood kin into slavery! How in blazes is he supposed to explain that to his dad!?!

    Reuben is so disturbed that he can't think straight; so his brothers, in their characteristic cold, calculating way, devise yet another nefarious scheme. They will stain Joseph's ornamental garment with blood and let their dad draw his own conclusions about it.

    Gen 37:31-32 . .Then they took Joseph's tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said: We found this. Please examine it; is it your son's tunic or not?

    So without any explanation, nor details of the circumstances leading up to Joseph's disappearance, they let Jacob jump to his own conclusion. That is a very, very common, and very, very human way of perpetrating a lie.

    Gen 37:33-34 . . He recognized it, and said: My son's tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast! Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

    This is the very first mention of sackcloth in the Bible. It's a rough, coarse material like burlap commonly used for packaging grain in bags. Though an inexpensive fabric, it's prickly and chafes the skin so it's not really suitable for undergarments. Exactly where Jacob got the idea to abuse himself like that is unknown; but it's common in the Old Testament: mostly donned as an outer garment rather than under.

    If Joseph was "torn" then why was his tunic still in one piece? It's not uncommon for carnivorous beasts like grizzly bears to devour a portion of people's clothing right along with their flesh.

    Well . . poor Jacob is so overcome with grief over the loss of his favorite son that his logic chip just simply overheated and crashed. People who are gravely upset sometimes have trouble finding their car keys even if they're right inside their own pants pocket.

    Gen 37:35a . . All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him

    "sons and daughters" is somewhat ambiguous and can indicate not just Jacob's progeny, but every man, woman, and child in the whole family regardless of age with himself the paterfamilias of the whole bunch.

    Gen 37:35b . . but he refused to be comforted, saying: No, I will go down to the netherworld mourning for my son.

    The Hebrew word translated "netherworld" is sheol (sheh-ole') and this is its first appearance in the Bible.

    Sheol is sometimes translated grave, sometimes hell, sometimes netherworld (a.k.a. the world of the dead; viz: the afterlife) and sometimes not translated at all but left as-is in Hebrew; presumably to avoid controversy.

    The New Testament equivalent of sheol is haides (hah'-dace) which is an afterlife place where all the dead go, both the good dead and the bad dead, and the young and the old.

    The prophet Jonah went to sheol at some time during his nautical adventure (Jonah 2:2) a place that he described as the roots of the mountains (Jonah 2:6a). Well; the mountains aren't rooted in the tummies of fish; they're rooted down deep in the earth (Jonah 2:6b).

    According to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:22-31, Christ spent some time in sheol/haides while waiting for his body to be restored to life.

    According to Matt 12:40, sheol/haides is in the heart of the earth. Well; Christ wasn't buried in the heart of the earth; he was buried on the surface in a rock-hewn tomb. So in order for Christ to be on the surface of the earth and simultaneously in the heart of the earth, he and his body had to part company.

    Gen 37:35c . .Thus his father bewailed him.

    Sometimes it's really best to leave people alone and let them grieve through their loss. Many a well-meaning "comforter" has only succeeded in making matters worse by attempting to talk friends out of their grief with good-intentioned, but nevertheless; tiresome philosophical platitudes.

    And people who stifle their grief are only forestalling the inevitable. One day, possibly when they least expect it, and quite possibly inconveniently, it will catch up to them.

    Gen 37:36 . .The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh, and his chief steward.

    Although slavery normally isn't regarded a blessing, in this case Joseph couldn't have been sold into a better situation. Potiphar was well-connected instead of just another plantation owner who would work Joseph to the bone; undernourished, inadequately housed, and poorly clothed.

    Courtiers were typically royalty's personal assistants and performed a variety of duties. Potiphar was "chief steward". The Hebrew words means boss of the butchers; an ambiguous term which implies not just slaughtering and/or cooking animals for food, but also supervising capital punishments, and/or supervising Pharaoh's personal bodyguards along with the oversight of his own private jails; especially jails for political prisoners.

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  8. WebersHome

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    Genesis 38:1-2


    Gen 38:1a . . About that time

    Joseph was 17 when he arrived in Egypt (Gen 37:2) and 30 when he became prime minister (Gen 41:46). When he went to work for Pharaoh; a 14-year period began, consisting of two divisions-- seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. After 9 of the 14 years had passed-- the 7 years of plenty, and 2 of the years of famine --Joseph summoned his dad to Egypt (Gen 45:6-9) which would add up to a period of only about 22 years or so.

    Some commentators feel that chapter 38 is out of place chronologically; that it really should have followed chapter 33 because there just isn't enough time lapsed-- from Joseph's arrival in Egypt and Jacob's subsequent arrival --for all the births; and all the growing-up time needed for the particulars in chapter 38 to reach an age mature enough to sleep with a woman and father a child (see Adam Clarke's Commentary for an analysis of the circumstances).

    "about that time" is so ambiguous, and so unspecific, and the above mentioned time elements so narrow; that the phrase could simply indicate that the events of chapter 38 happened not right after Joseph went to Egypt, but most likely any time during the whole time Jacob was resident in Canaan; in other words: any time between chapter 33 and chapter 47. Joseph was 7 years old when Jacob returned to Canaan, and 17 when carted off to Egypt. So, adding 10 to the 22, would make the period of "about that time" equal to about 32 years total.

    Gen 38:1b . . Judah

    Judah's saga is pretty interesting because it concerns the Israeli tribal head chosen to perpetuate the Jewish line to Messiah (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

    Some people call this section in Genesis sordid; but I think it's actually kind of humorous because a very resourceful Gentile girl is going to really get one over on the "chosen people".

    Gen 38:1c . . left his brothers

    One can hardly blame Judah for wanting to put some distance between himself and the others once in a while. They were so cruel, so selfish, and so thoughtless. People of cruelty generally make bad company what with all their complaining, their sniping, their carping criticism, their tempers, and their propensity to harm people. If those boys were hard hearted against their own kid brother, just think how cruel they must have been with animals. Judah was no prize himself, that's true, but at least he wasn't a cold blooded murderer at heart. I have no doubt he felt very bad at Josephs' sobbing and begging for his life down in that pit. But I thoroughly suspect he felt that selling his kid brother into slavery was the only way he could possibly save the boy's life. Even if Joseph had escaped his brothers that day, they would always be looking for another opportunity to finish the job.

    Gen 38:1d . . and camped near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah.

    The community of Adullum was roughly 12 miles northwest of Hebron, and later apportioned to the tribe of Judah during Joshua's campaign. (Josh 15:35)

    Some translations say that Judah "turned in" to Hirah; implying he lodged in Hirah's home rather than set up his own pavilion. The Hebrew word is natah (naw-taw') which simply means to stretch or spread out; which may indicate that Judah was into a little independent ranching on his own in the area; implying that Judah's spread neighbored Hirah's range land.

    Natah is one of those ambiguous words with more than one meaning; which only serves to accent a frustrating fact of life in the world of Bible scholarship that it's pretty near impossible to translate ancient Hebrew texts verbatim into the English language without making an inadvertent error here and there.

    Gen 38:2 . .There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shua, and he married her and cohabited with her.

    From the spiritual aspect; Jacob's family was practically on an island in the midst of a sea infested with caribes. The only viable option for spouses in that predicament was either for a prospective Canaanite to be a God-fearing person, e.g. Melchizedek (Gen 14:18) or sincerely convert to Jacob's religion like Ruth did. (Ru 1:16, Ru 2:11-12)

    Whether the daughter converted isn't said. And since there existed no Divine prohibitions against intermarriage with Canaanites at this time-- Israel's covenanted law doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction (Gal 3:17) --then surely no one could possibly accuse Judah of a sin for marrying outside either his religion or his ethnic identity. However, since two of Shua's boys were incorrigible and ended up dead, slain by God, and none of her three male children by Judah were selected to forward Abraham's line to Messiah; Judah's choice doesn't look good.

    Gen 38:2 is tricky because at first glance it looks like the girl might be the daughter of a man named Shua. But in verse 12, the daughter's moniker in Hebrew is Bath-Shuwa' (see also 1Chrn 3:5) which is the very same moniker as Bathsheba's. (1Chrn 3:5)


    NOTE: In Hebrew, a daughter is a bath; and a son is a ben (e.g. Judah ben Hur).

    Bath-Shuwa' (or: Bath-Shua) just simply means a daughter of wealth; which isn't really a name at all, but a status. Exactly what the status of a "daughter of wealth" is supposed to convey about a girl is hard to tell. Perhaps it just means she's an eligible consideration for marriage-- like a girl who comes of a good family; but that doesn't necessarily mean that a blue-blooded girl is the best choice. Things like education, breeding, and wealth are no guarantee that maybe a girl from across the tracks wouldn't make a much better wife and mother. (she'd certainly tend to be more frugal)

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  9. WebersHome

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    Genesis 38:5-11b


    Gen 38:3-5 . . She conceived and bore a son, and he named him Er. She conceived again and bore a son, and named him Onan. Once again she bore a son, and named him Shelah; he was at Chezib when she bore him.

    The community of Chezib (a.k.a. Achzib and Chozeba) has been identified with Khirbet Kueizibah by somebody named Conder (Palestine Exploration, Jan. 1875). The Talmud mentions that a plain is in front of Chozeba; so Kueizibah has before it the valley of Berachoth (wady Arrub); which is a bit southwest of Adullum. So although Judah moved away from Bath-shua's parents, it wasn't far away.

    Gen 38:6 . . Judah got a wife for Er his first-born; her name was Tamar.

    Ms. Tamar is a total mystery. Neither her family, her ethnic identity, her age, her looks, her education, her material worth, nor anything else is known about her. But she's the one through whom God will bring Messiah into the world; so I think it's safe to say she was probably a much better woman than Bath-shua.

    Gen 38:7 . . But Er, Judah's first-born, was displeasing to The Lord, and The Lord took his life.

    Er has the distinction of being the very first member of the people of Israel-- the chosen people --whom God personally clipped Himself. Er was only the beginning because God's chosen people weren't chosen to be His pampered pets; no, they were selected to be the number-one caretakers, and propagators, of the knowledge of God. So then, of all the people in the world, Jews have the least excuse for failure to comply with God's wishes because they have always had that information at their fingertips while a very large portion of the rest of the world; for many, many centuries, didn't. Therefore, the status of God's chosen people isn't something to be proud of; no, it's something to be afraid of.

    "Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel-- against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt --saying: You only have I known of all the families of the earth: that's why I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:1-2)

    Gen 38:8 . .Then Judah said to Onan: Join with your brother's wife and do your duty by her as a brother-in-law, and provide offspring for your brother.

    According to Deut 5:2-4, the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy isn't retroactive. So then Judah's directive wasn't a strict by-the-book legal requirement as-stipulated by Deut 25:5-6; but was nevertheless something that God approved without it being a covenanted requirement.

    The "duty" to which Judah referred was apparently a widely accepted custom, not only in his own day, but in days preceding him. Some feel that the custom had its origin in the early-day practice of purchasing a wife rather than courting; so that she became a portion of the dead man's estate. As such, she remained the "property" (and the responsibility) of the clan; thus assuring widows of a livelihood, and of protection and security after their husband's death. In that respect, being a "mail order" bride had its advantages in an era when very few women had careers of their own outside the home or were entitled to assistance programs.

    Gen 38:9 . . But Onan, knowing that the seed would not count as his, spilled it on the ground whenever he joined with his brother's wife, so as not to provide offspring for his brother.

    It's been suggested that Onan's motivation for leaving his new wife childless was to make sure Er didn't posthumously cause his own inheritance to be reduced. As the firstborn, Er came in for a larger portion of Judah's estate than Onan. But with Er dead and out of the way, Onan became the firstborn by natural succession. Actually, Onan didn't have to marry Tamar; but if and when he did, it was an implied consent to try his best to engender a boy so the dead man would have someone to carry on his name. But Onan chose instead to take advantage of his brother's widow and use her like a harlot; and that was not only a cruel thing to do, but a fatal error too.

    Gen 38:10 . .What he did was displeasing to The Lord, and He took his life also.

    Some have attempted to use this passage as a proof text that it's a sin to practice contraception. But any honest examination of the facts testifies otherwise. Onan evaded his obligation, and married his brother's widow under false pretenses; apparently with the full intention of protecting his own inheritance rather than that of his dead brother.

    That was unforgivable because it's all the same as fraud and breech of contract; not to mention deplorably uncaring about a widow's predicament (cf. Luke 7:11-15). Tamar had a legitimate right to a baby fathered by Judah's clan, and it was their moral, if not sacred, duty to make an honest attempt to provide her with not only a baby, but also a man by her side to take care of her too.

    Gen 38:11a . .Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar: Stay as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up

    At this point, Judah did the unthinkable: he disowned his daughter-in-law. That just wasn't done. When a girl married into a clan; she became one with that clan. I can scarce believe Judah sent Tamar back to her father; and I'm honestly surprised Tamar's dad didn't march her right back to Judah's front door and get in his face about it and demand he fulfill his obligations to one of Israel's own widows.

    Gen 38:11b . . for he thought: He too might die like his brothers.

    No doubt Shelah's mom Bath-shua was by this time up in arms and protesting vehemently against any more marriages of her own sons to this "toxic" female.

    I've a pretty good notion of what Judah had in mind. He had no intention of letting Tamar anywhere near his one and only surviving male heir. As far as he was concerned, Tamar was nothing less than a Black Widow-- one of the those deadly spiders in the southwest that eats her mate for dinner after the poor hormone-driven slob fulfills his one and only purpose in life.

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    Genesis 38:11c-17


    Gen 38:11c . . So Tamar went to live in her father's house.

    Sending Tamar back home, as an unattached girl, Judah no doubt sincerely hoped she would meet somebody in her own neighborhood; maybe an old boyfriend or two, and remarry before Shelah got old enough; thus, his last son would be safe from Ms. Black Widow. But as it turned out, Tamar had more grit than Mattie Ross of Darnel County. Judah's clan owed her dead husband a baby boy, and that was that.

    You can hardly blame her. Jacob's clan was very wealthy, so that any children Tamar should produce by them, would have all the best that life had to offer in early-day Palestine; plus her grandchildren would be well taken care of too. Since nothing is said of her origin, Tamar may not have been a blue-blooded girl like her mother-in-law, but could have easily come from a low income community on the wrong side of the tracks. What would you do in the best interests of your children in that situation?

    Gen 38:12a . . As time went by, Judah's wife Bath-shua died.

    This event left Judah single, and eligible to remarry; so that Tamar and Judah are now both single adults; however, Tamar is betrothed, and that makes things a little complicated.

    Gen 38:12b . . After he got over her passing, Judah went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, together with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

    Timnah-- a.k.a. Tibneh: a deserted site southwest of Zorah, and two miles west of Ain Shems --was roughly 11 miles northwest from ancient Adullum towards Bethlehem.

    Gen 38:13-14a . . And it was told Tamar, saying: Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep. So she took off her widow's garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah;

    The Hebrew words for "open place" are weird. They mean "an open eye". One of those words-- the one for "eye" --can also mean a spring or an artesian well (e.g. Gen 16:7). A wayside rest, like as can be usually found on many modern Federal highways, would probably qualify as an example of the "open place" to which Gen 38:14 refers.

    Tamar's rest stop likely included a source of water, not for cars, but for the animals that men either herded, rode upon, or used for pack animals when they traveled up and down the primitive trails and roads of ancient Palestine.

    Sheep-shearing occurs sometime in the spring, so the weather in Palestine at that season was sunny and warm.

    Veils weren't an eo ipso indication that a woman was loose, since Rebecca had worn one upon meeting her spouse-to-be Isaac (Gen 24:65). Although the text says that Tamar's veil covered her face (vs. 15), it likely not only covered her face, but her whole body, because veils were more like a burqa than the little mask-like nets that women sometimes wear to funerals; except that burqa's are cumbersome and ugly, whereas Tamar's veil was a lightweight wrap, and likely quite colorful and eye-catching; and conveyed an altogether different message than a woman in mourning.

    Gen 38:14b . . for she saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had not been given to him as wife.

    Actually, Shelah wasn't the one who owed Tamar an Israeli baby; it was Judah, the head of the clan, and that's why he's the one she's coming after rather than Judah's son. Tamar is a scary girl; and one you wouldn't want to trifle with. Not many women would have had the chutzpah to do what she did. To begin with, for a lone woman to sit out along a remote road, unescorted, like she did, was inherently dangerous, and could have led to all sorts of mischief.

    Gen 38:15a . .When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute,

    The particular kind of prostitute in this episode is from the Hebrew word qedeshah (ked-ay-shaw') which isn't your typical working girl, but rather a devotee raising money for an established religion (Gen 38:21) typically a pagan kind of religion centered upon the worship of a goddess like Ashtoreth (a.k.a. Astarte). So one might say that a qedeshah's services were for a worthy cause.

    Gen 38:15b . . for she had covered her face.

    It's just amazing how difficult it is sometimes to recognize familiar people when they turn up in places we least expect them. Take Jesus for example. When he revived after his ordeal on the cross, people didn't know him right off: close friends like Mary Magdalena didn't recognize him at first even at close proximity (John 20:13-16). Another example is when Jesus came out to his followers' boat during a storm on open water. At first they thought he was a ghost, and Peter wouldn't believe it was Jesus until he gave him the power to walk on water himself (Matt 14:25-29).

    Gen 38:16-17 . . Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said: Come now, let me sleep with you. And what will you give me to sleep with you? she asked. I'll send you a young goat from my flock; he said. Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it? she asked.

    The Hebrew word for "pledge" in that passage is 'arabown (ar-aw-bone') which means a pawn (given as security) as in pawn shop. This is the very first place in the Bible where that word is used. In the usury business, an 'arabown is forfeited if the borrower fails to repay his loan. This is a very important principle in the divine plan.

    "In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph 1:13-14)

    The Greek word for "pledge" in that passage is arrhabon (ar-hrab-ohn') which means essentially the same as the Hebrew word 'arabown except that the Greek word indicates a little something extra.

    Real estate transactions usually involve a sum called the earnest money. Although it may be applied towards the purchase price of property, earnest money itself serves a specific purpose of its own in the real estate business. In some quarters; this is also called good faith money.

    When the contract, and all the other necessary documents are submitted to Escrow, the buyer is required to also submit a token amount of the purchase price. It's usually a relatively small number of dollars compared to the full price of the property. I think ours was just $1,000 back in 1988 on a $74,000 home. When the buyer follows through on their intent to purchase the property, the good faith money (minus some Escrow fees of course) goes towards the purchase.

    However, if the buyer loses interest in the property and decides to renege, then they forfeit the good faith money. No doubt that's done to discourage vacillating buyers from fiddling around with other people's time and money.

    So then, since God's Spirit is the earnest depicted in Eph 1:13-14; then, according to the principles underlying the arrhabon, should God betray a believer's trust by reneging on His promise to spare people who hear and believe the gospel, then He forfeits; and the believer gets to keep the Spirit regardless of their afterlife destiny.

    But of course God won't renege because doing so would not only embarrass Himself, but embarrass His son too as Jesus has given his word that believers have nothing to fear.

    "I assure you, those who heed my message, and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." (John 5:24)

    There are people who actually believe the Bible's God can get away with reneging on His promises. A belief of that nature of course eo ipso insinuates that the Bible's God is capable of dishonesty and can't be trusted to make good on anything He says.

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  11. WebersHome

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    Genesis 38:18-26


    Gen 38:18a . . He said: What pledge should I give you? Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand; she answered.

    The items that Tamar required for a pledge were akin to a photo ID or a thumb print in those days. Judah's staff wasn't just a kendo stick or a walking cane or a shepherd's crook. It was more like a king's scepter, specially made just for him, and served the express purpose of identifying him as the head of his tribe. Staffs were made of either wood or metal, and usually capped with a masthead. The quality of the staff would of course depend upon the material wherewithal of the person ordering it.

