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by Wayne Blank
"governor of the district of the place of life"
Although Joseph's entry into Egypt was hardly voluntary (see the Fact Finder question below), with The Lord's miraculous help, Joseph eventually rose to become second only to the Pharaoh in political power. The Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, transliterated into English as Zaphnath-paaneah, a name which was actually as much descriptive of a place as a man; the name meant "governor of the district of the place of life," a reference to Joseph's management of the nation's food resources during the prophesied famine, as well as of the richly-fertile The Nile Delta area itself.
"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:44-45 KJV)
Joseph knew that a famine was coming and made preparations for it. The "corn" referred to in the King James Version actually meant wheat or grain in general, not corn / maize (see Corn) i.e. the RSV more correctly has "And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance" where the King James has "And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea."
"And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number." (Genesis 41:46-49 KJV)
Joseph also began a family in Egypt with an Egyptian wife i.e. at least two of the tribes of Israel, Ephraim and Manasseh (see also Children of Jacob) were founded from an Egyptian mother.
"And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." (Genesis 41:50-52 KJV)