Notes About Joseph
1. Joseph the Hebrew.
2. The Problem of Asenath (Cherchez la Femme!).
3. Who Was Asenath Really?
4. What did Asenath Look Like?
5. Joseph Gathers Up the Pieces!
6. Dan Gathers Up with Joseph.
7. The Broken Men by Rudyard Kipling 1902

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1. Joseph the Hebrew.
Joseph was described by the Egyptian servant of Pharoah as "a young Hebrew man" (Genesis 41:12).
The Descendants of Joseph were to be known as Hebrews even after they have been exiled.
The Name 'Hebrew'

In Biblical law the Firstborn receives an extra portion in the inheritance. The Commentary Haketav ve-HaKabbalah (Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg, 1785-1865, Prussia) explains that Ephraim and Mannasseh were each given the same status as full-born sons of Jacob.
They inherited directly from Jacob and not through Joseph. Manasseh who was the elder was therefore not to receive an extra portion as the firstborn of Joseph since the inheritance by-passed Joseph who received his blessing through his sons.

Genesis 48:
14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said:

God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
18 And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.'
19 But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.'
20 So he blessed them that day, saying, 'By you Israel will bless, saying, "May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!"' And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

Haketav ve-HaKabbalah comments,
  "Let my name be named upon them" (Genesis 48:16):
All the Patriarchal Forefathers and their children and the children of their children were known as Hebrews. This was because they originally came from over the River (Euphrates). Joseph feared that his sons would not be known by this name but rather as Egyptians since they were born in Egypt. Jacob therefore blessed them that they would be called Hebrews just like the other Tribes (Rabbi A. Ashkenazi).

2. The Problem of Asenath (Cherchez la Femme!).
Haketav ve-HaKabbalah continues,
According to the opinion that Asenath the wife of Joseph was the daughter of Dinah who gave birth to Asenath after being raped by Schechem son of Chamor the Hivite the family lineage of Ephraim and Manasseh was liable to be considered severely impaired in comparison to that of the other Tribes.
Jacob therefore blessed them,

# Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac # (Genesis 48:16).

Ephraim and Manasseh were therefore not to be considered any less than the other Tribes of Yeshurun.

The same applies if we take the opinion that Asenath was the natural daughter of Potiphera the Egyptian and that there was anything deleterious in this.
Jacob affirmed that Ephraim and Manasseh were to be considered full-fledged Tribes alongside the others.

In Genesis 46:18 it says that the number of descendants of Jacob who went down to Egypt were seventy.
# All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy # (Genesis 46:18).
When we add up all the names of the House of Jacob given in Genesis 48 we only get 69.
Different solutions to this conundrum have been give,
Haketav ve-HaKabbalah also has one:

 # And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him # (Genesis 48:20).
Why do we have to be told again about Asenath?

We have already heard that Joseph married her and that she was the mother of his sons (Genesis 41:45, 50)?
It would have been sufficient to say that Manasseh and Ephraim were the sons of Joseph [without mentioning their mother] as it was said of the other Tribal Ancestors and their children. There is an opinion  (Maseket Sofrim, Yehonatan ben Uzziel, etc) that Asenath was the daughter of Dinah and that she married Joseph in Egypt.
According to this it could be Asenath is the one who complements the number of the House of Jacob who went down to Egypt to make seventy!...The name Asenath [in Hebrew] could be a permutation of Asenath, [i.e. the one who was raped!].

3. Who Was Asenath Really?

Genesis 41:
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On.

Genesis 41:
50 And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him.
51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: 'For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.'
52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: 'For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.'

According to the simple meaning of the verses Asenath (in Modern Hebrew pronounced as "Osnat") was the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On and presumably an Egyptian.
This adds double meaning to the tradition that the Standard of the Tribes of Joseph showed a picture representing Egypt, possibly a pyramid.
Other explanations could be accepted and they would not necessarily directly contradict the simple meaning but they might be stretching it.
The Literal Meaning of Prophecy
On the other hand,
Midrashim and Legends recalled in Rabbinical Sources do not have to be accepted literally though often they do reveal historical truths.

We therefore incline to the view that Asenath really was an Egyptian.

