Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt. — Genesis 41:42, 45
Every person’s true identity is beautiful, and much of the ugliness we observe in others was put inside of them by external influences. — Bryant McGill
Joseph is no longer that self-centered, indulged, and disagreeable 17 year-old braggadocio. As we continue to read about Joseph in Genesis 41-50, he is a self-centered, indulged, and disagreeable 30 year-old braggadocio.
Pharaoh liked Joseph. A lot. After all, Joseph’s dream interpretations were spot on and saved Egypt from famine. There was just that one thing. Joseph was a Hebrew. Egyptians did not care for Hebrews. And so Pharaoh did all he could to erase Joseph’s ethnic identity in order to ensure his success as the second-in-charge of all of Egypt. Like Jacob, Pharaoh pumped up Joseph’s ego, going so far as to command that Joseph ride in the second royal chariot, and that people walk ahead of his chariot calling, “Bow down!” Verse 43-44 says: So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”
Joseph became a big Egyptian deal, but he did not forget his Hebrew identity. He gave his two sons Hebrew names: Manasseh and Ephraim. We read in The Message translation: Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of famine came. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.”
Joseph identified with both the Hebrews and the Egyptians. I wonder what that feels like to not be wanted in one world and not quite right for another world.