Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up your head from off you, and shall hang you on a tree; and the birds shall eat your flesh from off you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee.—In Genesis 40:13 the lifting up of the butler’s head meant his elevation to his former rank. Here there is the significant addition “from off thee,” implying that he would be beheaded, and his body publicly exposed to ignominy.From off thee. This clause is industriously added here to the former phrase, to show that it was now meant in another sense. He shall indeed lift up thy head, as well as the chief butler’s, but in another manner, not for time, but
from thee, or so as to take away thy head or thy life (which eminently consists and appears in the head) from thee.
and shall hang thee on a tree; his body after his head was severed from it, this should be hung upon a gallows or gibbet, and there continue:
and the birds shall eat the flesh from off thee; as they usually do when bodies are thus hung up, see 2 Samuel 21:9; this was signified by the birds eating the bakemeats out of the uppermost basket when upon his head, as it seemed to him in his dream.Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. lift up thy head from off thee] Joseph, by a use of the same phrase as in Genesis 40:13, introduces the sudden unfavourable interpretation: “from off thee” shews that it means here “decapitation,” not (see note on Genesis 40:13) “he will release thee from imprisonment, in order to be executed.” For the word-play, which uses the same word in two senses, cf. Genesis 27:39.
hang thee on a tree] The decapitated corpse of the malefactor would be impaled, and allowed to hang exposed to public view, and to become the prey of wild animals and obscene birds. This picture was terrible to the Egyptian mind, which attached great value to preservation of the body as the ultimate medium of the soul’s (= ḳa) existence. For “hanging,” see Joshua 10:26; 2 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 21:9-10.2 Kings 25:27). And he added this request (Genesis 40:14): "Only think of me, as it goes well with thee, and show favour to me...for I was stolen (i.e., carried away secretly and by force; I did not abscond because of any crime) out of the land of the Hebrews (the land where the Ibrim live); and here also I have done nothing (committed no crime) for which they should put me into the hole." בּור: the cell, applied to a prison as a miserable hole, because often dry cess-pools were used as prisons.
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