4. What did Asenath Look Like?

Selected Pictures of Ancient Egyptian Men and Women

Selected Pictures of Ancient Egyptian Women

The Ancient Egyptians included numerous different physical types.
Most of them appear to have been of Mediterranean type of the darker kind.
Whatever the case color prejudice, or any prejudice, is not encouraged by Scripture.
The Black Woman

The Ancient Britons before the coming of the Celts were often described in the past as of gracile Mediterranean type similar to that of the Egyptians.
The British today (i.e. as of ca. 50 years ago) were considered to be half Mediterranean type and half Nordic.
Even the Nordic type was often classified as an offshoot of the Mediterranean one rather than that of Central Europe.

5. Joseph Gathers Up the Pieces!
We saw how the name Joseph is from the root "ASaF" meaning to gather in, to gather together.
Joseph gathers together the different parts. He repairs and heals the broken pieces. Joseph gave sustenance (in Egypt) to his brothers. He brought them together as one.
It was also shown how the tradition that Joseph married the daughter of Dinah ties in with this aspect of Joseph.
Characteristics of Joseph by Rabbi Shlomoh Carlebach
This tradition for our purposes at present is more important than whether or not it is historically correct.
Joseph became the English-speaking peoples. These nations were destined to become the wealthiest and most powerful entities in the world and to encompass a great multitude of peoples.
This was what was prophesied.
We may now add another aspect to our understanding of the Test of Joseph.
Joseph is to also gather up all other Israelites from the other Tribes and from Judah who may have strayed away from their parent bodies.
Joseph also rehabilitates. Numerous emigrants to North America and to the British Colonies came from situations they wished to put behind them.
This is what they were enabled to do.

6. Dan Gathers Up with Joseph.
When the Israelites were travelling through the Wilderness the Tribe of Judah went first. Dan (at the head of Asher and Naphtali) went last.

Numbers 10:
25 Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies; over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

Dan is described as "the rear guard". The Hebrew word is "ma-asef". It is derived from the same word root ASeF that we found with Joseph.
It too connotes "Gather Up".
An Anonymous Commentary attached to Rashi says that Dan would take in the weak and the failing from the other Tribes.

We would suggest that Dan like Joseph was to gather in those who had fallen by the wayside.

We have identified Dan primarily with Denmark though we found offshoots from Dan elsewhere especially in the British Isles.
Ireland at one stage had many from Dan such as the Tribe of Dana (Tuatha de Danaan), the Domnonni (Danani), and Viking Danish settlers.
It could well be that most of the Tribe of Dan who formerly were in Ireland and other parts of Britian are now in the USA?

7. The Broken Men by Rudyard Kipling 1902

For things we never mention,
  For Art misunderstood --
For excellent intention
  That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales' renewing,
  From clouds we would not clear --
Beyond the Law's pursuing
  We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,
  We bade no long good-byes.
Men talked of crime and thieving,
  Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
  'Twas time and time to go --
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,
  Ahead lay Callao!

The widow and the orphan
  That pray for ten per cent,
They clapped their trailers on us
  To spy the road we went.
They watched the foreign sailings
  (They scan the shipping still),
And that's your Christian people
  Returning good for ill!

God bless the thoughtful islands
  Where never warrants come;
God bless the just Republics
  That give a man a home,
That ask no foolish questions,
  But set him on his feet;
And save his wife and daughters
  From the workhouse and the street!

On church and square and market
  The noonday silence falls;
You'll hear the drowsy mutter
  Of the fountain in our halls.
Asleep amid the yuccas
  The city takes her ease --
Till twilight brings the land-wind
  To the clicking jalousies.

Day long the diamond weather,
  The high, unaltered blue --
The smell of goats and incense
  And the mule-bells tinkling through.
Day long the warder ocean
  That keeps us from our kin,
And once a month our levee
  When the English mail comes in.

You'll find us up and waiting
  To treat you at the bar;
You'll find us less exclusive
  Than the average English are.
We'll meet you with a carriage,
  Too glad to show you round,
But -- we do not lunch on steamers,
  For they are English ground.

We sail o' nights to England
  And join our smiling Boards --
Our wives go in with Viscounts
  And our daughters dance with Lords,
But behind our princely doings,
  And behind each coup we make,
We feel there's Something Waiting,
  And -- we meet It when we wake.

Ah, God! One sniff of England --
  To greet our flesh and blood --
To hear the traffic slurring
  Once more through London mud!
Our towns of wasted honour --
  Our streets of lost delight!
How stands the old Lord Warden?
  Are Dover's cliffs still white?

See Also:
Rabbinical Sources.
Tribal Identifications.

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