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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 3610 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #299 on: September 10, 2019, 09:28:54 am »
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● Gen 42:1 . .When Jacob learned that there were rations of grain in Egypt, he said to his sons; Why do you just keep looking at each other?

You can just picture what was going on. One brother would turn to another and ask; What are we going to do for food? And the other would just shrug and raise his eyebrows. They must have been doing that a lot lately because apparently it was beginning to grate on their dad.

● Gen 42:2-4 . . He continued: I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die. Then ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.

To Jacob's knowledge, Joseph was dead. His mother was certainly dead, having died giving birth to Benjamin back in chapter 35. So, to Jacob's mind, all that's left of the love in his life is Benjamin. So that if something were to happen to him, he would have nothing left to remind him of Rachel, and that whole side of the family would be gone.

Benjamin, at this time, wasn't a little kid. He was born when the family moved south from Bethel to Hebron back in chapter 35. And as Joseph was now about 38, and sold into slavery at 17 while Jacob was at Hebron, then Benjamin is, at the bare minimum, at least 21.

● Gen 42:5 . . So Israel's sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also.

That must have been an interesting sight. The brothers mingled in with caravans traveling to (and from) Egypt, and there must have been a lot of them because the drought had effected the whole land of Palestine, possibly even clear up into Syria and Lebanon. Traveling in a caravan had its benefits. With food so scarce, grain would be more valuable than money, and lone travelers would be easy targets for desperate clans; and brigands too.

● Gen 42:6a . . Now Joseph was powerful in the land; the one who sold grain to all its people.

Apparently, before anybody could obtain grain, they had to first go by the Minister Of Agriculture's office and purchase a permit in the form of an official receipt, which was then taken to a designated silo and redeemed for grain. Apparently, collecting the money, and issuing permits, was a task that Joseph personally supervised himself rather than delegate to subordinates: which tells me that Joseph trusted no one. And no surprise.

Those permits were a golden opportunity for graft and/or embezzling. A dishonest clerk could smuggle some of those permits out of the office and distribute them to friends and relatives and/or peddle them on the black market because they were just as valuable as Cap & Trade emission permits and food stamps. You could probably scalp those grain coupons for at least double the original price.

● Gen 42:6b-8 . . So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. Where do you come from? he asked. From the land of Canaan, they replied, to buy food. Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.

One can hardly blame Joseph for acting like a stranger. For all he knew, his brothers were still toxic; and might be inclined to find new ways to mess up his life yet once more like they did when he lived at home. When people have been burned by someone they trust; that trust is not easily regained; nor does it deserve to be. Those men tried to murder Joseph-- his own flesh and blood kin tried. That's something that's neither easily forgotten, nor easily forgiven; and shouldn't be. Joseph's reluctance to befriend his brothers at this point is fully justified. Only a fool would try to kiss a rattlesnake twice after the first time one bites him on the nose.

But at the same time, this presents a dilemma for Joseph. No doubt he's anxious for an update of his father Jacob's health and welfare, and also of his one full brother Benjamin; against whom Joseph harbored no bad feelings whatsoever. I sincerely believe that if it wasn't for Joseph's concern for his father and kid brother back home, that he never, ever would have told his brothers anything about himself. They would have come and gone with no consciousness at all that they'd ever passed his way.

It's not surprising that Joseph's older brothers didn't recognize him. He was just a shiny-faced, 17 year-old teen-ager the last they saw him. They haven't seen their kid brother for the past 21 years. In that time his face and his voice had aged to that of a matured 38 year-old man. Plus he's cultured far different than any of Palestine's sheep herders. He has an Egyptian hair cut, an Egyptian beard, speaks the Egyptian language, wears the expensive clothing of Egyptian aristocrats; and he's a top-of-the-heap Egyptian government official; a position in which they would never in a million years expect to find their sheep-herding kid brother.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #300 on: September 11, 2019, 07:59:34 am »
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● Gen 42:9a . .Then he remembered his dreams about them

When Joseph had those dreams back in chapter 37, he probably had no clue as to how they would be fulfilled. He was only aware, from his father Jacob's interpretations, that he would one day be lord over his whole family, including his parents. Now it's becoming clear to him just exactly how those dreams were to play out in real life.

● Gen 42:9b . . and said to them: You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.

That was a reasonable suspicion. Incursions into Egypt by Asians coming via the Way of Horus-- a military highway from Canaan that led through Gaza to El-'Arish --were a recurrent problem. So it would be only natural to assume that if Egypt was raided from the northeast during normal years, it could be expected to be raided even more often, and with greater boldness, during a food-related crisis that was effecting a huge part of the world of that day.

Foreign invaders would of course be encouraged to think that maybe the Egyptians were so distracted by just trying to survive that they'd let their guard down and have no heart for fighting. A nation in crises is a plausible target of opportunity for any ambitious conqueror. It of course fell to Joseph's responsibility to carefully screen foreigners to be certain of their true purposes for entering Egypt. Were they looking for food; or were they looking for weak points in Egypt's defenses?

Joseph really had no good reason at all to trust his own brothers. Not only had they been so callous as to plot their own kid brother's murder, and sell him to slave traders, but he no doubt remembered how two of them viciously hacked to death the entire number of men in the town of Shechem back in chapter 34. So far as he was concerned, they were capable of anything, even of pillaging a vulnerable Egypt under the guise of ordinary people just looking for something to eat like everybody else.

● Gen 42:10-11 . . But they said to him: No, my lord! Truly, your servants have come to procure food. We are all of us sons of the same man; we are honest men; your servants have never been spies!

