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only required to abstain until their ministrations for the day had terminated. There was, however, such a diversity of usages in the different nomes or provinces of ancient Egypt, that wine may have been wholly prohibited in some and partially allowed in others. As to the king, it is perhaps too much to infer that, because on this occasion he drank the expressed juice of the grape, he never drank wine; but it is remarkable, in connexion with this statement, that, according to Diodorus Siculus, the king, all whose movements were regulated by the priests, was restricted to a certain quantity of wine. That wine was not entirely disallowed in Egypt seems to be further evinced by the representation of vintage-scenes, mentioned in the previous note, which still exist in the subterraneous temples and sepulchral caverns of that country. These scenes show that the Egyptians trod the grapes with their feet, and deposited the expressed juice in jars buried nearly to their mouths in the ground. In the time of Pliny, the Roman tables were furnished with their choicest wines from Sebenytus. (See Reynier, p. 355-359; and Goguet, tome i. p. 123, et seq. and 368.)
1 Pharaoh's two dreams. 25 Joseph interpreteth them. 33 He giveth Pharaoh counsel. 41 Joseph is advanced. 50 He begetteth Manasseh and Ephraim. 54 The famine beginneth.
AND it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow.
3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, 'rank and good.
6 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.
7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
9 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day:
13 And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:
20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:
21 And when they had 'caten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.
22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:
23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.
25 ¶ And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
9 Psal. 105. 20. 4 Heb. made him run.
5 Or, when thou hearest a dream, thou canst interpret it. 7 Or, small.
him, 15 Bow 15 the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah "priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before
47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city laid he up in the same.
49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering, for it was without number.
50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah" priest of On bare unto him.
51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn 20 Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
52 And the name of the second called he "Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.
54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.
55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.
56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened 23 all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
Heb. be not cut off.
8 Heb. heavy. 9 Or, prepared of God. 10 Or, overseers. 11 13 Heb. be armed, or, kiss. 14 Or, silk. 15 Or, Tender father. 16 Heb. Abrech. 19 Or, prince. 20 That is, forgetting. 21 That is, fruitful. 22 Psal. 105, 16.
12 Psal. 105. 21. 1 Mac. 2. 53. Acts 7. 10.
17 Or, prince. 18 Chap. 46. 20, and 48, 5.
23 Heb. all wherein was,
Verse 2. "There came up out of the river seven well favoured kine."-It should be observed, as indicated by Rosenmüller, after Clement of Alexandria, that the ox, in the symbolical writings of the Egyptians, signifies agriculture and subsistence; and the river Nile being by its inundations the exclusive source of fertility in Egypt, the emergence of the oxen from its waters renders the application of the dream obvious when the clue is once obtained; and its identity with the other dream also becomes apparent. At the same time, the action of the oxen in coming up out of the water is quite natural, and such as Pharaoh might have witnessed every day. Animals of the buffalo kind in hot countries seem almost amphibious; they delight to stand for hours in the water, with their bodies immersed except the head; and they will swim the most broad and rapid rivers without reluctance or difficulty. This may be often witnessed in the Nile; and the writer has also seen it in the Tigris and other rivers of Asia. Dr. A. Clarke, who was not aware how kine could be represented as coming up out of the river, concludes that the hippopotamus, or river-horse, is intended.
"In a meadow."-The Nachu is elsewhere (Job viii. 11) translated "flag;" by the Septuagint, BOUTOμov: but in this place, as not knowing a proper Greek word for it, they content themselves by saying Tax, which is the original in different characters. We know at present of no river-herb which has so fair a title to be considered as the achu as the ManaJa.λa of Theophrastus and the Cyperus esculentus of the moderns. The genus Cyperus is distinguished by its elegant spikelets, which bear a row of scales on each side, wherein the seeds are concealed. The Cyperus esculentus is remarkable for the edible nature of its roots, which are in tubercles of about the size of a walnut; they contain much oil and starch, and were eaten in the days of Theophrastus, as reaynuara, or sweetmeats. He tells us that every part of the plant is eaten by sheep and oxen. He speaks also of a different kind which grows in the lakes and marshes, and is given to cattle when green, and laid up in a state of dryness as winter fodder. It was given them while they were at work and when they required the best food. It seems, therefore, that the vision represented one of the best kinds of pasturage, if not the very best, for the cattle of Egypt.
