Genesis 40:15
For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) I was stolen.—Joseph here speaks only generally, as his purpose was to arouse the sympathy of the Egyptian by making him know that he was free born, and reduced to slavery by fraud. It would have done harm rather than good to have said that his sale was owing to family feuds; and, moreover, noble-minded men do not willingly reveal that which is to the discredit of their relatives.

Land of the Hebrews.—Jacob and his race had settled possessions in Canaan at Hebron, Shechem, Beer-sheba, &c. The term Hebrew, moreover, was an old one; for in the ancient record of the invasion of Palestine by Chedorlaomer, we saw that Abram was described as “the Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13). But Joseph did not mean that the land of Canaan belonged to them, but that he was stolen from the settlements of these “immigrants,” and from the land wherein they sojourned.

40:1-19 It was not so much the prison that made the butler and baker sad, as their dreams. God has more ways than one to sadden the spirits. Joseph had compassion towards them. Let us be concerned for the sadness of our brethren's countenances. It is often a relief to those that are in trouble to be noticed. Also learn to look into the causes of our own sorrow. Is there a good reason? Is there not comfort sufficient to balance it, whatever it is? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Joseph was careful to ascribe the glory to God. The chief butler's dream foretold his advancement. The chief baker's dream his death. It was not Joseph's fault that he brought the baker no better tidings. And thus ministers are but interpreters; they cannot make the thing otherwise than it is: if they deal faithfully, and their message prove unpleasing, it is not their fault. Joseph does not reflect upon his brethren that sold him; nor does he reflect on the wrong done him by his mistress and his master, but mildly states his own innocence. When we are called on to clear ourselves, we should carefully avoid, as much as may be, speaking ill of others. Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent, and not upbraid others with their guilt.The chief butler now recites his dream. "Pressed them into Pharaoh's cup." The imagery of the dream is not intended to intimate that Pharaoh drank only the fresh juice of the grape. It only expresses by a natural figure the source of wine, and possibly the duty of the chief butler to understand and superintend the whole process of its formation. Egypt was not only a corn, but a vine country. The interpretation of this dream was very obvious and natural; yet not without a divine intimation could it be known that the "three branches were three days." Joseph, in the quiet confidence that his interpretation would prove correct, begs the chief butler to remember him and endeavor to procure his release. "Stolen, stolen was I." He assures him that he was not a criminal, and that his enslavement was an act of wrongful violence - a robbery by the strong hand. "From the land of the Hebrews;" a very remarkable expression, as it strongly favors the presumption that the Hebrews inhabited the country before Kenaan took possession of it. "I have not done aught." Joseph pleads innocence, and claims liberation, not as an unmerited favor, but as a right. "The pit." The pit without water seems to have been the primitive place of confinement for culprits.12-15. Joseph said, … This is the interpretation—Speaking as an inspired interpreter, he told the butler that within three days he would be restored to all the honors and privileges of his office; and while making that joyful announcement, he earnestly bespoke the officer's influence for his own liberation. Nothing has hitherto met us in the record indicative of Joseph's feelings; but this earnest appeal reveals a sadness and impatient longing for release, which not all his piety and faith in God could dispel. I was stolen away, taken away by force and fraud, without my own or father’s consent, out of the land of Canaan, which he might call the land of the Hebrews, either because they now dwelt in it, or by way of protestation of their right and claim to it by God’s gift. Or rather thus, out of that part of Canaan where the Hebrews dwell; for the word land is not only spoken of whole countries, as of the whole land of Canaan, but of any parts or parcels thereof, as Genesis 13:6 22:2 23:15 34:1. Observe, that Joseph doth not accuse either his brethren or his mistress, but only asserts his own innocency, which was necessary for his deliverance. For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews,.... Not the whole land of Canaan, so called, either from the Hebrews sojourning: in it, or from its being given unto them by God; neither of which could be a reason why Joseph, when talking with an Egyptian, should give it this name, and which, it must be supposed, was known to him; but that part of the land of Canaan where the Hebrews had sojourned for three generations, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived, even at or near Hebron; and being persons of great note, and having done great exploits, their names were well known, and the country where they lived, and particularly among the Egyptians: now Joseph does not expose the sin of his brethren in selling him to the Ishmaelites, by whom he was brought into Egypt and sold there; only relates that he was stolen out of his native country, being taken from it without his own or his father's consent:

and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon; since he had been in the land of Egypt, he had not been guilty of any criminal action wherefore he should be put into a prison, and especially into a dungeon, a dark and filthy place under ground, as dungeons usually were, and into which Joseph was put when first in confinement, though since took out of it: he makes no mention of the wickedness of his mistress, and of her false accusation of him, nor of the injustice of his master in putting him into prison without hearing him; only asserts his own innocence, which was necessary to recommend himself to the butler, that he might not think he was some loose fellow that was committed to prison for some capital crime, and so it would have, been a disgrace to him to have spoken for him.

For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. stolen away] i.e. “kidnapped”: see Genesis 37:28. According to E Joseph was not sold by his brethren, but stolen by the Midianites.

the land of the Hebrews] For the use of the word “Hebrew,” cf. Genesis 14:13, Genesis 39:14 and Genesis 41:12. It was the designation in use by foreigners for “the dwellers in Palestine.” In Joseph’s mouth the phrase is an anachronism, even if it means the whole region in which the Hebrew races of Israel, Ishmael, Moab, Ammon, and Edom, were establishing themselves. Whether “the Hebrews” are to be identified with the Ḥabiri of the Tel-el-Amarna tablets, is a disputed question. But “the land of the Hebrews” is not a Hebrew phrase that would naturally be used of Canaan before it had been conquered and occupied by the tribes of Israel. See Appendix D, ii., iii. on the Ḥabiri and the ‘Apuriu.

and here also … the dungeon] This clause is very probably introduced by the Compiler in order to harmonize the present chapter with the account of Joseph’s position in Genesis 39:20-23. LXX εἰς τὸν λάκκον τοῦτον, Lat. in lacum.The cup-bearer gave this account: "In my dream, behold there was a vine before me, and on the vine three branches; and it was as though blossoming, it shot forth its blossom (נצּהּ either from the hapax l. נץ equals נצּה, or from נצּה with the fem. termination resolved into the 3 pers. suff.: Ewald, 257d), its clusters ripened into grapes. And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand." In this dream the office and duty of the royal cup-bearer were represented in an unmistakeable manner, though the particular details must not be so forced as to lead to the conclusion, that the kings of ancient Egypt drank only the fresh juice of the grape, and not fermented wine as well. The cultivation of the vine, and the making and drinking of wine, among the Egyptians, are established beyond question by ancient testimony and the earliest monuments, notwithstanding the statement of Herodotus (2, 77) to the contrary (see Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 13ff.).
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