Free Bible Commentary

Free Bible Commentary

Genesis

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Genesis 50:22-26

Sunday, May 10, 2020

“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.” (verse 22) Joseph lived “Comfortably, quietly, and in great prosperity, not only he, but his brethren and their families, as long as he lived, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years and all but seventeen of them in Egypt, for at that age it was when he was brought thither: thirteen years he lived in Potiphar's house, and in prison, for he was thirty years of age when he was brought to Pharaoh, and stood before him, and fourscore years he lived in the greatest honour and prosperity that a man could well wish for.” (Pulpit Commentary)

“Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons…” (verse 23) “It is not clear whether the great-grandchildren…are Ephraim’s or Joseph’s (‘through Ephraim’). If the former, Ephraim’s line would have begotten one more generation than Manasseh’s in the same period of time. This would be in fulfillment of the blessing of Genesis 48:19. If the later, then Joseph would have seen only the grandchildren of both his sons before dying. He would thus have lived to see at least the fourth generation. This is a sign of special favor, such as Job enjoys as a reward for his piety (Job 42:16).” (Nahum Sarna)

“Also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.” (verse 23) “Machir was the most important of the clans of Manasseh and, at one time, was identified with the tribe as a whole. The Machirites captured and occupied the Trans-jordanian regions of Gilead and Bashan. Machir’s first-born is given as Gilead in 1 Chronicles 7:14, a name without doubt derived from the association of the clan in the area.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die…’” (verse 24) Even though Joseph was younger than all but one of his brothers, some or all of them must have outlived him. Either that or the term “brothers” is used more loosely to represent the family or “tribe” of Israel that each of his brothers headed. Joseph sensed that his time on earth was rapidly drawing to a close, so he assured his brethren that, “God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Although Joseph would no longer be around to provide for and protect his brethren, he assured them that the Lord always would. “Observe how the patriarchal narrative is closing with the promise of redemption, and with the renewal of the oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“You shall carry my bones up from here.” (verse 25) “Why Joseph does not request immediate interment in the land of his father is not explained; no doubt, he knows that present conditions are unfavorable. The oath he extracts was indeed carried out at the time of the Exodus, as Exodus 13:19 reports. No request for any specific burial place is made, and he is finally laid to rest in a plot of land that Jacob had once bought in Shechem (Josh. 24:32; cf. Gen. 33:19).” (Nahum Sarna) Another possible reason for Joseph waiting to remove his skeletal remains is that his Egyptian peers and overlord would have viewed such a request made by him as ungrateful and unpatriotic, and, being so offended, they could have made life much more difficult for his entire family. This was obviously not cowardice on Joseph’s part but an act of great wisdom and faithfulness as declared by the Hebrews writer—“ By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

“So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.” (verse 26) And thus, the remarkable narrative of Joseph and the magnificent first biblical book of inspiration draws to an unlikely close with a coffin in Egypt. This is obviously not the end of the story of God’s chosen people or His scheme of redemption for the entirety of the human race, just as certainly as the stone rolled over the opening of the sepulcher was not the end of the story for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is a lengthy cessation and period of divine silence of over three hundred years before the story picks up again with the Exodus of God’s people from the land of their enslavement. If you serve the Lord in all love and faithfulness and your life belongs to the Savior of the world, that life will not end in a coffin or a grave. Death is only a dark portal to a vivid and brilliant land of joy and bliss, and only the beginning of an everlasting life for all eternity in the heavenly mansion that Jesus went to prepare for his followers in His Father’s house.

Thanks for spending the last seven months with us studying the book of Genesis! At some point I would like to start a running commentary on the book of Exodus as well, but for now I need a break from writing new articles every day. Tomorrow we will be starting a 50 day study of the life of Jesus. This is a rerun of a reading program that we did in 2015 so it should be like new to us. Each of the 50 days will include a passage of Scripture, two questions included on the attached PDF of the reading schedule, and some brief commentary.

Please read the Isaiah 53:1-12 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

50 Days with Jesus Revised.pdf · version 1

PDF

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 50:14-21

Saturday, May 09, 2020

“After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!’ So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father charged before he died, saying, “Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.’” And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” (verse 15) Jacob’s sons viewed their father as the only shield insulating them against Joseph’s anger and quest for vengeance. Even though he had assured them that he no longer held them accountable for their wicked crimes, and that God was using him to provide for and protect them and their families (Genesis 45:4-10), the inclination of their guilty consciences was to distrust and fear the worst because they knew they did not deserve Joseph’s best.

Sometimes some of us feel that way about God. We feel that our past sins are too atrocious for Him to be willing or able to fully forgive us, but that is only because we find it nearly impossible to forgive ourselves. Friends, God’s ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9), and His love and forgiveness are greater than the sum total of all the world’s sins (John 3:16). “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:11-14) The only sins that God will refuse to forgive us for are those we refuse to turn loose of.

“So they sent a message to Joseph…” (verse 16) The brothers are so fearful, either of Joseph’s smoldering animosity toward them or of the anger the message would incite, that they delivered it through a third party and not directly to him. “Your father charged before he died, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph…” (verses 16-17). There is no scriptural reference to these words ascribed to Jacob and it appears to be a story the brothers invented to save their own hides. “If Jacob had wanted to give Joseph a message about forgiving his brothers, he, it seems to us, would have given such a message to Joseph himself, rather than leaving it for the brothers to tell it.” (James Burton Coffman) When Joseph had accused them of being spies upon their first arrival in Egypt in search of food, they responded: “We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies” (Genesis 42:11). They were by no means spies but, then again, they were not entirely honest men either. Jacob’s sons had grown to be decent and godly men, but sadly we see yet another of the many biblical examples of fear propelling God’s people to employ pretense and prevarication.

“Joseph wept when they spoke to him.” (verse 17) These tears were undoubtedly driven by mixed emotions on Joseph’s part. He must have felt compassion for his brothers because they were suffering such tremendous emotional fear and turmoil, but it also must have broken his heart to know that they still did not trust him after all the love and compassion he had extended to them over the previous seventeen years. “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin.” Those transgressions had been forgiven, if not fully forgotten, many years before. This appeal written by the brothers and falsely ascribed to their father leads me to wonder if they had ever personally expressed remorse to Joseph for their wickedness and formally asked him to forgive them.

“Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’” (verse 18) “When the brothers learn of Joseph’s emotional reaction they feel free to go to him in person. There is here an echo of the opening scene of the Joseph narrative. The boyhood dreams of lordship over his kin (37:7-10) have long been fulfilled, but the reality is now distasteful to him for his character is being called into question…” (Nahum Sarna) But, instead of chastising his brothers for their distrust, he “comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (verse 21).

“Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?” (verse 19) Vengeance was and is solely the Lord’s business, and Joseph being the true man of God that he was, fully appreciated and honored this truth (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:19). “Willis stated the meaning of this to be, ‘Is it my prerogative to judge men and to punish them for their injustice to others?’ Jacob asked the same question of Rachel who had complained about not having a child; and there, it meant, ‘Do I have the power to enable you to conceive and bear a child?’ As Willis said, ‘The answer, in both cases, of course, is no.’” (James Burton Coffman)

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21) Friends, that is the only way to overcome evil. Evil cannot be defeated by additional evil.

Please read Genesis 50:22-26

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 50:7-13

Friday, May 08, 2020

“So Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the household of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s household; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of Goshen. There also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company. When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father. Now when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, ‘This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians.’ Therefore it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan. Thus his sons did for him as he had charged them; for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. ”

---End of Scripture verses---

“So Joseph went up to bury his father…” (verse 7) Joseph’s entourage must have been quite an impressive sight to behold, and the spectacle of the enormous funeral procession of a caravan left an impression upon all who witnessed it. It consisted of “all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt,” along with “all the household of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s household” (verse 8). “There also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company.” (verse 9) It is obvious that, although Joseph was required to make an indirect formal request of Pharaoh to carry the corpse of his father into the land of Canaan for burial (verses 4-5), the great king willingly and eagerly consented, and spared no expense to honor the fallen father of his most celebrated and successful dignitary.

“When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father.” (verse 10) “The funeral takes place in two stages. The entire cortege first proceeds to a place at which a great public mourning ceremony is held. Here formal Egyptian participation in the rites is completed. Then, after a week’s stay, the immediate family continues the journey to the cave of Machpelah, where the body is privately interred.” (Nahum Sarna)

The threshing floor of Atad, “Literally, ‘the threshing floor of the bramble’…is mentioned nowhere else and cannot be certainly identified. ‘Beyond the Jordan’ can mean either east or west of the river, depending on the standpoint of the speaker or writer. Here it refers to Canaan (v. 11), and the place most probably lies along the coastal road (the Via Maris), since it would be the shortest route for anyone traveling from Egypt to Canaan, as Exodus 13:17 notes. Another name for the site is Abel-mizraim (v.11).” (Nahum Sarna)

The name Abel-mizraim means “The mourning of Egypt” and it “consists of two elements. The first element Abel…comes from the root group אבל. This element occurs in multiple names, where it usually is translated with meadow or brook. But the word is also identical to the root meaning to mourn (as used in Genesis 50:11), and that seems to serve the context quite well… The second part of the name Abel-mizraim is Mizraim, which is the Hebrew word for Egypt.” (abrim-publications)

“Thus his sons did for him as he had charged them.” (verse 13) The sons of Jacob dutifully fulfilled their father’s final request and “buried him in the cave of the field of Macpelah…” (verse 14). As they were gathered somberly around Jacob’s deathbed, Jacob, “charged them and said to them, ‘I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site.’” (Genesis 49:29-30) We should always do our best to honor the most sacred wishes of our loved ones, whether they be present or departed, as long as they do not run contrary to the will of our heavenly father. “Honor your father and mother (which is the first command with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)

Please read Genesis 50: 14-21 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 50:1-6

Thursday, May 07, 2020

“Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him. Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. When the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying, “My father made me swear, saying, ‘Behold, I am about to die; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.”’ Pharaoh said, ‘Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him.” (verse 1) Joseph’s brothers, no doubt, mourned and wept alongside him when their father departed this earthly plain and set sail for eternal realms beyond, but it was Joseph’s exalted position and extraordinary bond with Jacob that gave him the spotlight in the inspired text. Joseph was the son who would provide for a royal embalming and burial for the great patriarch, and the Lord promised Jacob that his favorite son would personally see him off as he set out on his final voyage: “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes” (Genesis 46:4)

“Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.” (verse 2) The Egyptian embalming method was a complicated procedure that required “forty days” for completion (verse 3). This painstaking process was to make certain the bodies of Pharaohs were well preserved for the afterlife, but there were no religious rituals or superstitions involved in the mummification of Jacob or the subsequent embalming of Joseph (verse 26). “The reason for Jacob's being embalmed lay in the fact that a long period of mourning was scheduled, and also in the necessity to transport the body over a great distance to the land of Canaan… Egyptian mummies preserved for centuries bear silent witness to the remarkable efficiency of these embalmers.” (James Burton Coffman)

“The Egyptians wept for him seventy days.” (verse 3) “Thirty days, (according to the custom of the Hebrews, Numbers 20:29, Deuteronomy 34:8, to which doubtless the Egyptians in this case did accommodate themselves,) besides the forty days spent in embalming him, which also was a time of mourning.” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary) The extent of Jacob’s bereavement was strikingly similar to the official 72 day mourning period ascribed to Pharaohs by some historians.

“When the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh…” (verse 4) It is interesting that Joseph sent his request to Pharaoh by means of messengers and did not approach the king himself. James Burton Coffman provides several possible suggested reasons: (1) “He approached Pharaoh through the priests who were principals in the house of Pharaoh, and since the burial of the dead was closely connected with their religious rites.” (2) “Joseph was a mourner, therefore unclean…and…he could not see Pharaoh personally (see Genesis 41:14).” 3) “Another Pharaoh, not so friendly to Joseph, had ascended the throne.” (4) There were “‘diplomatic considerations,’ which is not unreasonable since Joseph's leaving Egypt was involved.” I lean toward explanation number (2) or (4) or a combination of the two as the most likely explanations.

“My father made me swear, saying, ‘Behold, I am about to die; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’” (verse 5) “This is another instance of additional information being supplied in subsequent references to an event already mentioned…. Abraham had indeed purchased Machpelah; but, probably, upon the occasion of Leah's burial there, Jacob also prepared for himself a grave within the cave.” (James Burton Coffman) “Pharaoh said, ‘Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.’” (verse 6) The fact that Jacob had made Joseph “swear” to bury him in the land of Canaan demonstrated to Pharaoh that this was not a trivial matter to be taken lightly, therefore he granted Joseph official leave from his governmental post and duties to carry out his sacred oath. God’s governance and providence would not have permitted otherwise.

Please read Genesis 50:7-13 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 49:28-33

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

“All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. Then he charged them and said to them, ‘I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah—the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.’ When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.” (verse 28) “This is the first mention of this prophecy as ‘a blessing’; and so it is. To be sure, some have pointed out that Jacob ‘cursed their anger,’ a far different thing. Jacob's bitter denunciation of the sins of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi was exactly the type of blessing they needed; yet for all that, they were not expelled or disinherited among the Twelve Sons, but received their inheritance like all the rest. So indeed the whole prophecy is a blessing.” (James Burton Coffman) Every statement Jacob spoke in regard to each son, whether positive or negative, was “appropriate to him.”

“I am about to be gathered to my people…” (verse 29) “This phrase…is to be distinguished from death itself because the action follows the demise. It is not the same as burial in an ancestral grave, because it is employed of Abraham, Aaron, and Moses, none of whom was buried with his fathers. It is also not identical of interment in general because the report of burial follows this phrase, and the difference between the two is especially blatant in the case of Jacob, who was interred quite a while after being ‘gathered to his kin.’” (Nahum Sarna) “His statement…suggests that some kind of conviction existed within him that the dead were nevertheless, in some sense, still his people. If it was merely an intuition on his part, it was true. God would later speak to Moses as the ‘God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,’ the Saviour himself using this as a proof of immortality.” (James Burton Coffman) “Though death separate us from our children, and our people in this world, it gathers us to our fathers and to our people in the other world.” (Benson Commentary) As the Hebrews writer so succinctly put it, Jacob was gathered “to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:23)

“Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.” (verse 29) “Here Jacob imposes upon all his sons the obligation to bury him in Canaan, but he does not make them swear to that effect, as he had Joseph (47:29-31), because it was not in their power to implement his wish. Only Joseph had the necessary ready access to the Egyptian authorities (50:4f.)… The precise description of the burial site follows that of 23:17-20.” (Nahum Sarna) “There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.” (verse 31) “Abraham buried Sarah there himself, and his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him there… we have no other account of the death of Rebekah, and her burial, but here; it is probable she died before Isaac, and that Isaac buried her in this cave; and here Esau and Jacob buried him… and there I buried Leah; of whose death and burial we also read nowhere else but here.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.” (verse 32) “This expression indicates that after Jacob finished blessing his sons, he took his feet up from the floor where he had been sitting on the bed and folded himself up in bed, assuming, in all probability, the fetal position that is naturally characteristic of one in the process of dying. The knees are drawn under the chin, and the body takes on something of the position occupied within the womb of the mother. This is an indication that Jacob died shortly after speaking these words.” (James Burton Coffman) However, if the ancient patriarch was greatly enfeebled and very near the point of departure, the expression may merely be a figurative way of saying that he died.

Please read Genesis 50:1-6 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

 

Genesis 49:22-27

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; but his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), From the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall.” (verse 22) “Jacob had doubtless been made acquainted with the history of his beloved son Joseph from the time of his disappearance until he met him on the borders of Egypt. It had been the meditation and the wonder of his last seventeen years. When he comes to Joseph, therefore, the mingled emotions of affection and gratitude burst forth from his heart in language that cannot be restrained by the ordinary rules of speech. The first thing connected with Joseph in the patriarch's mind is fruitfulness. The image is vivid and striking. ‘Son of a fruitful tree.’ A branch or rather a shoot transplanted from the parent stem. ‘By a well;’ from which it may draw the water of life. ‘Whose daughters’ - luxuriant branches. Run over a wall - transcend all the usual boundaries of a well-enclosed garden. This fruitfulness attaches to Joseph in two respects. First, he is the prudent gatherer and the inexhaustible dispenser of the produce of Egypt, by which the lives of his father and brethren were preserved. And then he is in prospect the twofold tribe, that bursts the bounds assigned to a twelfth of the chosen people, and overspreads the area of two tribes.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

“The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him.” (verse 23) “Naturally Jacob next describes the sorrows of Joseph’s youth, but in poetical terms, so as not to wound the feelings of his brethren, or rouse up thoughts of vengeance in Joseph’s own mind.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers) “The reference to ‘the archers’ would appear to prophesy a continuation of the jealous hatred and persecution which had marked the early life of Joseph in his relationship with his brothers. Triumph for Joseph is clearly foretold.” (James Burton Coffman) “It could allude to the Ishmaelites..., to the hostility of Joseph’s brothers, or to the slanderous accusations of Potiphar’s wife with their bitter aftereffects. The figure of slander as an arrow is well attested.” (Nahum Sarna) “But his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile…” (verse 24) “His faith did not fail; he kept his ground, and came off conqueror. The arms of his hands were made strong — That is, his other graces did their part, his wisdom, courage, patience, which are better than weapons of war.” (Benson Commentary)

“From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel).” (verse 24) Joseph’s bow remained flexible and his arms powerful because of the “Mighty” arm of the “One” who gives strength and fortitude to His loyal followers such as the faithful Joseph and his father “Jacob”. As a trustworthy “Shepherd” the “Almighty” God fostered, fed and fortified Joseph through the rugged terrain of his life, and as a sturdy “Stone” He supplied him the solid footing of a firm foundation. “From the God of your father who helps you…” (verse 25) “This title stresses the continuity of the generations, the unbroken chain of religious tradition that alone makes the dying patriarch’s blessing meaningful and effective.” (Nahum Sarna) It was faith in the Almighty that Jacob had infused within the heart of his favorite son for the seventeen years they lived under the same roof that sustained Joseph through all of his ordeals and distresses.

“By the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.” (verse 25) The Lord would shower down manifold blessings upon the head of Joseph as he had provided for his father Jacob throughout his life. The rain from above the earth and the springs from beneath would cause the soil under his feet to burst forth with bounteous fruitfulness, and foster the fertility of scores of physical descendants and servants, and herds and flocks. “Jacob here blessed Joseph with all the blessings that he himself had received from God, but significantly the blessings promised did not partake of the nature of spiritual excellence, but tended rather to worldly glory and power. As often noted, Judah received the spiritual leadership of Israel, and Joseph the political and temporal leadership, blessings which reached their climax in the glory of the northern Israel, but which were destined to be swallowed up in the Assyrian invasion and destruction of the ten tribes. It was perhaps the introduction of pagan influence into the posterity of Joseph through their mother the daughter of Potiphera the pagan priest of On that constituted the seeds of the ultimate downfall of Joseph (Ephraim).” (James Burton Coffman)

“The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.” (verse 26) There on his death bed, with his favorite son by his side and at the height of his glory, Jacob was overwhelmed by the innumerable blessings that the Lord had amassed upon him. He prayed for greater blessings still for his most excellent and beloved son. Unfortunately, as timeless as the “hills” may seem to be, they are not “everlasting,” and all physical blessings eventually come to an end. “No spiritual blessings were foretold for this favorite son of Jacob; spiritually, his tribe never excelled; and it was by a member of the tribe of Ephraim (Jeroboam) that the calf-worship was institutionalized in Israel, thus `making Israel to sin'.” (James Burton Coffman quoting H. C. Leupold)

“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil.” (verse 27) “It is plain Jacob was guided in what he said by a spirit of prophecy, and not by natural affection, else he would have spoken with more tenderness of his beloved son Benjamin, concerning whom he only foretells that his posterity should be a warlike tribe, strong and daring; and that they should enrich themselves with the spoil of their enemies...” (Benson Commentary) “The ferocious nature of this tribe is exemplified in such men as Ehud (Judges 3:15) and King Saul (1 Samuel 11:6-11ff). Whatever the failures of this tribe might have been during the history of the old Israel, the glory of it was enhanced forever by one of their sons, Saul of Tarsus, who became the most gifted apostle…” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 49:28-33 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 49:13-21

Monday, May 04, 2020

“Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon. Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. For Your salvation I wait, O Lord. As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, but he will raid at their heels. As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful words.”

