Devotional Short Note to Genesis 39


My teacher dr. Jacques Doukhan, very delighted teacher full of joy and happiness, wrote recently a new SDA commentary on Genesis amplifying the SDA BCE Volume 1. The approach is different and scholars have written to me about it and expressed their views. Horn and Thiele of the Old School in the seminary of the 1950’s is not Doukhan of 2016 until present. Scholars write with the mixture of where they came from as well as their petty subjects their favorite musings. Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to “hit straight with a bended stick” [to use the words of the great teacher from Andrews Seminary, dr. Hans La Rondelle]. I was editing dr. La Rondelle’s last book during which he died and his son passed on the manuscripts to dr. Jon Paulien of Loma Linda for editing and publishing.


But today, we are in the life of Joseph and because Doukhan said nothing about chronology as I do here, I gladly throw in my fishing lines with these great scholars from my own perspective and consistency in chronology.


Do not say: “I will run to non-Adventists and see what they said about biblical chronology and then come back and superimpose their ideas on the biblical view and then be able to effectively “set Horn and Thiele straight”. No. Put yourself within the SDA Bible Commentary Chronology situation and from there do your studies or investigations or alterations and keep coming back. They saw something that you may miss. I have not seen one outside scholar on chronology that come close to the reality of the biblical text [Masoretic text, which is a word for the Hebrew Old Testament very faithfully copied with 99.9% accuracy when you compare Daniel of Codex Aleppo in 1008 CE with 4QDana from cave four at Qumran]. More than a millennium of absolute identical copying accuracy! There is not a translation [Greek Septuagint; Latin Old Latin and Vulgate translations; Syriac; Coptic; Armenian; Ethiopic; Arabic] that has this high percentage of accuracy that the Masoretic text of the 11th century of our time has. You have to say with me: God wrote His Word and see to it that it was copied absolutely like a machine: painfully accurate.


Adventist on chronology may sometimes be “little wrong” but non-Adventist is “macro wrong”. In attitude the Adventists care about the matter but non-Adventists do not care. They do not want to be a literalist or fundamental Biblicist, to use James Barr’s pessimistic words. Start and work with men of the Book and scholars of the Book like the SDA Bible Dictionary or Commentaries. See how they get to their dates and cross-check it in all ways.  


The narrative history of Joseph is well known to all children of long-time Adventists and readers of the Arthur Bible Stories in the Blue book hardcopy colorful series. But what is to follow here is the attempt to line Joseph up biblically in correct chronology and then to search around for a line-up with the pharaohs of Egypt. Even more: to then go into Egyptian Literature of the 12th dynasty to see if on those stelae, papyri, wall inscriptions anything is related to some of the historical data that we find cited by Moses in Midian in 1460 BCE when he composed Genesis. Chapter 39 is no exception so here follows the chronology of Joseph:


Masoretic text tradition calculation of the chronology


“From the Exodus to the last year of Joseph was 430 years and that long Distanzangabe comes from Galatians 3:17 which many scholars have interpreted to be Abraham, but it is actually Joseph. Since the law was given in 1448 BCE that date would be 1878 BCE as the death year of Joseph. Another Distanzangabe says that the time of enslavement in Egypt was 400 years long so if the Exodus was in 1450 BCE, then the enslavement started about 28 years after the death of Joseph in 1850 BCE. Genesis 50:22 said that Joseph became 110 years old. He was born in 1988 BCE. When Joseph was 30, he became prime minister (1958 BCE Genesis 41:46). The seven good years were until 1951 BCE. In 1950 BCE Jacob came to Egypt and told the Pharaoh that he is 130 years old. Jacob was thus born in 2080 BCE (Genesis 47:9).”


Koot van Wyk, (2017). “Reconsidering Cuneiform and biblical Distanzangaben or “Long Period” references.” International Journal of Research in Social Sciences and Humanities Vol. No. 7, Issue No. I, Jan-Mar, pp. 114-140, especially 118.


Joseph was born in 1988 BCE and when he was 17 in 1971 BCE he was sold to the house of Potiphar. He landed in jail seemingly at the age of 27 in 1961/1960 BCE and he was remembered by the butler at the age of 30 in 1959/1958 BCE. The seven good years started and the drought in 1951-1950 BCE. Jacob came two years later into the drought period in 1950-1949 BCE. The drought lasted until 1944 BCE.


Egyptian chronology according to Von Beckerath 1995 (Old and New reckoning)


This period of prosperity followed by famine was during the time of Sesostris I (Old reckoning 1971-1928 / new reckoning 1957-1911 BCE).


