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Old 12-05-2018, 04:57 PM
 
798 posts, read 592,657 times
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I was re-reading Joseph's story in Genesis.
Summarizing, he pretended to not recognize his brothers, framed them of stealing money from him, then recalled them in front of him with his younger brother Benjamin.
In that episode, the Bible says that the brothers talked among themselves, and implies that Joseph could understand them, but they did not know he could, because he had an interpreter between him and them.
However - from earlier related episodes (Potiphar's wife trying to frame Joseph for rape) it is clear that Egyptians knew that Joseph was a Jew ("Hebrew" as NASB puts it.) Further, in the above story, he eats separately, as do his brothers, as do Egyptians because Egyptians did not eat with Hebrews.

So my question is, why would he need an interpreter at all to speak to his brothers? Were there Jews in Egypt who could not speak Hebrew? It was well-known that he was a Jew and so were his brothers. So the presence of an interpreter would be superfluous, unless - some Jews were already so assimilated in Egypt that they had forgotten their language. If that's the case, where did those Jews come from? There is nothing in the parts of Genesis that come before Joseph's story that indicates that Jews had done that.

This is an inconsistency that sheds doubt on the earlier stories which imply that all Jews were children of Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldeans, then spread throughout Canaan, and had nothing to do with Egypt.

Last edited by cfa-ish; 12-05-2018 at 04:57 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:39 PM
 
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It may have been well known to some that he was a Hebrew, but it was not known at all to his brothers at that time.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:59 PM
 
798 posts, read 592,657 times
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Ah, that would explain it.
So Joseph brought the interpreter as an added cover. Holy cow, the ancient Jews took their practical jokes seriously!

EDIT: but hold on. From the NASB version:
Gen 43:31 Then he washed his face, and came out; and he controlled himself and said, "Serve the meal."
Gen 43:32 So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians, who ate with him, by
themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.
Gen 43:33 Now they were seated before him, the first-born according to his birthright and the youngest
according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.

So it did not make them suspicious why Egyptians sat apart from Joseph?

Last edited by cfa-ish; 12-05-2018 at 06:38 PM..
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Booth Texas
14,765 posts, read 4,958,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfa-ish View Post
Ah, that would explain it.
So Joseph brought the interpreter as an added cover. Holy cow, the ancient Jews took their practical jokes seriously!
Pure magic is what it was. Consider that you were Judah. Judah had lived all those years in sheer regret at what he had done to his brother Joseph and there was absolutely nothing he could have done about his regret and remorse that it must have broken him over the years, It would have with me.

Judah didn't know it was Joseph, and there was Joseph talking about Benjamin ,his little brother Benjamin, and Benjamin is the only true brother of Joseph by the same mother and you can imagine how much Joseph must have loved and dreamed of Benjamin.

There is Joseph telling Judah that he was going to take Benjamin as his slave.

Then Judah did something so remarkable and although it looks as if Judah is sacrificing his life for Benjamin, I can only imagine Judah almost being happy at a chance to redeem himself from the evil of what he did to Joseph, and most people will never have such a great chance of redemption as did Judah....

If Joseph had even the least bit of anger toward Judah, it must have melted away when he saw Judah sacrificing himself for Joseph's only true brother.

A chance of redemption like that is realy heartwrenching, and it was all possible because Joseph hid his true identity and language.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:09 PM
 
Location: NJ
1,377 posts, read 493,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben Shunamit View Post
It may have been well known to some that he was a Hebrew, but it was not known at all to his brothers at that time.
why do we assume it was well known to anyone but his employer and the cupbearer?
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:46 PM
 
13,092 posts, read 13,681,824 times
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It was known that he was a former slave who had been imprisoned, and then released and promoted by Pharoah to second in command. However it was not known where he was from or that he spoke the language of his brothers.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:50 PM
 
6,465 posts, read 4,063,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfa-ish View Post
Ah, that would explain it.
So Joseph brought the interpreter as an added cover. Holy cow, the ancient Jews took their practical jokes seriously!

EDIT: but hold on. From the NASB version:
Gen 43:31 Then he washed his face, and came out; and he controlled himself and said, "Serve the meal."
Gen 43:32 So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians, who ate with him, by
themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.
Gen 43:33 Now they were seated before him, the first-born according to his birthright and the youngest
according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.

