New English Translation
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, his seventeen-year-old son,[c] was taking care of[d] the flocks with his brothers. Now he was a youngster[e] working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives.[f] Joseph brought back a bad report about them[g] to their father.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons[h] because he was a son born to him late in life,[i] and he made a special[j] tunic for him. 4 When Joseph’s[k] brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them,[l] they hated Joseph[m] and were not able to speak to him kindly.[n]
5 Joseph[o] had a dream,[p] and when he told his brothers about it[q] they hated him even more.[r] 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had:[s] 7 There we were,[t] binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down[u] to it!” 8 Then his brothers asked him, “Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?”[v] They hated him even more[w] because of his dream and because of what he said.[x]
9 Then he had another dream,[y] and told it to his brothers. “Look,”[z] he said. “I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, “What is this dream that you had?[aa] Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?”[ab] 11 His brothers were jealous[ac] of him, but his father kept in mind what Joseph said.[ad]
12 When his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers[ae] are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” “I’m ready,”[af] Joseph replied.[ag] 14 So Jacob[ah] said to him, “Go now and check on[ai] the welfare[aj] of your brothers and of the flocks, and bring me word.” So Jacob[ak] sent him from the valley of Hebron.
15 When Joseph reached Shechem,[al] a man found him wandering[am] in the field, so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Please tell[an] me where they are grazing their flocks.” 17 The man said, “They left this area,[ao] for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 Now Joseph’s brothers[ap] saw him from a distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this master of dreams![aq] 20 Come now, let’s kill him, throw him into one of the cisterns, and then say that a wild[ar] animal ate him. Then we’ll see how his dreams turn out!”[as]
21 When Reuben heard this, he rescued Joseph[at] from their hands,[au] saying,[av] “Let’s not take his life!”[aw] 22 Reuben continued,[ax] “Don’t shed blood! Throw him into this cistern that is here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.”[ay] (Reuben said this[az] so he could rescue Joseph[ba] from them[bb] and take him back to his father.)
23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him[bc] of his tunic, the special tunic that he wore. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Now the cistern was empty;[bd] there was no water in it.)
25 When they sat down to eat their food, they looked up[be] and saw[bf] a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh down to Egypt.[bg] 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not lay a hand on him,[bh] for after all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.[bi] 28 So when the Midianite[bj] merchants passed by, Joseph’s brothers pulled[bk] him[bl] out of the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites[bm] then took Joseph to Egypt.
29 Later Reuben returned to the cistern to find that Joseph was not in it![bn] He tore his clothes, 30 returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy isn’t there! And I, where can I go?” 31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a young goat,[bo] and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they brought the special tunic to their father[bp] and said, “We found this. Determine now whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”
33 He recognized it and exclaimed, “It is my son’s tunic! A wild animal has eaten him![bq] Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth,[br] and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters stood by[bs] him to console him, but he refused to be consoled. “No,” he said, “I will go to the grave mourning my son.”[bt] So Joseph’s[bu] father wept for him.
Judah and Tamar
38 At that time Judah left[bz] his brothers and stayed[ca] with an Adullamite man[cb] named Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua.[cc] Judah acquired her as a wife[cd] and slept with her.[ce] 3 She became pregnant[cf] and had a son. Judah named[cg] him Er. 4 She became pregnant again and had another son, whom she named Onan. 5 Then she had[ch] yet another son, whom she named Shelah. She gave birth to him in Kezib.[ci]
6 Judah acquired[cj] a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord killed him.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with[ck] your brother’s wife and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her so that you may raise up[cl] a descendant for your brother.”[cm] 9 But Onan knew that the child[cn] would not be considered his.[co] So whenever[cp] he slept with[cq] his brother’s wife, he wasted his emission on the ground[cr] so as not to give his brother a descendant. 10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord[cs] killed him too.
11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up.” For he thought,[ct] “I don’t want him to die like his brothers.”[cu] So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12 After some time[cv] Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah was consoled, he left for Timnah to visit his sheepshearers, along with[cw] his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 Tamar was told,[cx] “Look, your father-in-law is going up[cy] to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she removed her widow’s clothes and covered herself with a veil. She wrapped herself and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the way to Timnah. (She did this because[cz] she saw that she had not been given to Shelah as a wife, even though he had now grown up.)[da]
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute[db] because she had covered her face. 16 He turned aside to her along the road and said, “Come, please, I want to sleep with you.”[dc] (He did not realize it was his daughter-in-law.) She asked, “What will you give me so that you may sleep with me?” 17 He replied, “I’ll send you a young goat from the flock.” She asked, “Will you give me a pledge until you send it?”[dd] 18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?” She replied, “Your seal, your cord, and the staff that’s in your hand.” So he gave them to her, then slept with her,[de] and she became pregnant by him. 19 She left immediately,[df] removed her veil, and put on her widow’s clothes.
20 Then Judah had his friend Hirah[dg] the Adullamite take a young goat to get back from the woman the items he had given in pledge,[dh] but Hirah[di] could not find her. 21 He asked the men who were there,[dj] “Where is the cult prostitute[dk] who was at Enaim by the road?” But they replied, “There has been no cult prostitute here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. Moreover, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’” 23 Judah said, “Let her keep the things[dl] for herself. Otherwise we will appear to be dishonest.[dm] I did indeed send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24 After three months Judah was told,[dn] “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has turned to prostitution,[do] and as a result she has become pregnant.”[dp] Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!” 25 While they were bringing her out, she sent word[dq] to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these belong.”[dr] Then she said, “Identify[ds] the one to whom the seal, cord, and staff belong.” 26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more upright[dt] than I am, because I wouldn’t give her to Shelah my son.” He was not physically intimate with her again.[du]
27 When it was time for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28 While she was giving birth, one child[dv] put out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But then he drew back his hand, and his brother came out before him.[dw] She said, “How you have broken out of the womb!”[dx] So he was named Perez.[dy] 30 Afterward his brother came out—the one who had the scarlet thread on his hand—and he was named Zerah.[dz]
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife
39 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt.[ea] An Egyptian named Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard,[eb] purchased him from[ec] the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph. He was successful[ed] and lived[ee] in the household of his Egyptian master. 3 His master observed that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made everything he was doing successful.[ef] 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal attendant.[eg] Potiphar appointed Joseph[eh] overseer of his household and put him in charge[ei] of everything he owned. 5 From the time[ej] Potiphar[ek] appointed him over his household and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed[el] the Egyptian’s household for Joseph’s sake. The blessing of the Lord was on everything that he had, both[em] in his house and in his fields.[en] 6 So Potiphar[eo] left[ep] everything he had in Joseph’s care;[eq] he gave no thought[er] to anything except the food he ate.[es]
Now Joseph was well built and good-looking.[et] 7 Soon after these things, his master’s wife took notice of[eu] Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me.”[ev] 8 But he refused, saying[ew] to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not give any thought[ex] to his household with me here,[ey] and everything that he owns he has put into my care.[ez] 9 There is no one greater in this household than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife. So how could I do[fa] such a great evil and sin against God?” 10 Even though she continued to speak[fb] to Joseph day after day, he did not respond[fc] to her invitation to go to bed with her.[fd]
11 One day[fe] he went into the house to do his work when none of the household servants[ff] were there in the house. 12 She grabbed him by his outer garment, saying, “Come to bed[fg] with me!” But he left his outer garment in her hand and ran[fh] outside.[fi] 13 When she saw that he had left his outer garment in her hand and had run outside, 14 she called for her household servants and said to them, “See, my husband brought[fj] in a Hebrew man[fk] to us to humiliate us.[fl] He tried to go to bed with me,[fm] but I screamed loudly.[fn] 15 When he heard me raise[fo] my voice and scream, he left his outer garment beside me and ran outside.”
16 So she laid his outer garment beside her until his master came home. 17 This is what she said to him:[fp] “That Hebrew slave[fq] you brought to us tried to humiliate me,[fr] 18 but when I raised my voice and screamed, he left his outer garment and ran outside.”
19 When his master heard his wife say,[fs] “This is the way[ft] your slave treated me,”[fu] he became furious.[fv] 20 Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the prison,[fw] the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So he was there in the prison.[fx]
21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him kindness.[fy] He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden.[fz] 22 The warden put all the prisoners under Joseph’s care. He was in charge of whatever they were doing.[ga] 23 The warden did not concern himself[gb] with anything that was in Joseph’s[gc] care because the Lord was with him and whatever he was doing the Lord was making successful.
The Cupbearer and the Baker
40 After these things happened, the cupbearer[gd] to the king of Egypt and the royal baker[ge] offended[gf] their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was enraged with his two officials,[gg] the cupbearer and the baker, 3 so he imprisoned them in the house of the captain of the guard in the same facility where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be their attendant, and he served them.[gh]
They spent some time in custody.[gi] 5 Both of them, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream[gj] the same night.[gk] Each man’s dream had its own meaning.[gl] 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were looking depressed.[gm] 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”[gn] 8 They told him, “We both had dreams,[go] but there is no one to interpret them.” Joseph responded, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell them[gp] to me.”
9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph:[gq] “In my dream, there was a vine in front of me. 10 On the vine there were three branches. As it budded, its blossoms opened and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes, squeezed them into his[gr] cup, and put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”[gs]
12 “This is its meaning,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches represent[gt] three days. 13 In three more days Pharaoh will reinstate you[gu] and restore you to your office. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you did before[gv] when you were cupbearer. 14 But remember me[gw] when it goes well for you, and show[gx] me kindness.[gy] Make mention[gz] of me to Pharaoh and bring me out of this prison,[ha] 15 for I really was kidnapped[hb] from the land of the Hebrews and I have done nothing wrong here for which they should put me in a dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the first dream was favorable,[hc] he said to Joseph, “I also appeared in my dream and there were three baskets of white bread[hd] on my head. 17 In the top basket there were baked goods of every kind for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them from the basket that was on my head.”
18 Joseph replied, “This is its meaning: The three baskets represent[he] three days. 19 In three more days Pharaoh will decapitate you[hf] and impale you on a pole. Then the birds will eat your flesh from you.”
