Genesis 41:16
And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
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Genesis 41:16. It is not in me — I cannot do this by any virtue, or power, or art of my own; but only by the inspiration of the great God. 1st, Thus he gives the honour to God, to whom it was due, and leads Pharaoh to the knowledge of him. Great gifts then appear most graceful and illustrious, when those that have them use them humbly, and take not the praise of them to themselves, but give it to God. 2d, He shows respect to Pharaoh, and hearty goodwill to him, supposing that the interpretation would be an answer of peace. Those that consult God’s oracles may expect an answer of peace.

41:9-32 God's time for the enlargement of his people is the fittest time. If the chief butler had got Joseph to be released from prison, it is probable he would have gone back to the land of the Hebrews. Then he had neither been so blessed himself, nor such a blessing to his family, as afterwards he proved. Joseph, when introduced to Pharaoh, gives honour to God. Pharaoh had dreamed that he stood upon the bank of the river Nile, and saw the kine, both the fat ones, and the lean ones, come out of the river. Egypt has no rain, but the plenty of the year depends upon the overflowing of the river Nile. See how many ways Providence has of dispensing its gifts; yet our dependence is still the same upon the First Cause, who makes every creature what it is to us, be it rain or river. See to what changes the comforts of this life are subject. We cannot be sure that to-morrow shall be as this day, or next year as this. We must learn how to want, as well as how to abound. Mark the goodness of God in sending the seven years of plenty before those of famine, that provision might be made. The produce of the earth is sometimes more, and sometimes less; yet, take one with another, he that gathers much, has nothing over; and he that gathers little, has no lack, Ex 16:18. And see the perishing nature of our worldly enjoyments. The great harvests of the years of plenty were quite lost, and swallowed up in the years of famine; and that which seemed very much, yet did but just serve to keep the people alive. There is bread which lasts to eternal life, which it is worth while to labour for. They that make the things of this world their good things, will find little pleasure in remembering that they have received them.Pharaoh sends for Joseph, who is hastily brought from the prison. "He shaved." The Egyptians were accustomed to shave the head and beard, except in times of mourning (Herod. 2:32). "Canst hear a dream to interpret it" - needest only to hear in order to interpret it. "Not I God shall answer." According to his uniform habit Joseph ascribes the gift that is in him to God. "To the peace of Pharaoh" - so that Pharaoh may reap the advantage. In form. This takes the place of "in look," in the former account. Other slight variations in the terms occur. "And they went into them" - into their stomachs.15, 16. Pharaoh said, … I have dreamed a dream—The king's brief statement of the service required brought out the genuine piety of Joseph; disclaiming all merit, he ascribed whatever gifts or sagacity he possessed to the divine source of all wisdom, and he declared his own inability to penetrate futurity; but, at the same time, he expressed his confident persuasion that God would reveal what was necessary to be known. I cannot do this by any power, or virtue, or art of my own, for I am but a man, as your magicians are, but only by inspiration from the great God. Thus he gives the honour from himself unto God, and leads Pharaoh to the knowledge of the true God. For the phrase compare Matthew 10:20 1 Corinthians 15:10.

God shall give; or, may God give, & c. It is my desire that God would vouchsafe to Pharaoh a comfortable and happy answer.

And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, it is not in me,.... Which expresses his great modesty, that he did not arrogate such skill and wisdom to himself; declaring that he had no such power and abilities in and of himself, to interpret dreams; what he had was a gift of God, and wholly depended upon his influence, and the revelation he was pleased to make to him of such things:

God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace; such an answer to his request in the interpretation of his dream, as shall give him full content, and make his mind quiet and easy, and which shall tend to the welfare of him and his kingdom. Some render the words as a prayer or wish, "may God give Pharaoh", &c. (i); so as it were addressing his God, that he would be pleased to make known to him his interpretation of the dream to the satisfaction of Pharaoh: but the other sense seems best, which expresses his faith in God, that he would do it, and to whom it should be ascribed, and not unto himself.

(i) "respondeat", Vatablus.

And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, {g} It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

(g) As though he would say if I interpret your dream it comes from God, and not from me.

16. It is not in me] Rather, “nay, far from it,” as in Genesis 14:24. Joseph, as in Genesis 40:8, disclaims any power in himself. God’s servant may be His propheta, or spokesman; but he is not as God, nor is he a magician.

an answer of peace] Joseph replies, with suitable courtesy, literally, “God will make answer with the peace of Pharaoh.” The answer of God will be the well-being of Pharaoh. “Peace,” i.e. “welfare,” as in Genesis 37:14, “whether it be well,” lit. “peace.”

LXX ἄνευ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἀποκριθήσεται τὸ σωτήριον, the meaning of which is doubtful: “without God there will be no answer of peace.” Lat. absque me Deus respondebit prospera Pharaoni. The Syriac makes a question of it, “Thinkest thou that apart from God one will answer?” on the lines of Balaam’s answer in Numbers 22:18; Numbers 22:38.

Verse 16. - And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me (literally, not I): God - Elohim (cf. Genesis 40:8) - shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace - literally, shall answer the peace of Pharaoh, i.e. what shall be for the welfare of Pharaoh. The rendering Ανευ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἀποκριθησεται τὸ σωτήριον Φαραιό (LXX.), though giving the sense, fails in accuracy of translation. Genesis 41:16Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph. As quickly as possible he was fetched from the prison; and after shaving the hair of his head and beard, and changing his clothes, as the customs of Egypt required (see Hengst. Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 30), he went in to the king. On the king's saying to him, "I have heard of thee (עליך de te), thou hearest a dream to interpret it," - i.e., thou only needest to hear a dream, and thou canst at once interpret it - Joseph replied, "Not I((בּלעדי, lit., "not so far as me," this is not in my power, vid., Genesis 14:24), God will answer Pharaoh's good," i.e., what shall profit Pharaoh; just as in Genesis 40:8 he had pointed the two prisoners away from himself to God. Pharaoh then related his double dream (Genesis 41:17-24), and Joseph gave the interpretation (Genesis 41:25-32): "The dream of Pharaoh is one (i.e., the two dreams have the same meaning); God hath showed Pharaoh what He is about to do." The seven cows and seven ears of corn were seven years, the fat ones very fertile years of superabundance, the lean ones very barren years of famine; the latter would follow the former over the whole land of Egypt, so that the years of famine would leave no trace of the seven fruitful years; and, "for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice" (i.e., so far as this fact is concerned, it signifies) "that the thing is firmly resolved by God, and God will quickly carry it out." In the confidence of this interpretation which looked forward over fourteen years, the divinely enlightened seer's glance was clearly manifested, and could not fail to make an impression upon the king, when contrasted with the perplexity of the Egyptian augurs and wise men. Joseph followed up his interpretation by the advice (Genesis 41:33-36), that Pharaoh should "look out (ירא) a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt;" and cause יעשׂה) that in the seven years of superabundance he should raise fifths (חמּשׁ), i.e., the fifth part of the harvest, through overseers, and have the corn, or the stores of food (אכל), laid up in the cities "under the hand of the king," i.e., by royal authority and direction, as food for the land for the seven years of famine, that it might not perish through famine.
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