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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Genesis 41

Verse 1

the river: i e. the Nile.

Verse 2

seven . . . kine. The cow was the emblem of Isis. In the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", Osiris is represented as a bull, accompanied by seven cows. (British Museum.) This was the basis of the dream, and gave it such significance and mystery.

in a meadow = among the rushes, or reeds, ' ahu , probably an Egyptian word.

Verse 5

seven ears. Unknown to us; but common in Egypt with the Triticum composition.

rank = fat.

Verse 6

east wind. In Egypt the prevailing winds are N. and S.: in Palestine E. and W. The wind here is the Ckamsin (Hebrew. kadim), which is southeast, and is a blighting wind. Hebrews had only the four quarters. Had it said here south, it would have meant nothing, but east conveys the nature of the wind, especially as evil was supposed to come from the east and good from the west, as in other countries.

Verse 8

spirit. Hebrew. ruach. See App-9 .

magicians. Priests were divided into four classes; and five priests chosen from them were the king's councillors.

Verse 9

remember = bring to [Pharaoh's] remembrance.

Verse 13

as = according as.

he restored: he = Joseph. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject). i.e. he declared I should be restored.

he hanged: he = Joseph. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject). App-6 . = declared he would be hanged.

Verse 14

brought him hastily out. Hebrew made him run.

shaved. The beard was a disgrace in Egypt; shaving a disgrace in Palestine. Compare 1 Samuel 10:4 .

Verse 15

dreamed a dream. Figure of speech Polyptoton. App-6 . = I have had a significant dream.

Verse 17

the river = the Nile.

Verse 25

is. Heb, "it [is]".

Verse 26

are. Hebrew "they [are]".

Verse 30

seven years. This explains and confirms the hieroglyphic inscription discovered by Wilbour at Sehel (first cataract). It is referred to in another inscription in the tomb of Baba, at El-Kab, translated by Brugsch (History of Egypt, i, 304). In July 1908, Brugsch Bey discovered inscriptions which tell how "for seven successive years the Nile did not overflow, and vegetation withered and failed; that the land was devoid of crops, and that during these years, famine and misery devastated the land of Egypt". The date is given as 1700 B. C, which cannot be earlier, therefore, than the last year of the famine. The last year of the seven years of plenty was in B.C. 1708, according to Ussher (Genesis 41:53 ), with which the inscription agrees. See farther, App-37 .

the land. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject). App-6 . the people in the land.

Verse 32

doubled. To denote its establishment by God. Compare Isaiah 40:2 ; Isaiah 61:7 . Jeremiah 16:18 ; Jeremiah 17:18 . Zechariah 9:12 .Revelation 18:6 .

twice. Figure of speech Ellipsis ( App-6 ) = "[and sent] twice. "

Verse 34

do this = take action.

Verse 38

the spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9 . No art. = a Divine spirit or inspiration. Pharaoh knew nothing of Biblical Psychology.

Verse 40

word. Hebrew mouth. Metonymy (of Cause). Mouth is put for the commands uttered by it.

be ruled. Hebrew. nashak, to bend (as a bow). Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct). = bend put for submit. See Genesis 41:43 , below, "Bow the knee", and note on "kiss", Psalms 2:12 .

greater. Compare Genesis 45:8 .

Verse 41

all. Apepi only recently ruled over all. Before this he had reigned with his father and grandfather. So the Monuments.

Verse 43

they. Some codices, with Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "one".

Bow the knee. This is not Hebrew "tender father", as Authorized Version margin, but Egyptian. Abrek = bend or bow the knee. See Genesis 41:40 above, and Psalms 2:12 . Compare Genesis 45:8 , and John 8:8 in Coptic NT. ("stooped down"). A command still used in Egypt to make camels kneel (" Abrok "). According to Sayce, Abrek is a Sumerian title = -"The Seer". This would demand prostration.

Verse 45

Zaphnath-paaneah. This, too, is not Hebrew, but Egyptian. Zap = abundance; nt ( nath ) = of ; pa = the; aneh = life. The whole name = abundance of life, or, of food for the living.

Poti-pherah. The Egyptian priest of On = "City of the Sun", called in Hebrew. Aven and Bethshemesh (Jeremiah 43:13 ), and in Greek. Heliopolis. It was the university of Old Egypt.

Verse 48

all the food. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of the Whole), food put for corn.

Which were. Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint read "in which there was plenty".

Verse 49

sand, &c. Figure of speech Paroemia ( App-6 ).

Verse 51

name. Figure of speech Pleonasm.

toil. Heb, 'amal. App-44 .

Verse 53

was = came to pass. See note on Genesis 1:2 .

Verse 54

dearth. One of 13 famines. See note on Genesis 12:10 . Gen 12:57

all countries. Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject). i.e. people from all countries.

all lands. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of the Whole). i.e. all neighbouring lands,

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 41". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.