20 On the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday, so he gave a feast for all his servants. He “lifted up”[hg] the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker in the midst of his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his former position[hh] so that he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand, 22 but the chief baker he impaled, just as Joseph had predicted.[hi] 23 But the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph—he forgot him.[hj]
Joseph’s Rise to Power
41 At the end of two full years[hk] Pharaoh had a dream.[hl] As he was standing by the Nile, 2 seven fine-looking, fat cows were coming up out of the Nile,[hm] and they grazed in the reeds. 3 Then seven bad-looking, thin cows were coming up after them from the Nile,[hn] and they stood beside the other cows at the edge of the river.[ho] 4 The bad-looking, thin cows ate the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 Then he fell asleep again and had a second dream: There were seven heads of grain growing[hp] on one stalk, healthy[hq] and good. 6 Then[hr] seven heads of grain, thin and burned by the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 7 The thin heads swallowed up the seven healthy and full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream.[hs]
8 In the morning he[ht] was troubled, so he called for[hu] all the diviner-priests[hv] of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams,[hw] but no one could interpret[hx] them for him.[hy] 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures.[hz] 10 Pharaoh was enraged with his servants, and he put me in prison in the house of the captain of the guards—me and the chief baker. 11 We each had a dream one night; each of us had a dream with its own meaning.[ia] 12 Now a young man, a Hebrew, a servant[ib] of the captain of the guards,[ic] was with us there. We told him our dreams,[id] and he interpreted the meaning of each of our respective dreams for us.[ie] 13 It happened just as he had said[if] to us—Pharaoh[ig] restored me to my office, but he impaled the baker.”[ih]
14 Then Pharaoh summoned[ii] Joseph. So they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; he shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came before Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream,[ij] and there is no one who can interpret[ik] it. But I have heard about you, that[il] you can interpret dreams.”[im] 16 Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power,[in] but God will speak concerning[io] the welfare of Pharaoh.”[ip]
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing[iq] by the edge of the Nile. 18 Then seven fat and fine-looking cows were coming up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the reeds.[ir] 19 Then[is] seven other cows came up after them; they were scrawny, very bad looking, and lean. I had never seen such bad-looking cows[it] as these in all the land of Egypt! 20 The lean, bad-looking cows ate up the seven[iu] fat cows. 21 When they had eaten them,[iv] no one would have known[iw] that they had done so, for they were just as bad-looking as before. Then I woke up. 22 I also saw in my dream[ix] seven heads of grain growing on one stalk, full and good. 23 Then[iy] seven heads of grain, withered and thin and burned with the east wind, were sprouting up after them. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. So I told all this[iz] to the diviner-priests, but no one could tell me its meaning.”[ja]
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both dreams of Pharaoh have the same meaning.[jb] God has revealed[jc] to Pharaoh what he is about to do.[jd] 26 The seven good cows represent seven years, and the seven good heads of grain represent seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning.[je] 27 The seven lean, bad-looking cows that came up after them represent seven years, as do the seven empty heads of grain burned with the east wind. They represent[jf] seven years of famine. 28 This is just what I told[jg] Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30 But seven years of famine will occur[jh] after them, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will devastate[ji] the land. 31 The previous abundance of the land will not be remembered[jj] because of the famine that follows, for the famine will be very severe.[jk] 32 The dream was repeated to Pharaoh[jl] because the matter has been decreed[jm] by God, and God will make it happen soon.[jn]
33 “So now Pharaoh should look[jo] for a wise and discerning man[jp] and give him authority[jq] over all the land of Egypt. 34 Pharaoh should do[jr] this—he should appoint[js] officials[jt] throughout the land to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt[ju] during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should gather all the excess food[jv] during these good years that are coming. By Pharaoh’s authority[jw] they should store up grain so the cities will have food,[jx] and they should preserve it.[jy] 36 This food should be held in storage for the land in preparation for the seven years of famine that will occur throughout the land of Egypt. In this way the land will survive the famine.”[jz]
37 This advice made sense to Pharaoh and all his officials.[ka] 38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find a man like Joseph,[kb] one in whom the Spirit of God is present?”[kc] 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning[kd] as you are! 40 You will oversee my household, and all my people will submit to your commands.[ke] Only I, the king, will be greater than you.[kf]
41 “See here,” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I place[kg] you in authority over all the land of Egypt.”[kh] 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his own hand and put it on Joseph’s. He clothed him with fine linen[ki] clothes and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 Pharaoh[kj] had him ride in the chariot used by his second-in-command,[kk] and they cried out before him, “Kneel down!”[kl] So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission[km] no one[kn] will move his hand or his foot[ko] in all the land of Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah.[kp] He also gave him Asenath[kq] daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,[kr] to be his wife. So Joseph took charge of[ks] all the land of Egypt.
46 Now Joseph was 30 years old[kt] when he began serving[ku] Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph was commissioned by[kv] Pharaoh and was in charge of[kw] all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced large, bountiful harvests.[kx] 48 Joseph[ky] collected all the excess food[kz] in the land of Egypt during the seven years and stored it in the cities.[la] In every city he put the food gathered from the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up a vast amount of grain, like the sand of the sea,[lb] until he stopped measuring it because it was impossible to measure.
50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine came.[lc] Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, was their mother.[ld] 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh,[le] saying,[lf] “Certainly[lg] God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 52 He named the second child Ephraim,[lh] saying,[li] “Certainly[lj] God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years of famine began,[lk] just as Joseph had predicted. There was famine in all the other lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all the land of Egypt experienced the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh said to all the people of Egypt,[ll] “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56 While the famine was over all the earth,[lm] Joseph opened the storehouses[ln] and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 57 People from every country[lo] came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the famine was severe throughout the earth.
Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt
42 When Jacob heard[lp] there was grain in Egypt, he[lq] said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?”[lr] 2 He then said, “Look, I hear that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us[ls] so that we may live[lt] and not die.”[lu]
3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers,[lv] for he said,[lw] “What if some accident[lx] happens[ly] to him?” 5 So Israel’s sons came to buy grain among the other travelers,[lz] for the famine was severe in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country.[ma] Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down[mb] before him with[mc] their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger[md] to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered,[me] “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.”[mf]
8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies;[mg] you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!”[mh]
10 But they exclaimed,[mi] “No, my lord! Your servants have come to buy grain for food! 11 We are all the sons of one man; we are honest men! Your servants are not spies.”
12 “No,” he insisted, “but you have come to see if our land is vulnerable.”[mj] 13 They replied, “Your servants are from a family of twelve brothers.[mk] We are the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father at this time,[ml] and one is no longer alive.”[mm]
14 But Joseph told them, “It is just as I said to you:[mn] You are spies! 15 You will be tested in this way: As surely as Pharaoh lives,[mo] you will not depart from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 One of you must go and get[mp] your brother, while[mq] the rest of you remain in prison.[mr] In this way your words may be tested to see if[ms] you are telling the truth.[mt] If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 He imprisoned[mu] them all for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say[mv] and you will live,[mw] for I fear God.[mx] 19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison[my] while the rest of you go[mz] and take grain back for your hungry families.[na] 20 But you must bring[nb] your youngest brother to me. Then[nc] your words will be verified[nd] and you will not die.” They did as he said.[ne]
21 They said to one another,[nf] “Surely we’re being punished[ng] because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was[nh] when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress[ni] has come on us!” 22 Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I say to you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy,’ but you wouldn’t listen? So now we must pay for shedding his blood!”[nj] 23 (Now[nk] they did not know that Joseph could understand them,[nl] for he was speaking through an interpreter.)[nm] 24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned around and spoke to them again,[nn] he had Simeon taken[no] from them and tied up[np] before their eyes.
25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill[nq] their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. His orders were carried out.[nr] 26 So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.[ns]
27 When one of them[nt] opened his sack to get feed for his donkey at their resting place,[nu] he saw his money in the mouth of his sack.[nv] 28 He said to his brothers, “My money was returned! Here it is in my sack!” They were dismayed;[nw] they turned trembling to one another[nx] and said, “What in the world has God done to us?”[ny]
29 They returned to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him all the things that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us[nz] as if we were[oa] spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies! 32 We are from a family of twelve brothers; we are the sons of one father.[ob] One is no longer alive,[oc] and the youngest is with our father at this time[od] in the land of Canaan.’
33 “Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain[oe] for your hungry households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother back to me so I will know[of] that you are honest men and not spies.[og] Then I will give your brother back to you and you may move about freely in the land.’”[oh]
35 When they were emptying their sacks, there was each man’s bag of money in his sack! When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were afraid. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone.[oi] Simeon is gone.[oj] And now you want to take[ok] Benjamin! Everything is against me.”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may[ol] put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care[om] and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But Jacob[on] replied, “My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left.[oo] If an accident happens to him on the journey you have to make, then you will bring down my gray hair[op] in sorrow to the grave.”[oq]
The Second Journey to Egypt
43 Now the famine was severe in the land.[or] 2 When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return, buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned[os] us, ‘You will not see my face[ot] unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you send[ou] our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we won’t go down there because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us[ox] thoroughly[oy] about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’[oz] So we answered him in this way.[pa] How could we possibly know[pb] that he would say,[pc] ‘Bring your brother down’?”
8 Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me and we will go immediately.[pd] Then we will live[pe] and not die—we and you and our little ones. 9 I myself pledge security[pf] for him; you may hold me liable. If I do not bring him back to you and place him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.[pg] 10 But if we had not delayed, we could have traveled there and back[ph] twice by now!”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and take a gift down to the man—a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you;[pi] you must take back[pj] the money that was returned in the mouths of your sacks—perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother too, and go right away[pk] to the man.[pl] 14 May the Sovereign God[pm] grant you mercy before the man so that he may release[pn] your other brother[po] and Benjamin! As for me, if I lose my children I lose them.”[pp]
15 So the men took these gifts, and they took double the money with them, along with Benjamin. Then they hurried down to Egypt[pq] and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant who was over his household, “Bring the men to the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me at noon.” 17 The man did just as Joseph said; he[pr] brought the men into Joseph’s house.[ps]
18 But the men were afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house. They said, “We are being brought in because of[pt] the money that was returned in our sacks last time.[pu] He wants to capture us,[pv] make us slaves, and take[pw] our donkeys!” 19 So they approached the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “My lord, we did indeed come down[px] the first time[py] to buy food. 21 But when we came to the place where we spent the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his money—the full amount[pz]—in the mouth of his sack. So we have returned it.[qa] 22 We have brought additional money with us to buy food. We do not know who put the money in our sacks!”
23 “Everything is fine,”[qb] the man in charge of Joseph’s household told them. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks.[qc] I had your money.”[qd] Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The servant in charge[qe] brought the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water, and they washed their feet. Then he gave food to their donkeys. 25 They got their gifts ready for Joseph’s arrival[qf] at noon, for they had heard[qg] that they were to have a meal[qh] there.
26 When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside,[qi] and they bowed down to the ground before him. 27 He asked them how they were doing.[qj] Then he said, “Is your aging father well, the one you spoke about? Is he still alive?” 28 “Your servant our father is well,” they replied. “He is still alive.” They bowed down in humility.[qk]
29 When Joseph looked up[ql] and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, whom you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”[qm] 30 Joseph hurried out, for he was overcome by affection for his brother[qn] and was at the point of tears.[qo] So he went to his room and wept there.
31 Then he washed his face and came out. With composure he said,[qp] “Set out the food.” 32 They set a place for him, a separate place for his brothers,[qq] and another for the Egyptians who were eating with him. (The Egyptians are not able to eat with Hebrews, for the Egyptians think it is disgusting[qr] to do so.)[qs] 33 They sat before him, arranged by order of birth, beginning with the firstborn and ending with the youngest.[qt] The men looked at each other in astonishment.[qu] 34 He gave them portions of the food set before him,[qv] but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk.[qw]
The Final Test
44 He instructed the servant who was over his household, “Fill the sacks of the men with as much food as they can carry and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put[qx] my cup—the silver cup—in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” He did as Joseph instructed.[qy]
3 When morning came,[qz] the men and their donkeys were sent off.[ra] 4 They had not gone very far from the city[rb] when Joseph said[rc] to the servant who was over his household, “Pursue the men at once![rd] When you overtake[re] them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5 Doesn’t my master drink from this cup[rf] and use it for divination?[rg] You have done wrong!’”[rh]
6 When the man[ri] overtook them, he spoke these words to them. 7 They answered him, “Why does my lord say such things?[rj] Far be it from your servants to do such a thing![rk] 8 Look, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Why then would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If one of us has it,[rl] he will die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves!”
10 He replied, “You have suggested your own punishment![rm] The one who has it will become my slave,[rn] but the rest of[ro] you will go free.”[rp] 11 So each man quickly lowered[rq] his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the man[rr] searched. He began with the oldest and finished with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13 They all tore their clothes! Then each man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14 So Judah and his brothers[rs] came back to Joseph’s house. He was still there,[rt] and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What did you think you were doing?[ru] Don’t you know that a man like me can find out things like this by divination?”[rv]
16 Judah replied, “What can we say[rw] to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves?[rx] God has exposed the sin of your servants![ry] We are now my lord’s slaves, we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”
18 Then Judah approached him and said, “My lord, please allow your servant to speak a word with you.[sb] Please do not get angry with your servant,[sc] for you are just like Pharaoh.[sd] 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young boy who was born when our father was old.[se] The boy’s[sf] brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left,[sg] and his father loves him.’
