Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
River; or the branch of the Nile which ran to Tanis, his capital. There were seven principal canals, and this was the most to the east, except that of Pelusium. (Calmet)
Marshy. Hebrew Achu; a word which the Septuagint and Siracides (Ecclesiasticus xl. 16, ) retain. (Du Hamel)
Very bank; to shew that the Nile had not inundated far, and that consequently a great famine would prevail, as the fertility of Egypt depends greatly on the overflowing of the Nile. "When the river rises 12 cubits, sterility pervades Egypt; when 13, famine is still felt. Fourteen cubits bring joy, 15 security, 16 delight. It has never yet been known to rise above 18 cubits." (Pliny, Natural History v. 9.) This successive depression of the waters was an effect of God's judgments, which no astrologers could foretel. (Tirinus)
Another dream of the same import, (ver. 25,) to convince Pharao that the event would certainly take place, ver. 32. Thus Daniel had a double vision, Daniel vii. 2, 3. --- One stalk. It was of the species which Pliny (Natural History xviii. 10,) calls ramosum, branchy. What would strike Pharao the most was, that the last ears should devour the former ones. (Calmet)
Blasted with the eastern wind, blowing from the deserts of Arabia, Osee xiii. 15. (Menochius)
Rest. Hebrew adds, "and behold a dream" sent by God, like Solomon's, 3 Kings iii. 15. The king's mind was quite full of what he had seen.
Interpreters: chartumim is probably an Egyptian word; denoting magicians, priests, and interpreters of their sacred books, hieroglyphics, &c. K. Ptolemy consulted them. (Tacitus, Hist. iv.)
My sin against your majesty, and my ingratitude towards Joseph. (Calmet)
Servant. Chap. xxxix. 4. He waited also upon the prisoners of rank, chap. xl. 4. (Haydock)
Shaved him. The Egyptians let their hair grow, and neglected their persons, when they were in mourning or prison. But on other occasions they cut their hair in their youth. (Herod. ii. 36. iii. 12.) It was not lawful to appear in court in mourning attire. (Esther iv. 2; Genesis l. 4.) (Calmet)
Without, &c. The interpretation does not proceed from any natural acquirement, but from God alone. (Chaldean) (Tirinus) --- The Samaritan and Aquila read, "Without me God will not give," &c. See Matthew x. 20.
The land of Egypt, and the adjacent countries.
Fifth part. This was a tax laid upon all the Egyptians, (Calmet) unless Pharao paid for what corn was laid up. (Haydock) --- This quantity would be sufficient, as the people would be content with a smaller allowance during the famine; and the environs of the Nile would produce something, though not worth mentioning, chap. xlv. 6. (Menochius)
God. Hebrew, of the gods Elohim. Pharao was probably an idolater.
Obey. Hebrew Yishak; which may signify also "kiss" you, or their hand, in testimony of respect; or "shall be fed, governed, and led forth," &c. He made him master of his house, and ruler, &c. (Psalm civ. 21; Wisdom x. 14.)
His ring, the sign of power. Thus Alexander appointed Perdiccas to be his successor. (Curtius x. 5.) Assuerus gave his authority to Aman and to Mardocheus, Esther iii. and viii. --- Silk, or fine cotton; shesh (or ssoss). See byssus, Exodus xxv. 4. --- Chain, with which the president of the senate in Egypt, or the chief justice, was adorned. The three chief officers among the Chaldees wore chains, Daniel v. 7, 16. (Calmet)
Second chariot. On public occasions the king was followed by an empty chariot, (2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 24,) or the chariot here spoken of, was destined for the person who was next in dignity to the king. (Calmet) --- That all, &c. Hebrew, "crying Abroc," which Aquila explains in the same sense as the Vulgate. Others think it is an exclamation of joy, (Grotius) like huzza! (Haydock) or it may mean father of the king, or tender father, chap. xlv. 8.
Pharao, or the king. This is the preamble to the decree for the exaltation of Joseph, which subjected to him the armies and all the people of Egypt.
The saviour of the world. Tsaphenath pahneach. (Challoner) --- In the Coptic language, which is derived from the Egyptian, Psotemphane is said to mean the saviour of the world. St. Jerome supposed this word was not Hebrew; and therefore he added, in the Egyptian tongue, though he knew it might be interpreted in Hebrew "a revealer of secrets." (q. Heb.) --- Putiphare. Whether this person be the same with his old master, cannot easily be decided. Most people think he was not. See St. Chrysostom, 63. hom. --- Priest. None were esteemed more noble in Egypt. --- Heliopolis. Hebrew On, "the city of the sun," built on the banks of the Nile, about half a day's journey to the north of Memphis.
Sheaves. The straw would serve to feed the cattle, and would hinder the corn from spoiling for 50 years, if kept from the air. (Varro.; Pliny, Natural History xviii. 30.) (Calmet)
Manasses. That is, oblivion, or forgetting. (Challoner) --- Father's house, or the injuries received from my brethren. (Haydock)
Ephraim. That is, fruitful, or growing. (Challoner) --- Being in the plural number, it means "productions." --- Poverty; where I have been poor and afflicted, though now advanced in honour. (Haydock)
World. Round about Egypt; such as Chanaan, Syria, &c. (Menochius) --- There was. The Syriac and some Latin copies, read not, &c.: there was a famine. We must adhere to the Vulgate and Hebrew.
All provinces in the neighbourhood: for the stores laid up would not have supplied all mankind even for a few months. (Calmet)