---End of Scripture verses---

Most of Jacob’s prophecies concerning his sons are a bit vague in nature and leave room for multiple reasonable explanations. What follows are interesting insights from various commentaries but, by no means, definitive resolutions or fulfillments. It is interesting to note that Jacob compares many of his sons to animals in his departing, prophetic poem: Judah to a, Issachar to a donkey, Dan to a serpent and Benjamin to a wolf.

“Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon.” (verse 13) “The territory of the tribe lay upon the inland sea of Gennesaret, but did not extend to the shore of the Mediterranean. We do not know of any literal fulfilment of the prediction, but Moses also speaks of Zebulun and Issachar as tribes that would ‘suck of the abundance of the seas.’ It is very possible that, living in the neighbourhood of the Phœnicians, they took part in maritime pursuits; and thus the general meaning of the blessing may be that Zebulun would be a tribe, not of agriculturists, but of traders.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor.” (verses 14-15) “The thing in view here is the character of Issachar whose tribe would be satisfied with physical comfort and plenty to eat, with a complacency that would make them prefer to accept oppression and taskwork rather than fight to maintain freedom and independence. It is possible that this attitude contributed to the enslavement of Israel in Egypt. Morris read this as a prophecy that Issachar would be, ‘Strong, but docile and lazy.’” (James Burton Coffman)

“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.” (verse 16) “Jacob alludes to the name Dan, which signifies to judge, or judging… Though he be the son of one of my concubines, yet he shall not be subject to any other, but shall be a tribe governed by judges of his own, as well as any of the other tribes.” (Benson Commentary) “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward.” (verse 17) “The thought here is that Dan, although few in number and not strong militarily would nevertheless be able to overcome by cunning strategy. Willis identified the ‘serpent’ of this place as…an extremely poisonous and dangerous, horned snake which was the color of the ground and often inflicted fatal wounds upon travelers. ‘This character of Dan as a judge of Israel came out in the expedition of the Danites to Laish in northern Canaan (described in Judges 18), and in the romantic chivalry of the brave and gigantic Samson, who with the cunning of the serpent overthrew the mightiest of foes.’” (James Burton Coffman)

“For Your salvation I wait, O Lord.” (verse 18) “The patriarch, contemplating the power of the adversaries of his future people, breaks forth into the expression of his longing desire and hope of that salvation of the Almighty by which alone they can be delivered. That salvation is commensurate with the utmost extent and diversity of these adversaries.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible) “The thought of the serpent wounding his prey in the heel carried the mind of the patriarch back to the fall of man, and the promise made to Eve. And thus it is a profession of faith, naturally called out by this chain of ideas, in the advent in due time of the promised Deliverer, and of which the accomplishment had become united in thought with the name of Jehovah.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, but he will raid at their heels.” (verse 19) “This tribe had its territory east of the Jordan. Its boundaries are defined in the Book of Joshua. However, for most of its history, Gad was engaged in a series of wars with its neighbors, Ammonites (Judg. 11), Moabites…and Arameans (1 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 10:33). Its members acquired a reputation as fighting warriors (Deut. 33:20; 1 Chron. 5:18 and 12:8) and, doubtless, the Testament of Jacob reflects this.” (Nahum Sarna)

“As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties.” (verse 20) “In 1 Kings 5:11, it is revealed that Asher lived in the lowlands along the Mediterranean between Carmel and Tyre, a fruitful and fertile region; and Solomon supplied the household of King Hiram from the wheat and oil products of this region.” (James Burton Coffman) “Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful words.” (verse 21) “Gad had been described as moving slowly in war, and allowing himself to be surprised by hordes of plunderers, whom, nevertheless, as soon as he has collected his forces, he repels and pursues with vigour. Naphtali, on the contrary, is light and active, moving rapidly like ‘a hind let loose;’ or, literally, sent forth, like the scouts or van of an army. And thus he brings back ‘goodly words’—Heb., words of pleasure—that is, trustworthy intelligence to guide the army in its motions.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Please read Genesis 49:22-27 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 49:8-12

Sunday, May 03, 2020

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you…” (verse 8) The name “Judah” means “praised” in the Hebrew, and it signifies the grateful adoration that Leah gave to God at the birth of her fourth son. “And she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.” (Genesis 29:35). Jacob used more than the mere poetic technique of wordplay in his opening remarks about his most remarkable son, but exposed the prophetic quality of that chosen name.

“Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies…” (verse 8) “Putting his foes to flight, Judah should grasp them by the neck, a prediction remarkably accomplished in the victories of David and Solomon.” (Pulpit Commentary) “As Judah pursues the fleeing foe, he shall grasp them by the neck (cf. Job 16:12). The point of this clause lies in the geographical position of the tribe of Judah. Their territory was beset on the west and south-west by the Philistines, and on the south and south-east by the Edomites and the Amalekites. The Philistines and the Edomites were the bitterest and most persistent of Israel’s foes. But they were within reach; and in their flight and retreat they are overtaken and smitten down by the victorious tribes.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges) As with all of Jacob’s prophetic words, a deeper and more far-reaching fulfillment was accomplished in the sacrifice, resurrection and coronation of Jesus the Messiah, King, Warrior, Judge (Luke 20:42-43; 24:44; John 5:46).

Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.” (verse 8) “This is a prophecy that the right of rulership shall pertain to the tribe of Judah; but this did not come to pass at once. Moses was from Levi, Joshua from Ephraim, Gideon from Manasseh, Samson from Dan, Samuel from Ephraim, and Saul from Benjamin. However, in the long sweep through history the prophecy was completely fulfilled only in Judah and the house of David, one of his descendants whose reign prefigured the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah. The mention of ‘thy father's sons’ indicates that not merely the children of Judah's natural brothers (the other sons of Leah) would be subject to him, but that all of Israel would likewise be.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Judah is a lion’s whelp…” (verse 9) “A metaphor of strength, daring, and unassailability… The lion is one of the most frequently mentioned animals in the Bible and is referred to by six different names. Under the influence of this verse, the ‘lion of Judah’ became a favorite motif in Jewish art and acquired messianic associations.” (Nahum Sarna) But much greater than mere “messianic associations,” the Holy Spirit proclaims Jesus Christ himself to be “the Lion that is from the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David” in Revelation 5:5, and the fulfillment of Judah’s messianic prophecy.

“From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up?” (verse 9) “The lion is the king of beasts, the terror of the forest when he roars; when he seizeth his prey, none can resist him; when he goes up from the prey, none dares pursue him to revenge it. By this it was foretold that the tribe of Judah should become very formidable, and should not only obtain great victories, but should peaceably enjoy what was gotten by those victories. Judah is compared, not to a lion rampant, always raging, but to a lion couching, enjoying the satisfaction of his success, without creating vexation to others.” (Benson Commentary)

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (verse 10) “We confidently hail this as one of the greatest Messianic prophecies in the entire Bible… The Revised Standard Version's ‘Till he come to whom it belongs’ is certainly acceptable, because the Messianic thrust of the passage is not blunted by that rendition… The point would then be that Judah was to hold the sovereignty until its true possessor, the Messiah comes… Also, the personal pronoun ‘him’…absolutely requires this passage to be understood as a reference to the Messiah, of whom alone, could it ever be said that, ‘Unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.’” (James Burton Coffman)

“He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.” (verse 11) “The safety, plenty, and peace of an abundant agricultural life are symbolized by these quaint figures of speech. It is not suggested here that Judah would ever actually wash his clothes in wine, but that the wine (and milk) would be so abundant that he could have done so!” (James Burton Coffman) Of course there could be, and likely is, deeper spiritual significance and fulfillment in the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior for our sins and salvation. “Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” (Matthew 21:5) “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

Please read Genesis 49:13-21 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 49:1-7

Saturday, May 02, 2020

“Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father. Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come.” (verse 1) The story of Jacob’s journey began with God’s promise to make his “descendants” as numerous as “the dust of the earth” (Genesis 28:14). It appropriately ended with the large family through which God would fulfill this prophecy gathered around him at his bedside before he departed for fairer lands beyond the bright blue. Jacob loved all of his sons dearly and gave attention to each of them in his farewell address, but, being the honest man that he had grown to be, he pulled no punches and included unfavorable words to the sons who deserved them. It is not surprising that nearly half of Jacob’s final recorded words were dedicated to Joseph and Judah, the two most prominent characters in the Joseph narrative and critical components of God’s unfolding plan to bring His Messiah Savior into the world of fallen man. Included in Israel’s departing declaration are some of the most amazing and accurate prophecies in all the Bible.

“Before his death Jacob summons all his sons to his bedside to hear his farewell words, addressing each individually through a series of aphorisms in poetic form. This document (vv. 1-27) is the first sustained piece of Hebrew poetry in the Torah. It is a combination of three literary genres: the deathbed blessing…, the farewell address…, and the tribal poem… Genesis 49 is widely known as ‘The blessing of Jacob.” However… Blessings and curses, censure and praise, geographical and historical observations—all are included. For this reason, a title such as ‘The Last Words of Jacob’…better suits the context… The aphorisms spoken by Jacob are presented as prophetic pronouncements that will ultimately determine the character and destiny of the future tribes. Also, the actions and behavior of the ancestors leave an indelible imprint on their descendants, affecting the course of history.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.” (verse 3) Jacob affectionately recalled the love, hope and promise that the appearing of his firstborn had ushered into his swelling heart at his birth. “The natural love of Jacob for his firstborn appears in this. God had promised Jacob to make of him a great nation, and Reuben was the beginning of the fulfillment. But, alas, the firstborn, in this instance, was not destined to live up to all the high hopes that his father had in him. Nevertheless, those hopes are affectionately mentioned here.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it…” (verse 4) “This…is probably better rendered…’turbulent as a flood.’ Recklessness, and wantonness, lust, frivolity and insolent pride are all said to be included in the meaning. The reference, of course, is to the incest which Reuben committed with Bilhah, one of his father's wives… It should be noted that Jacob's pronouncement here was fulfilled exactly in all the subsequent life of Reuben. He never furnished a leader of any kind to the nation. His was the first tribe to ask for a place to settle, and that before they ever entered Canaan (Numbers 32). They erected an unauthorized place of worship (Joshua 22:10-34). In the days of Deborah and Barak, his tribe violated their pledge and refused to answer the call to arms (Judges 5:15,16).” (James Burton Coffman)

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence.” (verse 5) The events recorded in Genesis 34 of the violent overthrow (murder) of the men of Shechem angered, shamed, hurt and haunted Jacob all the subsequent days of his life. Lustful revenge for the defilement of their beloved sister Dinah drove these two partners in crime past the brink of blood-thirsty madness. “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel.” (verse 7) Simeon and Levi may have thought they had gotten away with murder, but they were “cursed” for their sinful crimes. “The curse is applied to the anger but actually refers to those who display it. The content of the curse is the loss of the independence and territorial integrity of these two tribes.” (Nahum Sarna) We must learn to control our anger before it pushes us past the point which we can control ourselves. God’s word does not reveal whether these two men ever felt the pangs of regret and remorse, but know for certain that their deeds did not go unpunished. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (Romans 1:18)

“I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (verse 7) “Since the cooperation of these brothers had produced some very shameful results, God would divide them. Jacob's prophecy was fulfilled in the most remarkable manner. At the time of the conquest of Canaan, Simeon had become the smallest of the tribes of Israel (Numbers 26:14). The tribe was passed over in the blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33). It received no separate assignment of territory, but merely a few cities within the limits of Judah (Joshua 19:1-9). Those were absorbed into Judah, and those who remained emigrated in two detachments, and sought out settlements for themselves outside the limits of Canaan (1 Chronicles 4:27-43).” (James Burton Coffman) Of course, the priesthood would arise from the tribe of Levi and they received no apportionment of land, but were scattered throughout the nation of Israel (Numbers 18:14; Deuteronomy 10:9).

Please read Genesis 49:8-12 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

 

Genesis 48:17-22

Friday, May 01, 2020

“When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ He blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’’ Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers. I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him…” (verse 17) Throughout the pages of the Old and New Testaments, the right hand was excessively symbolic of strength and authority, and indicated greater power and ampler blessings. The right hand of God is expressive of His power (Exodus 15:6; Psalm 20:6; Matthew 26:64), honor (Psalm 110:1; Colossians 3:1) and salvation (Psalm 16:8; 18:35). On the great and final Day of Judgment, Jesus equates those who have done the will of God with His “sheep” that He will gather to His right hand of salvation, glory and honor (Matthew 25:33-34), and the disobedient with the goats separated on His left hand and destined for the “eternal fire” of everlasting shame and punishment (Matthew 25:41). “A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

When Joseph saw that his father intended to bestow the greater honor and blessing upon his younger son, it “displeased” him because societal convention and longstanding tradition dictated that such a privilege be reserved for the firstborn son. It is possible as well that Joseph’s heart harbored greater love and superior favor for Manasseh than for Ephraim. Joseph promptly “grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head,” and exclaimed “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn” (verse 18). He had intentionally placed Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand to avoid any confusion, and still Joseph feared his father’s blinded eyes would cause a terrible blunder. “He attributes the ‘error’ to his father’s failing eyesight (v.10), an ironic touch in view of the manner in which Jacob years before had exploited his own father’s failing vision (27:1-29).” (Nahum Sarna)

“But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know…’” (verse 19) Israel’s blinded eyes had not misdirect his feeble hands, and he was completely cognizant of what he was about to do. The great patriarch spoke words of comfort, sobering as they were, about the favorite son of his favorite son: “He also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” “Only the prophetic gift of God could have enabled Jacob to declare what was said here. Indeed it came to pass… It was not the gift of nature that determined the passing of God's blessing to one person or to another, but the sovereign purpose of Almighty God. Again and again, a similar thing had happened in the lives of the patriarchs. Isaac the younger had been chosen over Ishmael, Jacob the younger had been chosen over Esau, Joseph the younger had been chosen over Reuben; and now once more, Ephraim the younger had been chosen instead of Manasseh. It shall ever be thus in the kingdom of God, for Jesus said, ‘The first shall be last and the last shall be first’ (Matthew 19:30).” (James Burton Coffman)

“By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’” (verse 20) The names of Ephraim and Manasseh would be synonymous with splendor and prosperity in future eras of God’s chosen people. “There can be no greater blessing for the two lads than that their names be invoked by future generations of Israel as paradigms of a glorious destiny.” (Nahum Sarna) When the great patriarch uttered these prophetic words he “put Ephraim before Manasseh.”

“I give you one portion more than your brothers…” (verse 22) The word “portion” in this enigmatic phrase in the Hebrew is “Shechem”. “The allusion may no longer be clear; but it evidently refers to the city of Shechem, and has some bearing upon its subsequent position as a principal city in the tribe of Ephraim, and as the site of Joseph’s burial-place.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and colleges)

“Which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.” (verse 22) There is no Biblical reference to this event, and no allusion to Jacob ever being a man of violence or war. “All things considered, it seems best to regard this as a prophecy that children of Joseph would inherit the area around Shechem at a point in time centuries later when the inheritance would be divided among the sons of Jacob. ‘The words are a prophetic utterance pointing forward to the conquest of Canaan; and Jacob here ascribes to himself what would be done by his posterity in wresting the area from the Amorites.’ Many scholars have pointed out here that the prophetic tense is used in which the past is used for the future, indicating the CERTAINTY of what was prophesied.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 49:1-7 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 48:8-16

Thursday, April 30, 2020

“When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ So he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.’ Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’” (verse 8) At first glance it appears that Jacob’s eyesight had grown “so dim from age” (verse 10) that he could not discern the identities of Ephraim and Manasseh. While this is a possibility, the more likely explanation is that this question was asked as a part of the official adoption procedure. Nahum Sarna suggested, “Actually, we have here the second stage of the legal adoptive process, namely, the establishment of the true identity of the candidates for adoption by formal interrogation of the natural father.”

“They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” (verse 9) Joseph clearly recognized that “children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” (Psalm 127:3-5) Far too often children are viewed as a burden and a hindrance to personal fulfillment and prosperity. In actuality they are just the opposite. Those wonderful little innocent souls are some of God’s richest blessings and the source of such pleasures and treasures the likes of which money cannot compare.

“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.’” (verse 11) The old patriarch’s mind flooded with sentimentality and he saw the previous seventeen years of his life flash before his darkened eyes as he embraced and kissed his two grandchildren from his most cherished child. Those precious eyes, faltering as they were, had witnessed many spectacular things in a lengthy lifetime, but none so gratifying as the exquisite countenance of the living, breathing son he once thought to be dead. Israel praised the Lord that He had allowed his eyes to behold the grandchildren he shared in common with his beloved Rachel. Joseph acknowledged that God had given him those children and Jacob blessed the Lord for the favor of being a part of their lives.

“But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.” (verse 14) When Joseph presented his children to his father to receive the patriarchal blessing, he intentionally placed his older son at his right hand to eliminate any possibility of confusion. But although Israel’s eyes were dimmed his mind was still sharp, and with great awareness he deliberately stretched his dominant hand out to Ephraim standing at his left side to bless the younger son with “the right hand of power.” “The present episode provides an explanation for the reversal, with Ephraim becoming the more powerful and more influential of the two tribes, even to the extent that its name eventually became synonymous with the kingdom of Israel. This phenomenon is traced to Jacob’s blessing. Following his adoption of Joseph’s two sons, Jacob now exercises his prerogative to set aside chronological priority to grant Ephraim preferential status.” (Nahum Sarna)

“He blessed Joseph…” (verse 15) Either Israel bestowed an additional blessing upon his son or the implication is that Joseph was blessed indirectly through the consecration of his children. “God…has been my shepherd all my life to this day.” Israel prayed that the Great Shepherd who had been his Provider, Protector and Director all the days of his life would watch over and guard those precious sheep of his flock as well. “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads…” (verse 16) “Since angels are often simply extensions of the divine personality, the distinction between God and angel in the biblical texts is frequently blurred (cf. Gen. 31:3,11,13; Exod. 3:2,4). Nevertheless, this verse may reflect some tradition associated with Bethel, not preserved in Genesis, concerning the angelic guardian of Jacob (cf. 31:13; 35:3). An echo of this may be found in Hosea 12:5.” (Nahum Sarna)

“And may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (verse 16) “Having adopted them, he foretells they would be called not only the sons of Joseph, but the children of Israel or Jacob, and would have a name among the tribes of Israel, and be heads of them, as well as would be called the seed of Abraham and of Isaac, and inherit their blessings: and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth; where they increased as fishes, as the word signifies, and more than any other of the tribes; even in the times of Moses the number of them were 85,200 men fit for war, Numbers 26:34; and their situation was in the middle of the land of Canaan.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

James Burton Coffman quoted John T. Willis concerning the type of blessing Israel bestowed:

• It was a very formal, solemn, and serious affair.

• If the one conveying it was empowered by God to do so, it carried with it the power to achieve what was promised.

• When the blessing was uttered, it was irrevocable.

• The patriarch always asked the identity of the one who would receive the blessing.

• Those to be blessed were invited to come forward.

• The recipient(s) was(were) embraced and kissed.

• The right hand of the patriarch rested on the head of the one to receive the greater blessing.