Ten men all together is too obvious. I think that professional spies would split up and not travel together nor even enter Egypt on the very same day. Perhaps they hoped that by divulging details about their family, it would help convince their inquisitor that they weren't entering Egypt for military purposes. But even that story could be perceived as a cover to an official in Joseph's position.

● Gen 42:12 . . And he said to them: No, you have come to see the land in its nakedness!

A word like "nakedness" can imply any number of things but in this application it probably refers to destitution; which would mean that Egypt's ability to wage war was very limited and thus vulnerable to invasion, pillage, and conquest.

● Gen 42:13 . . But they replied: Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.

For the second time they volunteer personal information about themselves; and probably for the same reason as the first. However, it was music to Joseph's ears because no doubt when he didn't see his kid brother Benjamin traveling with his eldest brothers, he began to be concerned that they had done to him what they had previously wrought upon himself. Although they lied about the "one" who is no more (lying about Joseph was by now probably a reflexive habit) they certainly weren't lying about the youngest because there was no reason to. If Benjamin were dead, then they simply would have said "two" are no more.

● Gen 42:14 . . Joseph said to them: It is just as I told you: You are spies!

With Joseph's intelligence, and from his day after day experience with an endless stream of truly desperate people, he would have known by now (especially with that incredible intuition of his) that the ten weak-knees guys standing before him certainly weren't professional soldiers. He's being deliberately obtuse, and it's becoming obvious now (at least to us Bible students who know Joseph's true identity) that he's feeling his brothers out to ascertain whether or not they're the very same unrepentant, unremorseful, cold-blooded, steely-eyed, dirty rotten scoundrels they were in the past. Until he's certain they can be trusted, Joseph isn't going to afford them the even tiniest hint of who he really is.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #301 on: September 12, 2019, 07:45:34 am »
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● Gen 42:15-17 . . By this you shall be put to the test: unless your youngest brother comes here, by Pharaoh, you shall not depart from this place! Let one of you go and bring your brother, while the rest of you remain confined, that your words may be put to the test whether there is truth in you. Else, by Pharaoh, you are nothing but spies! And he confined them in the guardhouse for three days.

During those three days the brothers must have felt like they were in a purgatory as they endured unbearable anxiety while conferring amongst themselves about their current state of affairs. They were no doubt positive that Jacob would never allow his favorite little boy to be taken down to Egypt where this obtuse Egyptian big shot just might lock him up with the others so that in the end, all surviving eleven of Jacob's sons would never be seen again.

● Gen 42:18-20a . . On the third day Joseph said to them: Do this and you shall live, for I am a God-fearing man. If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be held in your place of detention, while the rest of you go and take home rations for your starving households; but you must bring me your youngest brother, that your words may be verified and that you may not die.

This reversal of terms couldn't have done anything other than to reinforce the brothers' fears that not only was this Egyptian big shot obtuse, but also unpredictable.

Turning loose nine of the ten men would be dumb because, militarily, sacrificing one to save nine is an acceptable loss. Joseph's excuse for this obvious military blunder is that he's a "God-fearing" man; viz: just in case their story is true, he didn't want to be responsible for the starvation of innocent families.

Joseph had the advantage of knowing far more about their family than they dreamed. As it turned out, Jacob would have gladly sacrificed the brother who will be chosen to remain behind in order to protect Benjamin, except that to not return, meant certain starvation; and no doubt Joseph easily foresaw Jacob's dilemma in that matter. He really had them in a catch-22.

● Gen 42:20b . . And they did accordingly.

The men agreed to Joseph's terms, but not without going around the room about it first. These guys are dumber than a stack of bricks. They discussed their current predicament, and their consciences, all within Joseph's hearing. (Never assume foreigners don't know your language just because they aren't speaking it.)

● Gen 42:21-23 . .They said to one another: Alas, we are being punished on account of our brother, because we looked on at his anguish, yet paid no heed as he pleaded with us. That is why this distress has come upon us. Then Reuben spoke up and said to them: Did I not tell you, do no wrong to the boy? But you paid no heed. Now comes the reckoning for his blood. They did not know that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between him and them.

Apparently the interpreter had been either dismissed and/or sent on an errand and left Joseph guarding the men by himself while they deliberated amongst themselves.

Isn't it interesting that those men carried the guilt of their treatment of Joseph all those 21 years that he was away from home? This probably wasn't the first time they blamed their bad luck on Joseph. Probably every time one of them hit his thumb with a hammer, or bumped his head on a shelf, he thought of Joseph.

Those men's minds hadn't enjoyed a moments peace since the day the slave traders carted their kid brother off to the big unknown in Egypt. At night, when the demons come, their minds would once and again, for the Nth time, rehearse his awful wailing and begging down in that hole, and see the pain on his face, a pain that was burned into their memories like a rancher's cattle brand. No doubt those poor guys all suffered from recurring nightmares about the incident too.

All those 21 years, Jacob hadn't stopped grieving for Joseph; so that every morning, those guys were treated to the sight of their father all blue and depressed at the loss of his favorite boy. Those poor guys. It was impossible to forget Joseph with their dad moping around all the time in a sorrowful state to remind them.

● Gen 42:24a . . He turned away from them and wept.

Genesis offers no explanation whatsoever for Joseph's weeping; and I half suspect it's because unless somebody has actually themselves lived through an experience similar to his, then there is just no way even the brightest of Bible students can fully relate to what Joseph was feeling at that moment no matter how skillfully the best writers on earth tried to explain it. His weeping wasn't a matter of the mind; no, it was a matter of the heart; and oftentimes those kinds of matters can't be put into words by the very people themselves who are awash with those kinds of emotions.

