From Genesis 41-42
Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, put in prison for refusing to commit adultery, now raised to second in charge of the most powerful nation in biblical times. Joseph has an amazing rags to riches story. All because of the LORD’s dreams.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Joseph has just interpreted Pharaoh’s dream as God revealed it to him. The dream reveals that much work has to be done to survive a seven year famine and someone has to be appointed to organise that work.
Pharaoh is suitably impressed with Joseph for his discernment and will reward him for it. He gets the job. Thus, Joseph move from lowly prisoner to second in charge of the biggest nation in the biblical landscape.
Today’s passage is Joseph’s rags to riches moment.
37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” (Gen 41:37-40)
‘Spirit of God’. Pharaoh recognises the Spiritual element necessary for Joseph to interpret the dream. Joseph himself of course was only passing on what God revealed to him. None of Pharaoh’s other advisors could do it. Joseph is clearly unique.
‘Over my house’, ‘Regards the throne’. Joseph is placed second in charge to Pharaoh himself.
41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and
clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.
43 And he made him ride in his second chariot.
And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!”
Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” (Gen 41:41-44)
‘Signet ring’, ‘Garments’, ‘Chariot’, ‘Called out’. This ring used to seal official documents. The signet gave left an impression signifying the Pharaoh. The linen garments and the gold chain were typical of someone with his position and authority. Chariots were the presitigious vehicles of the day, Joseph will ride in style. The men going before him calling out and clearing the way also function as his protection.
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-Paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. (Gen 41.45)
‘Zaphenath-Paneah’. Josephs new role, the trappings associated, his new name and marriage show that Joseph has undergone a complete Egyptian makeover. His outward appearance is one of the Egyptian elite and will make him unrecognizable to his family.
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.
47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it.
49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured. (Gen 41.46-50)
‘Seven plentiful years’. Joseph goes to work saving vast amounts of grain. Most people are probably none the wiser these seven years of abundance will be followed by seven years of famine.
50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him.
51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.”
52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Gen 41.50-52)
‘Hardship’, ‘Affliction’. Joseph has had his share of suffering and hard times. The LORD has blessed him and reversed his fortunes. He names his children, who will become leaders of their respective tribes, after his story of suffering and blessing.
Story of Israel
Joseph is told at the beginning of the story to see to the welfare of his brothers (37:14). It is all but impossible at that point to anticipate the way that he will eventually accomplish that on a grand scale (47:11–12). The cryptic comment in 37:14, like the ones in 22:5 and 29:14, contains more truth than is apparent at first. In his sovereignty and related to the covenant, God is going to use Joseph not only to see to the welfare of his family but to see to the welfare of the world. (Walton, J.H., 2001. Genesis, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.)
Story of Jesus
Joseph seemed to keep a godly perspective through his suffering and prosperity. His dreams and the prophesy of God kept him mindful of his role in God’s plans.
Do you see your current role within the wider context of God’s plans? Or do you see your role in the world for your own gain?
15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”(Lk 12.15-21)
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