    Judah's seal could have been a small, uniquely engraved cylinder, or possibly a ring (e.g. Jer 22:24) but wasn't always worn on a finger. Way back in Judah's day, seals were sometimes worn around the neck with a necklace; or attached to personal walking sticks and/or staffs with a lanyard, and forced into wax or soft clay to leave an impressed "signature". The whole shebang-- seal, cord, and staff --was often a unit; and there were no two alike.

    The staff, with its cord and seal, was, of course, quite worthless for a shrine prostitute's purposes. In dollar value, it was nothing, as it couldn't be sold or traded. However, its value to Judah was why it was a good pledge item. He would certainly want it back.

    Gen 38:18b-23 . . So he gave them to her and mated with her, and she conceived by him. After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again.

    . . . Meanwhile, Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. He asked the men who lived there: Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim? There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here; they said.

    . . . So he went back to Judah and said: I didn't find her. Besides, the men who lived there said there hasn't been any shrine prostitute here. Then Judah said: Let her keep what she has or we will become a disgrace. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her.


    It might seem silly that Judah was concerned for his tribe's honor in this matter, but in those days, cult prostitutes did have a measure of respect in their community, and it wasn't unusual for every woman in the community to be expected to take a turn at supporting their "church" in that manner; so cult prostitution wasn't really looked upon as a vice but rather as a sacred obligation.

    Judah's failure to pay up could be construed by locals as mockery of their religion's way of doing business, thus insulting those who believed and practiced it; so he emphasized his effort to find the woman and make good on his I.O.U.

    This appears to me the first instance of religious tolerance in the Bible; and the circumstances are intriguing: to say the least.

    Gen 38:24 . . And it came to pass, about three months after, that Judah was told, saying: Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; furthermore she is with child by harlotry.

    At this time, Tamar was living with her dad; so Judah wouldn't have known she was expecting unless a rumor mill brought the news around.

    The word for "harlot" in Gen 38:24 is zanah (zaw-naw'), and the word for "harlotry" is zanuwn (zaw-noon') and both mean adultery. Tamar is accused of adultery because at this point, she's assumed betrothed (though not yet married) to Shelah. (cf. Matt 1:18-19)

    Gen 38:24 . . So Judah said: Bring her out and let her be burned!

    Since there were no Federal, nor any State, nor any Municipal laws in existence in primitive Palestine, local sheiks like Judah were the Supreme Court of their own tribes. Though Tamar was living back at home with her dad, she remained under Judah's jurisdiction because of her past marriages to two of Judah's sons.


    NOTE: I suspect Judah saw this turn of events as a golden opportunity to save his last surviving son from marrying Ms. Black Widow.

    Gen 38:25a . .When she was brought out,

    It's odd to me that Judah didn't attend Tamar's execution: possibly because he couldn't look her in the eye for reneging on his promise to give her Shelah. However; Judah was in for a very big jolt to his nervous system because Tamar produced a surprise witness.

    Gen 38:26 . . she sent to her father-in-law, saying: By the man to whom these belong, I am with child. And she said: Please determine whose these are-- the signet and cord, and staff. So Judah acknowledged them and said: She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he never saw her again.

    Actually, neither Judah nor Tamar were "righteous" in this matter. His comment was relative. Though both had behaved rather badly; Tamar held the high moral ground. It's like movies today. The good guys and the bad guys are no longer distinctly moral and immoral and/or scrupulous and unscrupulous. Often both sides of the equation are immoral and unscrupulous; with the "good" guys just being more likable.

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    Genesis 38:27-29


    Gen 38:27-28 . .When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb! While she was in labor, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife tied a crimson thread on that hand, to signify: This one came out first.

    According to modern medicine, a baby isn't really born until it's head is outside the womb; so that it's legal (in some states) to kill babies with a so called "dilation and extraction" abortion; which is a term coined by Ohio abortionist Dr. Martin Haskell for an abortion method in which he removes a baby's brain while it's head is still partially within the womb, and then completes the delivery by extracting the corpse. But in Tamar's day, even the exit of so much as a hand was counted birth: thus Zerah became Tamar's legal firstborn son.

    Gen 38:29 . . But just then he drew back his hand, and out came his brother; and she said: What a breach you have made for yourself! So he was named Perez (which means: break (as in break through a barrier or force a way through; viz: buck the line and/or go out of turn). Afterward his brother came out, on whose hand was the crimson thread; he was named Zerah (which means: a rising of light; viz: morning).

    Well . . regardless of Zerah's primo-genitive prerogatives, God bypassed him in Judah's line to Messiah; which, by Divine appointment went to Perez, the second-born. (Matt 1:1-3)


    NOTE: You'd think holy propriety would demand that the sacred line to Messiah be pure. I mean, after all, a child of adultery and incest hardly seems like a proper ancestor for the King of Kings. But no, an ancestry of adultery and/or incest makes no difference to Christ. In point of fact, in time a famous harlot from Jericho named Rahab produced yet another male in the line to the lamb of God (Matt 1:5). And let's not forget Ruth who descended from Lot sleeping with one of his own daughters in a cave. (cf. Gen 19:36-37, Ruth 4:10, and Matt 1:5)

    According to Rom 8:3 Christ didn't come in the likeness of innocent flesh; no, he came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and his ancestry certainly proves it.

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    Genesis 39:1-7


    Gen 39:1-3 . .Now when Joseph arrived in Egypt with the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, a member of the personal staff of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was the captain of the palace guard. The Lord was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that The Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.

    The identity of the Pharaoh during this moment in history is a total mystery, and even that fact is a mystery in itself because Egypt was normally quite meticulous in recording its accomplishments, and the names of Egypt's dynastic successions are recorded practically without a break thru the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, clear on back to 3,000 BC. But for some reason, so far unexplained, a blank occurs in its history between 1730 to 1580 BC.

    This absence of information puzzles Egyptologists; and thus far has only been satisfactorily explained by the conquering-- and subsequent dominance --of Egypt by an ancient people called the Hyksos; who were Semitic tribes from Syria and Canaan. The Hyksos were of a different mentality than the Egyptians and apparently weren't inclined to keep a meticulous record of their own accomplishments as had their vanquished predecessors before them.

    Not only is there a dearth of documents from that period, but there aren't even any monuments to testify of it. If perchance Joseph was in Egypt during the Hyksos, that might explain why there exists not one shred of archaeological evidence to corroborate the Bible in regards to its story of Joseph in Egypt.

    Joseph's success was, of course, in regards to his proficiency, and in no way says anything about his personal prosperity because as a slave, he had no income, owned no property, controlled no business ventures, nor maintained some sort of investment portfolio.

    How Potiphar found out that Yhvh was Joseph's god isn't said. But in knowing, he quite naturally credited Yhvh with Joseph's proficiency because people in those days were very superstitious. Even Potiphar's own name, which in Egyptian is Pa-di-pa-ra, means "the gift of the god Ra".