21 “Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see[sh] him.’[si] 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves his father, his father[sj] will die.’[sk] 23 But you said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we returned to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little food.’ 26 But we replied, ‘We cannot go down there.[sl] If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go,[sm] for we won’t be permitted to see the man’s face if our youngest brother is not with us.’
27 “Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave me two sons.[sn] 28 The first disappeared[so] and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” I have not seen him since. 29 If you take[sp] this one from me too and an accident happens to him, then you will bring down my gray hair[sq] in tragedy[sr] to the grave.’[ss]
30 “So now, when I return to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us—his very life is bound up in his son’s life.[st] 31 When he sees the boy is not with us,[su] he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father in sorrow to the grave. 32 Indeed,[sv] your servant pledged security for the boy with my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame before my father all my life.’
33 “So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave instead of the boy. As for the boy, let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see[sw] my father’s pain.”[sx]
The Reconciliation of the Brothers
45 Joseph was no longer able to control himself before all his attendants,[sy] so he cried out, “Make everyone go out from my presence!” No one remained[sz] with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept loudly;[ta] the Egyptians heard it and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.[tb]
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” His brothers could not answer him because they were dumbfounded before him. 4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” so they came near. Then he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now, do not be upset and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here,[tc] for God sent me[td] ahead of you to preserve life! 6 For these past two years there has been famine in[te] the land and for five more years there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me[tf] ahead of you to preserve you[tg] on the earth and to save your lives[th] by a great deliverance. 8 So now, it is not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me an adviser[ti] to Pharaoh, lord over all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Now go up to my father quickly[tj] and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not delay! 10 You will live[tk] in the land of Goshen, and you will be near me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everything you have. 11 I will provide you with food[tl] there because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise you would become poor—you, your household, and everyone who belongs to you.”’ 12 You and my brother Benjamin can certainly see with your own eyes that I really am the one who speaks to you.[tm] 13 So tell[tn] my father about all my honor in Egypt and about everything you have seen. But bring my father down here quickly!”[to]
14 Then he threw himself on the neck of his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After this his brothers talked with him.
16 Now it was reported[tp] in the household of Pharaoh, “Joseph’s brothers have arrived.” It pleased[tq] Pharaoh and his servants. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go[tr] to the land of Canaan! 18 Get your father and your households and come to me! Then I will give you[ts] the best land in Egypt and you will eat[tt] the best[tu] of the land.’ 19 You are also commanded to say,[tv] ‘Do this: Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives. Bring your father and come. 20 Don’t worry[tw] about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’”
21 So the sons of Israel did as he said.[tx] Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had instructed,[ty] and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22 He gave sets of clothes to each one of them,[tz] but to Benjamin he gave 300 pieces of silver and five sets of clothes.[ua] 23 To his father he sent the following:[ub] ten donkeys loaded with the best products of Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, food, and provisions for his father’s journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers on their way and they left. He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”[uc]
25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.[ud] 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned,[ue] for he did not believe them. 27 But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them,[uf] and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived. 28 Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”
- Genesis 37:1 tn Heb “the land of the sojournings of his father.”
- Genesis 37:1 sn The next section begins with the heading This is the account of Jacob in Gen 37:2, so this verse actually forms part of the preceding section as a concluding contrast with Esau and his people. In contrast to all the settled and expanded population of Esau, Jacob was still moving about in the land without a permanent residence and without kings. Even if the Edomite king list was added later (as the reference to kings in Israel suggests), its placement here in contrast to Jacob and his descendants is important. Certainly the text deals with Esau before dealing with Jacob—that is the pattern. But the detail is so great in chap. 36 that the contrast cannot be missed.
- Genesis 37:2 tn Heb “a son of seventeen years.” The word “son” is in apposition to the name “Joseph.”
- Genesis 37:2 tn Or “tending”; Heb “shepherding” or “feeding.”
- Genesis 37:2 tn Or perhaps “a helper.” The significance of this statement is unclear. It may mean “now the lad was with,” or it may suggest Joseph was like a servant to them.
- Genesis 37:2 tn Heb “and he [was] a young man with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, the wives of his father.”
- Genesis 37:2 tn Heb “their bad report.” The pronoun is an objective genitive, specifying that the bad or damaging report was about the brothers.sn Some interpreters portray Joseph as a tattletale for bringing back a bad report about them [i.e., his brothers], but the entire Joseph story has some of the characteristics of wisdom literature. Joseph is presented in a good light—not because he was perfect, but because the narrative is showing how wisdom rules. In light of that, this section portrays Joseph as faithful to his father in little things, even though unpopular—and so he will eventually be given authority over greater things.
- Genesis 37:3 tn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information vital to the story. It explains in part the brothers’ animosity toward Joseph.sn The statement Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons brings forward a motif that played an important role in the family of Isaac—parental favoritism. Jacob surely knew what that had done to him and his brother Esau, and to his own family. But now he showers affection on Rachel’s son Joseph.
- Genesis 37:3 tn Heb “a son of old age was he to him.” This expression means “a son born to him when he [i.e., Jacob] was old.”
- Genesis 37:3 tn It is not clear what this tunic was like, because the meaning of the Hebrew word that describes it is uncertain. The idea that it was a coat of many colors comes from the Greek translation of the OT. An examination of cognate terms in Semitic suggests it was either a coat or tunic with long sleeves (cf. NEB, NRSV), or a tunic that was richly embroidered (cf. NIV). It set Joseph apart as the favored one.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “of his brothers.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “them.”
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “speak to him for peace.”
- Genesis 37:5 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:5 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”
- Genesis 37:5 sn Some interpreters see Joseph as gloating over his brothers, but the text simply says he told his brothers about it (i.e., the dream). The text gives no warrant for interpreting his manner as arrogant or condescending. It seems normal that he would share a dream with the family.
- Genesis 37:5 tn The construction uses a hendiadys, “they added to hate,” meaning they hated him even more.
- Genesis 37:6 tn Heb “hear this dream which I dreamed.”
- Genesis 37:7 tn All three clauses in this dream report begin with וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh, “and look”), which lends vividness to the report. This is represented in the translation by the expression “there we were.”
- Genesis 37:7 tn The verb means “to bow down to the ground.” It is used to describe worship and obeisance to masters.
- Genesis 37:8 tn Heb “Ruling, will you rule over us, or reigning, will you reign over us?” The statement has a poetic style, with the two questions being in synonymous parallelism. Both verbs in this statement are preceded by the infinitive absolute, which lends emphasis. It is as if Joseph’s brothers said, “You don’t really think you will rule over us, do you? You don’t really think you will have dominion over us, do you?”
- Genesis 37:8 tn This construction is identical to the one in Gen 37:5.
- Genesis 37:8 sn The response of Joseph’s brothers is understandable, given what has already been going on in the family. But here there is a hint of uneasiness—they hated him because of his dream and because of his words. The dream bothered them, as well as his telling them. And their words in the rhetorical question are ironic, for this is exactly what would happen. The dream was God’s way of revealing it.
- Genesis 37:9 tn Heb “And he dreamed yet another dream.”
- Genesis 37:9 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Look.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons. Both clauses of the dream report begin with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), which lends vividness to the report.
- Genesis 37:10 sn The question What is this dream that you had? expresses Jacob’s dismay at what he perceives to be Joseph’s audacity.
- Genesis 37:10 tn Heb “Coming, will we come, I and your mother and your brothers, to bow down to you to the ground?” The verb “come” is preceded by the infinitive absolute, which lends emphasis. It is as if Jacob said, “You don’t really think we will come…to bow down…do you?”
- Genesis 37:11 sn Joseph’s brothers were already jealous of him, but this made it even worse. Such jealousy easily leads to action, as the next episode in the story shows. Yet dreams were considered a form of revelation, and their jealousy was not only of the favoritism of their father, but of the dreams. This is why Jacob kept the matter in mind.
- Genesis 37:11 tn Heb “kept the word.” The referent of the Hebrew term “word” has been specified as “what Joseph said” in the translation for clarity, and the words “in mind” have been supplied for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:13 tn The text uses an interrogative clause: “Are not your brothers,” which means “your brothers are.”
- Genesis 37:13 sn With these words Joseph is depicted here as an obedient son who is ready to do what his father commands.
- Genesis 37:13 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Here I am.’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:14 tn Heb “see.”
- Genesis 37:14 tn Heb “peace.”
- Genesis 37:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:15 tn Heb “and he [i.e., Joseph] went to Shechem.” The referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity. In Hebrew, these are the last two words of verse 14, but they have been carried over to verse 15 in the NET for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:15 tn Heb “and a man found him and look, he was wandering in the field.” By the use of וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh, “and look”), the narrator invites the reader to see the action through this unnamed man’s eyes.
- Genesis 37:16 tn The imperative in this sentence has more of the nuance of a request than a command.
- Genesis 37:17 tn Heb “they traveled from this place.”
- Genesis 37:18 tn Heb “and they”; the referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:19 tn Heb “Look, this master of dreams is coming.” The brothers’ words have a sarcastic note and indicate that they resent his dreams.
- Genesis 37:20 tn The Hebrew word can sometimes carry the nuance “evil,” but when used of an animal it refers to a dangerous wild animal.
- Genesis 37:20 tn Heb “what his dreams will be.”
- Genesis 37:21 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:21 sn From their hands. The instigators of this plot may have been the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah (see v. 2).
- Genesis 37:21 tn Heb “and he said.”
- Genesis 37:21 tn Heb “we must not strike him down [with respect to] life.”
- Genesis 37:22 tn Heb “and Reuben said to them.”
- Genesis 37:22 sn The verbs translated shed, throw, and lay sound alike in Hebrew; the repetition of similar sounds draws attention to Reuben’s words.
- Genesis 37:22 tn The words “Reuben said this” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:22 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:22 tn Heb “from their hands” (cf. v. 21). This expression has been translated as “them” here for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:23 tn Heb “Joseph”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:24 tn The disjunctive clause gives supplemental information that helps the reader or hearer to picture what happened.
- Genesis 37:25 tn Heb “lifted up their eyes.”
- Genesis 37:25 tn Heb “and they saw and look.” By the use of וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh, “and look”), the narrator invites the reader to see the event through the eyes of the brothers.
- Genesis 37:25 tn Heb “and their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh, going to go down to Egypt.”
- Genesis 37:27 tn Heb “let not our hand be upon him.”
- Genesis 37:27 tn Heb “listened.”
- Genesis 37:28 sn On the close relationship between Ishmaelites (v. 25) and Midianites, see Judg 8:24.
- Genesis 37:28 tn Heb “they drew and they lifted up.” The referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity; otherwise the reader might assume the Midianites had pulled Joseph from the cistern (but cf. NAB).
- Genesis 37:28 tn Heb “Joseph” (both here and in the following clause); the proper name has been replaced both times by the pronoun “him” in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 37:28 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Ishmaelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:29 tn Heb “and look, Joseph was not in the cistern.” By the use of וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh, “and look”), the narrator invites the reader to see the situation through Reuben’s eyes.
- Genesis 37:31 sn It was with two young goats that Jacob deceived his father (Gen 27:9); now with a young goat his sons continue the deception that dominates this family.
- Genesis 37:32 tn Heb “and they sent the special tunic and they brought [it] to their father.” The text as it stands is problematic. It sounds as if they sent the tunic on ahead and then came and brought it to their father. Some emend the second verb to a Qal form and read “and they came.” In this case, they sent the tunic on ahead.
- Genesis 37:33 sn A wild animal has eaten him. Jacob draws this conclusion on his own without his sons actually having to lie with their words (see v. 20). Dipping the tunic in the goat’s blood was the only deception needed.
- Genesis 37:34 tn Heb “and put sackcloth on his loins.”