Joseph certainly had no good reason to feel any particular bonding with his brothers. If anything, he should be feeling totally disconnected from them. They were never his friends, and not once did anything good by him; the rather, he was disowned in his own home by the very people who by all rights should have loved and supported him the most.

Although Joseph grew up with big brothers, he didn't, if you know what I mean. His only trusty companions at home were his dad Jacob, and his kid brother Benjamin; and it seems clear to me that it's for their sakes alone that he's tolerating these ten felons for even another minute. It must have taken a Herculean effort on Joseph's part to restrain his natural impulses to order their bodies immediately gibbeted and set out for the vultures.
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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #302 on: September 12, 2019, 09:40:53 pm »
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● Gen 42:15-17 . . By this you shall be put to the test: unless your youngest brother comes here, by Pharaoh, you shall not depart from this place! Let one of you go and bring your brother, while the rest of you remain confined, that your words may be put to the test whether there is truth in you. Else, by Pharaoh, you are nothing but spies! And he confined them in the guardhouse for three days.

During those three days the brothers must have felt like they were in a purgatory as they endured unbearable anxiety while conferring amongst themselves about their current state of affairs. They were no doubt positive that Jacob would never allow his favorite little boy to be taken down to Egypt where this obtuse Egyptian big shot just might lock him up with the others so that in the end, all surviving eleven of Jacob's sons would never be seen again.

● Gen 42:18-20a . . On the third day Joseph said to them: Do this and you shall live, for I am a God-fearing man. If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be held in your place of detention, while the rest of you go and take home rations for your starving households; but you must bring me your youngest brother, that your words may be verified and that you may not die.

This reversal of terms couldn't have done anything other than to reinforce the brothers' fears that not only was this Egyptian big shot obtuse, but also unpredictable.

Turning loose nine of the ten men would be dumb because, militarily, sacrificing one to save nine is an acceptable loss. Joseph's excuse for this obvious military blunder is that he's a "God-fearing" man; viz: just in case their story is true, he didn't want to be responsible for the starvation of innocent families.

Joseph had the advantage of knowing far more about their family than they dreamed. As it turned out, Jacob would have gladly sacrificed the brother who will be chosen to remain behind in order to protect Benjamin, except that to not return, meant certain starvation; and no doubt Joseph easily foresaw Jacob's dilemma in that matter. He really had them in a catch-22.

● Gen 42:20b . . And they did accordingly.

The men agreed to Joseph's terms, but not without going around the room about it first. These guys are dumber than a stack of bricks. They discussed their current predicament, and their consciences, all within Joseph's hearing. (Never assume foreigners don't know your language just because they aren't speaking it.)

● Gen 42:21-23 . .They said to one another: Alas, we are being punished on account of our brother, because we looked on at his anguish, yet paid no heed as he pleaded with us. That is why this distress has come upon us. Then Reuben spoke up and said to them: Did I not tell you, do no wrong to the boy? But you paid no heed. Now comes the reckoning for his blood. They did not know that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between him and them.

Apparently the interpreter had been either dismissed and/or sent on an errand and left Joseph guarding the men by himself while they deliberated amongst themselves.

Isn't it interesting that those men carried the guilt of their treatment of Joseph all those 21 years that he was away from home? This probably wasn't the first time they blamed their bad luck on Joseph. Probably every time one of them hit his thumb with a hammer, or bumped his head on a shelf, he thought of Joseph.

Those men's minds hadn't enjoyed a moments peace since the day the slave traders carted their kid brother off to the big unknown in Egypt. At night, when the demons come, their minds would once and again, for the Nth time, rehearse his awful wailing and begging down in that hole, and see the pain on his face, a pain that was burned into their memories like a rancher's cattle brand. No doubt those poor guys all suffered from recurring nightmares about the incident too.

All those 21 years, Jacob hadn't stopped grieving for Joseph; so that every morning, those guys were treated to the sight of their father all blue and depressed at the loss of his favorite boy. Those poor guys. It was impossible to forget Joseph with their dad moping around all the time in a sorrowful state to remind them.

● Gen 42:24a . . He turned away from them and wept.

Genesis offers no explanation whatsoever for Joseph's weeping; and I half suspect it's because unless somebody has actually themselves lived through an experience similar to his, then there is just no way even the brightest of Bible students can fully relate to what Joseph was feeling at that moment no matter how skillfully the best writers on earth tried to explain it. His weeping wasn't a matter of the mind; no, it was a matter of the heart; and oftentimes those kinds of matters can't be put into words by the very people themselves who are awash with those kinds of emotions.

Joseph certainly had no good reason to feel any particular bonding with his brothers. If anything, he should be feeling totally disconnected from them. They were never his friends, and not once did anything good by him; the rather, he was disowned in his own home by the very people who by all rights should have loved and supported him the most.

Although Joseph grew up with big brothers, he didn't, if you know what I mean. His only trusty companions at home were his dad Jacob, and his kid brother Benjamin; and it seems clear to me that it's for their sakes alone that he's tolerating these ten felons for even another minute. It must have taken a Herculean effort on Joseph's part to restrain his natural impulses to order their bodies immediately gibbeted and set out for the vultures.
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why would it, Josephs had every thing at this point.

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #303 on: September 13, 2019, 10:31:35 am »
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● Gen 42:24b . . Returning, he talked some more with them. He then chose Simeon from among them and had him shackled in their sight.

Rueben had shown some good colors back at the pit in chapter 37, so the lot fell to Simeon seeing as how he was next in the line of seniority of the ten brothers (Gen 29:31-33). Simeon was a good choice since he and his brother Levi had so far shown themselves to be the cruelest among the brothers in the matter of Dinah back in chapter 34. Let's just give Simeon a taste of mortal fear for a change and see how he likes it.