5. "Seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk."-M. de Lamarck is of opinion that several kinds of wheat, which are generally looked upon by botanists as distinct species, are all of them only varieties of the Triticum hibernumLammas or winter wheat. And when we consider the varieties that arise from cultivation, and that the originals cannot be found in a state of nature, this opinion seems to be founded upon reason and analogy. Nothing certain about the original country of the wheat is known: Sicily, Siberia, and Persia, have been in their turn pointed out as claimants, but without any unequivocal evidence. If we were to suggest Egypt as the birth-place of the wheat, we should not perhaps be far from the truth; since the first time we hear of it, in the most ancient of all histories, is in Egypt, from whence the cultivated wheat might have extended to the islands of the Mediterranean, and subsequently to Greece, and her colonies to the westward.
The terms "rank" and "good" express the plumpness and beauty of the ears. The corresponding word for the former in the original is "fat" (N), and is afterwards explained, in verse 22, by "full." In our own language, "rank" is applied to a plant when it exhibits an excessive freeness in its growth.
EARS OF CORN.
6. "Blasted with the east wind:" the blighting effect which a "shrewd and eager" wind has upon vegetation is often exemplified among us in early spring. Nothing but observation can make us sensible of the wide difference between a sheltered and an unsheltered spot, in reference to the health of some plants, during spring and autumn. In Kamtchatka, the writer of this note has often seen a plant in full blossom a few inches from the snow. Just under the brow of some eminence, in a little recess, it seemed to enjoy all the advantages of a more genial season, simply because it was sheltered from the wind, and the air about it was tranquil.
Compare this passage with verse 47, where it is said that "the earth brought forth by handfuls:" by which we are probably to understand that each stalk, in the plentiful years, produced as much corn as, popularly speaking, the hand could grasp. This, or even more than this productiveness is not at this day unusual in Egypt. Mr. Jowett, in his Christian Researches,' states that, when in Egypt, he plucked up at random a few stalks out of the thick cornfields. "We counted the number of stalks which sprouted from single grains of seed, carefully pulling to pieces each root, in order to see that it was one plant. The first had seven stalks; the next three; then eighteen ; then fourteen. Each stalk would bear an ear." Even greater numbers than these are mentioned by Dr. Shaw, and still more by Pliny. It also often happens that one of the stalks will bear two ears, while each of these ears will shoot out into a number of lesser ears; affording a most plentiful increase.
a Triticum sativum.
b Holcus sorghum,
14. "He shaved himself."-This is what we should probably do on a similar occasion; but, carefully considered, this is one of many passages in which the truth of the Scripture narrative is attested by an incidental and slight allusion to remarkable customs, which no mere inventor would think of noticing, or notice without explaining. Shaving was a remarkable custom of the Egyptians, in which they were distinguished from other oriental nations, who carefully cherished
the beard, and regarded the loss of it as a deep disgrace. That this was the feeling of the Hebrews we shall frequently have occasion to observe: but here Joseph shaves himself in conformity with an Egyptian usage, of which this passage conveys the earliest intimation, but which is confirmed not only by the subsequent accounts of Greek and Roman writers, but by the ancient sculptures and paintings of Egypt, in which the male figure is usually beardless. It is true that in sculptures some heads have a curious rectangular beard, or rather beard-case attached to the chin; but this is proved to be an artificial appendage, by the same head being represented sometimes with and at other times without it; and still more by the appearance of a band which passes along the jaws and attaches it to the cap on the head, or to the hair. It is concluded that this appendage was never actually worn, but was used in sculpture to indicate the male character. (See British Museum-Egyptian Antiquities,' vol. ii., in Library of Entertaining Knowledge.')
