A Daily Genesis

Genesis 41:47-52

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:47-49 . . During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.[/B]

When there's small amounts to work with, it's easy to use small containers to tally it. But Egypt's abundance was so great that it was impractical to tally the grain with standard containers. Instead, I would think Joseph did it simply by building his silos to a standard size and dimension. So, instead of tallying "bushels" of grain, Joseph simplified the process by tallying silos.

Although storing the grain near the communities where it was grown was a practical consideration for later distribution, it was also a wise diplomatic move. When people see their hard-earned things carted off to the unknown, it makes them nervous about getting their stuff back. Putting his granaries nearby, reassured local growers and consumers that Joseph meant well by them and wasn't just taxing their produce for personal profit.

I would like to think that Joseph employed local labor for the construction of his granaries rather than contracting it out to a global construction company that polished the apple with him via his father-in-law's contacts; thus once again showing good faith by injecting wages into local economies. Little by little, Joseph was gaining the Egyptians' trust, which must have no doubt pleased Pharaoh well and made him feel pretty good about his choice of man for the job.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Joseph's marriage was holding up okay and he became the father of two boys.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:50 . . Before the years of famine came, Joseph became the father of two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On, bore to him.[/B]

In the Bible, it's the fathers who determine tribal ancestry; so the two boys were Hebrews by birth rather than Egyptians. I don't know how Mr. Poti-phera felt about that, but what was he to do? One of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, monarchs on earth had arranged his daughter's marriage to Joseph so there really wasn't much he could say about it.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:51 . . Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said; God has made me forget all my troubles and the family of my father.[/B]

The meaning of Manessah's name in Hebrew is self explanatory. However, there is just no way that Joseph forgot all about his family. That verse has to be interpreted according to the progress of the narrative.

I seriously doubt that God deleted Joseph's memory; but rather, helped him to get over doting about his misfortunes. Doting can lead to serious psychological damage, dark thoughts, and long term depression, and/or in the case of anger, it can lead to malice and sleepless nights plotting revenge, or rehearsing retorts over and over again to counter something someone said that you didn't like.

Though they weren't ideal, Joseph was at peace with his current circumstances. Exactly how God brought him to that point isn't stated. But in chapters ahead, Joseph will inform his brothers that his misfortunes actually benefited everyone so that Joseph became a savior; not only to Egypt, but to his own family as well (Gen 45:4-11, Gen 50:20).

So then, in the end, Joseph accepted his plight graciously and held no hard feelings towards anyone in particular, nor was he blue and sad about being away from home all those years because he was fully aware it all worked toward the greater good.

Since Joseph couldn't leave Egypt himself to go home and visit his family, then one has to wonder why he didn't dispatch a messenger to let his dad know he was okay. Well; for one thing, to do so would have exposed his brothers' murderous scheme, and who knows what kind of disharmony that would have created in Jacob's home. This was one of those cases where it's better to follow the advice of some Beatles' lyrics; "Words of wisdom: let it be."

But seriously, I doubt Jacob would have believed it was actually his very own Joseph in Pharaoh's court but would have automatically assumed it was a cruel hoax. Later, Joseph is going to be sure that his brothers understand that they weren't being told second-hand about his prosperity, nor being fed a rumor; but were hearing about it from their long-lost brother's very own lips. (Gen 45:12-13)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 41:52 . . Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said; God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering. [/B]

Ephraim's name actually means "doubly fruitful" viz: bumper-crop fruitful; which is obviously in recognition of God's providence in a place where a man of God would certainly least expect to find it.

I still think that Joseph had given up all hope of prosperity, and of having a family of his own; but as it turns out, he got both anyway in spite of his unfortunate circumstances. Maybe he'd rather have married a girl back home, but you know what they say: Beggars can't be choosers. At least Joseph was no longer a jailed slave locked up as an accused rapist with no future at all. Asenath and Poti-phera may not have been Joseph's ideal in-laws, but things could have turned out a lot worse.

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