- Genesis 37:35 tn Heb “arose, stood”; which here suggests that they stood by him in his time of grief.
- Genesis 37:35 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Indeed I will go down to my son mourning to Sheol.’” Sheol was viewed as the place where departed spirits went after death.
- Genesis 37:35 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:36 tn The disjunctive clause formally signals closure for this episode of Joseph’s story, which will be resumed in Gen 39.
- Genesis 37:36 tc The MT spells the name of the merchants as מְדָנִים (medanim, “Medanites”) rather than מִדְיָנִים (midyanim, “Midianites”) as in v. 28. It is likely that the letter י (yod) was accidentally omitted in the MT. The LXX, Vulgate, Smr, and Syriac read “Midianites” here. Some prefer to read “Medanites” both here and in v. 28, but Judg 8:24, which identifies the Midianites and Ishmaelites, favors the reading “Midianites.”
- Genesis 37:36 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:36 sn The expression captain of the guard might indicate that Potiphar was the chief executioner. The noun "guard" derives from a verb meaning to slaughter.
- Genesis 38:1 tn Heb “went down from.”
- Genesis 38:1 tn Heb “and he turned aside unto.”
- Genesis 38:1 tn Heb “a man, an Adullamite.”
- Genesis 38:2 tn Heb “a man, a Canaanite, and his name was Shua.”
- Genesis 38:2 tn Heb “and he took her.” The verb לָקַח (laqakh) “to take” is used idiomatically for getting a wife.
- Genesis 38:2 tn Heb “went to her.” The expression בּוֹא אֶל (boʾ ʾel) means “come to” or “approach,” but is also used as a euphemism for sexual relations.
- Genesis 38:3 tn Or “she conceived” (also in the following verse).
- Genesis 38:3 tc Some mss read this verb as feminine, “she called,” to match the pattern of the next two verses. But the MT, “he called,” should probably be retained as the more difficult reading.tn Heb “and he called his name.” The referent (Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 38:5 tn Heb “and she added again and she gave birth.” The first verb and the adverb emphasize that she gave birth once more.
- Genesis 38:5 tn Or “and he [i.e., Judah] was in Kezib when she gave birth to him.”
- Genesis 38:6 tn Heb “and Judah took.”
- Genesis 38:8 tn Heb “go to” or “approach.” Here the expression is a euphemism for sexual relations.
- Genesis 38:8 tn The imperative with the prefixed conjunction here indicates purpose.
- Genesis 38:8 sn Raise up a descendant for your brother. The purpose of this custom, called the levirate system, was to ensure that no line of the family would become extinct. The name of the deceased was to be maintained through this custom of having a child by the nearest relative. See M. Burrows, “Levirate Marriage in Israel,” JBL 59 (1940): 23-33.
- Genesis 38:9 tn Heb “offspring.”
- Genesis 38:9 tn Heb “would not be his,” that is, legally speaking. Under the levirate system the child would be legally considered the child of his deceased brother.
- Genesis 38:9 tn The construction, with a vav plus perfect consecutive (veqatal) of הָיָה (hayah) shows that this was a repeated practice and not merely one action.sn The purpose of the custom was to produce an heir for the deceased brother. Onan had no intention of doing that. A possible motivation is that if there was an heir for his older brother, it would have decreased his share of inheritance significantly. But he would have sex with the girl as much as he wished. He was willing to use the law to gratify his desires, but was not willing to fulfill his responsibilities.
- Genesis 38:9 tn Heb “he went to” or “approached.” This expression is a euphemism for sexual relations.
- Genesis 38:9 tn Heb “he ruined [it] to the ground.” The direct object is implied. Onan deliberately got rid of his semen on the ground so that his brother’s widow would not become pregnant.
- Genesis 38:10 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 38:11 tn Heb “said.”
- Genesis 38:11 tn Heb “Otherwise he will die, also he, like his brothers.”sn I don’t want him to die like his brothers. This clause explains that Judah had no intention of giving Shelah to Tamar for the purpose of the levirate marriage. Judah apparently knew the nature of his sons, and feared that God would be angry with the third son and kill him as well.
- Genesis 38:12 sn After some time. There is not enough information in the narrative to know how long this was. The text says “the days increased.” It was long enough for Shelah to mature and for Tamar to realize she would not have him.
- Genesis 38:12 tn Heb “and he went up to the shearers of his sheep, he and.”
- Genesis 38:13 tn Heb “And it was told to Tamar, saying.”
- Genesis 38:13 tn The active participle indicates the action was in progress or about to begin.
- Genesis 38:14 tn The Hebrew text simply has “because,” connecting this sentence to what precedes. For stylistic reasons the words “she did this” are supplied in the translation and a new sentence begun.
- Genesis 38:14 tn Heb “she saw that Shelah had grown up, but she was not given to him as a wife.”
- Genesis 38:15 tn Heb “he reckoned her for a prostitute,” which was what Tamar had intended for him to do. She obviously had some idea of his inclinations, or she would not have tried this risky plan.
- Genesis 38:16 tn Heb “I want to approach.” The verb בּוֹא (boʾ) with the preposition אֶל (ʾel) means “come to” or “approach,” but is also used as a euphemism for sexual relations. The imperfect verbal form is probably modal and indicates his desire.
- Genesis 38:17 tn Heb “until you send.”
- Genesis 38:18 tn Heb “approached.” See note at v. 16.
- Genesis 38:19 tn Heb “and she arose and left,” the first verb in the pair emphasizing that she wasted no time.
- Genesis 38:20 tn Heb “sent by the hand of his friend.” Here the name of the friend (“Hirah”) has been included in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 38:20 tn Heb “to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand.”
- Genesis 38:20 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Judah’s friend Hirah the Adullamite) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 38:21 tn Heb “the men of her place,” that is, who lived at the place where she had been.
- Genesis 38:21 sn The Hebrew noun translated “cult prostitute” is derived from a verb meaning “to be set apart; to be distinct.” Thus the term refers to a woman who did not marry, but was dedicated to temple service as a cult prostitute. The masculine form of this noun is used for male cult prostitutes. Judah thought he had gone to an ordinary prostitute (v. 15), but Hirah went looking for a cult prostitute, perhaps because it had been a sheep-shearing festival. For further discussion see E. M. Yamauchi, “Cultic Prostitution,” Orient and Occident (AOAT), 213-23.
- Genesis 38:23 tn The words “the things” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 38:23 tn Heb “we will become contemptible.” The Hebrew word בּוּז (buz) describes the contempt that a respectable person would have for someone who is worthless, foolish, or disreputable.
- Genesis 38:24 tn Heb “it was told to Judah, saying.”
- Genesis 38:24 tn Or “has been sexually promiscuous.” The verb may refer here to loose or promiscuous activity, not necessarily prostitution.
- Genesis 38:24 tn Heb “and also look, she is with child by prostitution.”
- Genesis 38:25 tn Heb “she was being brought out and she sent.” The juxtaposition of two clauses, both of which place the subject before the predicate, indicates synchronic action.
- Genesis 38:25 tn Heb “who these to him.”
- Genesis 38:25 tn Or “ recognize; note.” This same Hebrew verb (נָכַר, nakhar) is used at the beginning of v. 26, where it is translated “recognized.”
- Genesis 38:26 tn Traditionally “more righteous”; cf. NCV, NRSV, NLT “more in the right.”sn She is more upright than I. Judah had been irresponsible and unfaithful to his duty to see that the family line continued through the levirate marriage of his son Shelah. Tamar fought for her right to be the mother of Judah’s line. When she was not given Shelah and Judah’s wife died, she took action on her own to ensure that the line did not die out. Though deceptive, it was a desperate and courageous act. For Tamar it was within her rights; she did nothing that the law did not entitle her to do. But for Judah it was wrong because he thought he was going to a prostitute. See also Susan Niditch, “The Wronged Woman Righted: An Analysis of Genesis 38, ” HTR 72 (1979): 143-48.
- Genesis 38:26 tn Heb “and he did not repeat to know her” or “he did not know her again.” Here “know” is a euphemism for sexual relations.
- Genesis 38:28 tn The word “child” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 38:29 tn Heb “Look, his brother came out.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to view the scene through the midwife’s eyes. The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 38:29 tn Heb “How you have made a breach for yourself!” The Hebrew verb translated “make a breach” frequently occurs, as here, with a cognate accusative. The event provided the meaningful name Perez, “he who breaks through.”
- Genesis 38:29 sn The name Perez means “he who breaks through.” Perez’ birth was surprising because he came out of the womb before his brother Zerah, though Zerah had first reached his hand outside the womb thus being marked as the firstborn. The naming signified the completion of Tamar’s struggle and also depicted the destiny of the tribe of Perez who later became dominant (Gen 46:12 and Num 26:20). Judah and his brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, thinking they could thwart God’s plan that the elder brothers should serve the younger. God illustrated that principle through these births in Judah’s own family, affirming that the elder will serve the younger, and that Joseph’s leadership could not so easily be set aside. See J. Goldin, “The Youngest Son; or, Where Does Genesis 38 Belong?” JBL 96 (1977): 27-44.
- Genesis 38:30 sn Perhaps the child was named Zerah because of the scarlet thread. Though the Hebrew word used for “scarlet thread” in v. 28 is not related to the name Zerah, there is a related root in Babylonian and western Aramaic that means “scarlet” or “scarlet thread.” In Hebrew the name appears to be derived from a root meaning “to shine.” The name could have originally meant something like “shining one” or “God has shined.” Zerah became the head of a tribe (Num 26:20) from whom Achan descended (Josh 7:1).
- Genesis 39:1 tn The disjunctive clause resumes the earlier narrative pertaining to Joseph by recapitulating the event described in 37:36. The perfect verbal form is given a past perfect translation to restore the sequence of the narrative for the reader.
- Genesis 39:1 sn Captain of the guard. See the note on this phrase in Gen 37:36.
- Genesis 39:1 tn Heb “from the hand of.”
- Genesis 39:2 tn Heb “and he was a prosperous man.” This does not mean that Joseph became wealthy, but that he was successful in what he was doing, or making progress in his situation (see 24:21).
- Genesis 39:2 tn Heb “and he was.”
- Genesis 39:3 tn The Hebrew text adds “in his hand,” a phrase not included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 39:4 sn The Hebrew verb translated became his personal attendant refers to higher domestic service, usually along the lines of a personal attendant. Here Joseph is made the household steward, a position well-attested in Egyptian literature.
- Genesis 39:4 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 39:4 tn Heb “put into his hand.”
- Genesis 39:5 tn Heb “and it was from then.”
- Genesis 39:5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Potiphar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 39:5 sn The Hebrew word translated blessed carries the idea of enrichment, prosperity, success. It is the way believers describe success at the hand of God. The text illustrates the promise made to Abraham that whoever blesses his descendants will be blessed (Gen 12:1-3).
- Genesis 39:5 tn Heb “in the house and in the field.” The word “both” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 39:5 sn The passage gives us a good picture of Joseph as a young man who was responsible and faithful, both to his master and to his God. This happened within a very short time of his being sold into Egypt. It undermines the view that Joseph was a liar, a tattletale, and an arrogant adolescent.
- Genesis 39:6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Potiphar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 39:6 sn The Hebrew verb translated left indicates he relinquished the care of it to Joseph. This is stronger than what was said earlier. Apparently Potiphar had come to trust Joseph so much that he knew it was in better care with Joseph than with anyone else.
- Genesis 39:6 tn Heb “hand.” This is a metonymy for being under the control or care of Joseph.
- Genesis 39:6 tn Heb “did not know.”
- Genesis 39:6 sn The expression except the food he ate probably refers to Potiphar’s private affairs and should not be limited literally to what he ate.
