Joseph, “The Man”

I God reveals the forthcoming decades to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:25-36).

A. The two dreams are but one revelation.

1. There will be seven years of great plenty.

2. There will be seven years of famine.

3. This will be through all the land of Egypt.

a. The famine will be over all the land.
b. The famine will “consume the land.”
c. The famine will be “very grievous.”

4. This prophecy is revealed by Elohim to Pharaoh.

a. Elohim has established the events.
b. Elohim will bring this about “shortly.”

B. The solution to the upcoming events is given by Joseph.

1. Pharaoh is to find a “discreet and wise” man to oversee the land.

2. Pharaoh is to appoint “officers” under him to carry out the plan.

3. Pharaoh is to tax 20% on all produce of the land.

4. Pharaoh is to store the surplus to prevent starvation in the future.

II. Pharaoh recognizes Joseph as “The Man.”

A. God uses this term to identify unique individuals.

1. The Hebrew construction is common in the Old Testament.

2. The singular term, IYSH, is used to identify a specific person.

3. The usage frequently identifies a special person.

a. Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, who was sent to find a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:21-61)
b. Isaac was recognized by Abimelech (Genesis 26:11-13).
c. Jacob (Genesis 30:43); Moses (Numbers 12:3; Joshua 14:6)
d. Several wicked men so identified in the book of Judges
e. Most of the kings and prophets are so identified.

B. Joseph is recognized by Pharaoh and his court as “the” man.

1. Joseph has the “spirit of Elohim” (Genesis 41:38).

2. Pharaoh understands that Joseph has had this understanding directly from Elohim (Genesis 41:39).

3. Joseph is superior, “discreet and wise.”

4. Joseph is promoted to the second in command of all Egypt.

C. Joseph’s brothers always use “the man” when they speak of Joseph.

1. “The man, who is the lord of the land” (Genesis 42:30)

2. Genesis 43:3, 5-7, 11, 14; 44:26

3. Used as a term of respect and fear

III. Joseph begins to govern the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:46-57).

A. Joseph is ceremoniously invested as 2nd in the land (Genesis 41:41-45).

1. Pharaoh gives Joseph the signet ring – seal of authority.

2. Pharaoh had Joseph invested with royal clothing.

3. Pharaoh held a “parade,” a royal procession, throughout the royal city proclaiming the new ruler.

4. Pharaoh gives Joseph a royal Egyptian name.

a. Zaphnath-paaneah is of uncertain meaning.
b. There are several possible interpretations.
1)   Abundance of Life
2)   Savior of the World
3)   Revealer of Secrets
4)   God’s Word Speaking Life
5)   Furnisher of Sustenance

5. Note: Because of this sudden rise from prison to ruler, Joseph is often seen as a type of Christ – Philippians 2:7-10.

B. Joseph assumes authority at age thirty (30) – Genesis 41:46.

1. This is the age often recognized as the start of leadership.

2. The workers and soldiers of Israel must be thirty (Numbers 4).

3. David was thirty when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4).

4. Jesus was thirty when he began His ministry (Luke 3:23).

C. Joseph organizes Egypt during the time of prosperity (Genesis 41:46-49).

1. Joseph “went out from the presence of Pharaoh”.

2. Joseph “went throughout all the land of Egypt”.

3. Joseph “gathered up all the food” during the seven years.

4. Joseph “laid up the food…in every city.”

5. Joseph “gathered…very much…without number”.

D. Joseph marries and has two sons (Genesis 41:50-52).

1. Asenath is the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of (or “at”) On.

a. “On” is the Egyptian name for the city of Heliopolis (City of the Sun).
b. Potipherah is the same as Potiphar (“Given by Ra”).
c. Asenath may well be the daughter of Joseph’s earlier Captor.
d. Asenath means “Dedicated to Neith,” an Egyptian deity equivalent to the Greek goddess Minerva (the goddess of wisdom, peace, warfare, strategy, handicrafts and reason; shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavor).

2. Manasseh, the firstborn, is named for Joseph’s new life.

a. The name means “Forgetting”.
b. The forgetfulness is not a loss of memory, but a loss of pain.

3. Ephraim, the second born, is named for the blessings of God.

a. The name means “Doubly Fruitful”.
b. The emphasis is on thankfulness for God’s blessings.

4. Note:  The ancient city stood five miles east of the Nile, north of the apex of the Delta. Heliopolis originally refers to an area that covers the areas of Ain Shams, Al-Matariyyah and Tel Al-Hisn.  In ancient times it was the principal seat of sun-worship, thus its name, which means city of the sun in Greek. The temple of Ra was said to have been, to a special degree, a depository for royal records.  Herodotus states that the priests of Heliopolis were the best informed in matters of history of all the Egyptians. Now Heliopolis contains the earliest temple obelisk still in its original position. The 20.7 m / 68 ft high red granite Obelisk of Senusret I of the XIIth Dynasty is at Al-Matariyyah part of Heliopolis. It is now in Al-Masalla area of Al-Matariyyah district near Ain Shams district (Heliopolis). It is 67 feet (20 m) tall and weighs 120 tons or 240,000 pounds. (Excerpts from the online Wikipedia)

IV. Joseph rules the land and transfers the wealth of Egypt to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:52-57).

A. The seven years of plenty end, just as foretold.

1. The famine was over all the land.

2. The language indicates widespread famine.

a. “In all lands” -- “all the land of Egypt” (41:54)
b. “All the land of Egypt was famished” (41:55)
c. “Famine was over all the face of the earth” (41:56)
d. “Famine waxed sore in the land” (41:56)
e. “All countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy…because the famine was so sore in all lands” (41:57)

B. The distribution of food was a masterpiece of governmental authority.

1. Preparation against the day of adversity is necessary.

2. Strategic stockpiles throughout the entire nation

a. Supplies obtained by lawful and fair means
b. Surplus provided government revenue when economy down

3. Governmental responsibility demonstrated at its best

a. Withheld supply until need was real
b. Not given away, but sold at fair price
c. Encourage industry, not indolence
d. Strict control over supplies to prevent looting and waste
e. Likely that those in genuine poverty used in distribution work
f. Income from sale to provide for necessary national functions

4. Population able to get by on less than in years of “plenty”

a. Tax was 20% each year during the prosperous years
b. Able to feed the nation, and supply other lands
c. Testimony to the amount of surplus and the adjustment necessary to accommodate the time of famine

5. Joseph managed the sale and transfer of wealth to the nation.

a. Genesis 47:13-26 contains the record of Joseph’s plan.
b. “Bread” (grain for food and feed) was purchased for money.
c. When the money was gone, cattle were bartered.
d. When the cattle were gone, land was sold.
e. When the land was sold, employment was granted.
f. Taxation was still at 20% of produce for the nation.

C. Genesis 50:19-20 is the summary verse of this period and events.

6. “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

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