Please read Genesis 48:17-22 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 48:1-7

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

“Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father is sick.’ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. When it was told to Jacob, ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.” Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father is sick.” (verse 1) Some unnamed person informed Joseph that his father was coming to the end of his earthly journey. This is a call that we all hate to get, but it is a bittersweet comfort when we can fly to the side of a cherished ailing loved one and be there with them as they draw life’s last fleeting breath. According to Nahum Sarna, “This is the first reference to illness in the Bible.” Unfortunately it is far from the last, and illnesses in our lifetime is a far too common theme that we all must deal with and suffer through for ourselves, and worse still, for the ones we love the most. Cling to the Good Shepherd’s hand and fear no evil as He directs your steps through the valley of the shadow of death. The bright and shining land of bliss awaits His faithful children on the other side of eternity.

“So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.” (verse 1) Joseph must have sensed or known that this sickness was unto death, so he took his sons with him to see and honor their remarkable grandfather one last time before he departed for realms beyond. In all likelihood, Jacob had previously informed Joseph that he would be conferring special blessings upon Ephraim and Manasseh on his deathbed, so this was all probably planned in advanced and Joseph was just awaiting the word. “When it was told to Jacob, ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.” (verse 2) It took all of the old, ailing patriarch’s power to sit up straight in his bed, but he mustered all his strength in respect for Joseph’s position and for the solemn consecration he was about to impart upon him and his sons.

“Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.”’” (verses 3-4) “The appearance of God to Jacob which is mentioned here is a reference either to Genesis 28:19 or Genesis 35:9-13, or possibly both. Luz was the original name of the place, but Jacob changed the name to Bethel. All of the patriarchs realized that the promise of the land of Canaan to their seed was to have its fulfillment in the far distant future. It is of that sacred promise which Jacob spoke in this final interview with Joseph.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.” (verse 5) Jacob had been deprived of his beloved Joseph for the majority of the young man’s life, so he formally adopted the two children born to him during the period of their estrangement. He gave them the official status of sonship on a level equal to that of his first and second born sons, Reuben and Simeon. “Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey.” (verse 7) “It is quite natural that, on his deathbed, Jacob should recall his beloved wife who had died so young and for whom he had endured so much. Moreover, it was probably because she had been deprived of the opportunity to bear more children that her two grandchildren are adopted by Jacob as a substitute for those whom her death had robbed of the possibility of life.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Reuben and Simeon were the two firstborn sons of Jacob, and the proposal here is that Ephraim and Manasseh would be placed on a parity with them, and thus reckoned among the other sons of Jacob, ranking them among the patriarchs. But Jacob made it clear that any other sons of Joseph would not be accorded that distinction. There were doubtless many reasons why Jacob had decided to do this. The incest of Reuben and his irresponsibility had clearly disqualified him to receive the double portion according to the rules of primogeniture, and Simeon too, in the massacre of the Shechemites had showed a disposition that was incompatible with any thought of transferring the birthright to him. Jacob therefore decided to give Joseph the double portion, one of the principal benefits pertaining to the birthright, an honor that Jacob surely felt that Joseph was qualified to receive. Not only was Joseph the firstborn of Rachel, the only wife that Jacob ever decided to marry, but, additionally, he was the savior of the whole nation in being the instrument through whom God had preserved the covenant people through the famine.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 48:8-16 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 47:27-31

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

“Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ He said, ‘Swear to me.’ So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous.” (verse 27) The narrative now returns to the account of Israel and his descendants. The Lord had promised Jacob that “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south…” (Genesis 28:14). We see in this verse this promise playing itself out both in the immediate timeframe and projecting into proceeding decades and centuries when His people “were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1:7).

“Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.” (verse 28) When Jacob was reunited with the son he adored after over twenty painful years of believing him to be dead, he felt his life was thus complete and he could be satisfied with death (Genesis 45:28). He did not know then that the Lord would grant him the satisfaction of celebrating seventeen more of his favorite son’s birthdays. “This is precisely as many years as Joseph had lived with his father in Canaan (37:2). There is a similar pattern for Abraham, who lived exactly as many years in his father’s home (12:4) as in the lifetime of his son Isaac (21:5; 25:7).” (Nahum Sarna)

“Place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness.” (verse 29) This calls to mind a time when Abraham was advanced in age like Jacob, and he made his servant swear an oath before sending him to his relatives to select a wife for Isaac: “Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, ‘Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.’” (Genesis 24:1-4) This sacred oath involved holding the “thigh,” which was likely a euphemism for the “organs of generation,” possibly swearing upon the sacred covenant of circumcision. People have been known to make interesting gestures such as crossing hearts or touching pinky fingers together when they swear. This one gets a little more intimate and personal to say the least.

“Please do not bury me in Egypt.” (verse 29) As good as Egypt had been to Jacob and as thrilling as it had been to witness his beloved son rise to the pinnacle of power and prosperity in the land of his exile, there was still no place like home where his heart and the promises of God resided. Joseph would make a similar request of his own sons in Genesis 50:24-25 to bury him in the land of his fathers: “Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’”

“Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.” (verse 31) When Joseph swore to his dying father that he would entomb him in the burial place of his fathers, Jacob worshiped the Lord in humble gratification and gratitude. As turbulent as his life had been and as flawed and sometimes foolish as he was, Jacob was a man of worship who always recognized and reverenced the Lord. He gave God the credit and glory for every good thing in his life, and he cherished His presence and prominence over his personal affairs. This is the picture of a godly man who remained faithful to the Lord unto death and was prepared to receive the eternal crown of life (Revelation 2:10). “The picture of the aged patriarch leaning back upon his bed, content and happy in his son’s promise, and giving thanks to God for the peace of his approaching end, is one full of pathos and dignity.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Please read Genesis 48:1-7 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 47:20-26

Monday, April 27, 2020

“So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. Then Joseph said to the people, ‘Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.’ So they said, ‘You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.’ Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Thus the land became Pharaoh’s.” (verse 20) Even though it was “Joseph” who “bought all the land of Egypt” with his shrewd organization and administration skills, Pharaoh became the rightful owner. “Not only with respect to dominion and government, so it was before, but with respect to property; before, every man's field, and garden, and vineyard were his own, and he was in possession thereof for his own use, but now being sold, were Pharaoh's; and they held them of him, and paid a rent for them in a manner hereafter directed by a law.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other.” (verse 21) This obviously does not indicate that 100 percent of the people were removed from all arable acreage because there were still those left with the responsibility to farm Pharaoh’s land and reap the “harvest” (verse 24). But the bulk of the population was removed from the farmlands and transported to the urbanized areas, thus greatly increasing the size and numbers of Egyptian municipalities. This, at least initially, was an act of mercy and compassion considering the fact that the continuing famine rendered the land barren and Joseph had the grain surpluses stored “in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields” (Genesis 41:48).

“Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh…” (verse 22) Since the temple priests received food rations from the king, it was not necessary for them to sell their land to Joseph in exchange for grain. “These lands were inalienable, being endowments by which the temples were supported. The priests for themselves received an annual allowance of provision from the state, and it would evidently have been the height of cruelty to withhold that allowance when their lands were incapable of being tilled.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

“Now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land.” (verse 23) Joseph notified the people who received the seed that he had “bought” them and their “land for Pharaoh,” so all the sowing and harvesting would be done as slaves living on state-owned property. They were permitted to keep four fifths of their harvest to feed themselves and their children, but they were required to “give a fifth to Pharaoh” (verse 24). “The state-controlled land is cultivated by the former landowners, who pay a tax of 20 percent of the harvest in return for the privilege and for the seed allotment. Such an interest rate was not considered excessive in the ancient Near East. During the reign of Hammurabi, for instance, the state’s share of the harvest from administered fields varied between two-thirds and one-half after the deduction of production expenses. An interest rate of 20 percent on money loans was quite common in Babylon, while the rate for loans of produce was usually 33.3 percent.” (Nahum Sarna)

“So they said, ‘You have saved our lives!” (verse 25) The vast majority of the Egyptians were thrilled with and thankful for the new arrangement. “Joseph’s actions cannot be measured by the moral standards that the Hebrew Bible, especially the prophetic tradition, has inculcated in Western civilization. Rather, they must be judged in the context of the ancient Near Eastern world, by whose norms Joseph emerges here as a highly admirable model of a shrewd and successful administrator. Nonetheless, a moral judgment on the situation is subtly introduced into the narrative by shifting the onus of responsibility for the fate of the peasants from Joseph to the Egyptians themselves. The peasants initiate the idea of their own enslavement (v. 19) and even express gratitude when it is implemented!” (Nahum Sarna)

Please read Genesis 47:27-31 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 47:13-19

Sunday, April 26, 2020

“Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, ‘Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.’ Then Joseph said, ‘Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.’ So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, ‘We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“The severity of the remaining years of famine is such that the people become wholly dependent upon the state for their survival. Joseph rises to the occasion and averts disaster through a series of drastic measures that, in effect, nationalize the land and livestock and turn the populace into tenant farmers of the state. This section has no connection with the story of the Israelites; a continuation of the narrative of chapter 41 describing the measures taken by Joseph in preparation for the famine, it has been included here because it provides examples of Joseph’s wisdom and leadership capabilities. It also supplies an explanation for the extraordinary contrast between the Egyptian system, which concentrated land ownership in the hands of the state, and the Israelite ideal of private ownership of property. It is also likely that the Narrator wants to emphasize the great benefits that Joseph brought to the crown, thus accentuating the base ingratitude of a later Pharaoh ‘who did not know Joseph; (Exod. 1:8). In this sense, this digression provides a link with the Book of Exodus.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.” (verse 13) The situation was dire for Egypt and all the surrounding area, including and especially the land of Canaan. If the Lord had not placed Joseph in his position of influence and leadership, Israel and his family would have perished in the famine along with all the wonderful promises God had made to Abraham and his descendants. The Lord chose to deliver His people and preserve His promises through the hands and the plans of a misunderstood, outcast-from-his-family, sold-into-slavery, wrongfully-imprisoned dreamer. No truer words were ever spoken than those of Joseph in Genesis 45:7—“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” Never sell your influence short or underestimate your personal worth when God Almighty reigns supremely in your life and sits enthroned upon your heart. He is either currently using you as a lifeline for a few or a multitude, or He is preparing you to provide such deliverance sometime in the future. Follow Joseph’s good example by always keeping your mind humble, your heart tender and your eyes open.

“Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” (verse 15) The people of the land of Egypt and Canaan came before Joseph after all their money had been spent and all their food was consumed, and threw themselves upon the mercy and generosity of Joseph. “Then Joseph said, ‘Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.’” (verse 16) Joseph reminded the people that they still had valuables with which to do business. This was the wisest and most merciful course of action to take under those catastrophic circumstances since the people were incapable of supporting their own lives, let alone being burdened with the needs of struggling farm animals. “As the charge of so many cattle in time of dearth would be a very serious matter (1Kings 18:5-6), we now see the reason why Pharaoh wished the ablest of Joseph’s brethren to be employed in the task; and probably while there was no food for them in the Nile Valley, there would still be grass in the alluvial soil of the delta, which men used to move about with cattle would be able to find.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh.” (verse 19) With their livestock the people were able to purchase a year’s worth of sustenance to survive the horrid famine. But their food supplies expired long before the drought did and they were soon forced to stand before Joseph again as beggars and bargainers. While we Americans view such an arrangement as indentured servitude with disgust, it is important to note that this proposal was not insisted up by Joseph but offered freely by the people themselves. Their motto was not “Give us liberty or give us death” but, ‘It is better to live than to die.” “So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.” Evidently this request was made sometime near the end of the seven year drought period because they were requesting seed with which to plant crops and reap harvests. All of life’s droughts, no matter how mild or severe, eventually come to an end. Keep your chin up, your hope alive and your faith vibrant. Better times are coming for you if you place your hope and trust in the Lord!

Please read Genesis 47:20-26 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 47:7-12

Saturday, April 25, 2020

“Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many years have you lived?’ So Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.’ And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” (verse 12) When the Hebrews writer characterized Melchizedek’s blessing of Abraham after the original patriarch victoriously returned with the spoils from the “War of the Kings,” he stated: “But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater” (Hebrews 7:7). Pharaoh was the supreme monarch of the dominant world empire, and yet Israel was nobler and more notable due to his exalted status in the eyes of the Lord and his extraordinary position in God’s unfolding plan to establish His own great nation and ultimately save the world through His Only Begotten Son. As we read these words nearly 4,000 years later, the name of Jacob (Israel) is a household name and his story is well-known and familiar to people all over the globe, yet we are left to surmise the identity of this unnamed Pharaoh who has long since passed into the archives of obscurity.

“This episode is one of the grand scenes of the Bible. Pharaoh was the autocratic ruler of the mightiest nation on earth; Jacob was the patriarchal head of God's Chosen Race, through whom redemption would come to all mankind. That Jacob was fully conscious of his own status in that situation is evident in what he did. As long as Egypt sheltered and protected the covenant people, that long, God blessed and protected Egypt. But when another king arose who ‘knew not Joseph,’ and when Egypt turned viciously upon the Israel of God, the heavenly blessing was withdrawn, and one disaster after another overwhelmed them. One may wonder if Pharaoh appreciated this blessing. To him, Jacob might have seemed to be merely an old man seeking relief from the starvation that threatened to wipe out his family, but the hand of the Almighty was upholding Jacob, and the blessing of God was surely his to bestow.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many years have you lived?’” (verse 8) The protracted years of a rugged life must have shown upon Israel’s weathered face. “So Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty…” (verse 9) “Here is a glimpse of the way Jacob viewed his life. Neither he nor his father ever owned any of the land of promise except the burial place at Machpelah and a few acres around Shechem. ‘They looked for the city that hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrews 11:10). Jacob's word here is a testimonial to his acceptance of the promise God made to Abraham, and of his absolute belief in the ultimate fulfillment of it. None of the patriarchs viewed the world as their permanent dwelling place, nor the earth as the true home of the soul. The mightiest king on earth had just given him a deed to Goshen, but Jacob was still a ‘pilgrim.’” (James Burton Coffman)

“Few and unpleasant have been the years of my life…” (verse 9) Most of us would view the span of 130 years to be an incredibly long life. Especially considering that, “the days of our life…contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). But Israel had a keen awareness that the days of any human life are but a brief interlude in comparison to the endless expanse of eternity. If we make it our life’s ambition to please the One that will judge us all one day very soon, we can look forward in earnest anticipation to that moment we “fly away” to the arms of the loving Lord who is ready to receive and embrace us for all eternity. But if we squander our “few” years in selfish and useless pursuits that spurn the Lord’s will and desires for us, at our departure we “will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

“Few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” (verse 9) Jacob’s grandfather Abraham lived to the age of 175 (Genesis 25:7) and his father Isaac was 180 years old when he died (Genesis 35:28), and he did not anticipate achieving their longevity. Considering the grief he suffered during the decades of animosity from his brother and father-in-law, and the foolish and sinful exploits of his sons, it seems that Israel longed for that final departing flight for the realms above, yet he would live an additional 17 years (verse 28).

“So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered.” (verse 11) “Rameses is the name of one of the two store cities built by the children of Israel on the east of the Delta… The name given to it was probably that of the Pharaoh of the oppression, Rameses II. If so, the description of this region, where Joseph’s brethren are settled, by the name of ‘the land of Rameses,’ is, strictly speaking, an anachronism, i.e. a chronological anticipation of facts, the country being denoted by a name which it came to bear two centuries later. It is a very natural thing for the Israelite writer to do; and can hardly be regarded in the light of a literary error.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Please read Genesis 47:13-19 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 47:1-6

Friday, April 24, 2020

“Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, ‘My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.’ He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’ So they said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.’ They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh…” (verse 1) It had been Pharaoh’s desire and his command to Joseph to fetch his family and bring them to live in Egypt and give them “the best of the land.” (Genesis 45:17-19). Now that they had safely arrived “out of the Land of Canaan”, Joseph reported to his superior of their whereabouts—that they had, at least temporarily, settled “in the land of Goshen.” “He makes mention of their flocks and herds, and other substance, partly to show that they were not a mean beggarly family that came to live upon him, and partly that a proper place of pasturage for their cattle might be appointed to them.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.” (verse 2) The text does not explain what method of selection that Joseph used or even the specific brothers that he chose to present to Pharaoh. The number “five” does seem to have at least some symbolic significance taken in consideration of its repeated use in the story of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers. “As the number ‘five’ appears again and again in this narrative (Genesis 43:34; Genesis 45:22), it may have had some special importance among the Egyptians, like the number seven among the Jews.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to sojourn in the land…” (verse 34) It was the original intention of Jacob and his family to only abide in the land of Egypt temporarily, as “sojourners”. It was not their ambition to unduly infringe upon Pharaoh’s kindness and generosity, and besides, they no doubt desired to return to the land of Canaan that the Lord had pledged to them as their promised possession. But it was also God’s promised prophecy to Abraham: “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.” (Genesis 15:13-14)

“The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen…” (verse 6) Pharaoh granted his permission and official sanction for Israel and his entire family to dwell in the land of his dominion, in the locality of their choosing, even up to the most choice and desirable location. “And if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.” “Literally ‘officers of cattle,’ that is, superintendents of the royal cattle. This office is mentioned frequently in Egyptian inscriptions since the king possessed vast herds of cattle. Ramses III is said to have employed 3,264 men, mostly foreigners, to take care of his herds. The appointment of some of Joseph’s brothers to supervise the king’s cattle means that they are to be officers of the crown and thus will enjoy legal protection not usually accorded aliens.” (Nahum Sarna)

The Lord takes great care of and makes provision for his beloved people!

Please read Genesis 47:7-12 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 46:28-34

Thursday, April 23, 2020

“Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, “’let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.’ Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, ‘I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, “My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.” When Pharaoh calls you and says, “What is your occupation?” you shall say, “Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,” that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

““Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen…” (verse 28) As Judah had risen to the position of prominence in the family, he was the wisest and most logical choice to go ahead of the clan to meet Joseph and prepare the way for their father’s arrival in Egypt by informing him that Israel was in route. Judah had staked his own life on Benjamin’s security and his safe return increased his father’s trust in him. Since it was Judah’s moving testimonial and plea that softened Joseph’s heart and lead to his confession of his true identity to his brothers, he also had the best rapport with Joseph as well. Nahum Sarna also pointed out, “It is only fitting that Judah, who bore responsibility for separating Joseph from Jacob (37:26), should now be charged with arranging the reunion.” James Burton Coffman suggested that “Judah, in this ‘going before Israel’ is a type of Jesus Christ our ‘forerunner’ (Hebrews 6:20).”

“Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel…” (verse 29) Just as soon as Judah brought Joseph the good news of Israel’s imminent arrival, he hopped in his chariot and sped away to Goshen to see his father just as quickly as he possibly could. “As soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time.” It appears that Israel and his long lost son embraced in silent affection for a considerable time, just hugging and loving on one another. Sometimes words just cannot express the message that bursting hearts have to say, but an extended, intensely emotional hug declares the truest and deepest affections of the soul. It was Joseph’s aged father that finally broke the silence…

“Then Israel said to Joseph, ’let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.’” (verse 30) Maybe Israel was actually ready to depart from the earth at that point, but more likely, he was merely expressing that he could now go to his grave in peace and contentment since his greatest desire and most unlikely hope had finally been fulfilled. Either way, the gracious Lord granted Israel many more blessed years in the company of his most beloved son to see him prosper and flourish in an exalted position of leadership far beyond anything that he had hoped for.