Later, at home, neither Jacob nor the others will seem overly concerned that Simeon was selected to be detained, and the total focus will be upon Benjamin's safety rather than upon Simeon's rescue; in fact, Jacob will write him off as dead.

Apparently, Simeon wasn't all that appreciated by his own family: and no wonder with that savage nature of his. They were probably all, including Jacob, relieved to be rid of his company. Joseph's own lack of popularity among his elder brothers was a natural friction stemming from old fashioned sibling rivalry. But Simeon was just plain mean; while Joseph was likely a pleasant sort of guy and easy to get along with. Difficult people shouldn't be surprised when others around them spit on their graves.

● Gen 42:25-26 . . Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men's sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother's payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them provisions for their journey. So they loaded up their donkeys with the grain and started for home.

Returning his family's money was something that Joseph did for himself. How could he possibly make his own desperate kin pay for food under his control? He couldn't. In his position, Joseph could easily provide for all of them at no cost to themselves whatsoever.

"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1Tim 5:8)

Joseph was a man of honor. No doubt he made up for their payment out of his own pocket so that no one could accuse him of abusing his privileges and giving Pharaoh's grain away for nothing to people who had demonstrated that they had the wherewithal to pay for it. A man's reputation, after all, is his singular most valuable asset.

 "Choose a good reputation over great riches; for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold." (Prov 22:1)

Giving them free provisions for the trip would have included food and water not only for themselves, but also their beasts. That was a diplomatic gesture, and would go a long ways towards making the family feel welcome down in Egypt, and encourage them to return since they had certainly been given a degree of fair treatment way beyond what they had any right to expect from a foreign dignitary.

● Gen 42:27-28 . . As one of them was opening his sack to give feed to his burro at the night encampment, he saw his money right there at the mouth of his bag. And he said to his brothers: My money has been returned! It is here in my bag! Their hearts sank; and, trembling, they turned to one another, saying: What is this that God has done to us?

Why is it people always tend to blame God for their misfortunes? But in this case, their perceived misfortune is not that at all. If only they hadn't been so infected with guilt they would have easily seen that the Egyptian big shot was demonstrating that he meant only the best by them. But no; instead, they go off the deep end and interpret their host's graciousness as an ill omen rather than a token of good will. Some people are so suspicious of anything nice that people do for them-- always looking for an ulterior motive and/or a hidden agenda.

● Gen 42:29a . .When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan

If Jacob was still living in Hebron, the distance the men traveled to get back home was roughly 250 miles if Joseph's headquarters was possibly either in, or near to, the city of Memphis, which is about ten miles south of today's Cairo.


NOTE: In the millennia prior to mechanized conveyances, the greatest obstacle to travel was distance. Today the average American zips around in a vehicle that can easily travel 55 miles in just one hour. That same distance would take eleven hours at a burro's pace. In other words; in the time it takes a burro to walk 55 miles, an automobile at 55 miles an hour can travel 605.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #304 on: September 14, 2019, 07:43:22 am »
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● Gen 42:29b-34 . . they told him all that had befallen them, saying; The man who is lord of the land spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the land. We said to him: We are honest men; we have never been spies! There were twelve of us brothers, sons by the same father; but one is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.

. . . But the man who is lord of the land said to us; By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take something for your starving households and be off. And bring your youngest brother to me, that I may know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then restore your brother to you, and you shall be at liberty to move about in the land.

When they got home, they proceeded to report to their father Jacob the details of their experience. In spite of his age, which was near 130, Jacob was still the dominant figure in the family; and apparently well respected since no one seems to feel inclined to question his authority.

● Gen 42:35 . . As they were emptying their sacks, there, in each one's sack, was his money-bag! When they and their father saw their money-bags, they were alarmed.

It must have seemed to Jacob that his sons stole the grain, or why else would they still have their money? To the men, it must have seemed like the obtuse Egyptian big shot was toying with them; to set them up for a charge of theft. As these thoughts raced through every man's head, Jacob became a bit paranoid; which Webster's defines as: a psychosis characterized by delusions of persecution; as in "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?" (lyrics from a cute song by The Coasters, 1959)

● Gen 42:36a . .Their father Jacob said to them: You have deprived me of my children.

Jacob held his eldest sons responsible for Joseph's demise. But he is even more complicit. Jacob should have known better than to send his young teen-age son all by himself to find the others a good many miles from home in a mostly wilderness area. That was irresponsible.

● Gen 42:36b . . Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!

Poor ol' Jacob. Little did he know that the night gets darkest before the dawn. Mr. Israel had little to celebrate at this point; but morning was right around the corner.

They all, including Jacob, should have thought the whole situation through for a minute. The big shot accused the brothers of spying. So now why would he trump up a charge of theft against them? Which is worse, spying or theft? Spying, of course, is much worse than theft. And how ever could thievery prove the big shot's much more serious charge of spying against them?

It couldn't. No proficient spy is going to do something dumb that is sure to draw attention to himself. When Joshua's spies entered Jericho (Josh 2) did they begin shop-lifting, or taking things off of people's clothes lines? No. They were discreet. Jericho's authorities still caught on to them anyway, but at least it wasn't for something stupid.

So the men must have reasoned that the big shot was hedging his bets. If he couldn't get them on a charge of spying, then he would get them for the lesser charge of theft. But they should have asked themselves: Why would the obtuse big shot be so anxious to nail them at all? Is that how he amused himself; by framing people and throwing them in jail for something they didn't do? That's not an unusual police activity. In our own day, Iraqi authorities, under the auspices of Saddam Hussein, used to do that all the time.