42. "Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand."-This was, no doubt, a principal circumstance in Joseph's investiture in the high office of chief minister to the king of Egypt. Investiture by a ring is not unknown in the history of Europe during the middle ages. But the present ring was undoubtedly a signet, or seal-ring, which gave validity to the documents to which it was affixed, and by the delivery of which, therefore, Pharaoh delegated to Joseph the chief authority in the state. The king of Persia in the same way gave his seal-ring to his successive ministers Haman and Mordecai; and in Esther viii. 8, the use of such a ring is expressly declared :— "The writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse." The possession of such a ring therefore gave absolute power in all things to the person to whom it was entrusted. This may in some degree be understood by the use of a seal among ourselves to convey validity to a legal instrument or public document; and still more perhaps by the use of the Great Seal, the person who holds which is, at least nominally, the second person in the state. But our usages do not perfectly illustrate the use of the seal as it exists in the East; because we require the signature in addition to the seal; whereas in the East, the seal alone has the effect which we give to both the seal and the signature. People in the East do not sign their names. They have seals in which their names and titles are engraven, and with which they make an impression with thick ink on all occasions for which we use the signature. To give a man your seal, is therefore to give him the use of that authority and power which your own signature possesses. This explains the extraordinary anxiety about seals which is exhibited in the laws and usages of the East. It explains Judah's anxiety about the signet which he had pledged to Tamar, (ch. xxxviii.) and it explains the force of the present act of Pharaoh. In Egypt, the crime of counterfeiting a seal was punished with the loss of both hands. In Persia, at the present day, letters are seldom written, and never signed by the person who sends them; and it will thus appear that the authenticity of all orders and communications, and even of a merchant's bills, depends wholly on the seal. This makes the occupation of a seal-cutter one of as much trust and danger as it seems to have been in Egypt. Such a person is obliged to keep a register of every seal he makes, and if one be lost, or stolen from the party for whom it was cut, his life would answer for making another exactly like it. The loss of a seal is considered a very serious calamity; and the alarm which an Oriental exhibits when his seal is missing can only be understood by a reference to these circumstances. As the seal-cutter is always obliged to affix the real date at which the seal was cut, the only resource of a person who has lost his seal is to have another made with a new date, and to write to his correspondents, to inform them that all accounts, contracts, and communications to which his former seal is affixed, are null from the day on which it was lost.
That the ring, in this case, was a signet appears from other passages, which describe it as used for the purpose of sealing. It would seem that most of the ancient seals were rings; but they were not always finger-rings, being often worn as bracelets on the arm. Indeed, it is observable, that nowhere in the Bible is a signet expressly said to be worn on the finger, but on the hand, as in the present text; and although this may denote the finger, we may understand it literally, as of a ring worn on the wrist. Finger seal-rings are now, however, more usual than bracelets; and very often seals are not used as rings at all, but are carried in a small bag in the bosom of a person's dress, or suspended from his neck by a silken cord. They are and were, whether rings or otherwise, made of gold or silver, or even inferior metals, such as brass. But an inscribed stone is frequently set in the metal; and that this custom was very ancient appears from Exod. xxviii. 11, and other places, where we read of "engraving in stone like the engraving of a signet." The intelligent editor of Calmet (Mr. C. Taylor) is mistaken in his explanation that such seals, used as stamps-manual to impress a name with ink upon paper, must have the characters raised, as in our printing and wood-engraving, and not indented as in our seals. The fact is, that they are cut in the same fashion as our seals; and the thick ink being lightly daubed with the finger over the surface, the seal is pressed upon the paper, where it leaves a black impression, in which the characters are left white or blank.
"Arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.”—This also was probably part of the investiture of Joseph in his high office. A dress of honour still in the East accompanies promotion in the royal service; and otherwise forms the ordinary medium through which princes and great persons manifest their favour and esteem. In Persia, where perhaps the fullest effect is in our own time given to this usage, the king has always a large wardrobe from which he bestows dresses to his own subjects or foreign ambassadors whom he desires to honour. These dresses are called "Kelaats ;" and the reception of them forms a distinction, which is desired with an earnestness, and received with an exultation only comparable to that which accompanies titular distinctions or insignia of knighthood in Europe. They form the principal criterion through which the public judge of the degree of influence which the persons who receive them enjoy at court, and therefore the parties about to be thus honoured exhibit the utmost anxiety that the kelaat may, in all its circumstances, be in the highest degree indicative of the royal favour. It varies in the number and quality of the articles which compose it, according to the rank of the person to whom it is given, or the degree of honour intended to be afforded; and all these matters are examined and discussed by the public with a great degree of earnestness. Besides the robes occasionally bestowed by the king and princes, the former regularly sends a kelaat, once a year, to the governors of provinces, who are generally royal princes. At the distance of every few miles from every provincial capital, there is usually a town or village called "Kelaat," which name it derives from its being the appointed place to which the governor proceeds in great state from his city, attended by great part of its population, to be invested with the dress of honour thus sent him from the king. The occasion is attended with great rejoicings; and is of so much importance, that it is postponed until the arrival of what the astrologers decide to be a propitious day, and even the favourable moment for investiture is determined by the same authorities. A common Persian kalaat consists of a vesture of fine stuff, perhaps brocade; a sash or girdle for the waist, and a shawl for the head; and when it is intended to be more distinguishing, a sword or dagger is added. Robes of rich furs are given to persons of distinction. A kelaat of the very richest description consists, besides the dress, of the same articles which Xenophon describes as being given by the ancient princes of Persia, namely:-a horse with a golden bridle, a chain of gold, (as in this kelaat which Pharaoh gave to Joseph,) and a golden sword—that is, a sword, with a scabbard orna
mented with gold. The chain of gold now given is, however, part of the furniture of the horse, and hangs over his nose. Joseph's chain of gold was, however, a personal ornament: it had thus early become a mark of official distinction, and remains such to this day among different nations. It is also observable that Xenophon mentions bracelets among the articles in the ancient Persian kelaat. Bracelets are not now worn by Persians, and are therefore not given; but we have already intimated that the "ring," mentioned in the preceding text, may be understood as well to signify a bracelet as a finger ring.