“And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.” (verse 32) Joseph rehearsed his speech to Pharaoh out loud and prepared his brothers for an answer to a possible interview with the king of Egypt themselves. “It was not accidental that Israel came to Goshen; from the very first, Joseph had foreseen that Goshen was the correct place for his father's people. It was primarily pasture land with scant, if any population. And it provided exactly the isolation that the Hebrews needed if conflict with the populations of Egypt was to be avoided. Joseph had already cleared this with Pharaoh, even before he had finished testing his brothers, and Pharaoh had already confirmed the place as the location of Israel, but Joseph apparently feared that after Pharaoh's meeting with Joseph, Pharaoh might, as a special favor to Joseph's father, locate his posterity in what the Egyptians might consider a more favorable location. Joseph knew that if the matter of the occupation of his kindred was clearly understood by Pharaoh, such a change in the plans would not occur.” (James Burton Coffman)

“For every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.” (verse 34) Joseph didn’t want his brothers to hide the true nature of their occupation but to be completely up front and honest with Pharaoh, even though the Egyptians bore this tremendous prejudice against their profession. “The word ‘abomination,’ first of all, suggests a religious ground of difference; and not only did shepherds probably kill animals worshipped in different Egyptian districts, but their religion generally was diverse from that of the fixed population. But next, men who lead a settled life always dislike wandering clans, whose cattle are too likely to prey upon their enclosed land…and who, moving from place to place, are usually not very scrupulous as to the rights of property. Such nomades, too, are generally lower in civilisation, and more rude and rough, than men who have fixed homes.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers) The separation between Israel’s family and the bulk of the population of the Egyptians also served, whether intentionally by Joseph or not, to keep the national bloodlines pure. The Lord’s hand appears to be greatly at work in this arrangement.

Please read Genesis 47:1-6 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 46:8-27

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

“Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. The sons of Reuben: Hanoch and Pallu and Hezron and Carmi. The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Judah: Er and Onan and Shelah and Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Issachar: Tola and Puvvah and Iob and Shimron. The sons of Zebulun: Sered and Elon and Jahleel. These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three. The sons of Gad: Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli. The sons of Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and their sister Serah. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and she bore to Jacob these sixteen persons. The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. Now to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. The sons of Benjamin: Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard. These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob; there were fourteen persons in all. The sons of Dan: Hushim. The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem. These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and she bore these to Jacob; there were seven persons in all. All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons, were sixty-six persons in all, and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt…” (verse 8) I will be quoting James Burton Coffman about the difficulties associated with the numbers of people in today’s passage and the significance of the number “seventy” (verse 27):

“Several things need to be said about this list. It does not include any of the daughters, except Dinah and Serah, despite the mention of Jacob's daughters, and his sons' daughters in Genesis 46:7. The whole list is therefore contrived by the sacred narrator as a round number. It is quite obvious also that some of the names in this list are of persons born AFTER the entry into Egypt, as we may not suppose that Benjamin, described repeatedly as a ‘lad’ at this time, was suddenly a patriarch with ten children before the move to Egypt could be effected. The same appears to be true of Pharez. Thus, this enumeration of ‘The Seventy’ serves the purposes of emphasizing that number considered to be a sacred number by the Jews, and apparently so honored by Jesus himself.

“The number seventy seems to have been associated in a peculiar way with the nation of Israel ever since the time when seventy apparently became the founders of the nation.

I. Seventy nations of the world are listed in Genesis 10.

II. Seventy elders are mentioned in Numbers 11:16.

III. Seventy years of captivity in Babylon were the punishment of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:21).

IV. Seventy weeks were determined for Israel in which to finish the transgression (Daniel 9:24).

V. Seventy translators produced the Septuagint.

VI. The Sanhedrin was composed of seventy members.

VII. Jesus Christ himself sent out the "seventy" witnesses of his kingdom.

VIII. ‘The days of our years are threescore and ten’ (Psalms 90:10).

The great intention, therefore, of this list is to show that there were seventy founders of the nation of Israel who went into Egypt.

“Perhaps we should also notice the quibble often raised regarding the statement of Stephen in Acts 7:14, that ‘Seventy-five souls went down into Egypt.’ As a matter of fact, the total number probably ran well over a hundred or so. Just how Stephen figured it, we do not know, but it is generally thought that he was merely quoting from the LXX, which gives five sons of Joseph not mentioned in our version. He might have been counting the wives, or the wives who consented to go to Egypt, or some of the unmentioned daughters. The quibble is inconsequential. What is intended by the use of the number ‘seventy’ in this passage is to show that, "God had done a complete divine work upon Israel, in taking them down into Egypt.”

Please read Genesis 46:28-34 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 46:1-7

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.’ Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba…” (verse 1) “With this narrative, the patriarchal period in the history of Israel comes to an end. Jacob’s descent to Egypt appears at first to be merely a family visit. Yet this visit is presented as being fraught with national significance. It is a summing up of the past as well as a new beginning. Famine drove Abraham to Egypt (12:10); now famine impels his grandson in the same direction. Jacob’s odyssey began at Beersheba (28:10); it fittingly concludes with a revelation at the same place. The divine Voice will not be heard again until the advent of Moses.” (Nahum Sarna) That is a period of divine silence covering between 300 and 400 years, paralleling a similar span that took place between the book of Malachi and the appearing of John the baptizer in the New Testament.

“And offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.” (verse 1) “In a sense, this outpost, was somewhat a ‘point of no return’ on the way to Egypt, lying at the southern extremity of the land of Canaan, being also the place where Isaac, the father of Jacob, had lived, and had erected an altar unto God, possibly the same altar upon which Jacob offered the sacrifices mentioned here. As for the reasons why Jacob should have paused here to offer sacrifices, there are many. He might have remembered the occasion when Abraham went into Egypt fleeing from famine, and the difficulties and disastrous consequences that came as a result. Jacob's father, Isaac, never dared to go into Egypt.” (James Burton Coffman) These sacrifices where, at least in part, an expression of Jacob’s gratitude to God that his son Joseph was alive and well.

“God spoke to Israel in visions of the night…” (verse 2) “As far as the record goes, this was the last appearance of God to Jacob, there being eight appearances in all: (1) Genesis 28:13; (2) Genesis 31:3; (3) Genesis 31:11; (4) Genesis 32:1; (5) Genesis 32:30; (6) Genesis 35:1; (7) Genesis 35:9; (8) Genesis 46:2.” (James Burton Coffman) “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.” (verse 3) The Lord comforted and reassured Israel that going down to Egypt was the right and best move to make, and that the relocation was according to His will and plan for the future nation that would emerge from his offspring. It is interesting to consider that the Lord had not previously appeared to Jacob to assure him that Joseph was still alive, but for whatever reason, He did not deem that to be necessary.

“I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again…” (verse 4) God had solemnly promised Jacob when he was fleeing to Haran from the wrath of his brother Esau: “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15). The Lord had kept His word all the days of Jacob’s life by prospering him and delivering him out of all of his difficulties and dilemmas. Before he departed Haran with his large family and abundant possessions, Jacob assured his wives: “Let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” (35:3) Near the end of the way the Lord vowed to be with the aged patriarch on the final leg of his earthly journey, and to “bring him up again” for burial with is fathers in the land of Canaan (Genesis 49:29).

“Joseph will close your eyes.” (verse 4) The Lord made this very touching promise to Israel assuring him that his beloved Joseph would be by his side when he breathed his last breath, and affectionately assist in the closing of his eyes for life’s final physical slumber. “Both among the Jews and Greeks it was the duty of those nearest in blood to close the eyes of a deceased relative. The promise conveyed the assurance that Jacob would die peacefully, surrounded by his friends.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him.” (verse 6) “It is to be noted that, despite the suggestion by Pharaoh that they would not need to bring their possessions with them, since plenty was available in Egypt, they nevertheless brought all that it was possible to carry. This was obviously for the purpose of not being any greater burden to the Egyptians than was unavoidable.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 46:8-27 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 45:24-28

Monday, April 20, 2020

“So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel on the journey.’ Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. They told him, saying, ‘Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Then Israel said, ‘It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Do not quarrel on the journey.” (verse 26) Joseph displayed tremendous wisdom in this admonition for peace among his brothers. He had previously overheard Reuben chastising the rest of them for their ill treatment of Joseph: “Reuben answered them, saying, ‘Did I not tell you, “Do not sin against the boy”; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood’” (Genesis 42:22). Joseph had every reason to suspect that this same type of finger pointing would occur on the ride home since they would most certainly be forced to finally tell their father the awful truth when they returned to get him. Condemning and reprimanding people for their past mistakes only serves to stir up unnecessary strife and bitterness, and besides, these brothers they each shouldered their own personal weight of guilt.

“Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (verse 26) Put yourself in Jacob’s place and just imagine for a moment that you believed your favorite son had been dead for over two decades and then someone walks in and tells you he has been alive the whole time! Okay, and not only is he still alive, he rules over the dominant world government from the seat of power in the great capital city! Is it any wonder that he was shocked into a state of stunned disbelief?! Of course, Jacob wanted to believe that Joseph was alive more than anything in this whole world, no matter where he might be and what he might be doing. For Israel it was more than “enough” that his beloved son was “still alive” (verse 28). If only that could be true!

“When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.” (verse 27) It wasn’t until his sons pointed Israel’s attention in the direction of the caravan of donkeys parked out in the “driveway” loaded down with “the best things of Egypt” (verse 23) that Israel snapped out of his stupor and his “spirit…revived.” With the news that his favorite son was still alive and doing well, and the evidence that verified the truth of that report, Jacob had not felt so alive in decades! When he originally received the news that Joseph had been torn to pieces by a wild animal, “Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days” and “he refused to be comforted” (Genesis 37:34-35). With that report he had sunken into the deepest, darkest pit of his life, and with the wonderful news that Joseph lived, his spirits soared to the utmost heights of brightness of bliss.

“Right here, the die is cast. Jacob and all the children of Israel would go down into Egypt, where the long sojourn God had foretold to Abraham would begin. Note also, that Jacob is pointedly referred to here as ‘Israel.’ It is the covenant relationship of God to this whole people that dominates every word of the Book of Genesis. What a wonder is this record of HOW it happened! God over-ruled the hatreds, jealousies, and envious wickedness of men to place one of Jacob's sons on the throne of the land of Egypt, who, in time, brought the whole posterity of Israel to live there. The Egyptians detested foreigners, especially shepherds; and, thus there would be no easy possibility of Jacob's posterity forming marriages with pagans, as had already begun to happen in the case of Judah. Not only that, in Egypt, they would have the protective arm of a powerful central government which would secure them against hostile attack. The people would be pressured from outside by the culture where they were, by the prejudices of the people, absolutely rejected. Under those divinely appointed conditions, they would indeed grow into a mighty nation! How marvelous are the ways of God.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 46:1-7 for tomorrow

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 45:16-23

Sunday, April 19, 2020

“Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Say to your brothers, “Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.” Now you are ordered, “Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.”’ Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants.” (verse 16) In verse 2 we read that Joseph “wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.” When the Egyptians brought word back to Pharaoh about Joseph’s emotion-packed reunion with his brothers, it filled the king with great delight that his top man had a large family with which to share and enjoy his prosperity. Pharaoh felt such high regard and fondness toward Joseph that he bent over backwards accommodating the transport of the entirety of his kinfolk from Canaan to a permanent dwelling in “the best of the land of Egypt” (verse 18). Of course it was all a part of God’s foreordained plan that the people of Israel would locate elsewhere and not displace the natives of the Promised Land until “the iniquity of the Amorite” was “complete” (Genesis 15:16).

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Say to your brothers, “Do this…”’” (verse 17) Pharaoh officially endorsed Joseph’s plan to bring his father and his whole family to live in Goshen in the land of Egypt (verse 10). “And I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land” (verse 18). “The choicest products of the soil. The phrase may imply recognition that seminomads often engaged in agriculture (cf. 26:12).” (Nahum Sarna) “Now you are ordered…” (verse 19) “The order is given to Joseph to relay to his brothers. The previous instructions could be carried out with no outside assistance. This one, however, requires official authorization, the effect of which is to accord Jacob’s clan the special status of ward of the king.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey.” (verse 21) “These were two-wheeled carts ‘suitable for a flat country like Egypt, and for traversing deserts and other areas where roads would not be available. Herodotus mentions a four-wheeled cart which was used for transporting a shrine or the image of a deity.’ ‘This is the first mention of `wagons' in the Bible.’” (James Burton Coffman) “To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.” (verse 22) Once again Joseph lavished his youngest brother with the most luxuriant gifts. “Since an article of apparel had featured prominently in the tale of hostility between Joseph and his brothers, it is only fitting that their reconciliation should be marked by a gift of apparel.” (Nahum Sarna)

“To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey.” (verse 23) As a foretaste of “the best of all of the land” (verse 20) that was just waiting for him to come down and partake of, Pharaoh sent Joseph’s beloved father ten donkeys loaded with the finest delicacies and delights that the kingdom of Egypt had to offer. Israel was given the royal treatment as, unbeknownst to him until the moment that imperial caravan arrived to transport him to his new home, he was a member of royalty by right of his son’s illustrious position.

Please read Genesis 45:24-28 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 45:9-15

Saturday, April 18, 2020

“‘Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.’” Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.’ Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Hurry and go up to my father…” (verse 9) Once the truth had finally been brought to the light of day, Joseph could not contain his excitement and his eagerness to see his father again. He couldn’t wait for Israel to hear the great news that the son he presumed to be dead was actually reigning as “lord of all Egypt”! There was a great sense of urgency to not squander another precious moment and to make up for all the lost time that had been wasted in resentment, doubt and regret. The best thing to do when soured relationships are fortuitously reconciled is to forgive and forge ahead because there is no future lingering in the misery of the past. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32). “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

“You shall live in the land of Goshen…” (verse 10) “Although no source defines the precise geographic location of Goshen, the cumulative effect of various pieces of evidence is to place it in the area of Wadi Tumeilat, which stretches from the eastern arm of the Nile to the Great Bitter Lake. Egyptian texts confirm the presence of Semites and other Asians in the northeastern part of the country both at the end of the sixth Dynasty (ca. 2250 B.C…) and about 1700 B.C…in the wake of the Hyksos invasion. Exodus12:38 refers to a ‘mixed multitude,’ that is, foreign tribes, dwelling in the area of Israelite settlement. Goshen is blessed with excellent grazing facilities (Gen. 46:32-34; 47:6,7), and it is known that the Nile Delta was the center of cattle breeding. The natural route from Asia to Egypt emerges from Wadi Tumeilat, and Joseph traveled to Goshen to greet his father, who arrived from Canaan (46:29).” (Nahum Sarna)

“Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you.” (verse 12) Their father would most certainly have a hard time believing the astonishing news that his beloved Joseph was still alive after all those years, but they were to assure him they had seen him with their own eyes and heard him with their own ears. As incredible as it all must have seemed, it was all true! There was no mistaking Joseph for someone else and this was not the trickery of an imposter. “Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.” (verse 13) Joseph told them to give their father firsthand information of all Joseph’s grandeur, fame and fortune, and to do so with all haste! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

“Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.” (verses 14-15) “Why all the weeping? Here is an example of weeping for joy, an emotion with which many are familiar.” (James Burton Coffman). These were not bitter tears, but a cleansing flow that helped alleviate all their former frustrations and wash all the bitterness and pain of the past away. After they wept together they talked a long while together. They partook in the lighthearted discourse and free-flowing dialogue that loved ones engage in when they have a lot of catching up to do.

Please read Genesis 45:16-23 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

 

Genesis 45:1-8

Friday, April 17, 2020

“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Joseph could not control himself…” (verse 1) Joseph had mostly kept his composure in the presence of his Egyptian attendants and his estranged brothers. He hid his face and wept when he heard Reuben chastising his brothers before he imprisoned Simeon (Genesis 42:24), and he needed to bolt from the banquet hall and weep privately in his room when Benjamin was brought before him (Genesis 43:30), still he had held it together pretty well all things considered. But after listening to Judah’s heart-rending pleas for mercy, Joseph could take it no more and he erupted in an outburst of emotions. He chased everybody but his brothers from the room, and still “he wept so loudly that the Egyptians” could hear him wailing through the walls (verse 2). The word spread quickly to Pharaoh’s household that his second in command had been reduced to a blubbering mess by a family of Hebrews!

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’” (verse 3) “The statements follow in rapid succession with no pause between them. Judah could not have known it, but more than anything, it was the repeated mention of the aged father—no less than fourteen times—that shook Joseph and brought his self-restraint to an end. No wonder, then, that Joseph’s first thought is for the welfare of his father. True, he had already sought and obtained the information he wanted (43:27f.), yet the terrifying picture Judah has painted makes Joseph cry out in such a way that his words are more an exclamation than an inquiry. That is why there is no reply and Joseph does not press the point.” (Nahum Sarna)

“But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.” (verse 3) Joseph’s brothers were rendered speechless. They could not believe their ears and could not properly process his words. Could this powerful man standing before them really be the brother they had so bitterly hated and treated and sold into slavery all those years ago?! Joseph urged them to “come closer” (verse 4) to get a better look and see that it was true! “Be not afraid of me, but come nearer to me with cheerfulness and confidence, that you may be assured that I am he, and that we may more freely and privately discourse together, so as none others may hear. It is probable that Joseph sat in state, and that they hitherto kept a due distance from him.” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

“And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. “ (verse 4) “At once a reassurance and a rebuke: I shall behave as a brother should even though you were unbrotherly” (Nahum Sarna) “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (verse 5) The Lord had taken an evil exploit and made good come from of it as only He can do. “The brothers had indeed acted with evil intent; yet behind it all had been the hidden, guiding hand of Divine Providence investing the base deeds of men with meaning and benign purpose. Joseph reiterates that conviction to his brothers after his father dies (50:20).” (Nahum Sarna)

“For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.” (verse 6) Joseph informed his brothers that if they thought the going had been rough for them so far, they hadn’t seen the half of it yet. The famine still had five additional years to run its full course, and the Lord had placed him in his current position in order to preserve their lives (verse 7), and further his plan of salvation for the world. And he knew this to be true because God, of course, had revealed it to him through a dream! Not his own dream, but a dream none the less! More than two decades early they had sneered: “Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!” (Genesis 37:20). Joseph’s way with dreams had taken him all the way to the top!

“Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (verse 8) For the third time Joseph attributed his presence in the land Egypt to the hand, the will and the power of the Lord. Joseph was in a sense “a father to Pharaoh,” “to advise him, and to provide for him, as fathers do for their children, and to have the authority, respect, and power of a father with him.” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

Please read Genesis 45:9-15 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 44:18-34

Thursday, April 16, 2020

“Then Judah approached him, and said, ‘Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” We said to my lord, “We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.” But we said to my lord, “The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.” You said to your servants, however, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.” Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. Our father said, “Go back, buy us a little food.” But we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.” Your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; and the one went out from me, and I said, ‘Surely he is torn in pieces,’ and I have not seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.” Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.” Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Judah approached him, and said, ‘Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears…” (verse 18) “The encounter between Joseph and his brothers has now reached its climactic moment. A personal appeal to the great man is Judah’s last desperate resort. He pours out his heart in what is the longest speech in the Book of Genesis, although it could not have lasted more than five minutes. Divided into three parts, the address recapitulates recent events (vv. 18-29), stresses the adverse impact of Joseph’s act upon their father (vv. 30-32), and culminates in a personal offer to take Benjamin’s place as a slave (vv. 33-34). It makes no mention of the theft of the goblet or of the innocence or guilt of the accused. This shrewd but simple appeal to Joseph’s sense of fairness and mercy attempts to invoke his humanity through repeated references to the state of their aged father. It is also designed to impress Joseph with the speaker’s noble self-sacrifice. Judah’s eloquence is effective because it is deferential yet dignified, spirited but not provocative, full of pathos and passion, yet restrained and transparently sincere.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh.” (verse 18) From the outset of Judah’s plea, he admitted he had no right and was in no position to negotiate with a person of such elevated status. Joseph was the second most important and powerful man in the most dominant kingdom in the whole world. Judah knew that if he aroused the anger of such a lofty leader a fury of unmatched proportions could be unleashed upon him. But he also knew that a person with power “equal to Pharaoh” had the authority to grant his brother a full pardon if there was only a tender heart within him that could be touched by a persuasive emotional entreaty. The unbearable thought of breaking the devastating news to his father that Benjamin wouldn’t be coming back home expelled any fears of inciting the ruler’s wrath.