    Gen 39:3-6a . .So Joseph naturally became quite a favorite with him. Potiphar soon put Joseph in charge of his entire household and entrusted him with all his business. From the day Joseph was put in charge, Yhvh began to bless Potiphar for Joseph's sake.

    . . . All his household affairs began to run smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn't have a worry in the world, except to decide what he wanted to eat!


    This was all idyllic for Mr. Aristocrat; but unfortunately, there was a fly poised to plop itself into the ointment.

    Gen 39:6b-7 . .Now Joseph was young, well built, and handsome. After a while, his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph and said; Sleep with me.

    The apparent overture wasn't a request. Since Joseph was a slave, it wasn't necessary for Potiphar's wife to seduce him. She only had to give him an order, and he was expected to obey it.

    It's not uncommon to find women who feel trapped in an unfulfilling marriages. Henry David Thoreau once wrote that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Well; some of that "mass of men" includes women.

    Potiphar's wife (call her Anna for convenience) was an amorously active woman married to the wrong man. No children are listed for her husband so it's very possible Potiphar was a eunuch; a distinct possibility in ancient palaces. He might have been an older man too, maybe a bit too old.

    Anna probably didn't marry for love; but for security. That's understandable since women of that day didn't have a lot of career options, nor a minority status, nor retirement benefits, nor entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. For women in Anna's day, marriage was often a matter of survival rather than a matter of the heart.

    She was obviously still lively and maybe would have enjoyed dinner out and salsa dancing once or twice a week; while Potipher probably barely had enough energy left to plop down and fall asleep in his La-Z-Boy recliner after working 12-14 hours a day in the palace and just wanted to be left alone in his man cave with a can of beer and CNN.

    There are women who prefer older men; sometimes much older. But there are other women, like Anna, who prefer the young ones; however, sometimes life just doesn't give them any options.

    So then, what's a desperate housewife to do when her husband is old and boring, and here's this strapping, virile young slave guy around the house with you all day long? Well . .you're either going to drink a lot, get witchy, take pills, or make a move and see what happens. Unfortunately, Anna isn't going to be a very good sport about it.

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    Genesis 39:8-23


    Gen 39:8-18 . . But Joseph refused. Look; he told her; my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do! He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.

    . . . She kept putting pressure on him day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he avoided her as much as possible. One day, however, no one else was around when he was doing his work inside the house. She came and grabbed him by his shirt, demanding: Sleep with me! Joseph tore himself away, but as he did, his shirt came off. She was left holding it as he ran from the house.

    . . .When she saw that she had his shirt and that he had fled, she began screaming. Soon all the men around the place came running. My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to humiliate us; she sobbed. He tried to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard my loud cries, he ran and left his shirt behind with me.

    . . . She kept the shirt with her, and when her husband came home that night, she told him her story. That Hebrew slave you've had around here tried to humiliate me; she said. I was saved only by my screams. He ran out, leaving his shirt behind!


    Joseph's situation parallels a case in Harper Lee's book To Kill A Mockingbird where a promiscuous woman accuses an innocent man of rape in order to cover up her own indiscretions.

    Scorned women can be very cruel. When I was a youthful, good-looking guy, the wife (whom I was careful to avoid) of a good friend accused me to her husband of going off on her with abusive language in a tirade. To defend myself and expose his wife for the liar that she was, would have meant causing my friend deep humiliation; so I elected to keep silent and take the pain. Our friendship was of course ruined, and we parted. A few months later, I was told they divorced. Like that was any big surprise.

    Gen 39:19-20a . .When his master heard the story that his wife told him, namely; "Thus and so your slave did to me" he was furious. So Joseph’s master had him put in prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined.

    I've no doubt Potiphar didn't believe a word of his wife's story or otherwise he would have put Joseph to death rather than in a cushy jail where political prisoners were kept, but what was he to do? Stick up for a slave over his wife? Not happening. So Joseph was sacrificed to keep peace in the home.

    Gen 39:20-23 . . But while Joseph was there in the prison, Yhvh was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because Yhvh was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

    A trustee's lot in prison is much more agreeable than regular inmates. Joseph was very fortunate to have the Lord in his corner otherwise he might have been neglected; but as a trustee, he could roam about the cell block like as if he were one of the guards.

    It would appear to the uninformed that Joseph had a natural aptitude for management; but actually he didn't; no, he was supernaturally-gifted. That is quite an advantage-- a resentful rival might even say: an unfair advantage.

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  15. WebersHome

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    Genesis 40:1-4a


    Joseph was 17 when he arrived in Egypt, and 30 when he became prime minister. So 13 years of his young adulthood were wasted in servitude and prison; and all that time without even so much as a date or a girlfriend. More than a full decade of the best years of his life went by with no female companionship whatsoever.

    A man's libido peaks in the years between 18 and 24, then begins tapering off as he gradually gets older. Since there is no record of Joseph's association with a special girl back home in Palestine, I think it's safe to conclude that he had never cuddled with a girl in his entire life till he got married sometime in his thirties. So you can see that Joseph was not only robbed of the best years of his life, but totally missed out on something that's very important to the psychological well being of the average red-blooded guy.

    As Joseph got older, and began to realize that life was passing him by, and that his youth was ebbing away, he no doubt began to wonder if maybe his current situation wasn't permanent; and as the days and years continued to go by one after another, he must have become frightened, depressed, and desperate as he saw no plausible way to remedy his predicament and get his life back.

    We used to joke among ourselves as professional welders that adverse conditions in the workplace build character. (chuckle) Like as if any blue collar skull needs "character" for anything. However, people destined for greatness can benefit immensely from character-building experiences that serve to temper their success; for example Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was immensely privileged and harbored a horrid superiority complex. Polio really humbled him, and in time, Roosevelt's handicap made him a much better man and a much better leader.

    I've seen people's leadership and responsibility handed to them on the silver platter of privilege; resulting in their treating lower ranking employees with thoughtless contempt. If those managers had only started out laboring in construction, selling luggage, shackled in slavery, or convicted of crimes they didn't commit; then maybe they would have developed a sensitivity that would have made them, not just managers, but great managers.

    Under normal circumstances, Joseph's alleged crime was punishable by death. So then, since he wasn't executed, but instead put in a prison normally reserved for political prisoners, his circumstances tend to support the opinion that Potiphar didn't believe his wife's story at all.

    Gen 40:1a . . Some time later,

    Exactly how long Joseph had been in prison prior to this next section is uncertain. However, his age would have been near 28 since it will be just two years afterwards that he's released (Gen 41:1).

    Gen 40:1b-4a . . the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt gave offense to their lord the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two courtiers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody, in the house of the chief steward, in the same prison house where Joseph was confined. The chief steward assigned Joseph to them, and he attended them.

