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

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sun Mar 25 22:27:32 EDT 2012

Prof. George Athas:
You wrote:  “The imagery of the birds pecking is enough to portend the baker's death. 
It's what birds did to corpses impaled in the open air. You just have to read 
the text. Plain and simple. No mystery. No enigma. No chicanery. Just a simple 
story. End of story.”
What could a Baker do to cause Pharaoh to have him impaled, with his corpse to be pecked at by birds?  You write:  “No mystery.  No enigma.”  But shouldn’t we expect the Biblical text to give us a clue as to what the Baker’s horrible crime was?  If we view XRY in CLY XRY at Genesis 40: 16 as having the same meaning as XRY at Genesis 14: 6, and if the Baker is being portrayed as having that dream in Year 13, then we can see that the Baker is guilty of treason, in contravening Pharaoh’s policy as of Year 12 of cutting off all relations with the XRY state of Naharim.  Joseph readily divines all of that from the Baker’s dream of CLY XRY.
As I noted in a prior post on this thread, Genesis 27: 46 could be paraphrased as follows [where XTY effectively = XRY]:  “Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘I loathe my life because of the XRY women.  If Jacob marries a local XRY woman like these [the XRY wives of Jacob’s older twin brother Esau], what good will life be to me?’”  Shouldn’t those harsh words of Rebekah be viewed as supporting Pharaoh’s controversial decision to cut off all relations with Egypt’s long-time ally, the XRY state of Naharim, and as agreeing that a dream of CLY XRY by a top officer of Pharaoh could potentially reflect actionable treason?  Don’t you see chapters 27 and 40 of Genesis, collectively, as in effect supporting that historical pharaoh’s controversial new anti-XRY policy?
All of this makes perfect sense on all levels, in particular on the historical level, if the implied time period in these cases is Year 13.  Otherwise, I cannot agree with your assessment of chapter 40 of Genesis as being “No mystery.  No enigma.”  We should rightly expect the Biblical text to give us a good clue as to the nature of the Baker’s horrible crime.
In my opinion, the key to understanding chapter 40 of Genesis is to view XRY in CLY XRY at Genesis 40: 16 as having the same meaning as XRY at Genesis 14: 6.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list