“We have an old father and a little child of his old age.” (verse 20) Benjamin was a “little child” in comparison to his brothers who were much older, and his young age also explained why he had been left at home with his “old father” who was well over 100 years of age. The term “child of his old age” was used to describe Joseph in Genesis 37:3 to explain why “Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons.” “Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.” The revelation that Judah believed Joseph to be dead may have provoked some momentary perverse satisfaction within Joseph’s mind, but the mention of his long-departed mother and his father’s special love for her children must have diminished Joseph’s indignation and unbolted the emotional floodgates. Then to hear that his father’s tormented mind had been tortured for two decades by images of Joseph being “torn to pieces” (verse 28) must have ripped his poor heart to shreds.

“When he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.” (verse 30) Judah knew that his father would be beyond the point of recovery and consolation, and the loss of Benjamin would send him to his grave (Sheol). Of course, the implication here was that Joseph would share in the responsibility along with the brothers of killing their father with grief beyond compare. “For your servant became surety for the lad to my father…” (verse 32) This detail explained why Judah had assumed the position of spokesman for the family and maintained such a personal stake in the matter.

“Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.” (verse 33) “The one who had been responsible for the sale of Joseph into slavery (37:26f.) now unwittingly offers to become the slave of his own victim! The story has come full circle, and the stage is set of the dramatic denouement, brought on by Judah’s noble gesture of self-sacrifice and the moving image of his father’s misery.” (Nahum Sarna) “This is the pinnacle of the Joseph story. Here Judah stood forth as a willing sacrifice to spare the life of his brother, and at a time when he might have supposed that Benjamin could have been guilty. After all, the cup was in his sack. Right here was, ‘the turning point in the relations between Joseph and his brethren.’ In this magnanimous action, Judah earned the right to supplant his brother Reuben as the successor to the patriarchal birthright. It was this heart-breaking plea that opened the fountain of tears in the heart of the long-lost brother then upon the throne of Egypt.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 45:1-8 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 44:14-17

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

“When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him. Joseph said to them, ‘What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?’ So Judah said, ‘What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.’ But he said, ‘Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him.” (verse 14) Judah had clearly emerged as the leader of the family at this point, and he was also the chief spokesman in this instance since he had pledged his own life as “surety” for safety of his father’s favorite son (Genesis 43:8-9). When the brothers returned to Joseph’s residence they threw themselves to the ground “not only in a way of reverence, again fulfilling his dream, but as persons in the utmost distress and affliction, throwing themselves at his feet for mercy.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible) “Joseph was thoroughly testing his brothers. Here they had the opportunity to leave Benjamin and return to their father; but this they resolutely refused to do.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Joseph said to them, ‘What is this deed that you have done?” (verse 15) “Feigning anger, Joseph addresses them collectively, implying that they are all involved in the theft. His ‘leniency,’ soon to be displayed (v.17), thus appears to be all the more generous.” (Nahum Sarna) “Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?” (verse 15) Joseph boasted of his ability to use the black art of “divination” to uncover the deception of their misdeed, even without his special and precious goblet that their youngest brother had supposedly stolen. It is possible they really believed that Benjamin had stolen the object and that Joseph was actually speaking truth, but they were all so devastated at that point that Joseph could have accused them of raiding Pharaoh’s tomb and he wouldn’t have gotten an argument out of them.

“So Judah said, ‘What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants…” (verse 16) “Judah by this could not have meant that they were in any manner guilty as charged with reference to the cup. The thing that had haunted the guilty brothers for twenty years was their sinful, unmerciful hatred of their brother Joseph; and time had in no manner healed their guilty hearts. Their wicked act still seared and burned in their souls, and, therefore, in the present disaster, Judah confessed their guilt (in principle) and accepted the horrible penalty threatening them even as the penitent thief on Calvary had done, ‘as the just reward of our deeds!’ This was a plateau of spiritual perception far above anything that Joseph could have expected of his brothers.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” (verse 16) Judah relinquished the freedom of the entire family to Joseph and surrendered himself and his brothers to Joseph as humble, obedient slaves. At least then they would not have to face their poor, miserable father again and witness the compounding of his grief and despair. But Joseph’s “generous” response was: “Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.” (verse 17) Of course, they would never again experience “peace” in their lives if they returned to their father without Benjamin in their company, so Judah proceeded to offer himself as slave to Joseph in the place of his father’s favorite.

Please read Genesis 44:18-34 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 44:1-13

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

“Then he commanded his house steward, saying, ‘Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.’ And he did as Joseph had told him. As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, ‘Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, “Why have you repaid evil for good? Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.”’ So he overtook them and spoke these words to them. They said to him, ‘Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing. Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.’ So he said, ‘Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.’ Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.” (verse 1) After the fulfilling night of food and festivities, Joseph’s brothers set out on the journey back home to Canaan with their bellies full, their grain sacks packed and their spirits high. Considering the surprise pulled on them on their previous trip home, you would think they would have at least been curious and cautious enough to open their grain sacks to see if anything unexpected might be found lying inside. But, after the warm reception and good will extended on the night before, they were completely unsuspicious of any further antics. Still, Joseph wasn’t quite ready to send them on their merry way and just forgive and forget the misdeeds of the past.

“Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.” (verse 2) “The goblet serves both as a drinking vessel and as a divining instrument (v.5). The fact that we are told it is made of silver is not meant solely to emphasize its preciousness; the offense would be grave enough no matter what the composition of the goblet might have been. The main point here is that Hebrew kesef, ‘silver, money,’ is a key word, reiterated twenty times in the accounts of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt (chaps 42045). The brothers had sold Joseph into slavery for twenty pieces of silver (Gen. 37:28); now he harasses and tests them with silver.” (Nahum Sarna)

“They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, ‘Up, follow the men; and…overtake them…’” (verse 4) Eager to bring the food and the good news back to their father, the brothers had packed up and departed for home at dawn’s first light (verse 3). But, no sooner than they had escaped the city limits, they were overtaken by Joseph’s house steward and falsely accused of theft. “Why have you repaid evil for good?” After all the generosity the master had shown by throwing them a feast and filling their grain sacks for free, how could their ungrateful hearts find the audacity to steal from him?!

“Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination?” (verse 5) “It is not stated that Joseph actually believes in divination. He wants the brothers to think he does. The technique of divining by means of a goblet is well known from the ancient world. It took various forms: the use of water (hydromancy), oil (oleomancy), or wine (oenomancy). The practitioner professed to be able to interpret either the surface patterns formed when a few drops of one liquid were poured onto another or the movement of objects floating on or sinking in the fluid. The aim of the exercise was to determine the future, to locate the source of trouble, or to apportion blame or credits, as in 30:27. The legislation in Deuteronomy 18:10 outlawed divination in Israel.” (Nahum Sarna)

“They said to him, ‘Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing.” (verse 7) The brothers were mortified that such an accusation would be leveled against them. They maintained their integrity but had no clue they were being toyed with and tormented because of past transgressions. “Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?” (verse 8) They made a lessor to the greater argument to substantiate their innocence. If they had been so honest as to return a trifling sum by comparison, it was unreasonable to accuse them of such substantial larceny.

“With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.’” (verse 9) In their naiveté the brothers boldly professed their innocence by guaranteeing the death penalty for the guilty party and the forfeiture of their own freedom, but Joseph was only interested in detaining his full brother, Benjamin. The chief steward would enslave the guilty party and the rest would go free (verse 10), and began searching the men’s grain sacks, “beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest” (verse 12). “The steward adroitly manipulates the situation. One can easily imagine the rising self-confidence of the brothers after each successive search yielded nothing.” (Nahum Sarna) Until the last sack was opened by Benjamin and the silver goblet tumbled out and the brothers’ jaws collectively dropped to the ground!

“Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.” (verse 13) “The horror of their predicament leaves them speechless. They can only do what they caused their father to do years before (37:34).” (Nahum Sarna) No doubt they would have preferred the enslavement in Egypt that they had originally proposed to Joseph’s chief steward than to return to their father without his beloved Benjamin in their company!

Please read Genesis 44:14-17 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 43:26-34

Monday, April 13, 2020

“When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him. Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, ‘Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?’ They said, ‘Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.’ They bowed down in homage. As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, ‘Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?’ And he said, ‘May God be gracious to you, my son.’ Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, ‘Serve the meal.’ So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians. Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment. He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.” (verse 26) No mention is made of Joseph’s reaction to the gift of balm, honey, aromatic gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds (verse11), but the sight of the brothers bowed down before him in humble reverence must have rekindled the memories of the dreams that had inflamed them against him so many years before (Genesis 37:5-11). They “bowed themselves to him to the earth; in the most prostrate and humble manner, now again fulfilling his dream, and more completely than before, for now all his eleven brethren were together, signified by the eleven stars in the dream, that made obeisance to him, see Genesis 37:9.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, ‘Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?’” (verse 27) After Joseph received their gift, he asked his brothers about their “welfare”. This is the Hebrew word “shalom” or “peace”. He wanted to know how they were faring during the harsh famine and how they were feeling after their long journey from Canaan to Egypt. When he asked them how their (his) father was getting along, it must have struck him that he should first verify that a man so advanced in years was even still alive. To his relief his brothers verified that Israel was alive and well and they “bowed down” again to him in a token of appreciation for his concern or as a gesture of gratitude to God for their aged father’s health and prosperity (verse 28).

“As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, ‘Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?’” (verse 29) Joseph had earlier caught sight of Benjamin from a distance (verse 16), but now in close quarters with his mother’s son he was taken aback by how much his youngest brother’s appearance had changed over the course of time. “Joseph’s question was one of surprise. Can this young man, now nearly thirty, be the little Benjamin, who was but a child of eight or nine when last I saw him!” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers) “May God be gracious to you, my son.” From a heart overflowing with fondness, Joseph wished upon his beloved brother God’s goodness and graces in all aspects of a prosperous life.

“Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there.” (verse 30) The sight of his little brother all grown up and sturdy was all that Joseph’s overloaded emotions could endure. “The Hebrew idiom nikhmeru rahamav (lit. ‘his mercies were heated up’) occurs only in 1 Kings 3:26, where it means ‘to have compassion for.’ Here, however, Benjamin is not an object of pity. The sight of him arouses overwhelming feelings of tenderness and affection in Joseph. He can find relief only through tears.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, ‘Serve the meal.’” (verse 31) What a strange sight it must have been to see this high Egyptian official suddenly bolt out the room in mid-conversation, and we are left only to wander what the brothers’ reaction must have been. They were likely left in a state of surprise, concern and confusion. But eventually Joseph composed himself and returned to the dining room and said it was time to eat!

“So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.” (verse 32) “Joseph eats alone undoubtedly because of his exalted status; but the segregation of the Hebrews was due to the Egyptian feeling of racial and religious superiority that engendered contempt for foreigners, who were regarded as unclean… It is…likely that Egyptian particularism asserted itself here because the Hebrews were shepherds—an abhorrent profession (46:34)—and because they ate sheep—an abomination to Egyptians (Exod. 8:26).” (Nahum Sarna)

“Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.” (verse 33) Joseph had the brothers seated at the table in order of their birth, from Reuben the oldest to Benjamin the youngest. Their “astonishment” was produced by their assumption that Joseph accurately divined the sequence of their ages without any prior knowledge of their family history. In consideration of Egyptian prejudices, they were probably equally as astonished by the fact that Joseph “took portions to them from his own table” (verse 34). He gave Benjamin five times more than the others “partly, because of his nearer relation and dearer affection to him; and partly, to observe whether this would raise that envy in them towards him, which was the occasion of their malicious enterprise against himself, that he might accordingly provide for his security.” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

Please Read Genesis 44:1-13 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 43:16-25

Sunday, April 12, 2020

“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, ‘Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready; for the men are to dine with me at noon.’ So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and they said, ‘It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys.’ So they came near to Joseph’s house steward, and spoke to him at the entrance of the house, and said, ‘Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food, and it came about when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full. So we have brought it back in our hand. We have also brought down other money in our hand to buy food; we do not know who put our money in our sacks.’ He said, ‘Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them. Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys fodder. So they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them…” (verse 16) Even though Benjamin was very young the last time Joseph had seen him over two decades earlier, he still recognized his only full brother when he laid eyes on him. He informed the servant who managed his house to make preparations for a feast large enough to feed a party of twelve, as all of Israel’s sons would be sitting down to a meal together for the first time in a very long time. Of course, Joseph’s brothers were unaware that they were being brought to his palace for a meal and they were filled with dread when the steward “brought the men to Joseph’s house” (verse 17).

“Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house…” (verse 18) “Because they alone, of all the buyers of grain, are singled out for this treatment. The brothers are probably aware of the fact that high Egyptian officials maintained private dungeons in their homes…” (Nahum Sarna) “The fear of the brothers is understandable enough. Joseph, the Chief Deputy of the all-powerful Pharaoh was supreme in Egypt, no doubt living in a place befitting his rank and authority. That these travelers from the land of Canaan were invited into such a place was no doubt an occasion for the most dreadful apprehension and fear. Supposing that the money in their sacks after the first journey might be an occasion for their seizure, they sought to put that matter at rest in advance by returning the money to the steward. His answers must have confounded and confused them even more.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full. So we have brought it back in our hand.” (verse 21) The brothers immediately pled the case for their innocence to the chief steward in attempts to stave off any retribution that Joseph may have had in store for them. “We do not know who put our money in our sacks…” (verse 22) They chose their words carefully so as not to appear to be accusing any Egyptian official of any sort of shenanigans and thereby compounding their trouble. But Joseph’s steward tried to alleviate their fears by saying, “Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” (verse 23) Joseph had made his most trusted steward privy to and participant in this whole affair, and he was wise enough to attribute any act of benevolence to the God of heaven. “It appears, from what he said, that by his good master he was brought to the knowledge of the true God, the God of the Hebrews. Religious servants should take all fit occasions to speak of God and his providence, with reverence and seriousness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

“Then he brought Simeon out to them.” (verse 23) When they saw their brother freed from his fetters and looking fit as a fiddle, their fears must have been allayed further still. “Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys fodder.” (verse 24).” “He then conducted them into Joseph's house, and received them in Oriental fashion as the guests of his lord.” (Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament) All of this royal treatment must have seemed way too good to be true to the minds these guilt-laden brothers who had expected and feared the very worst. “So they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.” (verse 25) It appeared that everything was going to work out in their favor after all, but the intrigue was not quite over yet. Joseph was still emotionally torn about how best to deal with these beloved brothers who had mistreated and scarred him so terribly.

Please read Genesis 43:26-34 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Lord’s Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 43:11-15

Saturday, April 11, 2020

“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 carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also, and arise, return to the man; and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.’ So the men took this present, and they took double the money in their hand, and Benjamin; then they arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be so, then do this…” (verse 11) Realizing that to risk possibly losing another son would be better than for the whole family to definitely die of starvation, Israel gave in to the grim realities of the situation. Once resigned to the unescapable facts, Israel pulled himself from his despondency and formulated a plan of action to attempt to appease Simeon’s jailor and reclaim Benjamin once the ordeal was over. He determined that the best way to rectify the situation would be to greet Joseph what gifts in hand, and to return the money previously used to purchase the original load of grain.

“Take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.” (verse 11) This list of valuables greatly resembles the wares that the Ishmaelites where carrying to Egypt when the brothers originally disposed of Joseph. Recall the words of Genesis 37:25-27—“And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.’” “It is ironic that these same products, and more, constitute the tribute the brothers now pay to Joseph himself.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Take double the money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was a mistake.” (verse 12) Israel hoped against hope that some sort of oversight accounted for the moneybags that contained the purchase price of the food returning with his sons from Egypt. He instructed them to pay that money back, and also to take “double the money” to purchase additional grain to sustain the family for the foreseeable future. Verse 22 reveals that the brothers “also brought down other money in” their “hand to buy food.” The money was “doubled” either because Israel anticipated the price of grain had risen sharply, or to purchase double portions to require less frequent trips to Egypt.

“And may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man…” (verse 14) Israel finally “let go and let God.” He turned loose of trying to control that which was beyond his ability to control, and gave it all over to powerful, capable, merciful hands of God Almighty (El Shaddai). He formulated a plan and put it into action and then prayerfully trusted that the Lord would work everything out in His time and according to His will. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (verse 14) Israel had done all that he could do, and had given the matter over to the Lord. He would wait, patiently or otherwise, for the conclusion, and would accept whatever the outcome might be. He hoped and prayed for the best, but seemed to be preparing himself mentally and emotionally for the worst. Those must have been some long, lonely, listless days and weeks following his sons’ departure and preceding their return.

Please read Genesis 43:16-25 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 43:1-10

Friday, April 10, 2020

“Now the famine was severe in the land. So it came about when they had finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ Judah spoke to him, however, saying, ‘The man solemnly warned us, “You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.” If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you do not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, “You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.”’ Then Israel said, ‘Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man whether you still had another brother?’ But they said, ‘The man questioned particularly about us and our relatives, saying, “Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?” So we answered his questions. Could we possibly know that he would say, “Bring your brother down”?’ Judah said to his father Israel, ‘Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever. For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now the famine was severe in the land.” (verse 1) Jacob had flatly refused to allow Benjamin to leave his side, even at the adamant pleas, offers and insistence of his eldest son. But the prospect of starvation has a way of changing the convictions of even the most stubborn-minded of men, and Jacob’s sons bided their time until the second trip to Egypt became an absolute necessity. After “they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Egypt” (verse 2), the time for any further delays had ended, along Jacob’s resistance to turning loose of Benjamin.

“Their father said to them, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’” (verse 2) This was the moment the brothers were waiting for, and Judah seized upon the opportunity to step up to the forefront and take the lead in family matters. “But Judah spoke to him, saying, ‘The man solemnly warned us, “You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.”’” (verse 3) Judah…is the spokesman from now on; Reuben is not heard from again, even though he is the first-born. The incident described in 35:22 shows that he has long been discredited.” (Nahum Sarna)

“But if you do not send him, we will not go down…” (verse 5) The demands that Judah made of his father amounted to no less than an ultimatum, but in actuality it was the only satisfactory solution to their specific quandary. They could not eat if they were unwilling to travel back to Egypt, and they dare not return to Joseph for food if they didn’t have Benjamin with them. “The man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” No Benjamin, no Egypt, no food.

“And Israel said, ‘Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man whether you still had another brother?” (verse 6) Jacob’s life was so wrapped up in the life of his youngest son (Genesis 44:30) that he could not distinguish where his life ended and Benjamin’s life began. Just the mere mention of the young man’s existence to Joseph was taken by Jacob as a personal affront. It is remarkable how such a wonderful gift as love can foster such intense feelings of obsession, terror and calamity. It is obvious that Jacob’s love for his son at least bordered on the unhealthy, but then again, it is difficult to control such profound sensations of affection, and harder still to keep them from controlling us.

“But they said, ‘The man questioned particularly about us and our relatives, saying, “Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?” So we answered his questions.’” (verse 7) “The report now given by the brothers to their father does not correspond to the account of the interrogation in chapter 42, where the brothers appeared to offer unsolicited information about themselves quite freely (vv. 11,13). However, from 44:19 it is clear that Joseph had indeed asked the specific questions referred to here. Accordingly, it must be assumed that chapter 42 represents a very abbreviated account.” (Nahum Sarna)

“I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.” (verse 9) “To underline the seriousness with which he is willing to assume the guardianship of Benjamin, Judah employs two distinct legal idioms.” (Nahum Sarna) As “surety” Jacob put forth his own life as a guarantee for the return of Benjamin. To be held “responsible” meant that Jacob would be completely accountable for anything that might go wrong. “In Genesis 42:37 Reuben had been ready to pledge the lives of his two sons for Benjamin’s safety. Here Judah is ready to pledge his own life; see Genesis 44:32.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice.” (verse 10) This may have been hyperbole on Jacob’s part, but if his words are to be taken literally, Jacob had been forestalling for a full month in his unwillingness to allow his sons to return to Egypt with Benjamin. Whether exaggeration or not, Judah was telling his dad to get a move on and urging him to not waste another second of the precious time that was rapidly ticking away from them.