For some reason, it just never occurred to the men that maybe the big shot down in Egypt simply pitied them. He had, after all, professed to fear God; and by doing so, implied that just in case their story were true, he didn't want to be responsible for causing their families any undue hardship; but no, they assumed the worst instead.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #305 on: September 15, 2019, 10:14:59 am »
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● Gen 42:37 . .Then Reuben said to his father: You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.

It would have been interesting to ask Reuben's boys how they felt about their dad's rash offer to trade their lives for Benjamin's. That is the very same stupid kind of deal that Lot offered the Sodomites back in chapter 19, only Lot's was dumber because he offered to trade his wife's babies for two perfect strangers' lives. What did men in those days think their offspring were? Cattle? Commodities? God pity kids that grow up in a home with parents that think so little of them.

And did Reuben really think that slaying Jacob's own grandchildren would somehow make him feel any better about losing Benjamin? That's like burning my house, and then stealing my car to make me feel all better about the loss of my home. Reuben either had a very low IQ, or must have been out of his cotton-picking mind! Sometimes I think Joseph rather pitied his elder brothers for being such imbeciles. Small wonder God chose Joseph to go down to Egypt. The rest of them had no more intelligence than a bar of soap.

● Gen 42:38 . . But he said: My son must not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If he meets with disaster on the journey you are taking, you will send my white head down to sheol in grief.

Some translators render sheol (sheh-ole') as the grave; a place to inter a corpse. But though sheol can include one's grave; it's not the whole picture.

The specific Old Testament word for grave is qibrah (kib-raw') which first appears in Gen 23:4, and something like 67 instances thereafter.

Qibrah is the equivalent of the New Testament word mnemeion (mnay-mi'-on) which first appears at Matt 8:28, and something like 41 instances thereafter.


NOTE: Former US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated Friday, Nov 22, 1963 @ 12:30 p.m. by one Lee Harvey Oswald.

Though Oswald succeeded in terminating the life of Mr. Kennedy's body; according to Matt 10:28 and Luke 12:4-5 he did not succeed in terminating the life of Mr. Kennedy's soul. No, that part of the former president's existence survived.

Matt 10:28 is very good evidence that normal human existence consists of at least two components: soul and body; which is corroborated by 1Thess 5:23.

The million dollar question is: Where was Mr. Kennedy's soul taken when his body passed away?

Well, one of the biblical answers to that question is located in Luke 16:19-31, viz: Mr. Kennedy's soul was taken to either the rich man's location, or it was taken to Abraham's.
_
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 10:22:59 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #306 on: September 16, 2019, 07:13:35 am »
.
● Gen 43:1-7 . . But the famine in the land was severe. And when they had eaten up the rations which they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them: Go again and procure some food for us.

. . . But Judah said to him: The man warned us "Do not let me see your faces unless your brother is with you". If you will let our brother go with us, we will go down and procure food for you; but if you will not let him go, we will not go down, for the man said to us "Do not let me see your faces unless your brother is with you".

. . . And Israel said: Why did you serve me so ill as to tell the man that you had another brother? They replied: But the man kept asking about us and our family, saying "Is your father still living? Have you another brother?" And we answered him accordingly. How were we to know that he would say bring your brother here?

Judah is direct, and right to the point. If Jacob doesn't let the brothers take Benjamin with them on the next trip, then the family is certain to go without food. It's just that simple, and there's no use in sugar coating it.

● Gen 43:8-10 . . Then Judah said to his father Israel: Send the boy in my care, and let us be on our way, that we may live and not die-- you and we and our children. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible; if I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I shall stand guilty before you forever. For we could have been there and back twice if we had not dawdled.

At this point, the number of kin for whom Jacob was directly responsible to provide numbered well over 70, upwards of 100, because the list in chapter 46 doesn't include his sons' wives, nor any of the wives of his grandsons. Truly, if Jacob wasn't careful, he would cause the loss of his entire clan in the interest of saving just one. Since the whole clan was now in mortal danger, they really had nothing to lose by risking Benjamin's life. He would die anyway from hunger; so why not have him die trying to obtain some additional grain from Egypt? It was an acceptable risk given the circumstances.

During all this discussion, the Egyptian big shot is only referred to as "the man" which means Joseph didn't tell the brothers his official Egyptian name Zaphenath-paneah; and they couldn't have gotten it off their grain permits because Joseph signed all government documents with that signet gadget given to him by Pharaoh back in chapter 41.

● Gen 43:11-14 . .Then their father Israel said to them: If it must be so do this: take some of the strength of the land in your baggage, and carry them down as a gift for the man-- some balm and some honey, labdanum, pistachio nuts, and almonds.

. . . And take with you double the silver, carrying back with you the silver that was replaced in the mouths of your bags; perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother too; and go back at once to the man. And may El Shaddai dispose the man to mercy toward you, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved, I shall be bereaved.

The "choice" fruits would have to be limited to produce that doesn't spoil easily since it was probably three weeks travel time via burro.

Balm was a good gift, since it was a trade item (Gen 37:25) and a valuable first aid treatment.

Labdanum is a soft dark fragrant bitter oleoresin derived from various rockroses (genus Cistus) and used in making perfumes. Another trade item.

Before the advent of processed sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey was a lot more popular than it is now. There is no Hebrew word for sugar in the entire Old Testament. A little-known fact about natural honey is its medicinal value. Honey fights bacteria in wounds in several ways, including the steady production of hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic. One type of honey-- Manuka --is especially effective.

