March 9, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Genesis 40-43
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Context:While in prison, the cupbearer and the baker of the Pharaoh are also sent to prison, where they are placed under Joseph. One night they both have a dream, which Joseph is able to interpret. Joseph asks the one who will be returned to the Pharaoh's service to remember him. It takes two years, but Joseph is finally remembered when the Pharaoh has a dream no one can interpret. Joseph is summoned and correctly interprets the dream: Egypt will have seven years of bountiful harvest followed by seven years of severe famine. Joseph goes a step further however and offers the Pharaoh a solution to help Egypt during the time of famine. Since Joseph was the only one who could interpret the dream, the Pharaoh places him in charge, second only to the Pharaoh himself. The famine, not limited to Egypt, drives Joseph's brothers, the very ones that sold him into slavery, to Egypt to purchase food. Joseph does not reveal himself to them, instead choosing to test them to see if they have grown and reformed of their previous ways. Joseph first tests them by making one of the brothers stay behind until the rest return with the youngest, Benjamin, the last son of Joseph's mother, Rachel. They returned with Benjamin and were given a great feast. During the feast they were seated by birth order, which surprised them. Joseph favored Benjamin, just as he had been favored by his father. What would be the brother's reactions?
World History: During this time, dream interpretation was considered a learned art. There were many books on the subject and a trained dream interpreter would have been familiar with them. Joseph is careful to announce that he has not been trained, rather he is given the interpretation from the Lord. The description of Joseph's rise in power described in 41:41-43, matches descriptions found on tomb walls in Egypt.