Please read Genesis 43:11-15 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 42:29-38

Thursday, April 09, 2020

“Then they went to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them, saying: ‘The man who is lord of the land spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. But we said to him, “We are honest men; we are not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is with our father this day in the land of Canaan.” Then the man, the lord of the country, said to us, “By this I will know that you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, take food for the famine of your households, and be gone. And bring your youngest brother to me; so I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. I will grant your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.”’ Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. And Jacob their father said to them, ‘You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.’ Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, ‘Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.’ But he said, ‘My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If any calamity should befall him along the way in which you go, then you would bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then they went to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them…” (verse 29) When the ten sons of Jacob minus Simeon returned to the land of Canaan they reported to their father most of what had transpired during their stay in Egypt. What is recorded in today’s verses is a condensed version of that account. “The lord of the land spoke roughly to us….” (verse 30) Even though the brothers had been unfairly put into prison for the better part of three days, it was harsh words of the disguised Joseph that cut them to the heart and left the deeper impression. Never underestimate the power for good and for evil that resides within the words that we choose to use. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)

“Bring your youngest brother to me; so I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. I will grant your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.” (verse 34) Of course, Joseph knew that his brothers were not the most honest of men, but he also knew that they were not spies. But he greatly desired to see his little brother, Benjamin, and he also wanted to test the resolve of the men who had been overtaken by weakness and hatred two decades earlier to such a great degree that they would eagerly kill or sell a problem (person) in order to eliminate it. It also seems likely that Joseph was buying as much time as possible to properly process the turn of events mentally and decide how best to bring the matter to satisfactory closure.

“Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.” (verse 35) “It is obvious that all the brothers must have dipped into their packs for food or fodder in the course of the six-day (or so) return journey. Therefore, each must have discovered his money long before reaching Canaan. As a matter of fact, that is what they tell Joseph on the next trip (43:21). We must assume, therefore, that they had prearranged to tell their father nothing of this and to stage the ‘discovery’ in his presence.” (Nahum Sarna)

“You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.” (verse 36) Even though Joseph had been abused and presumably killed, Simeon was locked away in an Egyptian jail cell, and Benjamin’s life was now suddenly imperiled, all Jacob could see was how everything was affecting him. “All these things are against me”—or in more familiar terms— “Everything always happens to me!” Of course, we can surely sympathize with the old man for the loss he had suffered, and for the potential of losing the one that was currently nearest and dearest to his heart. But it is a bit self-centered when we take life’s misfortunes to heart in such a personal way that we are blinded to fallout felt by others and only find the strength to say, “Woe is me!”.

“Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, ‘Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.’” (verse 37) Of course this was an absurd and hollow proposal, but the oldest stepped forward in a feeble attempt at leadership to try and impress upon his grieving father how dire the situation would be if he did not allow Benjamin to depart. They were all as good as dead anyway if they did not return with their youngest brother to Egypt to get the food they required to stave off starvation. Jacob was neither impressed nor persuaded by Reuben’s interjection. His final word on the subject was, “My son shall not go down with you…” (verse 38) At least until the food ran out and he was forced to change his tune.

Please read Genesis 43:1-10 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 42:18-28

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

“Now Joseph said to them on the third day, ‘Do this and live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.’ And they did so. Then they said to one another, ‘Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.’ Reuben answered them, saying, ‘Did I not tell you, “Do not sin against the boy”; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood.’ They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them. He turned away from them and wept. But when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. And thus it was done for them. So they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed from there. As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money; and behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. Then he said to his brothers, ‘My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.’ And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Do this and live, for I fear God.” (verse 18) On the “third day” of their imprisonment, not one of Joseph’s brothers had volunteered to go forth and retrieve their younger brother Benjamin (verse 15). Either from a change of heart or a willingness to compromise, Joseph suggested a course of action more agreeable to his brothers and to his own God-fearing conscience. He certainly did not want the remainder of his family and relatives back home in the land of Canaan to starve to death, and he truly intended to do no harm to the brothers that had inflicted so much harm upon him. Fortunately for them, Joseph knew there was a much Higher Power than one in such a lofty position as himself, and he answered to Him first and foremost, and ultimately and forever. When he told his brothers he feared God, through his Egyptian interpreters, he used the familiar term “Elohim”. It would have relieved and assured them to know that even such a great leader in the heathen land of their imprisonment worshiped and honored the same true God of heaven as they did.

“If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison…” (verse 19) Instead of requiring all but one to remain imprisoned until Benjamin was retrieved as he had originally demanded, Joseph allowed all but one to leave. To extend his generosity even farther, he furnished them with a rich supply of “grain for the famine” to feed their “households”. The hard exterior that Joseph had erected around his soft and kind heart had begun to crumble, and the avalanche of compassion must have left his brothers’ heads swimming in a combination of confusion and appreciation. Even still, Joseph continued to demand: “Bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.” (verse 20) “Joseph has forced the brothers into a position in which they have no choice but to bring Benjamin in order to avoid dying of hunger.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.” (verse 21) Jacob’s sons had come to the collective conclusion that their guilt from abusing their younger brother all those years ago had finally caught up with them, and they would be forced to pay a dear price for it. The guilt that had been simmering in the recesses of their consciences had finally bubbled to the surface because of their present turmoil, and their current distress had finally pushed to the forefront an awareness of and appreciation for the “distress” of Joseph’s “soul when he had pleaded” to no avail with their calloused hearts for mercy.

“Reuben answered them, saying, ‘Did I not tell you, “Do not sin against the boy”; and you would not listen?’” (verse 22) Reuben essentially tells his brothers, “I told you so!” He reminded them of his urgent appeals to spare Joseph’s life recorded in Genesis 37:21-22: “‘Let us not take his life.’ Reuben further said to them, ‘Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father.” The fact that Reuben added “Now comes the reckoning for his blood,” clearly demonstrated his belief that Joseph was dead, and that, whether directly or indirectly, they were the responsible parties.

“They did not know, however, that Joseph understood…” (verse 23) The brothers were completely unaware that Joseph was very much alive and standing in their midst, and that he could hear and understand everything they were saying. Their poignant words cut him to the quick and brought tears to his mournful eyes, but he turned away and hid his raw emotions and sympathy for his brothers’ anguish (verse 24). To demonstrate that Joseph’s threat was to be taken seriously and he was not a man to be trifled with, “he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes” (verse 24). The reasoning behind Joseph singling out Simeon for detainment is not divulged.

“Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey.” (verse 25) “Did Joseph mean to test their integrity or intensify the psychological pressure? His motivation here is unclear.” (Nahum Sarna) Whether it achieved Joseph’s desired purpose or not, the discovery of the money bags in their grain sacks caused “their hearts” to sink, “and they turned trembling to one another…” (verse 28) “They were afraid that more evil was coming upon them…and that this was a scheme laid to entrap them, and that they should be pursued and seized, and fetched back, and charged with a fraud and trick, as going off with their corn without paying for it.” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible) Convinced this was another indication of the Divine displeasure, the brothers wondered aloud: “What is this that God has done to us?” (verse 28)

Please read Genesis 42:29-38 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

 

Genesis 42:8-17

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

“But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, ‘You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.’ Then they said to him, ‘No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies.’ Yet he said to them, ‘No, but you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land!’ But they said, ‘Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive.’ Joseph said to them, ‘It is as I said to you, you are spies; by this you will be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here! Send one of you that he may get your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. But if not, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.’ So he put them all together in prison for three days.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.” (verse 8) Joseph pretended to be a stranger to his estranged brothers, and they were none the wiser of his true identity. “It being about twenty two years since they saw him, and then he was young, and his beard not grown, as now it was; and besides, he was clothed as a prince, and spoke the Egyptian language; and being in such great grandeur and splendour, and in such power and authority, and having such a retinue attending him, they never once thought of him, whom they supposed might be dead, having never heard of him all this time...” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them…” (verse 9) This influx of memories must have triggered a flood of emotions deeply within Pharaoh’s right-hand man. “The sight of his brothers prostrating themselves before him suddenly reminds Joseph of those long-forgotten dreams, and he realizes for the first time that they had actually presaged his future. Yet he cannot help but recall as well the hatreds they had engendered. He must have heard his brothers mention those dreams derisively as they threw him into the pit.” (Nahum Sarna)

“You are spies...” (verse 9) With those old, hurt feelings freshly kicking around inside him, Joseph’s kneejerk reaction was to accuse his brothers of being up to no good. There may very well have been suspicion aroused by these ten men crossing the border “via ‘the Way of Horus,’ the military highway from Canaan that led through Gaza to El-‘Arish” (Nahum Sarna), so Joseph’s accusation against them could have served a dual purpose. By accusing his brothers of being spies, Joseph would have demonstrated to his subordinates that he took the safety and security of the land of Egypt very seriously, and it also provided the perfect opportunity to put his brothers to the test.

“We are all sons of one man…” (verse 11) The logic behind this defense was anyone should have understood that no father would risk the lives of ten of his sons by sending them all on a dangerous spy mission together. “We are honest men…” Joseph knew all too well from firsthand experience that this was a flat out lie! Of course, they had likely changed and grown over the course of the past twenty plus years, but such a statement could not have been met with anything other than derision in the mind of the brother they had dealt with so dishonestly, deceptively and despicably.

“No, but you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land!” (verse 12) Joseph accused them of investigating the land of Egypt to determine the more vulnerable areas that would be exposed to attack. He refused to relent no matter their cries of innocence or the pleas for mercy. Joseph accused his brothers of being spies four times in very short order (verses 6, 11, 14, 16), and with each accusation their hearts must have sunk deeper within their chests as the inevitability of their imprisonment and the fear of possible execution pressed heavily down upon them.

“Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive.” (verse 13) The mention of both Benjamin and Jacob being alive and well in the land of Canaan must have eased the mind of Joseph greatly, and he no doubt wanted to know much more about their circumstances. But he also knew they were in need of proper nourishment if they were to maintain their state of welfare, so he didn’t have much time to keep up the current charade that he was playing. Joseph could only be left to wonder whether the thought that he was “no longer alive” was expressed by his brothers with a heart filled with remorse or not.

“By this you will be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here!” (verse 15) Joseph swore by the life of Pharaoh, the only one with a higher rank than himself (Hebrews 6:16), that the only chance the brothers had of ever walking out of Egypt as free men would be for one of them to go back home and bring back Benjamin. This would ostensibly serve as the “proof” Joseph needed to believe the brothers were telling the truth about not being spies. “Send one of you that he may get your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you.” (verse 16) Otherwise they would be tried as spies.

“So he put them all together in prison for three days.” (verse 17) “Hebrew mishmar…the same term as used previously for the place of Joseph’s imprisonment. Its use hints at a sort of retributive justice.” (Nahum Sarna) The tables had been turned on these abusive brothers in so many ways and their sins had finally caught up with them. “Behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Of even great significance though, they would also meet with the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, extended by the hand of the righteous Joseph. Praise be to the Lord that His amazing grace is greater than the sum total of our detestable sins! “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression…” (Numbers 14:18).

Please read Genesis 42:18-28 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 42:1-7

Monday, April 06, 2020

“Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, 'Why are you staring at one another?' He said, 'Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.' Then ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, 'I am afraid that harm may befall him.' So the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those who were coming, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also. Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, 'Where have you come from?' And they said, 'From the land of Canaan, to buy food.'

---End of Scripture verses---

“Why are you staring at one another?” (verse 1) Jacob's sons were stuck like deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car. In their state of despondency it was as if the brothers were incapable of processing the next logical thought, or unwilling to take the next logical step to alleviate their plight. The situation had gotten so discouraging to them that they were unable to discuss with one another what was to be done, they only had the ability to sit and stare. There are situation in life that make us feel like we have reached our wit's end. Frequently it takes the composure and experience of an elderly person like Jacob to provide wise counsel in times of doubt and despair. Of course, we can and should always appeal to our heavenly Father to give us wisdom and open our eyes to the right direction to take, and to provide for our most critical needs.

“'Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.” (verse 2) Jacob had the whereabouts to pay attention to what was going on around him. He had “heard” from some neighbors or associates that there was food available in the land of Egypt. In verse one it was said that “Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt.” Perhaps he had caught sight of passersby hauling a load of produce back home, and he asked them where they had located such a godsend. “When the narrative spotlight last shone on Jacob, we witnessed a pitiable spectacle of an inconsolable father mourning his lost son. Now, after an interval of over twenty years, the old patriarch is once again the man of action, exercising authority and initiative in a critical situation.” (Nahum Sarna)

“But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, 'I am afraid that harm may befall him.'” (verse 4) Jacob may have recovered and returned to his old, resourceful self, but he still felt the sting of the loss of his beloved Joseph. By this time Benjamin, the youngest of Jacob's sons and the last of his beloved Rachel's offspring, had taken the place of Joseph as the old patriarch's favorite. He was not about to risk the life or safety of the baby of the family, or the loss one so dear to his heart. He sent the other ten brothers on the week-long, one-way journey to Egypt to bring back adequate supplies to feed the small nation of a family that they had grown to be.

“And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” (verse 6) It would have been easy and understandable for Joseph to take some perverse satisfaction at the sight of his abusers and tormentors falling prostrate to the ground before him in supplication and veneration. His life must have passed swiftly before his eyes when he first caught sight of his long lost brothers, and the thoughts of what might and should have been likely flooded his mind with sorrow and grief and certainly anger. The offended and aggrieved younger brother had every right and reason to initially speak “to them harshly” (verse 7), for crimes and offenses that they had committed against him.

“When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them...” (verse 7) “Just when Joseph has reached a point in his life where he prefers not to be reminded of his past, he is forced to confront it by the rush of events. Once again he finds himself face to face with his brothers. One the previous, disastrous occasion, Joseph had been sent b y his father to them; now it is they whom Jacob sends, unknowingly, to Joseph. Then Joseph had been at the mercy of his brothers; now he is master of the situation and they come as suppliants.” (Nahum Sarna) “But he disguised himself to them...” Joseph was prudent and wise enough to not immediately reveal himself to his brothers before he could rationally think through the appropriate way to deal with the situation. And who could blame him for milking the circumstance for a moment, and making his miscreant brothers sweat it out for a while before finally extending the hand of love and salvation to them?! He deserved just the slightest savor of sweet revenge as he momentarily held the upper hand didn't he?

Please read Genesis 41:8-17 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:53-57

Sunday, April 05, 2020

“When the seven years of plenty which had been in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, 'Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.' When the famine was spread over all the face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said...” (verse 54) “The seven years of plenty” were evidence that Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams were at least half-true. It was not until the time of famine which began seven years later that Joseph's wisdom and Pharaoh's instincts proved to be completely accurate and reliable as well. The fact that things happened “just as Joseph had said” indicates in reality that all things always comes to pass just exactly the way that the Lord God Almighty says they will.

“Lower Egypt, the northern area of the country, is virtually rainless. Its entire economy, of which agriculture was the core in ancient times, has always depended upon the Nile floods caused by the river's periodic rise during three summer months. The swelling of the river results from the torrential rains in the Upper Nile Basin being carried down to the Delta by the Blue Nile. In ancient times an elaborate series of artificially constructed irrigation works controlled the distribution and utilization of the flood waters... Normally, the floods come with remarkable regularity. But there are years when the rainfall in the southern Sudan provides an insufficient volume of water.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Then there was famine in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.” (verse 54) The lack of adequate rainfall must have been vastly widespread in its nature to effect “all the lands” in an expansive enough area to include the land of Palestine as well. But in the land of Egypt, with Joseph at the helm of an elaborate plan to store up enormous amounts of grain during the years of plenty, and then distribute the surplus during the lean years, there was plenty of food available for resident and foreigner alike. And of course, this verse sets the stage for Joseph to finally confront the hungry and desperate brothers who had mistreated him and sold him as mere merchandise some two and a half decades earlier.

“Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.” (verse 55) When the people of the land began to appeal to Pharaoh for food to feed their families, he ushered them directly to the authority and instruction of Joseph. With all the king's confidence and reliance, the Hebrew had been entrusted with the gargantuan task of keeping the people of the land alive and well during a time of extreme peril. In this regard, Joseph prefigured our Lord Jesus Christ in His mission to provide spiritual salvation for all humanity. Even the directive of Pharaoh foreshadowed the words that the mother of Jesus spoke at the Cana wedding feast concerning her Son: “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).

“When the famine was spread over all the face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians.” (verse 56) “For, as he had bought it with Pharaoh's money, it was no injustice to sell it; and as it could be sold at a moderate price, and yet Pharaoh get enough by it, being bought cheap in a time of plenty, no doubt but Joseph, who was a kind and benevolent man, sold it at such a price.” (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) “The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.” (verse 57) When Jacob “heard that there” was “grain in Egypt” (Genesis 42:2), the next step in God's plan to save the children of Israel and all mankind through His Beloved Son would be put into motion.

Please read Genesis 42:1-7 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:46-52

Saturday, April 04, 2020

“Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly. So he gathered all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt and placed the food in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields. Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure. Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.' He named the second Ephraim, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh...” (verse 46) Since Joseph was seventeen when he first gave a unflattering report to his father about his brothers' bad behavior (Genesis 37:2-3), which eventually led to his brothers abusing him, his being sold into slavery, the false accusations by Potiphar's wife and his subsequent wrongful imprisonment, thirteen long years had transpired between his fall from family grace and his rise to Egyptian power. “And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.” “Joseph loses no time in familiarizing himself with local conditions preparatory to his main task of enabling the Egyptians to survive the expected famine.” (Nahum Sarna)

“During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly.” (verse 47) The literal term used in Hebrew is “by handfuls”. This likely indicates that “Not in single stalks or grains, but in handfuls compared with the former yield” (Barnes' Notes on the Bible). This abundance corresponds with Pharaoh's second dream of “seven ears of grain” coming “up on a single stalk, plump and good” (verse 7). The seven years of abundance produced bumper crops of such astounding proportions that placing a fifth of the grain in storage facilities did not require sacrifice from the citizenry and did not affect the people's normal food consumption rate in the slightest.

“He placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields.” (verse 48) Joseph made certain, with meticulous managerial skills, that every city in the kingdom became a repository of the excess grain and an epicenter of support for the surrounding rural regions during the time of future famine. He stored up such an abundance that he eventually stopped registering the grain into inventory because “it was beyond measure” (verse 49). “It was a strange quirk of fate that the shepherd boy should have become...'Minister of Agriculture.' Joseph's first dream, described in Genesis 37:7, perhaps contained a hint of his future vocation.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph...” (verse 50) The firstborn son he named Manasseh. “The primary meaning of the name is 'he who causes to forget.' Such a name would most likely be given to a child born after some misfortune, such as the death of an earlier child or of the father. Joseph here adapts the name to his own situation.” (Nahum Sarna) Joseph had in mind his suffering from the ways his brothers had abused him in his “father's household” (verse 51). “With the birth of an heir, Joseph has now founded his own nuclear family. He has achieved physical, social, and psychological security and feels he can forget his miserably unhappy youth or at least not allow it to intrude upon his future.” (Nahum Sarna)

“He named the second Ephraim, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” (verse 52) “The name originally must have meant either 'fertile land'...or 'pastureland'... Either...would aptly describe the future territory of the tribe bearing this name, which was located west of the Jordan in the central region. It was blessed with good soil and rainfall.” (Nahum Sarna) While the birth of Manasseh helped Joseph make peace with his troubled youth and the loss of his family, the birth of Ephraim helped to soothe the emotional and psychological wounds he incurred as a lonely foreigner in the land of his Egyptian enslavement. We are often told in the Bible and other places and sources of the great blessings that children provide to our lives. We see here the aspect of comfort they afford us from the pain and turmoil associated with living in a fallen world.

Please read Genesis 41:53-57.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:37-45

Friday, April 03, 2020

“Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. Then Pharaoh said to his servants, 'Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?' So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.' Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.' Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, 'Bow the knee!' And he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.' Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.” (verse 37) The king believed the interpretation absolutely and Joseph's proposed plan to prepare for the times of sparsity was pleasing and plausible to Pharaoh and all his advisors. “Then Pharaoh said to his servants, 'Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?'” (verse 38) Pharaoh and all his cabinet agreed that there could be no one more qualified to implement the fourteen year plan than the man who originated it. Pharaoh believed that God had interpreted the dream as Joseph had stated, and recognized the “divine spirit” that worked powerfully within him. “This is the first biblical mention of one so endowed... Belshazzar...describes Daniel: 'I have heard about you that you have the spirit of the gods in you, and that illumination, knowledge, and extraordinary wisdom are to be found in you' (Dan. 5:14). Generally, possession of the 'spirit of God' impels one to undertake a mission (Num. 27:18), imparts extraordinary energy and drive (Judg. 3:10; 11:29), and produces uncommon intelligence and practical wisdom.” (Nahum Sarna)

“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.” (verse 39) This was not mere flattery on Pharaoh's part, but an astute recognition of, not only Joseph's God-given ability to recognize the impending doom revealed in the king's dream, but the insight and wisdom to do something about it. In fact, Pharaoh was so impressed with the young man that he immediately placed him in a position of prominence. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.'” (verse 40) Joseph is taken from an obscure foreign prisoner serving in the jail house of the captain of the guard, and thrust upwardly to the position of second in command in all the Egyptian Empire, and answerable only to Pharaoh himself. Placed “over” Pharaoh's “house,” Joseph was named “'Overseer of the Domain of the Palace,' one of the known Egyptian bureaucratic titles. Most likely, Joseph is given control over the king's personal estates.” (Nahum Sarna)

“Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.” (verse 42) “Pharaoh now performs a series of ceremonial acts that, in effect, constitute Joseph's investiture as 'Grand Visier of Egypt.'... The transfer of the ring bearing the royal seal from the finger of Pharaoh to that of Joseph signifies the delegation of authority; it enables the new official to validate documents in the king's name. The 'Royal Seal-Bearer was well known in the Egyptian bureaucracy... Joseph's new robes bring to mind the passage in the autobiography of Rekh-mi-Re, vizier of Upper Egypt in the days of Thutmose III (15th century B.C...), where he describes how he 'went forth...clad in fine linen.'... the giving of a gold chain was one of the highest distinctions the king could bestow upon his favorites.” (Nahum Sarna)

“He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, 'Bow the knee!' And he set him over all the land of Egypt.” (verse 43) This first mention of the famed Egyptian chariot in the Bible is used to introduce Joseph to the people of Egypt as he “went forth over the land of Egypt (verse 45). Hundreds of years later, Pharaoh's chariots would pursue the fleeing Israelites to the Red Sea where their riders and horses would be drowned by a fierce overthrow from the Lord's righteous wrath. “They proclaimed before him, 'Bow the knee!'” “t\They commanded all that passed by him, or came to him, to show their reverent respect to him in this manner: compare Esther 3:2.” (Matthew Poole's Commentary) “His guard that attended him, when he rode out in his chariot, called to the people, as they passed along, to bow the knee to Joseph, as a token of veneration and respect; or they proclaimed him 'Abrech'...this is the father of the king...'Rech' signifies a king in the Syriac language; and this agrees with what Joseph himself says, that God had made him a father to Pharaoh, Genesis 45:8. (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“Without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.'” (verse 44) This figure of speech simply meant that Joseph's authority was absolute, and that no significant official affair of state would be sanctioned without his approval. “Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-panea...” (verse 45) It was common for a king to change the names of foreigners promoted to places of importance within his realm, such as Nebuchadnezzar would later do with Daniel and his three young friends (Daniel 1:7). Pharoah “Egyptianized” Joseph with this new name that indicated a fresh, new beginning for the former lowly, foreign prisoner. Nahum Sarna suggests this name might mean “revealer of hidden things” if it has a Hebrew twist to it. It could also possibly signify “God speaks” or “He lives” or “savior of the land”. Pharaoh also gave Joseph a wife named “Asenath” who was the daughter of the priest of the sun god.

It is pretty amazing that Pharoah was completely sold on the interpretation and all in on Joseph's plan even though he had not received one ounce of solid, empirical evidence that the things Joseph predicted would come to pass. This speaks to the fact that God's hand was guiding these affairs and His plan would not be overturned by the feeble minds of merely mortal men.

Please read Genesis 41:46-52 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:25-36

Thursday, April 02, 2020

“Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind will be seven years of famine. It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do. Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will ravage the land. So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be very severe. Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about. Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.'”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same...” (verse 25) The only differences in the Pharaoh's two impactful dreams were the the details involved. The cows and the grain both represented the exact same things. “The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same.” (verse 26) “God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.” (verse 25) Pharaoh was right to not brush these dreams off as if they were merely the inconsequential inner workings of his severely stimulated subconscious mind. This was none other than a revelation from the mind of God Almighty, albeit a cryptic one that needed the interpretation of one endowed with divine discernment such as Joseph.

“The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind will be seven years of famine.” (verse 27) “Pharaoh elaborated upon the negative aspects of his dreams (vv. 19,21) emphasizing the elements that had deeply disturbed him. Joseph, therefore, mentions the famine first, inverting the order of the dream phenomena. In this way, the narrative indicates that it is the famine that causes Joseph's emancipation and elevation to high office and brings his brothers down to Egypt. It is these events that are the ultimate points of interest in the story.” (Nahum Sarna)

“It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.” (verse 28) Joseph encased the revelation of the seven years of famine and drought within the same framework phrase to emphasize the point that the dreams were God's doing. In verse 16, prior to hearing and interpreting the dreams, Joseph insisted that, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” This was the Lord's business and His doings from start to finish, and Joseph wisely and righteously fixated that fact to Pharaoh's comprehension.

“Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will ravage the land.” (verses 29-30) While these dreams and the subsequent unfolding chain of events were ultimately designed to fulfill the Lord's greater purposes, the fact remains that God was giving Pharaoh abundant warning and ample opportunity to prepare himself and his people for the hard years that lie ahead. No matter how delightful and impressive the booming years of our lives may be, the lean years will ravage us and leave us completely destitute if we do not make adequate preparation for them while we have the opportunity to do so.

Whether it is taking care of our physical health, planning for our financial future and our edifying and fortifying our spiritual strength, the importance of the principle of proper preparation can not be overemphasized. Solomon exhorts us in Ecclesiastes 12:1 to, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, 'I have no delight in them.'” Make appropriate preparations during the time you have the ability to do so, because the day will eventually come when it will be too late. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7) “Careless soul, O heed the warning, for your life will soon be gone; O how sad, to face the judgment, unprepared to meet thy God.”

“Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.” (verse 32) Consider Nahum Sarna's commentary on Joseph's two dreams from Genesis 37:5-9—“Throughout the Joseph narratives, dreams come in pairs in order to demonstrate their seriousness, as noted in 41:32. The possibility of an idle dream was recognized by the ancients. From the literature of the ancient Near East we have accounts of double, triple, and even sevenfold repetition of dreams in which one symbol is successively substituted for another, although the basic meaning and central theme remain the same throughout the series.”

“Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.” (verse 33) Of course Pharaoh didn't have to look very far at all, for a singularly discerning and wise man was standing right before him advising him in the course of action he should take. Joseph went on to strongly suggest “that three measures be taken to avert the dreaded menace of famine: the selection of a national commissioner, the appointment of regional overseers, and the institution of urban grain storage... the populace is to give a fifth part of the produce to the crown for storage purposes... It is to be noted that Joseph later institutes a permanent tax of one-fifth of all produce (47:24,26) and that the number 'five' recurs many times in the Joseph story.” (Nahum Sarna)

Please read Genesis 41:37-45 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:14-24

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

“Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.' So Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, 'In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile; and behold, seven cows, fat and sleek came up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the marsh grass. Lo, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such as I had never seen for ugliness in all the land of Egypt; and the lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows. Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had devoured them, for they were just as ugly as before. Then I awoke. I saw also in my dream, and behold, seven ears, full and good, came up on a single stalk; and lo, seven ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them; and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon...” (verse 14) “Now that God's set time had come (Ps 105:19), no human power nor policy could detain Joseph in prison. During his protracted confinement, he might have often been distressed with perplexing doubts; but the mystery of Providence was about to be cleared up, and all his sorrows forgotten in the course of honor and public usefulness in which his services were to be employed.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

“And when he had shaved himself...” (verse 14) Even though the rush was on to bring Joseph to Pharaoh to interpret the dreams that were robbing him of his sleep, the Hebrew lad must first be made presentable to stand before the great king. Joseph was promptly allowed (forced) to shave, most likely the hair on his head as well as his face. “Egyptians suffered their hair and beards to grow only when in mourning; whereas in Palestine the beard was regarded as a manly ornament. On Egyptian monuments only captives and men of low condition are represented with beards. In the prison, therefore, Joseph would leave his beard untrimmed, but when summoned into the king’s presence, he would shave it off.” (Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers)

“And changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.” (verse 14) “Clothing has been a constant factor in Joseph's misfortunes. This change of clothing has symbolic meaning as the process of his liberation now begins.” (Nahum Sarna) “For each suffering of Joseph there was an exact recompense. It was for dreams that his brethren hated him, and by help of dreams he was exalted in Egypt. They stripped him of his many-coloured coat; the Egyptians clothed him in byssus. They cast him into a pit, and from the pit of the prison he was drawn forth by Pharaoh. They sold him into slavery; in Egypt he was made lord.” (Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers)

“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.'” (verse 16) When Pharaoh informed Joseph he had acquired the reputation for being a highly skilled interpreter of dreams, Joseph quickly and humbly gave God the credit and the glory for that power and prowess. As he had previously declared to the cupbearer and the baker while in prison, “interpretations belong to God” (Genesis 40:8). Joseph was not saying that God would tell Pharaoh what exactly he wanted to hear by stating that He would give him a “favorable” answer. He was merely stating that the Lord would concisely convey the specific meaning of the divine messages.

“So Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, 'In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile.” (verse 17) Pharaoh went on to reiterate the dream which was revealed to us in verses 1-7 with some minor modifications. There are some further explanations or exaggerations included that were not previously present, such has his description of the ugly cows being “such as I had never seen for ugliness in all the land of Egypt” (verse 19). But such variations are always the case when someone repeats a story or event, especially one that has delivered a strong emotional impact upon them.

Please read Genesis 41:25-36 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:9-13

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, 'I would make mention today of my own offenses. Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. We had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream. And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him.””

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, 'I would make mention today of my own offenses.” (verse 9) Two years earlier, Joseph had begged the cupbearer to, “keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14). It wasn't until this precise moment of crisis in the life of Pharaoh that the memory of Joseph and his obligation dawned on him. Perhaps when the cupbearer reported his “offenses,” he used the plural because he not only related the wrongdoing he had perpetrated against Pharaoh, but also made confession of his offense of omission against the “Hebrew youth” (verse 12). Then again, he could have merely been ingratiating himself with his master for personal favor.

The Benson Commentary, referencing the King James Version's use of “butler” instead of “cupbearer” stated the following concerning God's perfect timing: “God’s time for the enlargement of his people will appear, at last, to be the fittest time. If the chief butler had at first used his interest for Joseph’s enlargement, and had obtained it, it is probable he would have gone back to the land of the Hebrews, and then he had neither been so blessed himself, nor such a blessing to his family. But staying two years longer, and coming out upon this occasion to interpret the king’s dreams, a way was made for his preferment.”

“Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us.” (verse 12) The cupbearer related the specifics of Joseph's lineage, his youthful age and his status as Potiphar's servant to Pharaoh, and even that he had interpreted his and the baker's dreams. But the one fact that undoubtedly caught Pharaoh's undivided attention was this: “Just as he interpreted for us, so it happened.” (verse 13) Anybody can interpret a dream, but not just anyone can do so with precision and accuracy, so Pharaoh immediately seized upon this miraculous resource that the Lord had placed directly within his reach. “Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon.” (verse 14) It was time for Joseph's star to rise and shine yet again, and this time it would blaze with meteoric intensity and providential longevity.

Please read Genesis 41:14-24.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 41:1-8

Monday, March 30, 2020

“Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. The ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. He fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Now in the morning his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream...” (verse 1) “Two full years” after the release of the royal cupbearer and the execution of the royal baker, with Joseph still serving time for a crime that he did not commit, Pharaoh had two dreams that would change the fate of Joseph and the family and nation of Israel forever. “This monarch, under whom Joseph was elevated, 'was probably one of the Hyksos rulers shortly after 1720 B.C'” (James Burton Coffman quoting John T. Willis) “The wheel of fate has turned full circle. Joseph's misfortunes began with dreams and now end through dreams. Because of their critical role in the subsequent history of Joseph and Israel, Pharaoh's dreams are narrated immediately and then repeated by Pharaoh himself.” (Nahum Sarna)

“And behold, he was standing by the Nile.” (verse 1) “The Nile as the setting for Pharaoh's dream is fateful, for the river was literally the lifeline of Egypt, the source of its entire economy.” (Nahum Sarna) “And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat...” (verse 2) “The cow is a very significant emblem of fruitful nature among the Egyptians, the hieroglyphic symbol of the earth and of agriculture; and the form in which Isis the goddess of the earth was adored.” (Barnes' Notes on the Bible) “The number “seven” is commonly employed for the purposes of symbolism. The god Osiris is represented in Egyptian drawings as an ox accompanied by seven cows.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges) “The ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows.” (verse 4) A strange and troubling dream indeed. That such docile creatures as cows should consume one another, and stranger still that the skinny cows should devour the stout, healthy ones and leave not a trace of their existence behind. After Pharaoh was awakened by the puzzling dream he was soon able to drift back off to sleep, but only to have his slumber interrupted by yet another puzzling, troubling dream of seven objects devouring seven other objects.

“He fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears.” (verses 5-7) “the duplication of the dream seems to place its significance beyond dispute. The resemblance of the dreams is found in (1) the number 'seven'; (2) in the good products being consumed by the bad. The first dream was concerned with the sacred animal of Egypt; the second with Egypt’s chief source of wealth.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream.” (verse 7) Have you ever had a dream so vivid and realistic that, when you woke up to find it was only a fabrication of your restless, overly-imaginative mind, you had a hard time accepting it was only a fantasy? That was the situation with Pharaoh on that fateful, fitful, dream-filled night. When he woke up from the second crazy dream, as utterly bizarre as they both had been, there was something far to substantial and alarming about them to merely cast them aside as something unintentional and inconsequential.

“Now in the morning his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.” (verse 8) It is highly unlikely that Pharaoh was able to float back off to sleep after the second, troubling dream had jolted him from his slumber. At the first light of dawn he called for all of Egypt's notable “magicians” (fortunetellers) and “wise men” (possibly astrologers) to give him a suitable answer, but “no one could interpret” the dreams. These men certainly made attempts to explain the possible meaning of the dreams to their king, but Pharaoh was neither impressed nor satisfied with the any of their suggestions. Since it was the hand of God at work disturbing Pharaoh's mind as he slept, the Lord Himself would provide the true interpretation by directing a truly wise man into his presence to serve the king, the entirety of the nation, and the furtherance of the divine plan to serve and save all humanity.

“Perhaps the most impressive thing about the chapter is its perfect fulfillment of the pattern reaching all the way back to the double dream of Joseph (Genesis 37), the dream that foretold the very events centering around this double dream of Pharaoh, a dream which Joseph's father accurately interpreted (Genesis 37:10). That first pair of dreams was followed by a second pair, those of the butler and the baker related in the last chapter; and now, in this, 'The providential series of double dreams concludes!' The first prophesied of the third; and the second proved a stepping stone to the third, which is the climax of all three. Only one voice speaks throughout Genesis. Only one power controls its events. That voice and power are those of God.” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 41:9-13 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 40:16-23

Sunday, March 29, 2020

“When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted favorably, he said to Joseph, 'I also saw in my dream, and behold, there were three baskets of white bread on my head; and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.' Then Joseph answered and said, 'This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.' Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted favorably...” (verse 16) After the baker saw that the cupbearer's dream had received a favorable interpretation it filled his heart with confidence and excitement. The similarities between his dream and that of his prison mate had infused him with hope and he was eager for Joseph to interpret his dream as well. Unfortunately for the baker, his dream portended a much different outcome and a crueler fate awaited him at Pharaoh's birthday celebration.

Verses 16-17 – While there were similarities between the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer, specifically the prominence of the number three, the dissimilarities were the determining factor for the divergent outcomes. In the previous dream, it was the cupbearer doing the tasks and performing the service to Pharaoh. In the baker's dream, however, things were taking place that were beyond his ability to control. Nahum Sarna observed concerning the birds eating the bread from the basket on his head, “The baker has neither the strength nor the presence of mind to drive them away—an ominous detail.”

“Then Joseph answered and said, 'This Is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days.” (verse 18) The fallout of the two dreams would come to fruition according to the same timetable. “Within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.” (verse 19) “Joseph notes that, unlike the cupbearer, the baker does not prepare the delicacies himself and does not personally serve Pharaoh in his dream. In fact, the food does not even reach Pharaoh, for it is eaten by the birds. This symbolizes the devouring of the baker's own flesh by the vultures.” (Nahum Sarna)

Even though the baker anticipated and was desirous of a favorable report and positive outcome, Joseph merely told him the truth. Joseph knew it was not his prerogative, nor was it in his power, to change the word of God for the purpose of pleasing someone or making them feel good about a dire situation. He was not being thoughtless or cruel, he was only conveying the word and will of the Lord as he should. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22) “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” (Ephesians 6:14) “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.” (Zechariah 8:16) “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25)

Do not be afraid to kindly tell people the truth of God's word, because that is exactly what they need to hear. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths..” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants.” (verse 20) “The birthdays of the kings of Egypt were considered holy, and were celebrated with great joy and rejoicing. All business was suspended, and the people generally took part in the festivities" (Pulpit Commentary) “This was a holiday season, celebrated at court with great magnificence and honored by a free pardon to prisoners.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary) Both the cupbearer and the baker had their “heads lifted,” so to speak, out of prison and before the tribunal for closer examination of their individual cases. But only one of them received that much desired pardon.

“He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them.” (verses 21-22) “They were both lifted out of prison, but the one was lifted up to his former post and place in Pharaoh's court, and the other was lifted up to a gallows...” (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) It is possible from the wording of verse 19 that Pharaoh actually had the baker decapitated and his body impaled (hanged) on a post (tree). Joseph had amazingly interpreted the dreams with great precision and accuracy. And yet, equally amazingly, “the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” (verse 23) Somehow amid all the cupbearer's exuberance and euphoria, all thoughts and remembrance of Joseph had completely escaped his mind. “The ingratitude of the Egyptian cupbearer prefigures the later national experience of the Israelites in Egypt (cf. Exod. 1:8).” (Nahum Sarna)

Please read Genesis 41:1-8 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 40:9-15

Saturday, March 28, 2020

“So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, 'In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me; and on the vine were three branches. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.' Then Joseph said to him, 'This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer. Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph...” (verse 9) Joseph's attempt to provide clarity to the dreams of the cupbearer and baker was driven by his desire to help these prisoners who were in a state of abject dejection (verse 6). When he came to serve them he saw how sad their faces looked and he felt compassion for them (verse 7). Joseph commiserated with the plight of the forlorn and admirably looked for ways to alleviate their burdens, even while confined to imprisonment that he did not deserve. God always provides opportunities for us to serve the needs of others if we will only pull our gaze away from our own struggles long enough to catch a glimpse of what is going on around us.

Verses 9-12 – There seems to be nothing overly disturbing about the cupbearer's dream in itself that would have warranted his intense grief and consternation. With the rapid succession of a time lapse video, a grapevine budded, blossomed and produced a cluster of ripe grapes. With Pharaoh's wine goblet in one hand and the cluster in another, the cupbearer squeezed the juice into the cup and placed into the king's hand. Nahum Sarna observed the repetitive use of the number three in this dream: “The recurrence of the number three indicates specifically three days, three branches, three stages of growth, three actions performed; and both 'Pharaoh' and his 'cup are mentioned three times.” (Nahum Sarna) Frequently in the Bible the number three figuratively represents God, truth and/or completion. Perhaps there is symbolic significance in the number three in this dream.