Honey was valued in the old world; as evidenced by it being one of the nouns to describe the qualities of the promised land (Ex 3:8). The Hebrew word for honey-- debash (deb-ash') --is a bit ambiguous. It can mean the kind of organic goo produced in nature by bees and/or can indicate a thick, intensely sweet syrup produced from dates and grape juice; which Arabs call dibs. In this story, either one would have been as good as the other since neither were easy to obtain.

I would think that honey-bee honey would be the more prized since there's been found no evidence of scientific agriculture in the Palestine of that day. Any honey gathered would have to be found by first searching for it in the wild, and then braving its angry owners in order to collect it. (cf. 1Sam 14:24-27)

The almonds, honey, and pistachios were just treats; but the other items, given by a man, to a man, were about the equivalent of giving a girl jewelry. They weren't cheap. And considering the austere conditions in the land caused by the intense drought, anything edible would certainly be appreciated far more than normal.

Jacob knew God as Yhvh as well as by His name El Shaddai (Gen 27:20, Gen 28:13) but in this instance he depends upon God as El Shaddai; the God of Abraham's covenant (Gen 17:1-2, Gen 35:10-12) the God powerful enough to control nature and make the impossible happen. (cf. Eph 3:20)


NOTE: I'm not sure just how well-informed the ancients were about the nutritional benefits of almonds; but they are an excellent source of natural riboflavin (B2).
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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #307 on: September 17, 2019, 07:53:22 am »
.
● Gen 43:15-18a . . So the men took that gift, and they took with them double the money; as well as Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt, where they reported to Joseph.

. . .When Joseph saw Benjamin with them; he said to his house steward: Take the men into the house; slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men will dine with me at noon. The man did as Joseph said, and he brought the men into Joseph's house.

It's highly unlikely Joseph recognized Benjamin since he was just a little boy when big brother went off to Egypt. At this point, Benjamin is much older-- over 21 --and likely much older than that since, at this point, Joseph had already been in Egypt for at least that long. Later, Joseph will interrogate his elder brothers to make sure they actually brought him.

● Gen 43:18b . . But the men were frightened at being brought into Joseph's house.

They had good reason to be frightened. It was common for Egyptian big shots to have dungeons under their homes where they kept their own private little penal colony.

● Gen 43:18c . . It must be, they thought; because of the silver, replaced in our bags the first time, that we have been brought inside-- as a pretext to attack us and seize us as slaves, with our pack animals.

That's actually a pretty good mob trick; it's in movies like "The Godfather", and in TV programs like "The Sopranos" all the time. The mark is thrown off guard with courtesy, forgiveness, kindness, sympathy, generosity, and friendship; until the moment of truth when the guns, knives, garrotes, anchor chains, and/or bags of concrete come out. The men are justifiably worried; and so rather than wait and be confronted about the silver, they come forward to cop a plea.

● Gen 43:19-22 . . So they went up to Joseph's house steward and spoke to him at the entrance of the house.

. . . If you please, my lord, they said; we came down once before to procure food. But when we arrived at the night encampment and opened our bags, there was each one's money in the mouth of his bag, our money in full. So we have brought it back with us. And we have brought down with us other money to procure food. We do not know who put the money in our bags.

No true thief of course would go to all the trouble of actually bringing the silver back; sort of like people who are given too much change from a purchase and keep it; saying nothing.

● Gen 43:23a . . He replied: All is well with you; do not be afraid. Your god, the god of your father, must have put treasure in your bags for you. I got your payment.

In the steward's thinking; which god is the god of your father? If he had used the name Yhvh it would be easier to answer that question. But in light of the times and the circumstances, it isn't unreasonable to assume that the steward had no idea who their own personal god was, nor did he care; since gods were plentiful in Egypt and the brothers would probably be like everybody else and simply worship the one they inherited and grew up with at home: whichever that might be.

● Gen 43:23b-25 . . And he brought out Simeon to them. Then the man brought the men into Joseph's house; he gave them water to bathe their feet, and he provided feed for their burros. They laid out their gifts to await Joseph's arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were to dine there.

In the brothers' minds; all the leniency and courtesy being extended to them was little more than a pretext designed to accomplish just one purpose: to give them a false sense of security so they wouldn't suspect the real purpose for being brought to Joseph's home; which they truly believed was to confiscate their goods and their livestock, and to harness themselves in slavery.

● Gen 43:26-28 . .When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts that they had brought with them into the house, bowing low before him to the ground. He greeted them, and he said: How is your aged father of whom you spoke? Is he still in good health? They replied: It is well with your servant our father; he is still in good health. And they bowed and made obeisance.

The Hebrew word for "obeisance" is shachah (shaw-khaw') which means to prostrate oneself in homage. That very same word is translated "worship" in other places. (e.g. Gen 22:5, Gen 24:26, Ex 34:14)

● Gen 43:29a . . As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he asked: Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?

No doubt Joseph could tell by the looks on everybody's faces that it was indeed Benjamin so he didn't have to wait for an answer before responding.

● Gen 43:29b . . May God be gracious to you, my son.

To be "gracious" is the Hebrew word chanan (khaw-nan') which means to stoop or bend in kindness to an inferior; viz: fraternize with someone below you; viz: waive the privileges of rank and descend to a less formal or less dignified level-- a mandated Christian social skill.

"Don't be conceited, and think so highly of yourself as to avoid associating with people below you." (Rom 12:16)

Somebody might be curious why Joseph called Benjamin "son" instead of brother. The Hebrew word for son (ben) is ambiguous and has a pretty wide application. It can mean not only a direct descendant, but also a grandson; or the result of an action like city building or township founding. It can also mean a subject, like citizens in a kingdom.