- Genesis 39:6 tn Heb “handsome of form and handsome of appearance.” The same Hebrew expressions were used in Gen 29:17 for Rachel.
- Genesis 39:7 tn Heb “she lifted up her eyes toward,” an expression that emphasizes her deliberate and careful scrutiny of him.
- Genesis 39:7 tn Heb “lie down with.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations.sn The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife has long been connected with the wisdom warnings about the strange woman who tries to seduce the young man with her boldness and directness (see Prov 5-7, especially 7:6-27). This is part of the literary background of the story of Joseph that gives it a wisdom flavor. See G. von Rad, God at Work in Israel, 19-35; and G. W. Coats, “The Joseph Story and Ancient Wisdom: A Reappraisal,” CBQ 35 (1973): 285-97.
- Genesis 39:8 tn Heb “and he said.”
- Genesis 39:8 tn Heb “know.”
- Genesis 39:8 tn The word “here” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 39:8 tn Heb “hand.” This is a metonymy for being under the control or care of Joseph.
- Genesis 39:9 tn The nuance of potential imperfect fits this context.
- Genesis 39:10 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator, followed by the infinitive construct with the preposition כ (kaf). This clause could therefore be taken as temporal.
- Genesis 39:10 tn Heb “listen to.”
- Genesis 39:10 tn Heb “lie down with her to be with her.” See note at v. 7.
- Genesis 39:11 tn Heb “and it was about this day.”
- Genesis 39:11 tn Heb “the men of the house.”
- Genesis 39:12 tn Heb “lie down with.” See note at v. 7.
- Genesis 39:12 tn Heb “he fled and he went out.” The construction emphasizes the point that Joseph got out of there quickly.
- Genesis 39:12 sn For discussion of this episode, see A. M. Honeyman, “The Occasion of Joseph’s Temptation,” VT 2 (1952): 85-87.
- Genesis 39:14 tn The verb has no expressed subject, and so it could be treated as a passive (“a Hebrew man was brought in”; cf. NIV). But it is clear from the context that her husband brought Joseph into the household, so Potiphar is the apparent referent here. Thus the translation supplies “my husband” as the referent of the unspecified pronominal subject of the verb (cf. NEB, NRSV).
- Genesis 39:14 sn A Hebrew man. Potiphar’s wife raises the ethnic issue when talking to her servants about what their boss had done.
- Genesis 39:14 tn Heb “to make fun of us.” The verb translated “to humiliate us” here means to hold something up for ridicule, or to toy with something harmfully. Attempted rape would be such an activity, for it would hold the victim in contempt.
- Genesis 39:14 tn Heb “He approached me to lie down with me.” Both expressions can be a euphemism for sexual relations. See the note at 2 Sam 12:24.
- Genesis 39:14 tn Heb “and I cried out with a loud voice.”
- Genesis 39:15 tn Heb “that I raised.”
- Genesis 39:17 tn Heb “and she spoke to him according to these words, saying.”
- Genesis 39:17 sn That Hebrew slave. Now, when speaking to her husband, Potiphar’s wife refers to Joseph as a Hebrew slave, a very demeaning description.
- Genesis 39:17 tn Heb “came to me to make fun of me.” The statement needs no explanation because of the connotations of “came to me” and “to make fun of me.” See the note on the expression “humiliate us” in v. 14.
- Genesis 39:19 tn Heb “and when his master heard the words of his wife which she spoke to him, saying.”
- Genesis 39:19 tn Heb “according to these words.”
- Genesis 39:19 tn Heb “did to me.”
- Genesis 39:19 tn Heb “his anger burned.”
- Genesis 39:20 tn Heb “the house of roundness,” suggesting that the prison might have been a fortress or citadel.
- Genesis 39:20 sn The story of Joseph is filled with cycles and repetition: He has two dreams (chap. 37), he interprets two dreams in prison (chap. 40) and the two dreams of Pharaoh (chap. 41), his brothers make two trips to see him (chaps. 42-43), and here, for the second time (see 37:24), he is imprisoned for no good reason, with only his coat being used as evidence. For further discussion see H. Jacobsen, “A Legal Note on Potiphar’s Wife,” HTR 69 (1976): 177.
- Genesis 39:21 tn Heb “and he extended to him loyal love.”
- Genesis 39:21 tn Or “the chief jailer” (also in the following verses).
- Genesis 39:22 tn Heb “all which they were doing there, he was doing.” This probably means that Joseph was in charge of everything that went on in the prison.
- Genesis 39:23 tn Heb “was not looking at anything.”
- Genesis 39:23 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 40:1 sn The Hebrew term cupbearer corresponds to the Egyptian wb’, an official (frequently a foreigner) who often became a confidant of the king and wielded political power (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 248). Nehemiah held this post in Persia.
- Genesis 40:1 sn The baker may be the Egyptian retehti, the head of the bakers, who had privileges in the royal court.
- Genesis 40:1 sn The Hebrew verb translated offended here is the same one translated “sin” in 39:9. Perhaps there is an intended contrast between these officials, who deserve to be imprisoned, and Joseph, who refused to sin against God, but was thrown into prison in spite of his innocence.
- Genesis 40:2 tn The Hebrew word סָרִיס (saris), used here of these two men and of Potiphar (see 39:1), normally means “eunuch.” But evidence from Akkadian texts shows that in early times the title was used of a court official in general. Only later did it become more specialized in its use.
- Genesis 40:4 sn He served them. This is the same Hebrew verb, meaning “to serve as a personal attendant,” that was translated “became [his] servant” in 39:4.
- Genesis 40:4 tn Heb “they were days in custody.”
- Genesis 40:5 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”
- Genesis 40:5 tn Heb “a man his dream in one night.”
- Genesis 40:5 tn Heb “a man according to the interpretation of his dream.”
- Genesis 40:6 tn The verb זָעַף (zaʿaf) only occurs here and Dan 1:10. It means “to be sick, to be emaciated,” probably in this case because of depression.
- Genesis 40:7 tn Heb “why are your faces sad today?”
- Genesis 40:8 tn Heb “a dream we dreamed.”
- Genesis 40:8 tn The word “them” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 40:9 tn The Hebrew text adds “and he said to him.” This has not been translated because it is redundant in English.
- Genesis 40:11 tn Heb “the cup of Pharaoh.” The pronoun “his” has been used here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 40:11 sn The cupbearer’s dream is dominated by sets of three: three branches, three stages of growth, and three actions of the cupbearer.
- Genesis 40:12 tn Heb “the three branches [are].”
- Genesis 40:13 tn Heb “Pharaoh will lift up your head.” This Hebrew idiom usually refers to restoring dignity, office, or power. It is comparable to the modern saying “someone can hold his head up high.”
- Genesis 40:13 tn Heb “according to the former custom.”
- Genesis 40:14 tn Heb “but you have remembered me with you.” The perfect verbal form may be used rhetorically here to emphasize Joseph’s desire to be remembered. He speaks of the action as already being accomplished in order to make it clear that he expects it to be done. The form can be translated as volitional, expressing a plea or a request.
- Genesis 40:14 tn This perfect verbal form with the prefixed conjunction (and the two that immediately follow) carry the same force as the preceding perfect.
- Genesis 40:14 tn Heb “deal with me [in] kindness.”
- Genesis 40:14 tn The verb זָכַר (zakhar) in the Hiphil stem means “to cause to remember, to make mention, to boast.” The implication is that Joseph would be pleased for them to tell his story and give him the credit due him so that Pharaoh would release him. Since Pharaoh had never met Joseph, the simple translation of “cause him to remember me” would mean little.
- Genesis 40:14 tn Heb “house.” The word “prison” has been substituted in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 40:15 tn The verb גָּנַב (ganav) means “to steal,” but in the Piel/Pual stem “to steal away.” The idea of “kidnap” would be closer to the sense, meaning he was stolen and carried off. The preceding infinitive absolute underscores the point Joseph is making.
- Genesis 40:16 tn Heb “that [the] interpretation [was] good.” The words “the first dream” are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 40:16 tn Or “three wicker baskets.” The meaning of the Hebrew noun חֹרִי (khori, “white bread, cake”) is uncertain; some have suggested the meaning “wicker” instead. Comparison with texts from Ebla suggests the meaning “pastries made with white flour” (M. Dahood, “Eblaite ḫa-rí and Genesis 40, 16 ḥōrî,” BN 13 : 14-16).
- Genesis 40:18 tn Heb “the three baskets [are].”
- Genesis 40:19 tn Heb “Pharaoh will lift up your head from upon you.” Joseph repeats the same expression from the first interpretation (see v. 13), but with the added words “from upon you,” which allow the statement to have a more literal and ominous meaning—the baker will be decapitated.
- Genesis 40:20 tn The translation puts the verb in quotation marks because it is used rhetorically here and has a double meaning. With respect to the cupbearer it means “reinstate” (see v. 13), but with respect to the baker it means “decapitate” (see v. 19).
- Genesis 40:21 tn Heb “his cupbearing.”
- Genesis 40:22 tn Heb “had interpreted for them.”sn The dreams were fulfilled exactly as Joseph had predicted, down to the very detail. Here was confirmation that Joseph could interpret dreams and that his own dreams were still valid. It would have been a tremendous encouragement to his faith, but it would also have been a great disappointment to spend two more years in jail.
- Genesis 40:23 tn The wayyiqtol verbal form here has a reiterative or emphasizing function.
- Genesis 41:1 tn Heb “two years, days.”
- Genesis 41:1 tn Heb “was dreaming.”
- Genesis 41:2 tn Heb “And look, he was standing by the Nile, and look, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, attractive of appearance and fat of flesh.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the audience to see the dream through Pharaoh’s eyes.
- Genesis 41:3 tn Heb “And look, seven other cows were coming up after them from the Nile, bad of appearance and thin of flesh.”
- Genesis 41:3 tn Heb “the Nile.” This has been replaced by “the river” in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:5 tn Heb “coming up.”
- Genesis 41:5 tn Heb “fat.”
- Genesis 41:6 tn Heb “And look.”
- Genesis 41:7 tn Heb “And look, a dream.”sn Pharaoh’s two dreams, as explained in the following verses, pertained to the economy of Egypt. Because of the Nile River, the land of Egypt weathered all kinds of famines—there was usually grain in Egypt, and if there was grain and water the livestock would flourish. These two dreams, however, indicated that poverty would overtake plenty and that the blessing of the herd and the field would cease.
- Genesis 41:8 tn Heb “his spirit.”
- Genesis 41:8 tn Heb “he sent and called,” which indicates an official summons.
- Genesis 41:8 tn The Hebrew term חַרְטֹם (khartom) is an Egyptian loanword (hyr-tp) that describes a class of priests who were skilled in such interpretations.
- Genesis 41:8 tn The Hebrew text has the singular (though Smr reads the plural). If retained, the singular must be collective for the set of dreams. Note the plural pronoun “them,” referring to the dreams, in the next clause. However, note that in v. 15 Pharaoh uses the singular to refer to the two dreams. In vv. 17-24 Pharaoh seems to treat the dreams as two parts of one dream (see especially v. 22).
- Genesis 41:8 tn “there was no interpreter.”
- Genesis 41:8 tn Heb “for Pharaoh.” The pronoun “him” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:9 tn Heb “sins, offenses.” He probably refers here to the offenses that landed him in prison (see 40:1).
- Genesis 41:11 tn Heb “and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he, each according to the interpretation of his dream we dreamed.”
- Genesis 41:12 tn Or “slave.”
- Genesis 41:12 tn Heb “a servant to the captain of the guards.” On this construction see GKC 419-20 §129.c.
- Genesis 41:12 tn The words “our dreams” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:12 tn Heb “and he interpreted for us our dreams, each according to his dream he interpreted.”
- Genesis 41:13 tn Heb “interpreted.”