    The "chief steward" was Mr. Potiphar (Gen 39:1).

    Exactly what these two muckity-mucks did to warrant being placed under arrest isn't said, but since both men's functions were directly related to Pharaoh's nourishment; it's reasonable to assume their offenses most likely had something to do with the King's table. Perhaps the beverages, as well as the food, just happened to be tainted both at the same time, thus suggesting a conspiracy to poison their master. Since they weren't summarily executed, it's apparent that they're just suspects at this point, and being held without bail until Potiphar's secret service completed an investigation into the matter. It's entirely possible that some of the lower ranking members of the kitchen staff are being held too, though not in the same place.

    Cupbearers weren't just flunky taste testers, but were savvy advisors: thus, in a position of great influence. They were also saddled with the responsibility of supervising the King's vineyards in order to ensure their potentate received only the very best beverages deserving of the rank. So cupbearers were very competent men who knew a thing or two about not only diplomacy, but also the wine business. Egyptian documents testify to their wealth and power (cf. Neh 2:1).

    Although the baker wasn't up as high as a cupbearer, his duties were still critical. He didn't just make cookies and coffee cake, and/or supervise the kitchen staff, but did the shopping too. He sniffed all the meats, fowls, and fishes, and nibbled all the vegetables before they were ever brought inside the castle. Without the benefit of refrigeration, his responsibility was very great since his master could easily become gravely ill, and quite possibly die, from eating spoiled foods.

    To be placed at the service of these two high ranking courtiers was really an honor, even though they were just as much locked up as Joseph. However, he was a slave and they were courtiers; so there was a big difference in rank even behind bars. But the two men had it pretty cushy. They weren't treated like common convicts; no, they each had a very competent, fully experienced butler with impeccable references at their service-- Mr. Joseph ben Jacob.

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  16. WebersHome

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    Genesis 40:4b-17


    Gen 40:4b-8a . . After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men-- the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison --had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

    . . .When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with him in his master's house: Why are your faces so sad today? We both had dreams; they answered, but there is no one to interpret them. Then Joseph said to them: Do not interpretations belong to God?


    Actually, in the literal, Joseph said: Aren't interpretations with the gods? Because the word for "God" isn't Yhvh, rather, it's 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which isn't one of the creator's proper names, but a generic plural noun for all gods, both the true and the false.

    Gen 40:8b . . Please tell me.

    There's no record up to this point of Joseph ever interpreting a dream, not even his own. He dreamed in the past (e.g. Gen 37:5-7, Gen 37:9) but at the time he didn't know what his dreams meant; and in this particular instance, I seriously doubt he believed himself able to interpret a one. I think he was just curious. Jail is boring; what else was there to talk about? So what's going to happen next was probably just as big a surprise to him as it was to them.

    Incidentally, there's no record of God ever speaking one-on-one with Joseph. He believed God was providentially active in his life, but was given no apparitions of any kind whatsoever to corroborate his confidence other than the fulfillment of his interpretations of people's dreams; which aren't eo ipso evidence of God at work. (e.g. Acts 16:16)

    People's dreams normally don't stick in their memories for very long; but these two men's dreams seemed (to them anyway) to be of a mysteriously symbolic significance, and so disturbing that they can't get the details out of their minds.

    In psychoanalysis, dreams are of interest because they're often expressions of subconscious anxieties and inner conflicts rather than portents and/or omens.

    Dreams are both common and normal, and surely no one should try to derive a message from God out of them. But these men's dreams defied psychoanalysis because they were so weird and unnatural.

    Had they been at liberty, they no doubt would have contacted one of Pharaoh's astrologers, or an occultist or a diviner, or a highly intuitive wiz kid to tell them the meanings. But for now they're stuck with Joseph-- a nice enough young fellow; but a total unknown in their world regarding matters of paranormal precognition.

    Gen 40:9-13 . .Then the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph. He said to him: In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. On the vine were three branches. It had barely budded, when out came its blossoms and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.

    . . . Joseph said to him: This is its interpretation: The three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will pardon you and restore you to your post; you will place Pharaoh's cup in his hand, as was your custom formerly when you were his cupbearer.


    From whence Joseph got his interpretation isn't stated. Genesis doesn't say he heard a voice, nor does it clearly say that God gave Joseph the interpretation. For all Joseph knew, (and them too) he was just taking a wild guess. It probably came right out of his head sort of like intuition or an imaginative locution.

    Gen 40:14 . . But remember me when all is well with you again, and do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh, so as to free me from this place.

    Don't worry, he won't; nor did he promise to.

    Gen 40:15 . . For in truth, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews; nor have I done anything here that they should have put me in the dungeon.

    Joseph was telling the truth, but not the whole truth. He was in prison for the crime of rape. Whether he actually did it or not is immaterial. And he wasn't realistic: Joseph couldn't reasonably expect a courtier to take the word of a criminal; and a slave at that.

    Gen 40:16a . .When the chief baker saw how favorably he had interpreted,

    Apparently, for reasons unstated, the baker was somewhat reluctant to share his dream with Joseph at first, but relented when the first dream had a happy ending.

    Gen 40:16b-17 . . he said to Joseph: In my dream, similarly, there were three openwork baskets on my head. In the uppermost basket were all kinds of food for Pharaoh that a baker prepares; and the birds were eating it out of the basket above my head.

    Birds are usually an ill omen in Scripture; sort of like the connotation borne by serpents. So, now it comes out why the baker was reluctant to tell his dream. If Pharaoh ever suspected that his food was being picked over by birds, he would be very disappointed in the quality of the care that a potentate had a right to expect from his own personal team of cooks. Food left uncovered, exposed and out in the open, is certainly not food fit for a king.

    The baker's dream may have been his subconscious at work reminiscing the error of his ways. Up till now, the baker had no doubt insisted upon his innocence; which was nothing less than feigned since he knew very well with whom the real fault lay between himself and the cupbearer.

    Apparently Pharaoh had actually gotten some sort of food poisoning, and the investigation underway by Potiphar sought to find the source; and likely to determine if it was in any way evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Pharaoh.

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  17. WebersHome

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    Genesis 40:18-23


    Gen 40:18-19 . . Joseph answered: This is its interpretation: The three baskets are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and gibbet you upon a pole; and the birds will pick off your flesh.

    It's lucky for the baker that he would be already dead before the gibbeting because a common method of gibbeting in those days was impaling; which was a grizzly spectacle. Wooden poles, about three to four inches in diameter were sharpened to a pencil point and forcibly inserted into the abdomen, up into the rib cage to catch on the spine in back of the throat; and the pole was then set upright to suspend the victim above the ground like human shish kabob.

