[b-hebrew] b-Hebrew Digest, Vol. 58, issue 18

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Oct 22 11:27:59 EDT 2007

Yigal  Levin: 
You wrote:  "In the Bible, or at least most of it,  everyone speaks good 
Hebrew.  So do  the Egyptians in Genesis…." 
That is completely untrue as to the Patriarchal narratives.  When Joseph's 
brothers come to Egypt to  buy food, they have to speak to Egyptians using a 
translator.  Joseph himself, having lived in Egypt  for quite a few years at that 
point, has learned to speak Egyptian and is acting  as Pharaoh's vizier. 
"And Reuben answered them  [Reuben's brothers other than Joseph], saying:  
'Spoke I not unto you, saying:  Do  not sin against the child [Joseph]; and ye 
would not hear?  therefore also, behold, his blood is  required.'  And they 
knew not that  Joseph understood them; for the interpreter was between them."  
Genesis 42:  22-23 
Note that this scene works only if the author is very  well aware that 
Egyptians could not understand Hebrew.  When Egyptians (excluding Joseph) speak  to 
Hebrews in the Patriarchal narratives, it is by means of a  translator. 
Everything in the Patriarchal narratives makes perfect  sense, in the secular 
historical context. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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