- Genesis 41:13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 41:13 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the baker) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 41:14 tn Heb “and Pharaoh sent and called,” indicating a summons to the royal court.
- Genesis 41:15 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”
- Genesis 41:15 tn Heb “there is no one interpreting.”
- Genesis 41:15 tn Heb “saying.”
- Genesis 41:15 tn Heb “you hear a dream to interpret it,” which may mean, “you only have to hear a dream to be able to interpret it.”
- Genesis 41:16 tn Heb “not within me.”
- Genesis 41:16 tn Heb “God will answer.”
- Genesis 41:16 tn The expression שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה (shelom parʿoh) is here rendered “the welfare of Pharaoh” because the dream will be about life in his land. Some interpret it to mean an answer of “peace”—one that will calm his heart, or give him the answer that he desires (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Genesis 41:17 tn Heb “In my dream look, I was standing.” The use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here (and also in vv. 18, 19, 22, 23) invites the hearer (within the context of the narrative, Joseph, but in the broader sense the reader or hearer of the Book of Genesis) to observe the scene through Pharaoh’s eyes.
- Genesis 41:18 tn Heb “and look, from the Nile seven cows were coming up, fat of flesh and attractive of appearance, and they grazed in the reeds.”
- Genesis 41:19 tn Heb “And look.”
- Genesis 41:19 tn The word “cows” is supplied here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:20 tn Heb “the seven first fat cows.”
- Genesis 41:21 tn Heb “when they went inside them.”
- Genesis 41:21 tn Heb “it was not known.”
- Genesis 41:22 tn Heb “and I saw in my dream and look.”
- Genesis 41:23 tn Heb “And look.”
- Genesis 41:24 tn The words “all this” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:24 tn Heb “and there was no one telling me.”
- Genesis 41:25 tn Heb “the dream of Pharaoh is one.”
- Genesis 41:25 tn Heb “declared.”
- Genesis 41:25 tn The active participle here indicates what is imminent.
- Genesis 41:26 tn Heb “one dream it is.”
- Genesis 41:27 tn Heb “are.” Another option is to translate, “There will be seven years of famine.”
- Genesis 41:28 tn Heb “it is the word that I spoke.”
- Genesis 41:30 tn The perfect with the vav consecutive continues the time frame of the preceding participle, which has an imminent future nuance here.
- Genesis 41:30 tn The Hebrew verb כָּלָה (kalah) in the Piel stem means “to finish, to destroy, to bring an end to.” The severity of the famine will ruin the land of Egypt.
- Genesis 41:31 tn Heb “known.”
- Genesis 41:31 tn Or “heavy.”
- Genesis 41:32 tn Heb “and concerning the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh two times.” The Niphal infinitive here is the object of the preposition; it is followed by the subjective genitive “of the dream.”
- Genesis 41:32 tn Heb “established.”
- Genesis 41:32 tn The clause combines a participle and an infinitive construct: God “is hurrying…to do it,” meaning he is going to do it soon.
- Genesis 41:33 tn Heb “let Pharaoh look.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.
- Genesis 41:33 tn Heb “a man discerning and wise.” The order of the terms is rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:33 tn Heb “and let him set him.”
- Genesis 41:34 tn The imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance here. Smr has a jussive form here, “and let [Pharaoh] do.”
- Genesis 41:34 tn Heb “and let him appoint.” The jussive form expresses Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh.
- Genesis 41:34 tn Heb “appointees.” The noun is a cognate accusative of the preceding verb. Since “appoint appointees” would be redundant in English, the term “officials” was used in the translation instead.
- Genesis 41:34 tn Heb “and he shall collect a fifth of the land of Egypt.” The language is figurative (metonymy); it means what the land produces, i.e., the harvest.
- Genesis 41:35 tn Heb “all the food.”
- Genesis 41:35 tn Heb “under the hand of Pharaoh.”
- Genesis 41:35 tn Heb “[for] food in the cities.” The noun translated “food” is an adverbial accusative in the sentence.
- Genesis 41:35 tn The perfect with vav (ו) consecutive carries the same force as the sequence of jussives before it.
- Genesis 41:36 tn Heb “and the land will not be cut off in the famine.”
- Genesis 41:37 tn Heb “and the matter was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.”
- Genesis 41:38 tn Heb “like this,” but the referent could be misunderstood to be a man like that described by Joseph in v. 33, rather than Joseph himself. For this reason the proper name “Joseph” has been supplied in the translation.
- Genesis 41:38 tn The rhetorical question expects the answer “No, of course not!”
- Genesis 41:39 tn Heb “as discerning and wise.” The order has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:40 tn Heb “and at your mouth (i.e., instructions) all my people will kiss.” G. J. Wenham translates this “shall kowtow to your instruction” (Genesis [WBC], 2:395). Although there is some textual support for reading “will be judged, ruled by you,” this is probably an attempt to capture the significance of this word. Wenham lists a number of references where individuals have tried to make connections with other words or expressions—such as a root meaning “order themselves” lying behind “kiss,” or an idiomatic idea of “kiss” meaning “seal the mouth,” and so “be silent and submit to.” See K. A. Kitchen, “The Term Nsq in Genesis 41:40, ” ExpTim 69 (1957): 30; D. S. Sperling, “Genesis 41:40: A New Interpretation,” JANESCU 10 (1978): 113-19.
- Genesis 41:40 tn Heb “only the throne, I will be greater than you.”
- Genesis 41:41 tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is descriptive of a present action. Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, in which case Pharaoh describes a still future action as if it had already occurred in order to emphasize its certainty. In this case one could translate “I have placed” or “I will place.” The verb נָתַן (natan) is translated here as “to place in authority [over].”
- Genesis 41:41 sn Joseph became the grand vizier of the land of Egypt. See W. A. Ward, “The Egyptian Office of Joseph,” JSS 5 (1960): 144-50; and R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 129-31.
- Genesis 41:42 tn The Hebrew word שֵׁשׁ (shesh) is an Egyptian loanword that describes the fine linen robes that Egyptian royalty wore. The clothing signified Joseph’s rank.
- Genesis 41:43 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 41:43 tn Heb “and he caused him to ride in the second chariot which was his.”
- Genesis 41:43 tn The verb form appears to be a causative imperative from a verbal root meaning “to kneel.” It is a homonym of the word “bless” (identical in root letters but not related etymologically).
- Genesis 41:44 tn Heb “apart from you.”
- Genesis 41:44 tn Heb “no man,” but here “man” is generic, referring to people in general.
- Genesis 41:44 tn The idiom “lift up hand or foot” means “take any action” here.
- Genesis 41:45 sn The meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah, is uncertain. Many recent commentators have followed the proposal of G. Steindorff that it means “the god has said, ‘he will live’” (“Der Name Josephs Saphenat-Pa‘neach,” ZÄS 31 : 41-42); others have suggested “the god speaks and lives” (see BDB 861 s.v. צָפְנָת פַּעְנֵחַ); “the man he knows” (J. Vergote, Joseph en Égypte, 145); or “Joseph [who is called] ʾIp-ʿankh” (K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 1262).
- Genesis 41:45 sn The name Asenath may mean “she belongs to the goddess Neit” (see HALOT 74 s.v. אָֽסְנַת). A novel was written at the beginning of the first century entitled Joseph and Asenath, which included a legendary account of the conversion of Asenath to Joseph’s faith in Yahweh. However, all that can be determined from this chapter is that their children received Hebrew names. See also V. Aptowitzer, “Asenath, the Wife of Joseph—a Haggadic Literary-Historical Study,” HUCA 1 (1924): 239-306.
- Genesis 41:45 sn On (also in v. 50) is another name for the city of Heliopolis.
- Genesis 41:45 tn Heb “and he passed through.”
- Genesis 41:46 tn Heb “a son of thirty years.”
- Genesis 41:46 tn Heb “when he stood before.”
- Genesis 41:46 tn Heb “went out from before.”
- Genesis 41:46 tn Heb “and he passed through all the land of Egypt”; this phrase is interpreted by JPS to mean that Joseph “emerged in charge of the whole land.”
- Genesis 41:47 tn Heb “brought forth by handfuls.”
- Genesis 41:48 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 41:48 tn Heb “all the food.”
- Genesis 41:48 tn Heb “of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt and placed food in the cities.”
- Genesis 41:49 tn Heb “and Joseph gathered grain like the sand of the sea, multiplying much.” To emphasize the vast amount of grain he stored up, the Hebrew text modifies the verb “gathered” with an infinitive absolute and an adverb.
- Genesis 41:50 tn Heb “before the year of the famine came.”
- Genesis 41:50 tn Heb “gave birth for him.”
- Genesis 41:51 sn The name Manasseh (מְנַשֶּׁה, menasheh) describes God’s activity on behalf of Joseph, explaining in general the significance of his change of fortune. The name is a Piel participle, suggesting the meaning “he who brings about forgetfulness.” The Hebrew verb נַשַּׁנִי (nashani) may have been used instead of the normal נִשַּׁנִי (nishani) to provide a closer sound play with the name. The giving of this Hebrew name to his son shows that Joseph retained his heritage and faith; and it shows that a brighter future was in store for him.
- Genesis 41:51 tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:51 tn Or “for.”
- Genesis 41:52 sn The name Ephraim (אֶפְרַיִם, ʾefrayim), a form of the Hebrew verb פָּרָה (parah), means “to bear fruit.” The theme of fruitfulness is connected with this line of the family from Rachel (30:2) on down (see Gen 49:22, Deut 33:13-17, and Hos 13:15). But there is some difficulty with the name “Ephraim” itself. It appears to be a dual, for which F. Delitzsch simply said it meant “double fruitfulness” (New Commentary on Genesis, 2:305). G. J. Spurrell suggested it was a diphthongal pronunciation of a name ending in -an or -am, often thought to be dual suffixes (Notes on the text of the book of Genesis, 334). Many, however, simply connect the name to the territory of Ephraim and interpret it to be “fertile land” (C. Fontinoy, “Les noms de lieux en -ayim dans la Bible,” UF 3 : 33-40). The dual would then be an old locative ending. There is no doubt that the name became attached to the land in which the tribe settled, and it is possible that is where the dual ending came from, but in this story it refers to Joseph’s God-given fruitfulness.
- Genesis 41:52 tn The word “saying” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 41:52 tn Or “for.”
- Genesis 41:54 tn Heb “began to arrive.”
- Genesis 41:55 tn Heb “to all Egypt.” The name of the country is used by metonymy for the inhabitants.
- Genesis 41:56 tn Or “over the entire land”; Heb “over all the face of the earth.” The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal to the next clause.
- Genesis 41:56 tc The MT reads “he opened all that was in [or “among”] them.” The translation follows the reading of the LXX and Syriac versions.
- Genesis 41:57 tn Heb “all the earth,” which refers here (by metonymy) to the people of the earth. Note that the following verb is plural in form, indicating that the inhabitants of the earth are in view.
- Genesis 42:1 tn Heb “saw.”
- Genesis 42:1 tn Heb “Jacob.” Here the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 42:1 sn Why are you looking at each other? The point of Jacob’s question is that his sons should be going to get grain rather than sitting around doing nothing. Jacob, as the patriarch, still makes the decisions for the whole clan.
- Genesis 42:2 tn Heb “and buy for us from there.” The word “grain,” the direct object of “buy,” has been supplied for clarity, and the words “from there” have been omitted in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 42:2 tn Following the imperatives, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav expresses purpose of result.
- Genesis 42:2 tn The imperfect tense continues the nuance of the verb before it.
- Genesis 42:4 tn Heb “But Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, Jacob did not send with his brothers.” The disjunctive clause highlights the contrast between Benjamin and the other ten.
- Genesis 42:4 tn The Hebrew verb אָמַר (ʾamar, “to say”) could also be translated “thought” (i.e., “he said to himself”) here, giving Jacob’s reasoning rather than spoken words.