    I'm looking here at an impaling on an Assyrian stone relief-- in the July/August 2006 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review --commissioned by Sennacherib for his palace at Ninevah to celebrate the capture of Lachish. The victims are three Israelites who still have their heads; strongly suggesting that they were alive when the poles were run into their bellies and up into their upper torsos.

    Nobody could possibly survive an injury like that for more than a few seconds. The pole would not only penetrate the stomach, but also the liver, diaphragm, lungs, some large blood vessels, and the bronchial tubes; resulting in almost instant death-- quite excruciating, and very bloody.

    Public impaling was no doubt a very effective deterrent to insurrection; and nobody in those days seemed overly concerned about executing criminals in a "humane" manner. Cruel and unusual punishments were the norm; and nobody dared stage an "Occupy Wall Street" protest about them lest their days end in like fashion.

    Gen 40:20a . . Pharaoh's birthday came three days later, and he gave a banquet for all his officials and household staff.

    What really is the purpose of a birthday party anyway if not to celebrate the continuance of your own existence?

    For guys in Pharaoh's position (e.g. Kim Jong Un of N. Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Thein Sein of Myanmar) life is good: better than what you could ever hope to ask for; and of course that's cause for celebration. But for the majority of their subjects, life wasn't all that good, and nothing to celebrate. No doubt relatively few Egyptians in that day derived a significant amount of pleasure from their own existence.

    People normally count Job as one of the most righteous men who ever lived, yet when he lost his health and wealth, Job cursed the day of his birth and wished he was never born. (Job 3:1-26)

    Gen 40:20b-23 . . He sent for his chief cup-bearer and chief baker, and they were brought to him from the prison. He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, but he sentenced the chief baker to be impaled on a pole, just as Joseph had predicted. Pharaoh's cup-bearer, however, promptly forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.

    One might wonder how it was possible for the cup-bearer to not be thoroughly amazed enough at the fulfillment of Joseph's predictions to begin exclaiming his prison experience with such enthusiasm as to totally rivet the attention of every single one of Pharaoh's courtiers and instantly secure Joseph's freedom.

    But if we take into account the hand of God in the glove of His people's history, then it seems reasonable to conclude that God didn't want Joseph in the limelight just yet; so he put a mental block in the cup man's head to silence him for the time being.

    No doubt when Joseph was apprised of recent developments by his friend Potiphar, he was deeply disappointed, and probably a bit consternated too. Joseph probably assumed-- and with good reason --that those successful predictions were his ticket to freedom at last.

    But even if Pharaoh had taken note of Joseph at this particular point in the narrative, he was still Potiphar's property, and would have to remain in custody because of his "affair" with Potiphar's wife. Dreams or no dreams, does anyone seriously believe that Pharaoh would have taken the word of a slave over one of his own trusted courtiers?

    So even had the cup-bearer brought Joseph's ability to Pharaoh's attention, it probably wouldn't have succeeded in gaining him the degree of freedom he really wanted. In point of fact, it may have even resulted in his death because Pharaoh would certainly want to know why Joseph hadn't been summarily executed on the spot for rape. No; bringing Joseph to Pharaoh's attention at this point would have caused problems for both the slave and his master.

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  18. WebersHome

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    Genesis 41:1-8


    Gen 41:1a . .Two years later

    Poor Joseph. He's now at the very threshold of his fourth decade of life and still hasn't slept with a girl, nor does he even really have a life of his own. He was under his dad's thumb for seventeen years as a kid, and now he's been a slave in a foreign country for thirteen; and has nothing to show for it whatsoever. Everybody would like their lives to count for something; but it looks like Joseph's is slipping away like water through a leaky bucket.

    The very young often don't think far enough ahead. It's not till they hit their thirties that the aging process begins to work wonders on their perspective. I'm 68 as of this writing, and every time I see someone in their seventies, it only serves to make me sad as I realize that it's my own near-future I'm looking at. One day I'll look back at 68 and be amazed how young that was in comparison. But right now; I feel very old.

    Gen 41:1b-7a . . Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. And lo, from the Nile there came up seven heifers, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. Then behold, seven other heifers came up after them from the Nile, ragged and bony, and they stood by the other heifers on the bank of the Nile. And the ragged and bony heifers ate the seven sleek and fat ones. Then Pharaoh awoke.

    . . . And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven ears, shriveled and dehydrated by the east wind, sprouted up after them. And the shriveled ears devoured the seven plump and full ears.


    Pharaoh's dreams are all the more disturbing because they contain incidents that are contrary to nature. Cows, as a rule, aren't carnivorous; and ears of grain derive their nourishment from the stems of their own parent plant, not dining upon each other.

    The scenes in both dreams are extremely violent with the cows and the ears not just sitting down to dinner, but literally attacking their neighbors with desperate savagery, like ravenous caribes: eating everything-- flesh, hide, hooves, bones, grains, chaff, and all --raw and uncooked.

    Gen 41:7b . .Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.

    The first dream was disturbing enough to wake Pharaoh from his sleep. But the second was so vivid and so real that when he awoke, he was actually surprised it was just a dream. And with that last dream, I'd not be surprised he was very relieved to discover it wasn't a reality.

    Gen 41:8a . .The next morning, as he thought about it, Pharaoh became agitated as to what the dreams might mean. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them about his dreams,

    Magicians in those days were not the same as the sleight-of-hand entertainers of our own day. Those occultists were scary; they used dark arts that actually worked, and they were really and truly in touch with paranormal powers. The magicians who opposed Moses (Ex 7:11) were able to duplicate several of God's miracles; so ancient magicians were legitimately powerful sorcerers and to be seriously reckoned with.

    I think it was mentioned previously that "wise men" were highly educated men of extraordinary intelligence; sort of like ancient college professors and wiz kids. Although Moses himself isn't stated to have been a wise man; he is stated to have been educated in all that Egypt had to offer. (Acts 7:22)

    Incidentally, although Genesis never mentions God directly in Joseph's life, Stephen confirms that it was God's providence that made the young man so successful, and protected him from mortal harm. (Acts 7:9-10)

    Gen 41:8b . . but not one of them could suggest what they meant.

    No doubt the magicians and wise men would normally have guessed the meaning of Pharaoh's dreams in an instant via their connections with the dark world. But this time the dark world wasn't responsible for those two dreams, and apparently God held the spirits in check and prevented them from making any contact whatsoever with Pharaoh's counselors.

    That had to be a very tense moment for the think tank. Potentates have been known to execute brain trusts for failure to produce. (Dan 2:1-12)

    One might ask how the dark beings can interpret dreams to foretell future events. Well . . there's a lot of activity going on in the unseen world; and quite a bit of it is being done by good angels. All that the dark angels have to do is spy on the good angels and they can pretty much figure out what's coming up.

