Thursday, February 16, 2012

Notes on Genesis 37

Verse 2 -

Joseph (יוסף)

"For among the sons of Jacob Joseph was the one that resembled his father most closely in appearance, and, also, he was the one to whom Jacob transmitted the instruction and knowledge he had received from his teachers Shem and Eber."

"Coat of many colors" = כתנת פסים (Kethoneth pasim) = Long coat or coat reaching to the hands and feet.

Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries:

כּתּנת כּתנת
kethôneth kûttôneth
keth-o'-neth, koot-to'-neth
From an unused root meaning to cover (compare H3802); a shirt: - coat, garment, robe.

From H6461; properly the palm (of the hand) or sole (of the foot), (compare H6447); by implication (plural) a long and sleeved tunic (perhaps simply a wide one; from the original sense of the root, that is, of many breadths): - (divers) colours.

This phrase is found one other time in the Bible. It is found in 2 Sam. 13:18-19.

Alternate translation as given by Hugh Nibley is "coat of certain marks".

William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies p. 82:

"One noted scholar suggested that if (the coat) was a 'tunic reaching to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet', the long tunic with sleeves worn by the... better class; in the case of Joseph... (it is thought) to have been the badge of the the right which had been forfeited by Reuben and transferred to Joseph."

Legends of the Jews tells of two gifts given to Joseph by Jacob after Jacob came to Egypt:

Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews vol. 2:

"Joseph received two gifts from his father. The first was Shechem, the city that Jacob had defended, with sword and bow, against the depredations of the Amorite kings when they tried to take revenge upon his sons for the outrage committed there. And the second gift was the garments made by God for Adam and passed from hand to hand, until they came into the possession of Jacob. Shechem was his reward, because, with his chastity, he stemmed the tide of immorality that burst loose in Shechem first of all. Besides, he had a prior claim upon the city. Shechem, son of Hamor, the master of the city, had given it to Dinah as a present, and the wife of Joseph, Asenath, being the daughter of Dinah, the city belonged to him by right.

Adam's clothes Jacob had received from Esau. He had not taken them from his brother by force, but God had caused them to be given to him as a reward for his good deeds. They had belonged to Nimrod. Once when the mighty hunter caught Esau in his preserves, and forbade him to go on the chase, they agreed to determine by combat what their privileges were. Esau had taken counsel with Jacob, and he had advised him never to fight with Nimrod while he was clothed in Adam's garments. The two now wrestled with each other, and at the time Nimrod was not dressed in Adam's clothes. The end was that he was slain by Esau. Thus the garments worn by Adam fell into the hands of Esau, from him they passed into Jacob's, and he bequeathed them to Joseph."

Rent coat served as a symbol of the remnant of Joseph's seed which was rent from the main body and taken to the New World and preserved there. See Alma 46:23-24.

Verse 22

Pit = Cistern

From H952 (in the sense of H877); a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or prison): - cistern, dungeon, fountain, pit, well.

Verse 28

The journey to Egypt:

Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews vol. 2:

"The journey was continued until they came to Ephrath, the place of Rachel's sepulchre. Joseph hastened to his mother's grave, and throwing himself across it, he groaned and cried, saying: "O mother, mother, that didst bear me, arise, come forth and see how thy son hath been sold into slavery, with none to take pity upon him. Arise, see thy son, and weep with me over my misfortune, and observe the heartlessness of my brethren. Awake, O mother, rouse thyself from thy sleep, rise up and prepare for the conflict with my brethren, who stripped me even of my shirt, and sold me as a slave to merchantmen, who in turn sold me to others, and without mercy they tore me away from my father. Arise, accuse my brethren before God, and see whom He will justify in the judgment, and whom He will find guilty. Arise, O mother, awake from thy sleep, see how my father is with me in his soul and in his spirit, and comfort him and ease his heavy heart."

"Joseph wept and cried upon the grave of his mother, until, weary from grief, he lay immovable as a stone. Then he heard a voice heavy with tears speak to him from the depths, saying: "My son Joseph, my son, I heard thy complaints and thy groans, I saw thy tears, and I knew thy misery, my son. I am grieved for thy sake, and thy affliction is added to the burden of my affliction. But, my son Joseph, put thy trust in God, and wait upon Him. Fear not, for the Lord is with thee, and He will deliver thee from all evil. Go down into Egypt with thy masters, my son; fear naught, for the Lord is with thee, O my son." This and much more like unto it did the voice utter, and then it was silent. Joseph listened in great amazement at first, and then he broke out in renewed tears. Angered thereby, one of the Ishmaelites drove him from his mother's grave with kicks and curses. Then Joseph entreated his masters to take him back to his father, who would give them great riches as a reward. But they said, "Why, thou art a slave! How canst thou know where thy father is? If thou hadst had a free man as father, thou wouldst not have been sold twice for a petty sum." And then their fury against him increased, they beat him and maltreated him, and he wept bitter tears.

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