- Genesis 42:4 tn The Hebrew noun אָסוֹן (ʾason) is a rare word meaning “accident, harm.” Apart from its use in these passages it occurs in Exodus 21:22-23 of an accident to a pregnant woman. The term is a rather general one, but Jacob was no doubt thinking of his loss of Joseph.
- Genesis 42:4 tn Heb “encounters.”
- Genesis 42:5 tn Heb “in the midst of the coming ones.”
- Genesis 42:6 tn The disjunctive clause either introduces a new episode in the unfolding drama or provides the reader with supplemental information necessary to understanding the story.
- Genesis 42:6 sn Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him. Here is the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams (see Gen 37). But it is not the complete fulfillment, since all his brothers and his parents must come. The point of the dream, of course, was not simply to get the family to bow to Joseph, but that Joseph would be placed in a position of rule and authority to save the family and the world (41:57).
- Genesis 42:6 tn The word “faces” is an adverbial accusative, so the preposition has been supplied in the translation.
- Genesis 42:7 sn But pretended to be a stranger. Joseph intends to test his brothers to see if they have changed and have the integrity to be patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He will do this by putting them in the same situations that they and he were in before. The first test will be to awaken their conscience.
- Genesis 42:7 tn Heb “said.”
- Genesis 42:7 tn The verb is denominative, meaning “to buy grain”; the word “food” could simply be the direct object, but may also be an adverbial accusative.
- Genesis 42:9 sn You are spies. Joseph wanted to see how his brothers would react if they were accused of spying.
- Genesis 42:9 tn Heb “to see the nakedness of the land you have come.”
- Genesis 42:10 tn Heb “and they said to him.” In context this is best understood as an exclamation.
- Genesis 42:12 tn Heb “and he said, ‘No, for the nakedness of the land you have come to see.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “twelve [were] your servants, brothers [are] we.”
- Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “today.”
- Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “and the one is not.”
- Genesis 42:14 tn Heb “to you, saying.”
- Genesis 42:15 tn Heb “[By] the life of Pharaoh.”sn As surely as Pharaoh lives. Joseph uses an oath formula to let the brothers know the certainty of what he said. There is some discussion in the commentaries on swearing by the life of Pharaoh, but since the formulation here reflects the Hebrew practice, it would be hard to connect the ideas exactly to Egyptian practices. Joseph did this to make the point in a way that his Hebrew brothers would understand. See M. R. Lehmann, “Biblical Oaths,” ZAW 81 (1969): 74-92.
- Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “send from you one and let him take.” After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose.
- Genesis 42:16 tn The disjunctive clause is here circumstantial-temporal.
- Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “bound.”
- Genesis 42:16 tn The words “to see” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “the truth [is] with you.”
- Genesis 42:17 sn The same Hebrew word is used for Joseph’s imprisonment in 40:3, 4, 7. There is some mirroring going on in the narrative. The Hebrew word used here (אָסַף, ʾasaf, “to gather”) is not normally used in a context like this (for placing someone in prison), but it forms a wordplay on the name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yosef) and keeps the comparison working.
- Genesis 42:18 tn Heb “Do this.”
- Genesis 42:18 tn After the preceding imperative, the imperative with vav (ו) can, as here, indicate logical sequence.
- Genesis 42:18 sn For I fear God. Joseph brings God into the picture to awaken his brothers’ consciences. The godly person cares about the welfare of people, whether they live or die. So he will send grain back, but keep one of them in Egypt. This action contrasts with their crime of selling their brother into slavery.
- Genesis 42:19 tn Heb “bound in the house of your prison.”
- Genesis 42:19 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal.
- Genesis 42:19 tn Heb “[for] the hunger of your households.”
- Genesis 42:20 tn The imperfect here has an injunctive force.
- Genesis 42:20 tn After the injunctive imperfect, this imperfect with vav indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 42:20 tn The Niphal form of the verb has the sense of “to be faithful; to be sure; to be reliable.” Joseph will test his brothers to see if their words are true.
- Genesis 42:20 tn Heb “and they did so.”
- Genesis 42:21 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.”
- Genesis 42:21 tn Or “we are guilty”; the Hebrew word can also refer to the effect of being guilty, i.e., “we are being punished for guilt.”
- Genesis 42:21 tn Heb “the distress of his soul.”
- Genesis 42:21 sn The repetition of the Hebrew noun translated distress draws attention to the fact that they regard their present distress as appropriate punishment for their refusal to ignore their brother when he was in distress.
- Genesis 42:22 tn Heb “and also his blood, look, it is required.” God requires compensation, as it were, from those who shed innocent blood (see Gen 9:6). In other words, God exacts punishment for the crime of murder.
- Genesis 42:23 tn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information that is important to the story.
- Genesis 42:23 tn “was listening.” The brothers were not aware that Joseph could understand them as they spoke the preceding words in their native language.
- Genesis 42:23 tn Heb “for [there was] an interpreter between them.” On the meaning of the word here translated “interpreter” see HALOT 590 s.v. מֵלִיץ and M. A. Canney, “The Hebrew melis (Prov IX 12; Gen XLII 2-3),” AJSL 40 (1923/24): 135-37.
- Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “and he turned to them and spoke to them.”
- Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “took Simeon.” This was probably done at Joseph’s command, however; the grand vizier of Egypt would not have personally seized a prisoner.
- Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “and he bound him.” See the note on the preceding verb “taken.”
- Genesis 42:25 tn Heb “and they filled.” The clause appears to be elliptical; one expects “Joseph gave orders to fill…and they filled.” See GKC 386 §120.f.
- Genesis 42:25 tn Heb “and he did for them so.” Joseph would appear to be the subject of the singular verb. If the text is retained, the statement seems to be a summary of the preceding, more detailed statement. However, some read the verb as plural, “and they did for them so.” In this case the statement indicates that Joseph’s subordinates carried out his orders. Another alternative is to read the singular verb as passive (with unspecified subject), “and this was done for them so” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).
- Genesis 42:26 tn Heb “and they went from there.”
- Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “and the one.” The article indicates that the individual is vivid in the mind of the narrator, yet it is not important to identify him by name.
- Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “at the lodging place.”
- Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “and look, it [was] in the mouth of his sack.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to look through the eyes of the character and thereby draws attention to the money.
- Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “and their heart went out.” Since this expression is used only here, the exact meaning is unclear. The following statement suggests that it may refer to a sudden loss of emotional strength, so “They were dismayed” adequately conveys the meaning (cf. NRSV); NIV has “Their hearts sank.”
- Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “and they trembled, a man to his neighbor.”
- Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “What is this God has done to us?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question.
- Genesis 42:30 tn Heb “made us.”
- Genesis 42:30 tn The words “if we were” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “twelve [were] we, brothers, sons of our father [are] we.”
- Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “the one is not.”
- Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “today.”
- Genesis 42:33 tn The word “grain” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 42:34 tn After the imperative, the cohortative with prefixed vav indicates purpose/result.
- Genesis 42:34 tn Heb “that you are not spies, that you are honest men.”
- Genesis 42:34 sn Joseph’s brothers soften the news considerably, making it sound like Simeon was a guest of Joseph (Leave one of your brothers with me) instead of being bound in prison. They do not mention the threat of death and do not at this time speak of the money in the one sack.
- Genesis 42:36 tn Heb “is not.”
- Genesis 42:36 tn Heb “is not.”
- Genesis 42:36 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is desiderative here.
- Genesis 42:37 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is permissive here.
- Genesis 42:37 tn Heb “my hand.”
- Genesis 42:38 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 42:38 sn The expression he alone is left meant that (so far as Jacob knew) Benjamin was the only surviving child of his mother Rachel.
- Genesis 42:38 sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole—they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble.
- Genesis 42:38 tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
- Genesis 43:1 tn The disjunctive clause gives supplemental information that is important to the storyline.
- Genesis 43:3 tn The infinitive absolute with the finite verb stresses the point. The primary meaning of the verb is “to witness; to testify.” It alludes to Joseph’s oath, which was tantamount to a threat or warning.
- Genesis 43:3 tn The idiom “see my face” means “have an audience with me.”
- Genesis 43:4 tn Heb “if there is you sending,” that is, “if you send.”
- Genesis 43:6 tn The verb may even have a moral connotation here, “Why did you do evil to me?”
- Genesis 43:6 tn The infinitive construct here explains how they brought trouble on Jacob.
- Genesis 43:7 tn The word “us” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 43:7 tn The infinitive absolute with the perfect verbal form emphasizes that Joseph questioned them thoroughly.
- Genesis 43:7 sn The report given here concerning Joseph’s interrogation does not exactly match the previous account where they supplied the information to clear themselves (see 42:13). This section may reflect how they remembered the impact of his interrogation, whether he asked the specific questions or not. That may be twisting the truth to protect themselves, not wanting to admit that they volunteered the information. (They admitted as much in 42:31, but now they seem to be qualifying that comment.) On the other hand, when speaking to Joseph later (see 44:19), Judah claims that Joseph asked for the information about their family, making it possible that 42:13 leaves out some of the details of their first encounter.
- Genesis 43:7 tn Heb “and we told to him according to these words.”
- Genesis 43:7 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the imperfect verbal form, which here is a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of a past time).
- Genesis 43:7 tn Once again the imperfect verbal form is used as a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of past time).
- Genesis 43:8 tn Heb “and we will rise up and we will go.” The first verb is adverbial and gives the expression the sense of “we will go immediately.”
- Genesis 43:8 tn After the preceding cohortatives, the prefixed verbal form (either imperfect or cohortative) with the prefixed conjunction here indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 43:9 tn The pronoun before the first person verbal form draws attention to the subject and emphasizes Judah’s willingness to be personally responsible for the boy.
- Genesis 43:9 sn I will bear the blame before you all my life. It is not clear how this would work out if Benjamin did not come back. But Judah is offering his life for Benjamin’s if Benjamin does not return.
- Genesis 43:10 tn Heb “we could have returned.”
- Genesis 43:12 tn Heb “in your hand.”
- Genesis 43:12 tn Heb “take back in your hand.” The imperfect verbal form probably has an injunctive or obligatory force here, since Jacob is instructing his sons.
- Genesis 43:13 tn Heb “arise, return,” meaning “get up and go back,” or “go back immediately.”
- Genesis 43:13 sn The man refers to the Egyptian official, whom the reader or hearer of the narrative knows is Joseph. In this context both the sons and Jacob refer to him simply as “the man” (see vv. 3-7).
- Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “El Shaddai.” See the extended note on the phrase “Sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.
- Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “release to you.” After the jussive this perfect verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) probably indicates logical consequence, as well as temporal sequence.
- Genesis 43:14 sn Several Jewish commentators suggest that the expression your other brother refers to Joseph. This would mean that Jacob prophesied unwittingly. However, it is much more likely that Simeon is the referent of the phrase “your other brother” (see Gen 42:24).
- Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “if I am bereaved I am bereaved.” With this fatalistic sounding statement Jacob resolves himself to the possibility of losing both Benjamin and Simeon.
- Genesis 43:15 tn Heb “they arose and went down to Egypt.” The first verb has an adverbial function and emphasizes that they departed right away.
- Genesis 43:17 tn Heb “the man.” This has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “he” for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 43:17 sn This verse is a summary statement. The next verses delineate intermediate steps (see v. 24) in the process.
- Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “over the matter of.”
- Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “in the beginning,” that is, at the end of their first visit.
- Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “to roll himself upon us and to cause himself to fall upon us.” The infinitives here indicate the purpose (as viewed by the brothers) for their being brought to Joseph’s house.
- Genesis 43:18 tn The word “take” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 43:20 tn The infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the finite verbal form.
- Genesis 43:20 tn Heb “in the beginning” (see the note on the phrase “last time” in v. 18).
