Genesis 41:43
And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
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(43) In the second chariot.—The object of this procession was to display Joseph to the people as their new governor. The Pharaoh, probably, took the chief part in this parade, riding in the first chariot of state.

Bow the knee.—Heb., abrech. Canon Cook explains this as meaning rejoice, be happy. It is in the imperative singular, and is addressed by the people to Joseph; for it is said “they cried before him,” that is, the multitude, and not a herald. Naturally, therefore, it is in the singular, as the vivat rex of the Middle Ages, or vive le roi now. The similarity of sound with habrech, bow the knee, is a mere chance and as this word also is singular, it must be addressed to Joseph, and not to the people.

41:33-45 Joseph gave good advice to Pharaoh. Fair warning should always be followed by good counsel. God has in his word told us of a day of trial before us, when we shall need all the grace we can have. Now, therefore, provide accordingly. Pharaoh gave Joseph an honourable testimony. He is a man in whom the spirit of God is; and such men ought to be valued. Pharaoh puts upon Joseph marks of honour. He gave him such a name as spoke the value he had for him, Zaphnath-paaneah, a revealer of secrets. This preferment of Joseph encourages all to trust in God. Some translate Joseph's new name, the saviour of the world. The brightest glories, even of the upper world, are put upon Christ, the highest trust lodged in his hand, and all power given him, both in heaven and earth.Pharaoh approves of his counsel, and selects him as "the discreet and wise man" for carrying it into effect. "In whom is the Spirit of God." He acknowledges the gift that is in Joseph to be from God. "All my people behave" - dispose or order their conduct, a special meaning of this word, which usually signifies to kiss. "His ring." His signet-ring gave Joseph the delegated power of the sovereign, and constituted him his prime minister or grand vizier. "Vestures of fine linen." Egypt was celebrated for its flax, and for the fineness of its textures. The priests were arrayed in official robes of linen, and no man was allowed to enter a temple in a woolen garment (Herodotus ii. 37, 81). "A gold chain about his neck." This was a badge of office worn in Egypt by the judge and the prime minister. It had a similar use in Persia and Babylonia 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.

43. they cried before him, Bow the knee—abrech, an Egyptian term, not referring to prostration, but signifying, according to some, "father" (compare Ge 45:8); according to others, "native prince"—that is, proclaimed him naturalized, in order to remove all popular dislike to him as a foreigner. In the second chariot; in the king’s second chariot, that he might be known and owned to be the next person to the king in power and dignity. Compare 2 Chronicles 35:24 Esther 6:8 10:3 Daniel 5:29.

Bow the knee: 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. Others, tender father, to signify that he was to be owned as the father of the country, because by his prudence and care he had provided for them all, and saved them from utter ruin.

And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had,.... By which it appeared that he was next to Pharaoh, but not above him; as kings were wont to have more chariots than one, those were distinguished by first, second, &c. being of greater state the one than the other, see 2 Chronicles 35:24,

and they cried before him, bow the knee; that is, 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", which Onkelos paraphrases, this is the father of the king; and so Jarchi, who observes, that "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. Others render it a tender father; and the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem take in both senses,"this is the father of the king, (or let the father of the king live, so the Jerusalem,) who is great in wisdom, and tender in years:''though rather he may be so called, because he acted the part of a tender father to the country, in providing corn for them against a time of scarcity:

and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt; appointed him to be governor of the whole land, and invested him with that office, and made him appear to be so, by the grandeur he raised him to.

And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, {m} Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

(b) Or Abrech: a sign of honour; a word some translate, tender father or father of the king, or kneel down.

43. the second chariot] It has been objected that horses and chariots first appear in Egyptian inscriptions in the 18th Dynasty (1580–1350 b.c.). But they were introduced into use in Egypt under the rule of the Hyksos (13th to 17th Dynasty). The Egyptian word for “chariot,” mrkbt, is borrowed from the Semitic. The “second” would be the next best to Pharaoh’s. Joseph might not ride in Pharaoh’s chariot.

Bow the knee] Heb. abrech. The meaning of the word has been much disputed. It was omitted by the LXX; but the meaning “bow the knee” appears in the Lat. ut genuflecterent, and in Aquila. Jerome prefers the extraordinary rendering “tender father”: ’âb being the Hebrew for “father,” rêkh for “tender” or “delicate,” he explains that it is thus signified, how in wisdom Joseph was the father of all, but in age a tender youth.

There seems, at present, to be no solution of the puzzle offered by the word Abrech. Spiegelberg suggests that it is the transliteration of the Egyptian ’b r-k, equivalent to “Attention!,” or the “O yes, O yes,” of the crier. The Egyptian abu-rek, “thy command is our desire,” i.e. “at thy service,” was conjectured by Lepage Renouf.

Genesis 41:43He then had him driven in the second chariot, the chariot which followed immediately upon the king's state-carriage; that is to say, he directed a solemn procession to be made through the city, in which they (heralds) cried before him אברך (i.e., bow down), - an Egyptian word, which has been pointed by the Masorites according to the Hiphil or Aphel of בּרך. In Coptic it is abork, projicere, with the signs of the imperative and the second person. Thus he placed him over all Egypt. ונתון inf. absol. as a continuation of the finite verb (vid., Exodus 8:11; Leviticus 25:14, etc.).
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