And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in clothing of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)His ring.—Heb., his signet ring. As decrees became law when stamped with the royal signet, it was naturally the symbol of authority; and so with us, at the formation of a ministry the great seal is formally delivered into the hands of the highest legal personage in the realm, who is thus invested with power.
Vestures of fine linen.—The word used here is Egyptian, shesh, and signifies a kind of flax from which linen of great fineness and whiteness was made. Much of the dress of the Levitical priests was to be made of this flax, called in Hebrew byssus (Exodus 39:28, &c.), In the East it is usual on all occasions of showing the royal favour, to give changes of raiment: but there is here the further signification, that as this fine white linen was the special dress of the king and the priests, the bestowal of it indicated Joseph’s admission into the ruling classes of Egypt. Probably, as he married a priest’s daughter, he was himself also previously enrolled among the ranks of the priesthood.
A gold chain.—This also appears upon the monuments as one of the royal insignia. Ancient necklaces of such exquisite workmanship have been discovered in Egypt, that patterns copied from them are common now at the chief jewellers.Genesis 41:42-43. Pharaoh took off his ring — Which was both a token of the highest dignity, and an instrument of the greatest power; and put it on Joseph’s hand — Thereby giving him authority to make and sign what decrees he thought fit in the king’s name. He made him ride in the second chariot — That he might be known to be next to the king in dignity and power.Daniel 5:7. "The second chariot." Egypt was noted for chariots, both for peaceful and for warlike purposes (Herodotus ii. 108). The second in the public procession was assigned to Joseph. "Bow the knee." The various explications of this proclamation agree in denoting a form of obeisance, with which Joseph was to be honored. I am Pharaoh, the king Genesis 12:15. "Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot." Thou art next to me, and without thee no man shall act or move. "Zaphenath-paneah." Pharaoh designates him the preserver of life, as the interpreter of the dream and the proposer of the plan by which the country was saved from famine. He thus naturalizes him so far as to render his civil status compatible with his official rank. "Asenath." The priests were the highest and most privileged class in Egypt. Intermarriage with this caste at once determined the social position of the wonderous foreigner. His father-in-law was priest of On, a city dedicated to the worship of the sun.
With our Western and modern habit we may at the first glance be surprised to find a stranger of a despised race suddenly elevated to the second place in the kingdom. But in ancient and Eastern governments, which were of a despotic character, such changes, depending on the will of the sovereign, were by no means unusual. Secondly, the conviction that "the Spirit of God was in" the mysterious stranger, was sufficient to overbear all opposing feelings or customs. And, lastly, it was assumed and acted on, as a self-evident fact, that the illustrious stranger could have no possible objection to be incorporated into the most ancient of nations, and allied with its noblest families. We may imagine that Joseph would find an insuperable difficulty in becoming a citizen of Egypt or a son-in-law of the priest of the sun. But we should not forget that the world was yet too young to have arrived at the rigid and sharplydefined systems of polytheism or allotheism to which we are accustomed. Some gray streaks of a pure monotheism, of the knowledge of the one true God, still gleamed across the sky of human memory. Some faint traces of one common brotherhood among mankind still lingered in the recollections of the past. The Pharaoh of Abraham's day feels the power of him whose name is Yahweh Genesis 12:17. Abimelek acknowledges the God of Abraham and Isaac Genesis 20:3-7; Genesis 21:22-23; Genesis 26:28-29. And while Joseph is frank and faithful in acknowledging the true God before the king of Egypt, Pharaoh himself is not slow to recognize the man in whom the Spirit of God is. Having experienced the omniscience and omnipotence of Joseph's God, he was prepared, no doubt, not only himself to offer him such adoration as he was accustomed to pay to his national gods, but also to allow Joseph full liberty to worship the God of his fathers, and to bring up his family in that faith.
Joseph was now in his thirtieth year, and had consequently been thirteen years in Egypt, most part of which interval he had probably spent in prison. This was the age for manly service Numbers 4:3. He immediately enters upon his office.His ring was both a token of highest dignity, and an instrument of greatest power, by which he had authority to make and sign what decrees he thought fit in the king’s name. See Esther 3:10 8:2. With
fine linen the greatest potentates were arrayed. See Proverbs 31:22,24 Eze 16:10 Luke 16:19 Revelation 19:8.
A gold chain was another badge of great honour. See Proverbs 1:9 Ezekiel 16:11 Daniel 5:7,16,29.
and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen; of which there was the best sort in Egypt, and which great personages used to wear:
and put a gold chain about his neck; another badge of honour and dignity, see Daniel 5:16.And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)42. signet ring] i.e. the official ring with which state documents would be sealed. The king thus symbolically transferred to Joseph absolute authority. Cf. 1Ma 6:15, “gave him his diadem and his robe and his signet ring.” See also the use of the king’s ring in Esther 3:10; Esther 3:12; Esther 8:2; Esther 8:8; Esther 8:10.
fine linen] Possibly, as R.V. marg., cotton. The Hebrew shêsh has been identified with the Egyptian schenti, meaning something woven. LXX and Lat. render it by an adjective meaning “made of byssus,” i.e. fine flax. This was probably the material worn by the royal and state officials. Possibly it was the same material as that in which the Egyptian mummies were wound.
a gold chain] Presumably Pharaoh invested Joseph with his own golden necklace, a sign of honour which the narrative delights to record.
The position to which Joseph is elevated is that of “Grand Vizier” or T’ate, as he was called in the Egyptian dialect.Genesis 14:24), God will answer Pharaoh's good," i.e., what shall profit Pharaoh; just as in Genesis 40:8 he had pointed the two prisoners away from himself to God. Pharaoh then related his double dream (Genesis 41:17-24), and Joseph gave the interpretation (Genesis 41:25-32): "The dream of Pharaoh is one (i.e., the two dreams have the same meaning); God hath showed Pharaoh what He is about to do." The seven cows and seven ears of corn were seven years, the fat ones very fertile years of superabundance, the lean ones very barren years of famine; the latter would follow the former over the whole land of Egypt, so that the years of famine would leave no trace of the seven fruitful years; and, "for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice" (i.e., so far as this fact is concerned, it signifies) "that the thing is firmly resolved by God, and God will quickly carry it out." In the confidence of this interpretation which looked forward over fourteen years, the divinely enlightened seer's glance was clearly manifested, and could not fail to make an impression upon the king, when contrasted with the perplexity of the Egyptian augurs and wise men. Joseph followed up his interpretation by the advice (Genesis 41:33-36), that Pharaoh should "look out (ירא) a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt;" and cause יעשׂה) that in the seven years of superabundance he should raise fifths (חמּשׁ), i.e., the fifth part of the harvest, through overseers, and have the corn, or the stores of food (אכל), laid up in the cities "under the hand of the king," i.e., by royal authority and direction, as food for the land for the seven years of famine, that it might not perish through famine.
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