41You are now governor of all Egypt!”
42 Then the king took off his royal ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He gave him fine clothes to wear and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He also let him ride in the chariot next to his own, and people shouted, “Make way for Joseph!” So Joseph was governor of Egypt.
44The king told Joseph, “Although I'm king, no one in Egypt is to do anything without your permission.” 45He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. And he let him marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis. Joseph traveled all over Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 when the king made him governor, and he went everywhere for the king. 47For seven years there were big harvests of grain. 48Joseph collected and stored up the extra grain in the cities of Egypt near the fields where it was harvested. 49In fact, there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.
50Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began. 51Their first son was named Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.” 52His second son was named Ephraim, which means “God has made me a success in the land where I suffered.”
53Egypt's seven years of plenty came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was not enough food in other countries, but all over Egypt there was plenty. 55 When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”
56The famine became bad everywhere in Egypt, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was so severe in their countries.
Though only thirty years old, Joseph had already endured much suffering: slavery, betrayal, false accusations, and imprisonment. Now, he is governor of all Egypt! He has a wife and two sons. He names his first son Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.” And he names his second son Ephraim, which means, “God has made me a success in the land where I suffered.”
It is not always easy to forget suffering that has happened in our lives, and in subsequent chapters, we will see that Joseph has not literally forgotten all of his troubles, nor has he in fact forgotten his family.
What has changed then? Why did Joseph give these unusual names to his two sons?
“Forgetting” the sufferings of our past and the very real hurts caused by others does not mean that we deny that they happened. It is indeed a part of the healing process to acknowledge that the suffering did in fact occur. What Joseph has laid to rest is the guilt and shame of the rejection, the slavery and the imprisonment that he suffered. “God has made me a success!” he declares. It is God who heals us from all of the hurts of our past.
Speaking of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied: “The Spirit of the Lord God has taken control of me! The Lord has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives.” (Isaiah 61:1)
Oh Great Physician, you are the healer of broken hearts. We pray that you would heal us from the hurts of our past so that we may walk into the success which you have planned for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen