The maintenance of Jacob and his family in a time of famine;
for the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the earth,
and direct the affairs of the children of men.
In order to these, here is,
Pharaoh's dream, ver. 1 - 8.
The recommendation of Joseph to him for an interpreter,
ver. 9 - 13.
The interpretation of the dreams, and the prediction of seven
years plenty, and seven years famine in Egypt, with the
prudent advice given to Pharaoh thereupon, ver. 14 - 36.
The preferment of Joseph to a place of the highest power and
trust, ver. 37 - 45.
The accomplishment of Joseph's prediction, and his fidelity to
his trust, ver. 46 - 57.
8: His spirit was troubled - It cannot but put us into a concern to
receive any extraordinary message from heaven. And his magicians were
puzzled; the rules of their art failed them; these dreams of Pharaoh
did not fall within the compass of them. This was to make Joseph's
performance by the Spirit of God the more admirable.
9: I remember my faults this day - in forgetting Joseph. Some
think he means his faults against Pharaoh, for which he was imprisoned,
and then he would insinuate, that through Pharaoh had forgiven him, he
had not forgiven himself. God's time for the enlargement of his people will
appear, at last, to be the fittest time. If the chief butler had at first
used his interest for Joseph's enlargement, and had obtained, it is
probable, he would have gone back to the land of the Hebrews, and then
he had neither been so blessed himself, nor such a blessing to his family.
But staying two years longer, and coming out upon this occasion to interpret
the king's dreams, way was made for his preferment. The king can scarce
allow him time, but that decency required it, to shave himself, and to
change his raiment, (Ge 41:14). It is done with all possible
expedition, and Joseph is brought in perhaps almost as much surprised as
Peter was, (Ac 12:9), so suddenly is his
captivity brought back, that he is as one that dreams,(Ps 126:1).
Pharaoh immediately, without enquiring who or whence he was tells him
his business, that he expected he should interpret his dream.
16: (1.) He gives honour to God; It is not in me; God must give it.
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,
(2.) He shews respect to Pharaoh, and hearty good - will to him, supposing
that the interpretation would be an answer of peace. Those that consult
God's oracles may expect an answer of peace.
29: See the goodness of God, in sending the seven years of plenty
before those of famine, that provision might be made accordingly. How
wonderful wisely has Providence, that great house - keeper, ordered the
affairs of this numerous family from the beginning! Great variety of
seasons there have been and the produce of the earth sometimes more, and
sometimes less; yet take one time with another, what was miraculous
concerning the manna, is ordinarily verified in the common course of
Providence; He that gathers much has nothing over, and he that gathers
little has no lack, (Ex 16:18).
30: See the perishing nature of our worldly enjoyments. The great
increase of the years of plenty was quite lost and swallowed up in
the years of famine; and the overplus of it, which seemed very much, yet did
but just serve to keep men alive.
44: Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot - All the
affairs of the kingdom must pass through his hand. Only in the throne
will I be greater than thou - It is probable there were those about court
that opposed Joseph's preferment, which occasioned Pharaoh so oft to
repeat the grant, and with that solemn sanction, I am Pharaoh. He gave
him his own ring as a ratification of his commission, and in token of
peculiar favour; or it was like delivering him the great seal. He put fine
clothes upon him instead of his prison garments, and adorned him with a
chain of gold. He made him ride in the second chariot next his own, and
ordered all to do obeisance to him, as to Pharaoh himself; he gave him a
new name and such a name as spoke the value he had for him,
Zaphnath - paaneah, a Revealer of secrets. He married him honourably
to a prince's daughter. Where God had been liberal in giving wisdom and
other merits, Pharaoh was not sparing in conferring honours. Now this
preferment of Joseph, was,
1st, an abundant recompense for his innocent and patient suffering, a
lasting instance of the equity and goodness of providence, and an
encouragement to all to trust in a good God.
2dly, It was typical of the exaltation of Christ, that great revealer of
secrets, ((Joh 1:18),) or as some translate
Joseph's new name, the Saviour of the world. The brightest glories
of the upper world are upon him, the highest trusts lodged in his hand, and
all power given him both in heaven and earth. He is gatherer, keeper, and
disposer of all the stores of divine grace, and chief ruler of the kingdom
of God among men. The work of ministers is to cry before him;
Bow the knee; kiss the Son.
50: Two sons - In the names he gave them, he owned the divine
Providence giving this happy turn to his affairs. He was made to forget
his misery, but could he be so unnatural as to forget all his
father's house? And he was made fruitful in the land of his
affliction. It had been the land of his affliction, and, in some sense,
it was still so, for his distance from his father was still his affliction.
Ephraim signifies fruitfulness, and Manasseh forgetfulness.
54: The seven years of dearth began to come - Not only in Egypt,
but in other lands, in all lands, that is, all the neighbouring