A Daily Genesis

Genesis 41:37-46a

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:37-38 . . Joseph's suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his advisers. And Pharaoh said to his courtiers: Could we find another like him, a man in whom is the spirit of the gods?[/B]

If there was one thing those old-time pagans valued, it was a connection to the spirit world, and they sensed that Joseph had it. I think they were not only in awe of him, but maybe even just a bit afraid of him too.

The Hebrew word for "gods" is [I]'elohiym[/I] (el-o-heem') which is both plural and ambiguous, so you could just as easily translate it gods as God; but in the Egypt of that day and age, "gods" makes more sense.

Joseph is going to become very popular with Pharaoh, and it's all to the one true god's credit.

"God was with him . . . and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt." (Acts 7:9-10)

The Greek word for "favor" in that verse is [I]charis[/I] (khar'-ece) which is the very word translated "grace" in English versions of the New Testament. So then, you could say that Joseph found grace in the eyes of Pharaoh just like Noah found grace in the eyes of God back in Gen 6:8.

Putting it all together, it says that Pharaoh was inclined to bless Joseph just like God was inclined to bless Noah; viz: to do good for him; provide for him, and protect him from harm. God trusted Noah, and assigned him the Herculean task of building the ark. Pharaoh trusted Joseph, and assigned him the Herculean task of implementing a plan to save his country from certain ruin. Noah's ark kept the human race alive. Joseph's plan kept the Egyptians alive (and his family too). Quite a few parallels in Noah and Joseph.

But in order for Joseph's plan to work, he had to have absolute power in the country of Egypt. Everybody had to fear him so they'd be sure to cooperate.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 41:39-43 . .Then Pharaoh said to Joseph; Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you. So Pharaoh said to Joseph; I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

. . .Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.[/B]

Pharaoh's signet ring was for signing documents and authorizing whatever purchases and requisitions Joseph might need to fulfill his duties; and for mustering and/or conscripting the necessary manpower to get it all done. That signet ring was terrifying. With it, Joseph could actually order people gibbeted if he wanted and nobody would question it. (cf. Hag 2:20-23)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:44 . . Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph; Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.[/B]

Although Joseph was directly responsible to Pharaoh and to no one else, his powers were limited. He couldn't wage war or set foreign policy. He had no say in the balance of trade, or the colonization of foreign lands. There were other people taking care of those operations. Joseph's jurisdiction for the moment was related to the task he was assigned, sort of like the head of homeland security, a drug czar, or a FEMA commander. Joseph's position was in supreme oversight of Egypt's domestic product.
[COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:45a . . Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Tsophnath Pa'neach, and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On.[/B]

[I]Tsophnath Pa'neach[/I] was an Egyptian name, same as Moses is an Egyptian name; which reflected Joseph's transition from Palestinian goat-herder to a naturalized Egyptian citizen; which of course had the effect of emancipating him from slavery.

[I]Poti-phera[/I] is essentially the same name as Joseph's original master: Potiphar.

The city of On was possibly Heliopolis, a city dedicated to the worship of the Sun god.

Priests were a highly respected caste in Egypt. Having a father-in-law in the priesthood secured Joseph a privileged social status appropriate for a man in his position, and no doubt landed some good connections right in his lap. There's no record that Joseph protested the marriage, but likely saw it as an advantage he could exploit.

Joseph's fortunes bring to mind the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. For years The Terminator was just a big clunky muscleman; an ex body builder from Thal bei Graz Austria who made it good in Hollywood, and then one day found himself Governor of Cah-lee-forn-yah. Mr. Schwarzenegger though, in contrast to Joseph, is ambitious and worked hard for his success; it wasn't handed to him on a silver platter like Joseph's, but you kind of get the idea.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, like Joseph, married well too: a Kennedy girl no less. His marriage to Maria Shriver gave him an in with the Kennedy clan and access to the speaking and writing skills of an intelligent, widely respected, female journalist. A few political pundits are pretty sure that Maria's "Women Joining Arnold" website was responsible for gaining her husband a large block of female voters in the aftermath of his "groping" accusation. Good connections are always an asset in the political world.

Everything Pharaoh did for Joseph worked in his favor towards giving him a highly visible public profile.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:45b-46a . .Thus Joseph emerged in charge of the land of Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Joseph went from slave to aristocrat practically overnight; and with neither political, nor business experience on his résumé whatsoever.

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