Today's scripture: Genesis 41:50-57 (NLT*)
During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT...
- The name Manasseh stems from the Hebrew word nāshâ, which means to forget. Joseph has accepted a new name and a new life in Egypt. What point could he be making by naming his son Manasseh?
- If Joseph has "forgotten his father's house," (41:50) why does he not choose traditional Egyptian names for his sons? Why does he choose names that have Hebrew roots?
- The name Ephraim stems from the Hebrew word pārâ, which means to be fruitful. This seems to be a more positive name for his second son. Why do you think this is?
- If you were experiencing seven years of abundance, how willing would you be to think about a future possibility of famine?
- What parallels are there in this abundance/famine pattern in your life?
"When the years of famine come, it affects every country, not just Egypt. But only Egypt has grain. The success of Joseph redounds to his reputation. When Egyptians cry out for bread due to the famine's severity, they can get relief from Joseph (note that they buy grain; it is not given away). In fact, Joseph's wisdom enables Egypt to become the bread basket for 'all the world' (verses 54-57)." The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. I (Abingdon Press: Nashville, 1994, 622.
* Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.