[b-hebrew] Portrait of Joseph in Chapter 40 of Genesis

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Mar 23 17:25:32 EDT 2012

In trying to understand the Baker’s dream in chapter 40 of Genesis, and in 
trying to place this Biblical story in an historical context, one key clue 
is the phrase CLY XRY at the end of Genesis 40: 16.  
1.  CL
Per Exodus 29: 3, 23, 32 and similar passages later in the Torah, a CL is a 
fine basket, fit for presenting food on a formal occasion.  A CL is not a 
rough-hewn basket for carrying bricks, the DWD at Psalm 81: 6.  Thus the CL 
referenced at Genesis 40: 16 is a “fine basket”, not a simple basket (that 
might be used for carrying bricks or that a local baker might use for 
carrying bread).
On this thread we are exploring whether XRY at Genesis 40: 16 may have the 
same meaning as does XRY at Genesis 14: 6.  If Joseph is portrayed as being 
un-doubled age 13 years in chapter 40 of Genesis, that might be designed to 
let us know that the historical time period here is Year 13 in the Amarna 
Age.  It is noteworthy that CLY XRY fits that historical time period perfectly.
XRY fine baskets are prominent in the ancient world.  Consider first some 
evidence from the XRY province of Nuzi:  “[I]mpressions of baskets are almost 
as common, Nuzi offering some of the clearest examples.”  Bernard Samuel 
Myers, “Encyclopedia of World Art”, Vol 2 (1959), p. ccxxi.  
More importantly, however, the long list of fine XRY gifts from the XRY 
state of Naharim in Amarna Letter EA 25 includes at ii: 1-2 “a$kiru$xu-vessels, 
along with their covers”.  Scholar G. Wilhelm explains the XRY word 
a$kiru$xu as denoting “a kind of container closed by a lid”.  The XRY word for “
basket” may be $ekarruxu, which is a very similar [if somewhat simpler] word.  
A$kiru$xu-vessels, which appear to be fine “XRY baskets”, are mentioned 
four times in that Amarna Letter in detailing gifts made to a pharaoh.  
Apparently there were four different styles of these fine XRY baskets, and in two 
cases 25 of these items are listed.  The Baker might well have dreamed of 
three different types of exquisite XRY baskets:  the CLY XRY referenced at the 
end of Genesis 40: 16.   
If the time period of chapter 40 of Genesis is Year 13 in the Amarna Age, 
when a pro-Naharim view could have been deemed treasonous by Pharaoh, who 
historically had in the prior year abruptly cut off all of Egypt’s formerly 
close ties to the XRY state of Naharim, then a dream of three CLY XRY could 
readily have been adjudged by Joseph to portend that the Baker would be duly 
impaled three days hence.  If the Baker were nefariously in cahoots with the 
XRY against Pharaoh’s and Egypt’s interests in Year 13, the Baker might 
dream of XRY baskets, with the XRY being famous in that time period for their 
exquisite baskets.
If we are willing to consider the normal meaning of the words CLY and XRY 
in the phrase CLY XRY, where in particular XRY at Genesis 40: 16 has the same 
meaning as XRY at Genesis 14: 6, then we can solve this longstanding 
Biblical mystery.  The Baker dreamed of three CLY XRY in Year 13, and Joseph 
correctly divined from that dream that the Baker was contemplating treason with 
the XRY people, as against Pharaoh’s recent decision in Year 12 to cut off 
all relations with the XRY state of Naharim in eastern Syria.  [Both Genesis 
24: 10 and the Amarna Letters use the name “Naharim”.]  That’s also why that 
historical pharaoh in Year 15 commissioned a magnificent portrait of 
Joseph, per chapter 40 of Genesis.  Not only does the story told in chapter 40 of 
Genesis now make sense, but also its historicity is largely confirmed by the 
presence of that magnificent cane which honors an Asiatic who looks for all 
the world like a Biblical Patriarch wearing a coat of many colors.  That 
historical portrait is of Joseph in chapter 40 of Genesis.  The key linguistic 
clue is CLY XRY, where XRY has the same meaning at Genesis 40: 16 as it 
does at Genesis 14: 6.  
Hebrew linguistics can solve many Bible mysteries, if we’re willing to 
consider the ordinary meanings of Biblical Hebrew words such as XRY.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois 

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