Jürgen von Beckerath (1995). “Nochmals zur Chronologie der XII. Dynastie .” Orientalia 64 n/s 4, pages 445-449. Von Beckerath indicated that one should question whether the calculation of the reign is done by scribes indicating the co-regency years together with the sole years reigning even when two pharaohs succeeding each other are mentioned. Co-regency numbers will then appear twice. Such an inscription in the Leiden Stele V 5 published by P. A. A. Boeser, Beschreibung der Aegypt. Sammlung des Nederländ. Reichmeuseums Leiden I (Hague, 3 text IV). It indicates that Sesostris year 44 = Amenemes II year 2. Then there is one more example, the Kairo Stele CG 20516 published by H. O. Lange – H. Schäfer, (1908). Grab- und Denksteine des Mittleren Reiches II. Pages 108-11, text XXXV.  Downloaded from Amenemes I year 30 = Sesostris I year 10. In the Old reckoning Amenemhet I ruled from 1991-1962 BCE and in the New reckoning from 1977-1947 BCE. In the beginning and the end of Sesostris I reign there were overlapping father and son reigns in co-regency it seems.


A word about Egyptian chronology

They Egyptians had 360 days in their calendar plus 5 epagomenal added days. Their year was a “wandering year” in that it slipped every year with that fraction not counted. The seasons thus shifted and they had to use the sothis cycle or observation of the Sothis star to bring their seasons and months in line again. We are using the Julian calendar and our beginning of the year is not theirs. Therefore their year will hang between two Julian years of our counting system. Joseph became president of Egypt in 1959/1958 BCE when he was 30 years old.


Father at the age of 30 problem and solution in Genesis 45:8


The old reckoning makes us understand Genesis better since Joseph was saying that he was like a father to the Pharaoh Sesostris I in his 14th year who’s father died four years before in 1962, the year Amenemhet I died in his 30th year of reign and Sesostris I’s 10th year of co-ruler with his father according to an inscription.

As a result of the honor that Sesotris I did to Joseph for interpreting the dream in 1959/58 BCE, Joseph was to Sesostris I “like a father” in Sesostris’ 14th year even though he [Joseph] was still young or 30 years old. Genesis 45:8 “And He [God] made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house”.


The closeness of Joseph [born in 1988 BCE = died 110 years old in 1878 BCE which is 430 years in Galatians 3:17-19 with the law given in 1448 BCE] to the young Sesostris I is said here in 1959/1958 BCE.


Sesostris year 1 = Year 21 of Amenemhet I             1971         Joseph sold to Potiphar

Year 2 = Year 22 of Amenemhet I                  1970


Year 3 = Year 23 of Amenemhet I                  1969


Year 4 = Year 24 of Amenemhet I                  1968


Year 5 = Year 25 of Amenemhet I                  1967


Year 6 = Year 26 of Amenemhet I                  1966


Year 7 = Year 27 of Amenemhet I                  1965


Year 8 = Year 28 of Amenemhet I                  1964


Year 9 = Year 29 of Amenemhet I                 1963

Year 10  [Kairo Stele date]  = Year 30 of Amenemhet I  1962      

Year 11=                  1962/1961

Year 12 =                1961/1960 Joseph to jail [two years before the dream in Gen 41:1]


Year 13 =               1960/1959


Year 14 =               1959/1958 Joseph 30, president and 1st year of prosperity


Year 15 =               19581957 2nd year of prosperity 


Year 16 =               1957/1956 3rd year of prosperity


Year 17 =               1956/1955 4th year of prosperity


Year 18 =                1955/1954 5th year of prosperity


Year 19 =               1953/1953 6th year of prosperity


Year 20 =               1952/1951 7th year of prosperity

Year 21 =                1951/1950 1st year of famine


Year 22 =               1950/1949  2nd year of famine [Jacob moved to Egypt 130 years old in Gen 45]

Year 23 =                1949/1948  3rd year of famine


Year 24 =                1948/1947  4th year of famine


Year 25 =                1947/1946  5th year of famine


Year 26=                1946/1945  6th year of famine


Year 27=                19451944  7th year of famine


Year 28=                1944/1943 


Year 29=                1943/1942 

Year 30=                1942/1941 

Year 31=                1941/1940 

Year 32=                1940/1939 

Year 33=                1939/1938 

Year 34=                1938/1937 

Year 35=                1937/1936 

The synchronization of biblical chronology and the old reckoning of Egyptian chronology by Von Beckerath indicated that Joseph was placed in jail in the year 12th of Sesostris I. According to the old reckoning, Joseph became prime minister in the 14th year of Sesostris I in 1959/1958 BCE. Amenemhet I, the father of Sesostris I died the year before at his own 30th year and Sesotris I’s 10th year. Was Sesostris I a child king who was not old in 1959/1958 in his 14th year of reign that Joseph said he was made like a lord over the house of the king and also that he was “like a father to the pharaoh”?


Dear God


Lead us Great Yahweh to Your throne in the Heavenly Sanctuary for there our souls find peace and sabbatical rest in Christ’s atoning love for us. God bless us all. In Jesus Name. Amen.