Genesis 41:5
And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up on one stalk, rank and good.
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(5) Seven ears . . . upon one stalk.—The wheat cultivated in Egypt is called triticum compositum, because it produces several ears upon the same stalk. The statement of Herodotus (ii. 36), that the Egyptians regarded it as disgraceful to feed upon wheat or barley, is disproved by the paintings in the temples, especially in the district of Thebes, which show that it was the main crop there, and its cultivation held in high honour. Maspero, Hist. Ancienne, p. 9, says, “In spite of Herodotus, the usual food of the people was wheat and other cereals, which the soil of Egypt produces in abundance.”

Genesis 41:5. Seven ears of corn on one stalk — These also were fit emblems of the thing intended, especially as the fertility of that country did chiefly consist in its producing abundance of corn.41:1-8 The means of Joseph's being freed from prison were Pharaoh's dreams, as here related. Now that God no longer speaks to us in that way, it is no matter how little we either heed dreams, or tell them. The telling of foolish dreams can make no better than foolish talk. But these dreams showed that they were sent of God; when he awoke, Pharaoh's spirit was troubled.The dreams are recited. "By the river." In the dream Pharaoh supposes himself on the banks of the Nile. "On rite green." The original word denotes the reed, or marsh grass, on the banks of the Nile. The cow is a very significant emblem of fruitful nature among the Egyptians, the hieroglyphic symbol of the earth and of agriculture; and the form in which Isis the goddess of the earth was adored. "Dreamed a second time." The repetition is designed to confirm the warning given, as Joseph afterward explains Genesis 41:32. Corn (grain) is the natural emblem of fertility and nurture. "Blasted with the east wind The east wind". The east wind is any wind coming from the east of the meridian, and may be a southeast or a northeast, as well as a direct east. The Hebrews were accustomed to speak only of the four winds, and, therefore, must have used the name of each with great latitude. The blasting wind in Egypt is said to be usually from the southeast. "And, behold, it was a dream." The impression was so distinct as to be taken for the reality, until he awoke and perceived that it was only a dream. "His spirit was troubled." Like the officers in the prison Genesis 40:6, he could not get rid of the feeling that the twofold dream portended some momentous event. "The scribes" - the hieroglyphs, who belonged to the priestly caste, and whose primary business was to make hieroglyphic and other inscriptions; while they were accustomed to consult the stars, interpret dreams, practise soothsaying, and pursue the other occult arts. The sages; whose chief business was the cultivation of the various arts above mentioned, while the engraving or inscribing department strictly belonged to the hieroglyphs or scribes. "His dream;" the twofold dream. "Interpreted them" - the two dreams.CHAPTER 41

Ge 41:1-24. Pharaoh's Dream.

1. at the end of two full years—It is not certain whether these years are reckoned from the beginning of Joseph's imprisonment, or from the events described in the preceding chapter—most likely the latter. What a long time for Joseph to experience the sickness of hope deferred! But the time of his enlargement came when he had sufficiently learned the lessons of God designed for him; and the plans of Providence were matured.

Pharaoh dreamed—"Pharaoh," from an Egyptian word Phre, signifying the "sun," was the official title of the kings of that country. The prince, who occupied the throne of Egypt, was Aphophis, one of the Memphite kings, whose capital was On or Heliopolis, and who is universally acknowledged to have been a patriot king. Between the arrival of Abraham and the appearance of Joseph in that country, somewhat more than two centuries had elapsed. Kings sleep and dream, as well as their subjects. And this Pharaoh had two dreams in one night so singular and so similar, so distinct and so apparently significant, so coherent and vividly impressed on his memory, that his spirit was troubled.

Ears of corn are fit and proper resemblances of the thing here intended, both because the fertility of a land doth mainly consist in the abundance and goodness of these; and because ears of corn appearing to any in a dream, did, in the judgment of the Egyptian wise men, signify years, as Josephus notes. And he slept, and dreamed the second time,.... He fell asleep again quickly, and dreamed another dream the same night, and to the same purpose, being much of the like kind with the former:

and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good; which were very uncommon even in those fruitful countries; though Dr. Shaw (e) observes of Barbary, which vied with Egypt for fruitfulness, that it sometimes happens that one stalk of wheat will bear two ears, while each of these ears will as often shoot out into a number of lesser ones, thereby affording a most plentiful increase.

(e) Travels, p. 137. Ed. 2.

And he slept and dreamed the {b} second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.

(b) All these means God used to deliver his servant, and to bring him into favour and authority.

5. a second time] Here, as in Genesis 37:9 and Genesis 40:16, the duplication of the dream seems to place its significance beyond dispute. The resemblance of the dreams is found in (1) the number “seven”; (2) in the good products being consumed by the bad. The first dream was concerned with the sacred animal of Egypt; the second with Egypt’s chief source of wealth.

rank] Heb. fat, i.e. rich and good.Verse 5. - And he slept and dreamed the second time (that same night): and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank (i.e. fat) and good. This clearly pointed to the corn of the Nile valley, the triticum compositum, which Bears seven ears upon one stalk. The assertion of Herodotus, that the Egyptians counted it a disgrace to live on wheat and barley (2:36), Wilkinson regards as incorrect, since "both wheat and barley are noticed in Lower Egypt long before Herodotus' time (Exodus 9:31, 32), and the paintings of the Thebaid prove that they were grown extensively in that part of the country; they were among the offerings in the temples; and the king, at his coronation, cutting some ears of wheat, afterwards offered to the gods as the staple production of Egypt, shows how great a value was set on a grain which Herodotus would lead us to suppose was held in abhorrence" (Rawlinson's 'Hexodotus,' vol. 2. p. 49). Joseph's interpretations were fulfilled three days afterwards, on the king's birth-day. הלּדת יום: the day of being born; the inf. Hoph. is construed as a passive with the accus. obj., as in Genesis 4:18, etc. Pharaoh gave his servants a feast, and lifted up the heads of both the prisoners, but in very different ways. The cup-bearer was pardoned, and reinstated in his office; the baker, on the other hand, was executed.
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