It was no doubt in the "subject" aspect that Joseph applied it to his kid brother-- not as kin, but as below himself in rank because in Egypt, nobody was higher than Joseph except his own boss Pharaoh; which made Pharaoh a father to everyone under his jurisdiction; including Joseph. And besides, Joseph is not quite ready to reveal his true identity; so he has to maintain an air of aristocracy in order to keep them guessing.
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Bladerunner

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #308 on: September 17, 2019, 11:04:08 pm »
.
● Gen 43:15-18a . . So the men took that gift, and they took with them double the money; as well as Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt, where they reported to Joseph.

. . .When Joseph saw Benjamin with them; he said to his house steward: Take the men into the house; slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men will dine with me at noon. The man did as Joseph said, and he brought the men into Joseph's house.

It's highly unlikely Joseph recognized Benjamin since he was just a little boy when big brother went off to Egypt. At this point, Benjamin is much older-- over 21 --and likely much older than that since, at this point, Joseph had already been in Egypt for at least that long. Later, Joseph will interrogate his elder brothers to make sure they actually brought him.

● Gen 43:18b . . But the men were frightened at being brought into Joseph's house.

They had good reason to be frightened. It was common for Egyptian big shots to have dungeons under their homes where they kept their own private little penal colony.

● Gen 43:18c . . It must be, they thought; because of the silver, replaced in our bags the first time, that we have been brought inside-- as a pretext to attack us and seize us as slaves, with our pack animals.

That's actually a pretty good mob trick; it's in movies like "The Godfather", and in TV programs like "The Sopranos" all the time. The mark is thrown off guard with courtesy, forgiveness, kindness, sympathy, generosity, and friendship; until the moment of truth when the guns, knives, garrotes, anchor chains, and/or bags of concrete come out. The men are justifiably worried; and so rather than wait and be confronted about the silver, they come forward to cop a plea.

● Gen 43:19-22 . . So they went up to Joseph's house steward and spoke to him at the entrance of the house.

. . . If you please, my lord, they said; we came down once before to procure food. But when we arrived at the night encampment and opened our bags, there was each one's money in the mouth of his bag, our money in full. So we have brought it back with us. And we have brought down with us other money to procure food. We do not know who put the money in our bags.

No true thief of course would go to all the trouble of actually bringing the silver back; sort of like people who are given too much change from a purchase and keep it; saying nothing.

● Gen 43:23a . . He replied: All is well with you; do not be afraid. Your god, the god of your father, must have put treasure in your bags for you. I got your payment.

In the steward's thinking; which god is the god of your father? If he had used the name Yhvh it would be easier to answer that question. But in light of the times and the circumstances, it isn't unreasonable to assume that the steward had no idea who their own personal god was, nor did he care; since gods were plentiful in Egypt and the brothers would probably be like everybody else and simply worship the one they inherited and grew up with at home: whichever that might be.

● Gen 43:23b-25 . . And he brought out Simeon to them. Then the man brought the men into Joseph's house; he gave them water to bathe their feet, and he provided feed for their burros. They laid out their gifts to await Joseph's arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were to dine there.

In the brothers' minds; all the leniency and courtesy being extended to them was little more than a pretext designed to accomplish just one purpose: to give them a false sense of security so they wouldn't suspect the real purpose for being brought to Joseph's home; which they truly believed was to confiscate their goods and their livestock, and to harness themselves in slavery.

● Gen 43:26-28 . .When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts that they had brought with them into the house, bowing low before him to the ground. He greeted them, and he said: How is your aged father of whom you spoke? Is he still in good health? They replied: It is well with your servant our father; he is still in good health. And they bowed and made obeisance.

The Hebrew word for "obeisance" is shachah (shaw-khaw') which means to prostrate oneself in homage. That very same word is translated "worship" in other places. (e.g. Gen 22:5, Gen 24:26, Ex 34:14)

● Gen 43:29a . . As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he asked: Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?

No doubt Joseph could tell by the looks on everybody's faces that it was indeed Benjamin so he didn't have to wait for an answer before responding.

● Gen 43:29b . . May God be gracious to you, my son.

To be "gracious" is the Hebrew word chanan (khaw-nan') which means to stoop or bend in kindness to an inferior; viz: fraternize with someone below you; viz: waive the privileges of rank and descend to a less formal or less dignified level-- a mandated Christian social skill.

"Don't be conceited, and think so highly of yourself as to avoid associating with people below you." (Rom 12:16)

Somebody might be curious why Joseph called Benjamin "son" instead of brother. The Hebrew word for son (ben) is ambiguous and has a pretty wide application. It can mean not only a direct descendant, but also a grandson; or the result of an action like city building or township founding. It can also mean a subject, like citizens in a kingdom.

It was no doubt in the "subject" aspect that Joseph applied it to his kid brother-- not as kin, but as below himself in rank because in Egypt, nobody was higher than Joseph except his own boss Pharaoh; which made Pharaoh a father to everyone under his jurisdiction; including Joseph. And besides, Joseph is not quite ready to reveal his true identity; so he has to maintain an air of aristocracy in order to keep them guessing.
_


Hang in there

1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #309 on: September 18, 2019, 07:37:11 am »
.
● Gen 43:30 . .Then Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to sob. Going into his private room, he wept there.

Only people who have found long-lost relatives can understand the wave of emotion that swept Joseph at this moment. It's a strange human experience.

When my own full brother found me after losing track of each other for almost 26 years, I broke down and had to call in sick to work the next day. It was overwhelming; and I don't even like the man. My brother and I were never friends. In point of fact, our reunion took place over the phone and via US Mail: we never did actually meet up face to face. I informed him, in no uncertain terms, that if he ever came to my home I would call the Sheriff. Anon, I took steps to insure he never wrote me, nor called me, ever again. If my brother should die before me, I don't want to be told about it; and won't go to his funeral.