“Then Joseph said to him, 'This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days.” (verse 12) Whether symbolism was present or not, the number three was pretty straight forward in regard to the branches: they represented the number of days that would elapse before Pharaoh would reinstate the cupbearer to his office in service of the king. “ Within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office...” (verse 13). “The inability to 'raise the head' is synonymous with indignity, shame, and a state of subjection” (Nahum Sarna). In this interpretation and instance, lifting up the head was an act of dignity, honor and renewal. The same phrase would be used with dark and ominous significance for the the baker unfortunately (verse 19).

“Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.” (verse 14) While Joseph interpreted the cupbearer's dream as an act of kindness and service to a poor soul in need, it was only fair to request a favor in return for his services. With the man restored to a place of good standing with the Pharaoh of Egypt, he would be in the perfect position to speak a word of kindness about the excellent young man with an extraordinary, God-given gift that could prove most useful to the king. “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph” (verse 23), at least not until two years later (Genesis 41:1)

“For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.” (verse 15) “Joseph assures the cupbearer that he would be intervening on behalf of an innocent man.” (Nahum Sarna) For Joseph to say that he was “kidnapped” from the land of his people does not contradict the account of his enslavement. His brothers selling him as a slave to traveling merchants for a paltry sum of silver amounted to no more than an abduction from the security and comforts of his home. Joseph did his best to maintain a positive attitude and outlook and to do the best he could in whatever position he found himself in, but he rightly looked for ways to improve his situation and acquire a better life with more freedoms and blessings. Wouldn't we all rightly want to do the same?

Please read Genesis 40:16-23 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 40:1-8

Friday, March 27, 2020

“Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in jail, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected. He asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, 'Why are your faces so sad today?' Then they said to him, 'We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.'”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Then it came about after these things...” (verse 1) “We may calculate that Joseph is now twenty-eight years old for we know in another two years, when he appears before Pharaoh, he is then thirty. Eleven years have elapsed since his sale into slavery; but we have no way of determining how many of those years he spent in the service of Potiphar and how many in prison.” (Nahum Sarna) “The cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt.” These two men somehow “offended” the king of Egypt, but the precise infractions are not relevant to the story and therefore omitted by the author. Theirs were no minor offenses because the text tells us that “Pharaoh was furious with his two officials” (verse 2).

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary submits about the position of these two men the following: “Not only the cup-bearer, but overseer of the royal vineyards, as well as the cellars; having, probably, some hundreds of people under him. Baker—or cook, had the superintendence of every thing relating to the providing and preparing of meats for the royal table. Both officers, especially the former, were, in ancient Egypt, always persons of great rank and importance; and from the confidential nature of their employment, as well as their access to the royal presence, they were generally the highest nobles or princes of the blood.

“So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned.” (verse 3) “Potiphar was not only the captain of the guard, but his duties also included the administration of the special prison used for detaining the king's prisoners. The keeper of the prison is not named, but the keeper was Potiphar's deputy, and the compound or palace where this establishment lay also served as Potiphar's residence... Here is the explanation of how Potiphar was able to cast Joseph into prison without even an examining trial, and how things were said to be done by Potiphar, the captain of the guard, that were actually done by the deputy, who is nowhere named in the passage.” (James Burton Coffman)

“Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in jail, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation.” (verse 5) It is not uncommon for people who go to bed in a troubled state of mind to be plagued by very disturbing dreams in their sleep. Since the Pharaoh was furious with these men, it is likely that they endured several nights of fitful sleep fraught with frightening fantasy. But these two dreams were distinctively disturbing and promised to be particularly portentous and the two prisoners desperately desired an interpretation.

“When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected.” (verse 6) Even after having been awake for a prolonged period of time, the cupbearer and the baker could not shake off the vexation and disquiet of the previous night's dreams. It must have only added to their state of agitation when the two men discovered that they had both been haunted by distressing dreams on the very same night. When Joseph came to tend to them that morning both men were completely despondent.

“We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” (verse 8) Their despondency lie in the fact that they were both confined to prison where they had no access to a “magician” or “wise man” to interpret their dreams. “Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.'” (verse 9) Only the Lord God of heaven knows the true meaning in every hidden and mysterious thing. And since these were no ordinary dreams but had much deeper meaning buried beneath them, only the Lord who sees and knows all things could provide an adequate and accurate interpretation. This was the God that Joseph served and who had communicated with him through dreams in times past. Joseph felt pretty confident that the Lord would reveal the interpretations to him if the men would only tell him the details. “Joseph's own dreams caused his misfortunes. Now the dreams of others lead to his prosperity.” (Nahum Sarna)

Please read Genesis 40:9-15 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 39:19-23

Thursday, March 26, 2020

“Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, 'This is what your slave did to me,' his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now when his master heard the words of his wife...his anger burned.” (verse 19) The text does not specify just who Potiphar's anger burned toward, but it seems that he believed the lie that his wife told had him about Joseph unconditionally. Of course, he could not have been happy at all about losing the services of such a highly skilled and talented manager as Joseph, but then again, he could have chosen to actually investigate the matter instead of just taking his wife's word at face value. I guess keeping the peace at home was more important than keeping a valuable servant in his position, even if he had proven himself loyal and trustworthy time and time again.

“So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined...” “The prison, of which there was one in each town of any size, served as a penal institution for convicted criminals, as a labor camp for those forced into the corvée, and as the seat of the criminal court. In the present instance, the prison is under the jurisdiction of Joseph's master and is housed on his property, as is clear from 40:3,7 and 41:10... Being an officer of the court, Potiphar puts Joseph in the section reserved for royal prisoners, a detail vital to the understanding of the next episode. Why does Joseph escape execution, which would certainly have been the fate of a slave who attempted to assault his master's wife sexually? Is it because of Potiphar's extreme fondness for him, or because he really doubts the veracity of the woman's story?” (Nahum Sarna)

“But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him...” (verse 21) Verse 3 tells us that “the Lord was with “ Joseph while serving in the capacity of administrator in Potiphar's house, and that his master could plainly see evidence of this divine favor and provision. But, just because Joseph lost his good standing with his earthly master who had him wrongly thrown into prison, that is no indication at all that the Lord was displeased with him or had departed from him or withdrawn His divine favor. The Lord did not keep Joseph from being put into prison as an innocent man, even as He had not previously shielded him from being abused by his brothers who sold him into slavery when he did not deserve it. But even in the dank shadows of the dungeon (Genesis 40:15), “the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him.” Do not believe that the Lord is displeased with you or has departed from you just because He allows you to experience troubles and endure trials that you do not deserve. He is either preparing you or testing you or opening a door for you that you do not yet see.

“And gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” (verse 21) Joseph grew and flourished where he was planted. He made the best of a bad situation, and, with the Lord's help and providence, he excelled at his tasks and looked for opportunity to do the next right thing. Remember, the Apostle Paul was praying and singing songs of praise with his traveling companion, Silas, while in stocks in a Jail in Philippi (Acts 16:25), and not lamenting the deplorable conditions. They never lost their hope or faith in the Lord and held tightly to their joy in spite of the misery. It was the same Apostle Paul who wrote: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

“The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.” (verses 22-23) Through the Lord's will and providence, and Joseph's diligence and virtue, he did not lose his position of authority and influence, he merely had a change in venues. “It is highly probable, from the situation of this prison (Ge 40:3), that the keeper might have been previously acquainted with Joseph and have had access to know his innocence of the crime laid to his charge, as well as with all the high integrity of his character. That may partly account for his showing so much kindness and confidence to his prisoner. But there was a higher influence at work; for 'the Lord was with Joseph, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.'” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

Please read Genesis 40:1-8

The Lord be with you and make you to prosper!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 39:7-18

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

“It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, 'Lie with me.' But he refused and said to his master’s wife, 'Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?' As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. She caught him by his garment, saying, 'Lie with me!' And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household and said to them, 'See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.' So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with these words, 'The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; 18 and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.'”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Has Joseph's success corroded his moral fiber? His character is about to be put to the test. The picture of Joseph as it emerges from the pages of this narrative is far different from that of the boy back in his father's home. So skillfully is the story set forth that, in our sympathy and admiration for the hero's nobility of character, we forget those displeasing traits that alienated us at the outset. Joseph is now the unwitting instrument of God's providence, and his behavior in the face of temptation demonstrates his worthiness for the role.” (Nahum Sarna)

“It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph...” (verse 7) Verse 6 informed us that “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.” He was young, good looking and had an impressive physique, and Mrs. Potiphar was very impressed and captivated. “She said, 'Lie with me.'” There was no beating around the bush with this “lady”. She knew what she wanted, she was used to getting her way, and she wasn't bashful about asking for (demanding!) it.

“But he refused...” (verse 8) Joseph was too righteous and wise to jeopardize his relationship with his earthly master and his heavenly Master to even consider such a foolish thing, so he was just as candid in his reply as she had been in her request. The answer was “No!” But even more shrewdly, Joseph explained his reasons for not complying with the wishes of the “lady” of the house, in the hopes of talking some reason into her. Joseph emphasized that her husband trusted him, and he would do nothing to violate that trust. “He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.” With all the wealth and blessings that Joseph had at his disposal in that affluent house, why would he throw it all away by taking the one and only thing that was forbidden to him? He possessed the contentment and resolve that Adam and Eve were lacking.

“How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?'” (verse 8) But above and beyond defrauding his boss who valued and trusted him so greatly, Joseph made it clear to his seductress that he answered to the highest of all powers, and that he would not disobey and offend the Lord God Almighty. Joseph knew that the marriage covenant was a sacred union created and provided by the Lord, and not a thing to be violated and treated with such contempt and disregard. Every wrong-doing that a person commits against another person is ultimately and primarily a sin against God.

“As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.” (verse 10) Mrs. Potiphar was obviously not one to be shamed into surrender or to take “No” for an answer. This had to be an unbearably difficult situation for Joseph to deal with every day and a powerful temptation for him to resist. In today's terms, she made for Joseph what would be considered a hostile work environment. She shamelessly harassed him day after day with every intention of wearing him down and luring him in. This was a tenacious woman with egomaniacal self-confidence and way too much idle time on her hands, and all that pent up passion was bound to burn her up and torch Joseph in the process.

“She caught him by his garment, saying, 'Lie with me!'” (verse 12) The moment finally came when Mrs. Potiphar could take no more, and Joseph was forced to either give in or pay the price. The master wasn't home, all the servants were away and it was just the two of them. The time for talk was over and things finally got physical when she seized upon the hour by snatching Joseph by his clothing. Joseph did what any wise and righteous man would do in such an untenable situation: He made a run for it! “And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.” “The first verb describes his spontaneous and abrupt withdrawal from the room; the second suggests the assumption of a normal gait, once outside, in order not to attract attention.” (Nahum Sarna) As much as he could look normal with part of his clothing missing. “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 16:18)

“She called to the men of her household and said to them, 'See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed.” (verse 14) And Mrs. Potiphar did what any wicked, self-centered, lowlife would do in such a situation: She lied her face off! “Her feeling of anger and humiliation fueled a desire for revenge.” (Nahum Sarna) Notice also that she appealed to the prejudices of the native servants by drawing attention to the fact that Joseph was a “Hebrew” and a danger to everyone in the house. “So she left his garment beside her until his master came home.” (verse 16) She saved the “evidence” to show her husband when he got home what that wicked “Hebrew” had attempted to do to her innocent and vulnerable self. There was something about Joseph's apparel that seemed to keep getting him into trouble!

Please read Genesis 39:19-23 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 39:1-6

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt...” (verse 1) After the critical interlude concerning Judah and the perpetuation of the Messianic line, the author picks back up where He left off at the end of chapter 37 with the developing story of how the people of Israel ended up in Egyptian slavery—“Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard”(Genesis 37:36). Here we see both the terms “Ishmaelites” and “Midianites” used to describe the traveling band of traders that purchased Joseph from his brothers and sold him to Potiphar, “an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh.”

“The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.” (verse 2) “The divine name YHVH, used only here in this chapter of the Joseph story, is confined exclusively to the narrative framework and never used in speech. The presence for this proper name of the God of Israel, as opposed to the generic 'elohim, is determined by an underlying intent to emphasize that the unfolding events in the odyssey of Joseph are key elements in God's plan for the people of Israel. The use of YHVH gives an appropriate nuance to this wider national inflection in the narrative.” (Nahum Sarna)

The repeating phrase that “the Lord was with” Joseph (verses 2, 3, 21 and 23) emphasizes the fact that his successes in the land of his captivity did not happen merely by chance or because of Joseph's superior intellect or work ethic. Certainly those prominent characteristics of the young man played a prominent role, but God opened doors for him that would have otherwise been walls, and He caused prosperity to flourish in whatever environment He placed Joseph within. “The phrase enables the reader to understand how the spoiled lad of seventeen, utterly alone in a foreign land and in dire adversity, suddenly matures and acquires great strength of character. He can rise again and again in situations that would surely have crushed others.” (Nahum Sarna) Joseph was so competent and talented that “he was in the house of his master” and not sent into his fields to labor.

“Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” (verse 3) The Lord prospered everything that Joseph's hand touched to such a great degree that even the heathen Potiphar recognized divine favor reigned prominently over the young man's life. “Though changed in condition, Joseph was not changed in spirit; though stripped of the gaudy coat that had adorned his person, he had not lost the moral graces that distinguished his character; though separated from his father on earth, he still lived in communion with his Father in heaven; though in the house of an idolater, he continued a worshipper of the true God.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

“So Joseph...became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.” (verse 4) Joseph's star had definitely risen quickly and burned brightly. He was taken into Potiphar's house, he quickly became his “personal servant” and was eventually placed in charge of his entire household and “all that he owned.” “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field” (verse 5). You would think that nothing could possibly go wrong with the Lord's blessings raining down all over Joseph and Potiphar's house, but unfortunately such a speedy and spectacular rise is frequently followed with a precipitous and perilous fall. Although “the Lord was with” Joseph and brought great prosperity into his life, He did not completely insulate him from all of the problems and predicaments that tend to plague mankind. The Lord lets His people go through difficult times, but that is no indication that He is no longer “with” them. He is there carrying them through their anguish and ordeals. Things were about to change drastically for Joseph, but for the time being, all was well in his winsome little world.

“So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.”(verse 6) Joseph did everything for his master but cook his meals. Potiphar trusted him completely and unconditionally, but when the Lord's people prosper the evil one stands poised to make mischief with designs for disaster. “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.” This detail and description was not included as a further indicator of the Lord's favor, but as an introduction to his downfall in the house of Potiphar. Unfortunately physical beauty can sometimes prove to be a curse instead of a blessing, and this was one of those times.

Please read Genesis 39:7-18 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 38:27-30

Monday, March 23, 2020

“It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, 'This one came out first.' But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, 'What a breach you have made for yourself!' So he was named Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb.” (verse 27) Like Judah's grandmother Rebekah, Tamar gave birth to twins. Unlike Rebekah, Tamar was unaware that two sons were seemingly vying for preeminence in her womb until the the moment of delivery. Nahum Sarna suggests that these two new little blessings may have been compensation of sorts from the Lord for the untimely loss of his two oldest sons Er and Onan.

“While she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand...” (verse 28) This was not a typical birth, as indicated by the fact there were unexpected twins, and that the hand of one came out first instead of his head. No other details about Tamar's experience are given, but it appears that this was likely a difficult labor by the unusual way that the two boys entered into the world of light and breath. “The midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, 'This one came out first.'” At least that is what she thought was going to happen, but she was in for a surprise.

“But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, 'What a breach you have made for yourself!' So he was named Perez. ” (verse 29) The midwife was obviously startled and amazed at the extraordinary event she had witnessed. Perez made an “opening” for himself where one did not exist and “broke forth”, hence his father gave him that name. The Hebrew word for “breach” is “perets”. “This breach be upon thee; if any damage comes either to the mother or to the brother, and so carries in it the nature of an imprecation; or rather, that the memory of so strange an event might be preserved...” (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

“Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.” (verse 30) Nahum Sarna suggests that the “Hebrew stem means 'brightness,' which suggests and allusion to the crimson thread.” “A word which probably meant 'the rising of the sun'; but was apparently in popular etymology connected with a word meaning 'scarlet'... In this narrative we may discern a reminiscence of a time in which the clans of Er and Onan disappeared from the tribe of Judah; while those of Perez and Zerah, connected with native Canaanites, became incorporated with it, but were rivals with one another, Zerah, though the more ancient, being obliged to yield to the greater vigour of Perez.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“Such details were recorded because of the importance of the key link in Messiah's line. Perez, the firstborn, was the one through whom Jesus came. It was only an oddity that the firstborn was not Zerah; and perhaps the ancients saw in this a figure of how narrowly the Messianic line was spared the necessity of passing down from the daughter of Shua the Canaanite. 'This incident testifies to the importance and privileges attached to the firstborn.'” (James Burton Coffman)

Please read Genesis 39:1-6 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Genesis 38:20-26

Sunday, March 22, 2020

“When Judah sent the young oat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 2He asked the men of her place, saying, 'Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?' But they said, 'There has been no temple prostitute here.' So he returned to Judah, and said, 'I did not find her; and furthermore, the men of the place said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.”' Then Judah said, 'Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.' Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, 'Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.' Then Judah said, 'Bring her out and let her be burned!' It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, 'I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.' And she said, 'Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?' Judah recognized them, and said, 'She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.' And he did not have relations with her again.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her.” (verse 20) Judah sent payment for services rendered by the hand of his friend Hirah, but it was as if “the woman” had simply vanished. “The relationship had been so casual that he had not even bothered to find out her name.” (Nahum Sarna) Hiram inquired of the whereabouts of the prostitute that so recently haunted the vicinity, but the men of the city replied “There has been no temple prostitute here” (verse 21).

Then Judah said, 'Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock.” (verse 23) When Hirah returned with the perplexing news, Judah shrugged it off and exclaimed that the woman could just keep his personal belongings. He had made a sincere attempt to keep his end of the unholy bargain, and he wasn't about to go on a missing persons hunt just to get his stuff back. If he pursued the matter any further, he would only reveal himself to have been outwitted by harlot, and the natives would make sport of him taking him for a total fool. “Though not afraid to sin against God, Judah was pained at the idea of losing his reputation before men” (Pulpit Commentary).

“Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, 'Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.'” (verse 24) After three months Tamar could no longer conceal her little secret because she had become visibly pregnant. And of course, people could not wait to spread the dirt and inform her father-in-law that Tamar had behaved disgracefully. Jacob was more than eager to cast the first stone, and his immediate response was to “bring her out and let her be burned” in adulterous shame and infamy. Not even the self-righteous Jacob knew that he was the wretch that she had played the harlot with, but that bomb was soon to be deftly dropped on his haughty head.

“It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, 'I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.'” (verse 25) Tamar held her peace and kept her cool until the very moment she was being dragged out to face her accuser and meet her fiery doom. But even in the face of a finale in flames, Tamar refrained from calling Judah directly out by name and publicly humiliating him in the presence of his peers. By discretely saying “'Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these,” she was effectively speaking the future words of the prophet Nathan to the hypocritical King David: “Thou art the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7)

“Judah recognized them, and said, 'She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.'” (verse 26) Judah had been outfoxed a widow and ensnared in a trap of his own making, and that reality hit him in the face with the force of a battering ram. He knew he was guilty of the greater sin and was forced to swallow his words along with his pride and admit that she had behaved righteously in comparison to him. “And he did not have relations with her again." He did not repeat his sin either because of repentance or embarrassment, but neither did he marry her and legitimize the union and child. But at least Judah was man enough to own up to his guilt and make no excuses for his actions.

Please read Genesis 38:27-30 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

-Louie Taylor

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