|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
41:46-57 In the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph owned the Divine providence. 1. He was made to forget his misery. 2. He was made fruitful in the land of his affliction. The seven plenteous years came, and were ended. We ought to look forward to the end of the days, both of our prosperity and of our opportunity. We must not be secure in prosperity, nor slothful in making good use of opportunity. Years of plenty will end; what thy hand finds to do, do it; and gather in gathering time. The dearth came, and the famine was not only in Egypt, but in other lands. Joseph was diligent in laying up, while the plenty lasted. He was prudent and careful in giving out, when the famine came. Joseph was engaged in useful and important labours. Yet it was in the midst of this his activity that his father Jacob said, Joseph is not! What a large portion of our troubles would be done away if we knew the whole truth! Let these events lead us to Jesus. There is a famine of the bread of life throughout the whole earth. Go to Jesus, and what he bids you, do. Attend to His voice, apply to him; he will open his treasures, and satisfy with goodness the hungry soul of every age and nation, without money and without price. But those who slight this provision must starve, and his enemies will be destroyed.
Verses 50, 51. - And unto Joseph wore born two sons before the years of famine came, (literally, before the coming of the gears of famine), which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called, the name of the firstborn Manasseh ("Forgetting," from nashah, to forget): For God (Elohim; Joseph not at the moment thinking of his son's birth in its relations to the theocratic kingdom, but simply in its connection with the overruling providence of God which had been so signally illustrated in his elevation, from a position of obscurity in Canaan to such conspicuous honor in the land of the Pharaohs), said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. Not absolutely (Calvin, who censures Joseph on this account, vix tamen in totem potest excusari oblivio paternae domus), as events subsequently proved, but relatively, the pressure of his former affliction being relieved by his present happiness, and the loss of his father's house in some degree compensated by the building of a house for himself.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And unto Joseph were born two sons,.... The word for "born" is singular; hence Ben Melech conjectures that they were twins: and this was
before the years of famine came; or "the year of famine" (q); the first year:
which Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah priest of On, bare unto him; which is observed, to show that he had them by his lawful wife; whom the Targum of Jonathan wrongly again makes the daughter of Dinah, and her father prince of Tanis, the same with Zoan; whereas this was "On" or "Heliopolis", a very different place; so Artapanus says (r), that Joseph married the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, by whom he had children; and another Heathen writer (s) mentions their names, Ephraim and Manesseh.
(q) "annus famis", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "annus (primus) famis", Schmidt. (r) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 23. p. 429. (s) Polyhistor. apud ib. p. 424.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
50-52. unto Joseph were born two sons—These domestic events, which increased his temporal happiness, develop the piety of his character in the names conferred upon his children.
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