Somebody might ask: Why don't you forgive your brother and let bygones be bygones. No; they don't understand. My brother is toxic. He's on a third marriage and has left behind him a wake of broken-hearted, psychologically damaged wives and children. Everyone is secondary to his business ambitions. Nobody is on a plane with those ambitions— nobody. He's extremely competitive, supercilious, and always has to be the center of attention at the expense of everyone else's self respect. My brother is cursed with a natural talent for making people in his presence feel bad about themselves.

No, it's not as simple as bygones-- it's as simple as self defense. I am not going to let my brother close enough to de-humanize me all over again, and I am certainly not going to let him near any of my own family. It's just not going to happen unless he goes through some very miraculous changes first.

Haven't you noticed how cautious Joseph has been with his own brothers? That's the lesson of this section; don't miss it. Joseph has been carefully gauging his elder brothers' reactions through all this to make very, very sure he can trust them enough to let them back into his life. There was too much at stake.
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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #310 on: September 18, 2019, 07:28:15 pm »
.
● Gen 43:30 . .Then Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to sob. Going into his private room, he wept there.

Only people who have found long-lost relatives can understand the wave of emotion that swept Joseph at this moment. It's a strange human experience.

When my own full brother found me after losing track of each other for almost 26 years, I broke down and had to call in sick to work the next day. It was overwhelming; and I don't even like the man. My brother and I were never friends. In point of fact, our reunion took place over the phone and via US Mail: we never did actually meet up face to face. I informed him, in no uncertain terms, that if he ever came to my home I would call the Sheriff. Anon, I took steps to insure he never wrote me, nor called me, ever again. If my brother should die before me, I don't want to be told about it; and won't go to his funeral.

Somebody might ask: Why don't you forgive your brother and let bygones be bygones. No; they don't understand. My brother is toxic. He's on a third marriage and has left behind him a wake of broken-hearted, psychologically damaged wives and children. Everyone is secondary to his business ambitions. Nobody is on a plane with those ambitions— nobody. He's extremely competitive, supercilious, and always has to be the center of attention at the expense of everyone else's self respect. My brother is cursed with a natural talent for making people in his presence feel bad about themselves.

No, it's not as simple as bygones-- it's as simple as self defense. I am not going to let my brother close enough to de-humanize me all over again, and I am certainly not going to let him near any of my own family. It's just not going to happen unless he goes through some very miraculous changes first.

Haven't you noticed how cautious Joseph has been with his own brothers? That's the lesson of this section; don't miss it. Joseph has been carefully gauging his elder brothers' reactions through all this to make very, very sure he can trust them enough to let them back into his life. There was too much at stake.
_


Odd interpretation?

1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #311 on: September 19, 2019, 01:14:07 pm »
.
● Gen 43:31-32 . .Then he washed his face and came out; and regaining his composure, said: Serve the food. So they set him a place by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.

Apparently the brothers didn't think anything of Joseph eating alone. Maybe they just thought (as common Egyptian culture dictated) the other Egyptians were too far below their host to be considered worthy of an invitation to sit at his table. In their minds, to do so would have been fraternization; viz: associating with people of lower official rank; thus implying that they were equal in worth.


NOTE: If the steward had told them Joseph was a Hebrew, I wonder how Jacob's sons would have reacted to that?

● Gen 43:33 . . And they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another.

Reuben was the natural firstborn; but due to his incestuous tryst with Bilhah (Gen 35:22) Jacob transferred the position to Joseph (1Chrn 5:1). However, seeing as how Joseph wasn't seated with his brothers, then what would've been his position around the table defaulted to Reuben.

The seating arrangement wasn't at the brothers' discretion. It was totally under their host's control and that's why they were all so amazed. According to permutation, the odds of seating the 11 men according to their respective ages by coincidence is like 39,917,000 : 1

Since they had no reason to believe that Joseph knew any more about their family other than what they had already told him, perhaps at this point they suspected he was either clairvoyant or else blessed with an amazing degree of intuition; and they would have certainly been correct on that account even if circumstances had been different because any man with the ability to correctly interpret dreams should have no trouble figuring out birth orders.


NOTE: A Jewish Midrash (Genesis Rabba 92:5) has Joseph pretending to "divine" their seating order by means of his special silver goblet-- a key item coming up in just a few more verses.

● Gen 43:34 . .Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they imbibed and were merry with him.

Every time I read that passage, my mind, like a knee-jerk reflex, instantly fantasizes a really hulking, heaping, ranch-size platter of vittles placed before Benjamin like is so often seen at buffets. Instead of making more than one trip to the food bars, there's invariably at least one person who piles everything they'll ever want onto just one plate, like Mt. Vesuvius, and then does a delicate balancing act while cautiously maneuvering their way to a table.

But a 5x serving isn't eo ipso a large amount; it would really depend upon the size of a standard portion. And if the food was served a' la carte, then five standard portions of just one item wouldn't necessarily take on the appearance of a banquet. Gourmet foods, especially, are typically small presentations that would barely qualify as an hors d'oeuvre to a strapping man like an ice-road trucker or a Pacific northwest logger. Five servings of gourmet food to one of those guys would amount to little more than an appetizer. But the point is: Benny's plate contained quite a bit more than his brothers' and that had to raise some curious eyebrows.


NOTE: The Hebrew word for "merry" is shakar (shaw-kar') which means to become tipsy; in a qualified sense, to satiate with a stimulating drink or (figuratively) influence; which indicates that the beverage Joseph's brothers were served had alcohol in it.
_
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 01:16:04 pm by Olde Tymer »

 

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