The expression "fine linen" in the text would suggest some observations on the linen manufactures of Egypt; but this, and some other subjects connected with that remarkable country, are reserved for the notes on Isaiah xix., the 9th verse of which mentions the Egyptians who "work in fine flax.”
45. "Pharaoh... gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On."-Many writers have been anxious on various theories to explain away the apparent impropriety of this marriage of Joseph with the daughter of an idolatrous priest. By far the most probable hypothesis of any that has come under our notice is that of Mr. Sharon Turner, in his Sacred History of the World.' We give it in his own words: "In ancient days, we learn from Juba, the African prince and historian, that the Arabs peopled part of Egypt from Meroe to Syene, and built the City of the Sun. Pliny has preserved this remarkable but little noticed fact: Juba says that the City of the Sun, which was not far from Memphis in Egypt, has had the Arabs for its founders; and that the inhabitants of the Nile, from Syene up to Meroe, are not Ethiopian people, but Arabs.' (Pliny, l. vi., c. 34.) He says of this Juba, as noting his good authority, In this part it pleases us to follow the Roman arms and King Juba, in his volumes written to Caius Cæsar, of the same Arabian expedition.' This important passage of Juba bears, I think, upon the history of Joseph, and explains why he married the daughter of a priest at Heliopolis or On. Being an Arabian colony, it would not have then in it the base superstitions of Egypt, but would have, at that period, retained enough of the Abrahamic or patriarchal religion to make a female there more near to his own faith and feelings than any other part of Egypt." Several objections to this occur; such as, that the Arabs may have colonized on the Nile very early, and yet not have done it before Joseph's time; that, if they had done so as early as this, they were more likely to have been rather Arabs of the Kahtan or Cushite tribes than descendants of Ishmael, who could not at this time have been numerous enough to establish large colonies. However, if these objections have no force, we are willing to admit this theory, provided that we are allowed at all events to conclude, that whatever were the religious opinions of the priest of On, he was a member of that great priestly caste whose authority and paramount influence were such as to render the Egyptian government rather ecclesiastical than monarchical. We know that when a king was elected who was not previously of the sacerdotal caste, he was adopted into that caste and instructed in its mysteries and science; and this fact alone seems to us sufficient to warrant the conclusion, that the desire of the priesthood to concentrate all power in their own body induced them to wish that Joseph should connect himself with them; or that it was done from the desire felt by the king, that a person in whom he had so much confidence should be put in a condition to claim the support and countenance of that powerful body in his undertakings.
57. “All countries came into Egypt, to...buy corn."-Egypt seems to have been then, what it has continued to the present day, the granary of the neighbouring nations, who in all their exigencies and deficiencies look to Egypt as the source whence a supply of corn may be derived. That country is singularly circumstanced, its fertility not depending on local rains, but on the annual inundation of its river, which renders the soil richly productive even in seasons when the harvests fail in the neighbouring countries from continued drought. We have here the earliest notice of the extensive corn trade which Egypt has always enjoyed. This trade, which has at different periods enabled other nations to partake in the benefit of the extraordinary fertility of the country, seems for a long time to have been exclusively conducted by caravans, as in the instance before us. It is true that scarcely any notice exists of this trade until the Greeks and Romans became interested in it, and began to resort to Egypt for corn. But according to the important remark of Heeren, "It is the nature of land-trade to be less conspicuous than that by sea, and indeed the less so the more regular it is in its course. May not our knowledge of the African caravan trade be considered, to a certain extent, as a discovery of modern times? And yet it stands incontrovertible, that it has continued, with but few alterations, for many centuries." To illustrate the importance of this trade to ancient Egypt, the same able inquirer adduces an example quoted by Aristotle, in which the payment of the public taxes was rendered impossible by an attempt to interdict the exportation of corn.
1 Acts 7. 12.
4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake 'roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
Heb. hard things with them.
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.