Genesis 41:51
And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
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(51) Manasseh.—That is, causing to forget. Joseph has been blamed for forgetting “his father’s house,” but the phrase means that now that he was married and had a child, he ceased to suffer from home sickness, and became contented with his lot. He pined no longer for the open downs of Canaan as he had done in the prison; but his love for his father was as warm as ever.

41:46-57 In the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph owned the Divine providence. 1. He was made to forget his misery. 2. He was made fruitful in the land of his affliction. The seven plenteous years came, and were ended. We ought to look forward to the end of the days, both of our prosperity and of our opportunity. We must not be secure in prosperity, nor slothful in making good use of opportunity. Years of plenty will end; what thy hand finds to do, do it; and gather in gathering time. The dearth came, and the famine was not only in Egypt, but in other lands. Joseph was diligent in laying up, while the plenty lasted. He was prudent and careful in giving out, when the famine came. Joseph was engaged in useful and important labours. Yet it was in the midst of this his activity that his father Jacob said, Joseph is not! What a large portion of our troubles would be done away if we knew the whole truth! Let these events lead us to Jesus. There is a famine of the bread of life throughout the whole earth. Go to Jesus, and what he bids you, do. Attend to His voice, apply to him; he will open his treasures, and satisfy with goodness the hungry soul of every age and nation, without money and without price. But those who slight this provision must starve, and his enemies will be destroyed.Two sons were born to Joseph during the seven years of plenty. "Menasseh." God made him forget his toil and his father's house. Neither absolutely. He remembered his toils in the very utterance of this sentence. And he tenderly and intensely remembered his father's house. But he is grateful to God, who builds him a home, with all its soothing joys, even in the land of his exile. His heart again responds to long untasted joys. "Fruitful in the land of my affliction." It is still, we perceive, the land of his affliction. But why does no message go from Joseph to his mourning father? For many reasons. First, he does not know the state of things at home. Secondly, he may not wish to open up the dark and bloody treachery of his brothers to his aged parent. But, thirdly, he bears in mind those early dreams of his childhood. All his subsequent experience has confirmed him in the belief that they will one day be fulfilled. But that fulfillment implies the submission not only of his brothers, but of his father. This is too delicate a matter for him to interfere in. He will leave it entirely to the all-wise providence of his God to bring about that strange issue. Joseph, therefore, is true to his life-long character. He leaves all in the hand of God, and awaits in anxious, but silent hope, the days when he will see his father and his brethren.50-52. unto Joseph were born two sons—These domestic events, which increased his temporal happiness, develop the piety of his character in the names conferred upon his children. i.e. Hath expelled all sorrowful remembrance of it by my present comfort and glory.

All my toil, and all my father’s house, i.e. the toil of my father’s house, or the toil and misery which for many years I have endured by means of my father’s family, and my own brethren, who sold me hither; a figure called hendyadis.

And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh,.... Which signifies forgetfulness, as the reason of it shows:

for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house; all his toil and labour in Potiphar's house, and especially in the prison; and all the injuries his brethren had done him; all this he was made to forget by the grandeur and honour, wealth and riches, power and authority he was possessed of; and indeed he had so much business upon his hands, that he had scarce time to think of his father, and his family.

And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my {o} father's house.

(o) Nonetheless, his father's house was the true Church of God: yet the company of the wicked and prosperity caused him to forget it.

50–52 (E). Joseph’s Sons

51. Manasseh] That is, Making to forget. There is to be no thought of return to his father’s house. The name makes us ask the question why Joseph, when supreme in Egypt, sent no message to his father, who was living in a region distant only a few days’ journey. That there were continual communications between Egypt and Canaan is conclusively shewn by the Tel-el-Amarna tablets, and by the subsequent events in the present narrative.

Genesis 41:51During the fruitful years two sons were born to Joseph. The first-born he named Manasseh, i.e., causing to forget; "for, he said, God hath made me forget all my toil and all my father's house (נשּׁני, an Aram. Piel form, for נשּׁני, on account of the resemblance in sound to מנשּׁה)." Haec pia est, ac sancta gratiarum actio, quod Deus oblivisci eum fecit pristinas omnes areumnas: sed nullus honor tanti esse debuit, ut desiderium et memoriam paternae domus ex animo deponeret (Calvin). But the true answer to that question, whether it was a Christian boast for him to make, that he had forgotten father and mother, is given by Luther: "I see that God would take away the reliance which I placed upon my father; for God is a jealous God, and will not suffer the heart to have any other foundation to rely upon, but Him alone." This also meets the objection raised by Theodoret, why Joseph did not inform his father of his life and promotion, but allowed so may years to pass away, until he was led to do so at last in consequence of the arrival of his brothers. The reason of this forgetfulness and silence can only be found in the fact, that through the wondrous alteration in his condition he had been led to see, that he was brought to Egypt according to the counsel of God, and was redeemed by God from slavery and prison, and had been exalted by Him to be lord over Egypt; so that, knowing he was in the hand of God, the firmness of his faith led him to renounce all wilful interference with the purposes of God, which pointed to a still broader and more glorious goal (Baumgarten, Delitzsch).
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