So it did not make them suspicious why Egyptians sat apart from Joseph?
I think Joseph was served by himself (and apparently served first) to emphasize his special, exalted position. I doubt the brothers would have questioned it.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:02 PM
 
13,092 posts, read 13,681,824 times
Reputation: 9156
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfa-ish View Post
I was re-reading Joseph's story in Genesis.
Summarizing, he pretended to not recognize his brothers, framed them of stealing money from him, then recalled them in front of him with his younger brother Benjamin.
In that episode, the Bible says that the brothers talked among themselves, and implies that Joseph could understand them, but they did not know he could, because he had an interpreter between him and them.
However - from earlier related episodes (Potiphar's wife trying to frame Joseph for rape) it is clear that Egyptians knew that Joseph was a Jew ("Hebrew" as NASB puts it.) Further, in the above story, he eats separately, as do his brothers, as do Egyptians because Egyptians did not eat with Hebrews.

So my question is, why would he need an interpreter at all to speak to his brothers? Were there Jews in Egypt who could not speak Hebrew? It was well-known that he was a Jew and so were his brothers. So the presence of an interpreter would be superfluous, unless - some Jews were already so assimilated in Egypt that they had forgotten their language. If that's the case, where did those Jews come from? There is nothing in the parts of Genesis that come before Joseph's story that indicates that Jews had done that.

This is an inconsistency that sheds doubt on the earlier stories which imply that all Jews were children of Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldeans, then spread throughout Canaan, and had nothing to do with Egypt.
At the time you describe when his brothers came to visit Egypt and beg for food from the viceroy (their brother Joseph whom they did not recognize) at that time no there were not Jews living in Egypt.

It was after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and then subsequently brought his family to Egypt to move and live, that the Jewish people expanded and grew to great numbers living in Egypt.

So no Jews in Egypt at the time you are asking about and no it was not known that he was a Jew.

Pharoah knew that he spoke Hebrew and wanted that to be kept secret because Pharoah could not bear that Joseph knew a language that he did not. Pharoah did want it to appear thst there was someone smarter than he was.

When Josephs father and brothers relocated to Egypt they were a single extended family (about 70 people) During their time in Egypt (a couple hundred years) they grew and expanded into a very large group of people.

https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...s-Identity.htm
and
https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...nslavement.htm

Last edited by Tzaphkiel; 12-05-2018 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:16 AM
 
Location: US
27,953 posts, read 15,035,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzaphkiel View Post
At the time you describe when his brothers came to visit Egypt and beg for food from the viceroy (their brother Joseph whom they did not recognize) at that time no there were not Jews living in Egypt.

It was after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and then subsequently brought his family to Egypt to move and live, that the Jewish people expanded and grew to great numbers living in Egypt.

So no Jews in Egypt at the time you are asking about and no it was not known that he was a Jew.

Pharoah knew that he spoke Hebrew and wanted that to be kept secret because Pharoah could not bear that Joseph knew a language that he did not. Pharoah did want it to appear thst there was someone smarter than he was.

When Josephs father and brothers relocated to Egypt they were a single extended family (about 70 people) During their time in Egypt (a couple hundred years) they grew and expanded into a very large group of people.

https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...s-Identity.htm
and
https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...nslavement.htm
Where in Torah is the bolded above alluded to?...
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:05 AM
 
13,092 posts, read 13,681,824 times
Reputation: 9156
Quote:
Pharoah knew that Joseph spoke Hebrew and wanted that to be kept secret because Pharoah could not bear that Joseph knew a language that he did not. Pharoah did want it to appear that there was someone smarter than he was.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Where in Torah is the bolded above alluded to?...

Talmud in Sottah (36b) that Pharaoh admitted to Joseph that he did not know Hebrew

"R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: At the moment when Pharaoh said to Joseph, And without thee shall no man lift up his hand etc., Pharaoh's astrologers exclaimed: 'Wilt thou set in power over us a slave whom his master bought for twenty pieces of silver!' He replied to them, 'I discern in him royal characteristics.' They said to him, 'In that case he must be acquainted with the seventy languages'. Gabriel came and taught [Joseph] the seventy languages, but he could not learn them. Thereupon [Gabriel] added to his name a letter from the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and he learnt [the languages] as it is said: He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt, where I [Joseph] heard a language that I knew not. On the morrow, in whatever language Pharaoh conversed with him he replied to him; but when [Joseph] spoke to him in the holy tongue he did not understand what he said. So he asked him to teach it to him; he taught it to him but he could not learn it. [Pharaoh] said to him, 'Swear to me that thou wilt not reveal this'; and he swore to him. "


Babylonian Talmud: Sotah 36

Last edited by Tzaphkiel; 12-06-2018 at 10:13 AM..
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