Monday, October 12, 2015

Genesis 41:51-52

Verse/Lesson 5

There wasn't a huge portion of Scripture to cover for today's post. The portion (Genesis 41:46-57) tells how events came to pass just as God had shown Pharaoh in his dream.
There were seven years of abundance followed by the famine. In verse 48 it says:

And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured. (ESV)

The NIV puts it like this:
Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

In this instance, I love the NIV wording, beyond measure. For some reason when I read the NIV version it stopped me and made me think of the feeding of the 5,000

Matthew 14:20-21
20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Mark 6:42-44
42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Luke 9:17
17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

John 6:12-13
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

So how much bread and fish did they have? Is there some equation that will give us an exact number?  5,000 men (no exact number given for women and children)+ satisfied (each person had ate enough to be satisfied –a number which is different for every person)+ 12 baskets of broken bits and leftovers = ??
Beyond measure.
God’s provision is always more than enough, isn’t it?

We are told in verse 46 that Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of the Pharaoh. We are told that Joseph traveled all over Egypt during the years of abundance and that he married and had two sons before the time of the famine.
This brings us to my verse/s for today

Genesis 41:51-52
Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house.”6 52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

I omitted some parts of the verse (repetition) for the sake of space but I love the spirit of Joseph that he is so committed and in a close walk with the Lord that his son's names bear witness to it.

It is interesting to note that in the study Bible it notes that Manasseh sounds like a Hebrew word for “who makes to forget”
And Ephraim sounds like a Hebrew word for “fruitful”

On the surface I was moved by the commitment of Joseph to have his son’s names carry on witness to the blessings in Joseph’s life, but as I dug a little deeper it blew me away.
I was reminded of the significance in Jewish culture of naming. It is done thoughtfully and purposefully. One teaching suggested that Joseph named his firstborn a name about forgetting but by doing so he was inevitably going to remember every time he called Manasseh’s name.
Another teaching suggested that verse 51 refers not only to forgetting the hardships and his father’s house but to the forgetting of the teachings of the Torah. It goes on to say that his second born, Ephraim, not only suggests fruitful in the land of his affliction, but a restoration of Joseph’s Torah knowledge while in the land of his affliction. A further suggestion was made that the names of Joseph's sons (what they represent and the character traits they bear) was the reason why Jacob’s blessing bypassed the elder son, Manasseh, and was given to Ephraim (who represents the restoration of Torah knowledge to Joseph). The article goes much deeper than that but as I said, I, myself, am not a Torah/Hebrew scholar, but I find it essential to understand the Jewish point of view on the Old Testament. 
It is interesting food for thought.

 For next time, read Genesis 42:1-36

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