Ver. 2. The last. Extremos. Some interpret this word of the chiefest, and most sightly: but Joseph seems rather to have chosen out such as had the meanest appearance, that Pharao might not think of employing them at court, with danger of their morals and religion; (Ch). or in the army, where they might be distracted with many cares, and be too much separated from one another. H.
--- He took such of his brethren as came first at hand. Vatable.
Ver. 7. Blessed him, Pharao; saying, perhaps, God save the king; or, O king live for ever: thus wishing that he might enjoy all sorts of blessings. M.
--- It is generally taken in this sense, when men bless one another; but when they bless God, they mean to praise, supplicate, or thank him. C.
Ver. 9. Pilgrimage. He hardly deigns to style it life, as he was worn out with labour and sorrows, and was drawing fast to an end, so much sooner than his ancestors. Isaac had lived 180 years, and was only dead the year before Joseph was made ruler of Egypt. Some had lived above 900 years. H.
Ver. 13. Chanaan. The whole world that was inhabited, and known to the Hebrews, felt perhaps the effect of this raging famine; but the countries here mentioned were the most afflicted. H.
Ver. 14. Treasure, reserving nothing for himself. Philo.
Ver. 18. Second; or the next year after they had sold their cattle; the fourth of the famine, or perhaps the last, since they ask for seed, v. 19. In that year, Joseph gave back the cattle, &c. to the Egyptians, on condition that they should ever after pay the fifth part of the products of the land to the king, the sole proprietor, who had thus full authority to send them to till any part of his dominions. C.
Ver. 19. Servants. A person may part with his liberty, to preserve life. M.
Ver. 21. People, "he transplanted" from, &c. as the Heb. Arab. &c. now read, by the change of one letter. Herodotus, ii. 108, says, the same person has never a field there two years together. Diodorus 1. also attests, that individuals have no property in Egypt, the land being divided among the priests, the king, and the military. Tradesmen always follow their father's profession, which makes them very skilful.
Ver. 22. Priests. This was done by the king's direction, as they were probably idolaters. M.
--- The immunities of the sacred ministers have been respected both by Pagans, Jews, and Christians; by all who have had any sentiments of religion. Reason dictates that they should live by the altar. They have to labour for the truest interests of the people, and consequently are worthy of their hire.
--- Which had been given, &c. Inasmuch as their wants were supplied, and the king forebore to claim their land. Heb. "only the land of the priests he, Joseph, bought not." H.
--- If infidels did so much for their priests, ought we to do less for those of God? S. Chrys. hom. 65. W.
Ver. 26. This day. When Moses wrote, and long after, as we learn from Josephus. S. Clem. Alex. Diod. &c. C.
Ver. 29. Thigh. To swear, as the steward of Abraham did. C. xxiv. 2.
--- Kindness and truth. This act of real mercy; or, shew me mercy, by promising freely to comply with my request; and truth, by fulfilling this oath. M.
Ver. 30. Place. Hebron, where Sara, Abraham, and Isaac reposed. C.
--- Thus he manifested his belief in a future resurrection with his Saviour, who should be born in that land; and he admonished his descendants never to lose sight of it, nor forfeit the promises by their wicked conduct. C. xxiii. 17. M.
--- He teaches us likewise, to be solicitous to obtain Christian burial. W.
Ver. 31. To the bed's head. S. Paul, (Heb. xi. 21,) following the Greek translation of the Septuagint, reads adored the top of his rod. Where note, that the same word in the Hebrew, according to the different pointing of it, signifies both a bed and a rod. And to verify both these sentences, we must understand that Jacob, leaning on Joseph's rod, adored, turning towards the head of his bed: which adoration, inasmuch as it was referred to God, was an absolute, and sovereign worship: but inasmuch as it was referred to the rod of Joseph, as a figure of the sceptre, that is, of the royal dignity of Christ, was only an inferior and relative honour. Ch.
--- S. Aug. proposes another very probable explanation. He adored God, supporting himself on the top of his staff, or of Joseph's sceptre, q. 162. The Sept. and Syriac intimate, that Jacob bowed down respectfully towards the sceptre of his son, and thus complied with the explication which he had given to his dream. C. xxxvii. 10. Others, who understand the Hebrew Hamitta, in the sense given to it by S. Jerom, Aquila, and Symmachus, suppose that after he had given his last instructions to Joseph in a sitting posture, growing weaker, he laid his head again upon his pillow. C.
---God was pleased to have this recorded in a language subject to such various interpretations; as he, perhaps, would have us to understand, that Jacob literally bowed down both to the bed-head and to the top of the sceptre. For many believe, that the Scripture has often several literal meanings. T.
--- If the Massoretic points had been known to the Sept. we should not have had this variation. But the learned generally agree, that they are of human, and even of very modern invention.