- Genesis 43:21 tn Heb “his silver in its weight.”
- Genesis 43:21 tn Heb “brought it back in our hand.”
- Genesis 43:23 tn Heb “and he said, ‘peace to you.’” Here the statement has the force of “everything is fine,” or perhaps even “calm down.” The referent of “he” (the man in charge of Joseph’ household) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 43:23 sn Your God and the God of your father…This is the first clear reference in the story to the theme of divine providence—that God works through the human actions to do his will.
- Genesis 43:23 tn Heb “your money came to me.”
- Genesis 43:24 tn Heb “the man.”
- Genesis 43:25 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct after the preposition, followed by the subjective genitive.
- Genesis 43:25 tn The action precedes the action of preparing the gift, and so must be translated as past perfect.
- Genesis 43:25 tn Heb “eat bread.” The imperfect verbal form is used here as a historic future (future from the perspective of the past).
- Genesis 43:26 tn Heb “into the house.”
- Genesis 43:27 tn Heb “concerning peace.”
- Genesis 43:28 tn Heb “and they bowed low and they bowed down.” The use of synonyms here emphasizes the brothers’ humility.
- Genesis 43:29 tn Heb “and he lifted his eyes.” The referent of “he” (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 43:29 sn Joseph’s language here becomes warmer and more personal, culminating in calling Benjamin my son.
- Genesis 43:30 tn Heb “for his affection boiled up concerning his brother.” The same expression is used in 1 Kgs 3:26 for the mother’s feelings for her endangered child.
- Genesis 43:30 tn Heb “and he sought to weep.”
- Genesis 43:31 tn Heb “and he controlled himself and said.”
- Genesis 43:32 tn Heb “them”; the referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 43:32 tn Or “disgraceful.” The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (toʿevah, “abomination”) describes something that is loathsome or off-limits. For other practices the Egyptians considered disgusting, see Gen 46:34 and Exod 8:22.
- Genesis 43:32 tn Heb “and they set for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for the Egyptians are not able to eat food with the Hebrews, for it is an abomination for the Egyptians.” The imperfect verbal form in the explanatory clause is taken as habitual in force, indicating a practice that was still in effect in the narrator’s time.sn That the Egyptians found eating with foreigners disgusting is well-attested in extra-biblical literature by writers like Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo.
- Genesis 43:33 tn Heb “the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth.”
- Genesis 43:33 sn The brothers’ astonishment indicates that Joseph arranged them in this way. They were astonished because there was no way, as far as they were concerned, that Joseph could have known the order of their birth.
- Genesis 43:34 tn Heb “and he lifted up portions from before his face to them.”
- Genesis 43:34 tn Heb “and they drank and were intoxicated with him” (cf. NIV “drank freely with him”; NEB “grew merry”; NRSV “were merry”). The brothers were apparently relaxed and set at ease, despite Joseph’s obvious favoritism toward Benjamin.
- Genesis 44:2 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express Joseph’s instructions.
- Genesis 44:2 tn Heb “and he did according to the word of Joseph which he spoke.”
- Genesis 44:3 tn Heb “the morning was light.”
- Genesis 44:3 tn Heb “and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.” This clause, like the preceding one, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.
- Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “they left the city, they were not far,” meaning “they had not gone very far.”
- Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “and Joseph said.” This clause, like the first one in the verse, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.
- Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “arise, chase after the men.” The first imperative gives the command a sense of urgency.
- Genesis 44:4 tn After the imperative this perfect verbal form with vav consecutive has the same nuance of instruction. In the translation it is subordinated to the verbal form that follows (also a perfect with vav consecutive): “and overtake them and say,” becomes “when you overtake them, say.”
- Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “Is this not what my master drinks from.” The word “cup” is not in the Hebrew text, but is obviously the referent of “this,” and so has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “and he, divining, divines with it.” The infinitive absolute is emphatic, stressing the importance of the cup to Joseph.
- Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “you have caused to be evil what you have done.”
- Genesis 44:6 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 44:7 tn Heb “Why does my lord speak according to these words?”
- Genesis 44:7 tn Heb “according to this thing.”
- Genesis 44:9 tn Heb “The one with whom it is found from your servants.” Here “your servants” (a deferential way of referring to the brothers themselves) has been translated by the pronoun “us” to avoid confusion with Joseph’s servants.
- Genesis 44:10 tn Heb “Also now, according to your words, so it is.” As the next statement indicates, this does mean that he will do exactly as they say. He does agree with them the culprit should be punished, but not as harshly as they suggest. Furthermore, the innocent parties will not be punished.
- Genesis 44:10 tn Heb “The one with whom it is found will become my slave.”
- Genesis 44:10 tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 44:10 tn The Hebrew word נָקִי (naqi) means “acquitted,” that is, free of guilt and the responsibility for it.sn The rest of you will be free. Joseph’s purpose was to single out Benjamin to see if the brothers would abandon him as they had abandoned Joseph. He wanted to see if they had changed.
- Genesis 44:11 tn Heb “and they hurried and they lowered.” Their speed in doing this shows their presumption of innocence.
- Genesis 44:12 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 44:14 sn Judah and his brothers. The narrative is already beginning to bring Judah to the forefront.
- Genesis 44:14 tn The disjunctive clause here provides supplemental information.
- Genesis 44:15 tn Heb “What is this deed you have done?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question. A literal translation seems to contradict the following statement, in which Joseph affirms that he is able to divine such matters. Thus here the emotive force of the question has been reflected in the translation, “What did you think you were doing?”
- Genesis 44:15 tn Heb “[is] fully able to divine,” meaning that he can find things out by divination. The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis, stressing his ability to do this.
- Genesis 44:16 tn The imperfect verbal form here indicates the subject’s potential.
- Genesis 44:16 tn The Hitpael form of the verb צָדֵק (tsadeq) here means “to prove ourselves just, to declare ourselves righteous, to prove our innocence.”
- Genesis 44:16 sn God has exposed the sin of your servants. The first three questions are rhetorical; Judah is stating that there is nothing they can say to clear themselves. He therefore must conclude that they have been found guilty.
- Genesis 44:17 tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 44:17 tn Heb “up” (reflecting directions from their point of view—“up” to Canaan; “down” to Egypt).
- Genesis 44:18 tn Heb “Please my lord, let your servant speak a word into the ears of my lord.”
- Genesis 44:18 tn Heb “and let not your anger burn against your servant.”
- Genesis 44:18 sn You are just like Pharaoh. Judah’s speech begins with the fear and trembling of one who stands condemned. Joseph has as much power as Pharaoh, either to condemn or to pardon. Judah will make his appeal, wording his speech in such a way as to appeal to Joseph’s compassion for the father, whom he mentions no less than fourteen times in the speech.
- Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “and a small boy of old age,” meaning that he was born when his father was elderly.
- Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the boy just mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “he, only he, to his mother is left.”
- Genesis 44:21 tn The cohortative after the imperative indicates purpose here.
- Genesis 44:21 tn Heb “that I may set my eyes upon him.”
- Genesis 44:22 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the boy’s father, i.e., Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 44:22 tn The last two verbs are perfect tenses with vav consecutive. The first is subordinated to the second as a conditional clause.
- Genesis 44:26 tn The direct object is not specified in the Hebrew text, but is implied; “there” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 44:26 tn Heb “go down.”
- Genesis 44:27 tn Heb “that two sons my wife bore to me.”
- Genesis 44:28 tn Heb “went forth from me.”
- Genesis 44:29 tn The construction uses a perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive to introduce the conditional clause and then another perfect verbal form with a vav consecutive to complete the sentence: “if you take…then you will bring down.”
- Genesis 44:29 sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole—they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble. See Gen 42:38.
- Genesis 44:29 tn Heb “evil/calamity.” The term is different than the one used in the otherwise identical statement recorded in v. 31 (see also 42:38).
- Genesis 44:29 tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
- Genesis 44:30 tn Heb “his life is bound up in his life.”
- Genesis 44:31 tn Heb “when he sees that there is no boy.”
- Genesis 44:32 tn Or “for.”
- Genesis 44:34 tn The Hebrew text has “lest I see,” which expresses a negative purpose—“I cannot go up lest I see.”
- Genesis 44:34 tn Heb “the calamity which would find my father.”
- Genesis 45:1 tn Heb “all the ones standing beside him.”
- Genesis 45:1 tn Heb “stood.”
- Genesis 45:2 tn Heb “and he gave his voice in weeping,” meaning that Joseph could not restrain himself and wept out loud.
- Genesis 45:2 tn Heb “and the Egyptians heard and the household of Pharaoh heard.” Presumably in the latter case this was by means of a report.
- Genesis 45:5 tn Heb “let there not be anger in your eyes.”
- Genesis 45:5 sn You sold me here, for God sent me. The tension remains as to how the brothers’ wickedness and God’s intentions work together. Clearly God is able to transform the actions of wickedness to bring about some gracious end. But this is saying more than that; it is saying that from the beginning it was God who sent Joseph here. Although harmonization of these ideas remains humanly impossible, the divine intention is what should be the focus. Only that will enable reconciliation.
- Genesis 45:6 tn Heb “the famine [has been] in the midst of.”
- Genesis 45:7 sn God sent me. The repetition of this theme that God sent Joseph is reminiscent of commission narratives in which the leader could announce that God sent him (e.g., Exod 3:15).
- Genesis 45:7 tn Heb “to make you a remnant.” The verb, followed here by the preposition ל (lamed), means “to make.”
- Genesis 45:7 tn The infinitive gives a second purpose for God’s action.
- Genesis 45:8 tn Heb “a father.” The term is used here figuratively of one who gives advice, as a father would to his children.
- Genesis 45:9 tn Heb “hurry and go up.”
- Genesis 45:10 tn The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
- Genesis 45:11 tn The verb כּוּל (kul) in the Pilpel stem means “to nourish, to support, to sustain.” As in 1 Kgs 20:27, it here means “to supply with food.”
- Genesis 45:12 tn Heb “And, look, your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that my mouth is the one speaking to you.”
- Genesis 45:13 tn The perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
- Genesis 45:13 tn Heb “and hurry and bring down my father to here.”
- Genesis 45:16 tn Heb “and the sound was heard.”
- Genesis 45:16 tn Heb “was good in the eyes of.”
- Genesis 45:17 tn Heb “and go! Enter!”
- Genesis 45:18 tn After the imperatives in vv. 17-18a, the cohortative with vav indicates result.
- Genesis 45:18 tn After the cohortative the imperative with vav states the ultimate goal.
- Genesis 45:18 tn Heb “fat.”
- Genesis 45:19 tn The words “to say” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 45:20 tn Heb “let not your eye regard.”
- Genesis 45:21 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel did so.”
- Genesis 45:21 tn Heb “according to the mouth of Pharaoh.”
- Genesis 45:22 tn Heb “to all of them he gave, to each one, changes of outer garments.”
- Genesis 45:22 tn Heb “changes of outer garments.”
- Genesis 45:23 tn Heb “according to this.”
- Genesis 45:24 tn Heb “do not be stirred up in the way.” The verb means “stir up.” Some understand the Hebrew verb רָגָז (ragaz, “to stir up”) as a reference to quarreling (see Prov 29:9, where it has this connotation), but in Exod 15:14 and other passages it means “to fear.” This might refer to a fear of robbers, but more likely it is an assuring word that they need not be fearful about returning to Egypt. They might have thought that once Jacob was in Egypt, Joseph would take his revenge on them.
- Genesis 45:25 tn Heb “and they entered the land of Canaan to their father.”
- Genesis 45:26 tn Heb “and his heart was numb.” Jacob was stunned by the unbelievable news and was unable to respond.
- Genesis 45:27 tn Heb “and they spoke to him all the words of Joseph which he had spoke to them.”