[b-hebrew] וָאֶשְׂחַט

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sun Dec 9 00:36:41 EST 2012

Isaac Fried:  
Why do you see Genesis 39: 6 as being “enigmatic”?  The KJV is a fairly literal translation, but tome it does not catch the gist of what the Hebrew really means:  “and he knew not ought he had, save the breadwhich he did eat.”  Although moreof a paraphrase, NRSV seems to do a better job of conveying this verse’sintended meaning:  “So he left all thathe had in Joseph’s charge;  and, with himthere, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.”  Young Joseph’s astute handling of his master’shousehold estate allowed the Captain of the Guard to focus on protecting Pharaohfrom possibly treasonous actions of Pharaoh’s own officers.
Why would you think that LXM might mean themaster’s “wife”?
Speaking of the master’s wife, in my opinion Joseph, hismaster, and his master’s wife, at Joseph’s suggestion, came up with the idea ofthe master’s wife loudly complaining about Joseph’s alleged advances towardher, as a ruse to get Joseph into the jail where Pharaoh’s officers who are suspectedof treason are being held.  But once inthe jail, Joseph overplays his hand. Joseph was supposed to lie low and listen surreptitiously to what theBaker and the Cup Bearer said, in order to figure out who was guilty.  But instead, Joseph free-lances bigtime.  Joseph takes over effectivecontrol of the jail, and then instead of stealthily listening in on what theBaker and Cup Bearer were saying, Joseph ostentatiously has the two prisonersgo over to his master’s house (Genesis 40: 7), where he grandly interpretstheir dreams to one and all.  In hismaster’s presence, at his master’s house, Joseph brazenly asks the innocent CupBearer at Genesis 40: 14 to ask Pharaoh to free Joseph from his master’shouse!  Is that chutzpah or what?  Note that Joseph does not state at Genesis40: 15 that he had never propositioned his master’s wife, which was thesupposed reason he was in the “pit”/jail, but rather Joseph says:  “For indeed I was stolen away out of the landof the Hebrews….”  True, Joseph then addsthat he has done nothing wrong while in Egypt, yet clearly Joseph’s mainassertion is that he should not be a slave in Egypt (in his master’s house),because he had been an innocent free man in Canaan.  
For the unbelievable insolence of double-crossing his masterin public, the master now, despite the fact that Joseph has correctly identifiedthe Baker as the traitor (which had been the reason for putting Joseph in thatjail in the first place), decides to let Joseph stay in that “pit”/prisonindefinitely.  Yes, the masterdouble-crosses Joseph, but in reality, Joseph had first double-crossed hismaster, by asking the Cup Bearer in the master’s own house to have Pharaoh freeJoseph from his master’s house.
Although Joseph seems to be too smart for his own good inchapter 40 of Genesis, nevertheless it all ends up working out for the best,because the Cup Bearer never forgot that Joseph was the best dream interpreterin Egypt.  To me, each of Genesis 40: 7and Genesis 40: 14 is more “enigmatic”, as well as being far more important,than Genesis 39: 6.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois 

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