    Whenever you see men digging a huge, deep, square hole in a city lot, then logic and experience tells you that a new building is going up. Well . . the dark world has had thousands of years of experience; so factor that in and it's not too difficult to understand how they come to know so much about the future. And then too, you have to expect that the dark world is digging their own holes at the same time; and they'd quite naturally be experts on the outcomes of those.

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  19. WebersHome

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    Genesis 41:9-14


    Gen 41:9-13 . .Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh: Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

    . . . Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.


    Why wait till now to talk about Josephs' abilities? Well . . first off, God more than likely put a mental block in the cupbearers head to forget all about Joseph; and that mental block could have been something as simple as a very reasonable decision on the cupbearer's part. Pharaoh already had a corps of magicians and wise men who were actually very proficient at their jobs. What need was there to suggest taking on another one; and a Hebrew slave at that?

    No doubt during the performance of his duties over time, the cupbearer had seen lots of dreams correctly interpreted, so Joseph's dog and pony show was nothing new to him. The kind of mental block where people talk themselves out of something, is quite normal and very common. But now, circumstances are going to twinge the cupbearer's conscience, not just about Josephs' ability, but the fact that Joseph had practically begged the man to talk to Pharaoh and get him released as a return for the favor.

    Gen 41:14a . . So Pharaoh sent for Joseph,

    Normally, Egyptians didn't associate with Hebrews (cf. Gen 43:32) and that cultural barrier no doubt factored in to the cupbearer's mental block. But Pharaoh was at his wit's end, and was favorably disposed to swallow his pride for a matter that, to him, seemed of the utmost importance to not only himself, but also to the welfare of his whole country.

    Gen 41:14b . . and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.

    All this was done so that Joseph could appear in court that very day, not some other time. Pharaoh was anxious.

    Gen 41:14c . .When he had shaved and changed his clothes,

    Shaving for an Egyptian meant not only trimming and sculpting their beards (by now, Joseph must have looked like Rumpelstiltskin) but also cutting their hair; actually shaving their scalps bald like Vin Diesel. According to Herodotus, the Egyptians had extreme care for cleanliness and would let their hair and beards grow out only during periods of mourning.

    Gen 41:14d . . he came before Pharaoh.

    Jiminy! Here's this no-account sheep rancher from the outback getting the full-on attention of one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, monarchs in the world of that day!

    You know, there comes a day-- and that day may never come for some people --when you get that big break. It's at that moment when you better have your ducks in a row and your peas in their pods because opportunity knocks only for those who are prepared for it. For all others, it's bye-bye; and don't call us; we'll call you-- or worse. If Joseph blows his big moment, he could very well end up not just sent back to prison for life; but gibbeted just like the baker. This is a tense moment, and somebody's life is about to change.

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  20. WebersHome

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    Genesis 41:15-24


    Gen 41:15 . . I had a dream last night; Pharaoh told him; and none of these men can tell me what it means. But I have heard that you can interpret dreams, and that is why I have summoned you.

    Potiphar of course would have been responsible for delivering Joseph, and probably informed him of the purpose. But just to set his mind at ease, I'm assuming Pharaoh himself personally informs Joseph of the reason why he's there because when prisoners like Joseph were summoned to a Pharaoh, it was more than likely for trial.

    Gen 41:16 . . It is beyond my power to do this; Joseph replied. But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease.

    A verse like that is ambiguous since the Hebrew word translated "God" in that verse is plural so that verse could just as accurately be read: "But the gods will tell you what it means . . ." However, Pharaoh would have no problem with the god being Yhvh because his land was literally infested with gods and were a common part of everyday Egyptian life.

    Although Mr. Pharaoh is probably not going to like what he hears, at least he'll have the peace of mind of knowing what to expect. How many of us really want our doctors to lie to us? No, we want the truth; even if it's terminal cancer.

    Gen 41:17a . . So Pharaoh told him the dream.

    Pharaoh is really grasping at straws here since Joseph had no credentials nor could produce any references aside from the cup-bearer's to recommend him and vouch for his skills; and he had only one successful interpretation to his credit thus far; so you can see just how desperate Pharaoh really is.

    Gen 41:17b . . I was standing on the bank of the Nile River; he said.

    The Nile River's role in the dream is highly significant since it was a major factor in Egypt's economy; especially its agriculture. Every year the Nile overflowed it banks; leaving behind a deposit of silt; which kept the land's flood plain replenished with a nice new layer of fresh topsoil. Take away the Nile's flooding, and eventually the soils would become depleted in an era when hardly anybody knew anything about crop rotation.

    Not only that, but winds coming in from the eastern deserts would not only dry the soils out and blow them away, but in the process leave behind sands that would eventually render the land unproductive like during America's depression era when its croplands turned into dust bowls.

    Lower the Nile's water level significantly, and it would make irrigation very difficult in a time without pumps powered by internal combustion engines or electric motors.

    Joseph is going to predict a famine; and in those days, as even now, famines were caused by insufficient rainfall. Reduced rainfall results in less natural irrigation and less runoff, so that Egypt's worst fears will be realized: crops will dry up, the Nile won't overflow its banks, and its levels will shrink.

    Back in chapter 2, Genesis says that a flow welled up from the ground to water the whole surface of the earth, and a river watered the garden of Eden. River systems irrigate the subsoil and replenish aquifers. Lower a river system too much, and see what happens.

    I can recall an instance, I think it was somewhere in Australia, where the natural aquifer below a farmer's land went down because a marsh nearby was drained for commercial purposes. The aquifer was like a dam. When it went down, salt water moved in to take its place and the stuff percolated up and flooded the man's property. All his trees died and the land became good for nothing. Tamper with nature too much; and nature will tamper with you.

    Gen 41:18a . . when out of the river

    That is so perfect because the Nile was Egypt's source of life; so that whatever happened to the Nile, or whatever the Nile produced, effected Egyptian life in a big way.

    During Moses' confrontation with Pharaoh in the book of Exodus, the Nile was turned into blood (Ex 7:17-25), and subsequently Egypt's streams, rivers, ponds, and their pools. Next, God made the Nile produce myriads of frogs (Ex 8:1-6), so that the frogs were so thick, they became a serious infestation. So then, the Nile, which ordinarily was a blessing, became a superfund site.

    Gen 41:18b-24a . . there came up seven heifers, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. After them, seven other heifers came up-- ragged and bony, I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The hideous heifers ate up the seven fat heifers that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as hideous as before. Then I woke up.

    . . . In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted-- withered and thin and dehydrated by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads.


    This second dream sounds like a redux of The Little Shop Of Horrors.

    Gen 41:24b . . I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.

    Since Pharaoh's brain trust couldn't figure out the dreams, then they certainly wouldn't be able to devise effective contingency plans to deal with their meanings. It's always nice to know the future so you can get ready for it; and certainly nobody likes to be kept in the dark.

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