Miketz or Mikeitz (מִקֵּץ – Hebrew for "at the end," the second word – and first distinctive word – of the parashah) is the tenth weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 41:1–44:17. The parashah has the most letters (although not the most words or verses) of any of the weekly Torah portions in the book of Genesis, and is made up of 7,914 Hebrew letters, 2,022 Hebrew words, and 146 verses, and can occupy about 255 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah). (In the book of Genesis, Parashah Vayeira has the most words, and Parashiyot Noach and Vayishlach have the most verses.) Jews read Parashah Miketz on the tenth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in December, or rarely in late November, usually during Chanukah.
- 1 Readings
- 1.1 First reading – Genesis 41:1–14
- 1.2 Second reading – Genesis 41:15–38
- 1.3 Third reading – Genesis 41:39–52
- 1.4 Fourth reading – Genesis 41:53–42:18
- 1.5 Fifth reading – Genesis 42:19–43:15
- 1.6 Sixth reading – Genesis 43:16–29
- 1.7 Seventh reading – Genesis 43:30–44:17
- 1.8 Readings according to the triennial cycle
- 2 In inner-Biblical interpretation
- 3 In early nonrabbinic interpretation
- 4 In classical rabbinic interpretation
- 5 In medieval rabbinic interpretation
- 6 In modern interpretation
- 7 In critical analysis
- 8 Commandments
- 9 Haftarah
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
- 12 Notes
In traditional Sabbath Torah reading, the parashah is divided into seven readings, or עליות, aliyot. In the Masoretic Text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), Parashah Miketz has no "open portion" (פתוחה, petuchah) divisions (roughly equivalent to paragraphs, often abbreviated with the Hebrew letter פ (peh)). Parashah Miketz has a single "closed portion" (סתומה, setumah) division (abbreviated with the Hebrew letter ס (samekh)) at the close of the parashah. The parashah is thus one continuous whole.
First reading – Genesis 41:1–14
In the first reading (עליה, aliyah), Pharaoh dreamed that he stood by the river, and out came seven fat cattle, who fed in the reed-grass. And then seven lean cattle came up out of the river and ate the seven fat cattle, and Pharaoh awoke. He went back to sleep and dreamed that seven good ears of corn came up on one stalk, and then seven thin ears sprung up after them and swallowed the good ears, and Pharaoh again awoke. In the morning, Pharaoh was troubled and sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them his dream, but none could interpret it. Then the chief butler spoke up, confessing his faults and relating how Pharaoh had put him in prison with the baker, and a Hebrew there had interpreted their dreams, correctly predicting the future. Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who shaved, changed clothes, and came to Pharaoh. The first reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Second reading – Genesis 41:15–38
In the second reading (עליה, aliyah), Pharaoh told Joseph that he had had a dream that none could interpret and had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams, but Joseph said that God would give Pharaoh an answer of peace. Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams, and Joseph told him that the two dreams were one, a prediction of what God was about to do. The seven good cattle and the seven good ears symbolized seven years of plenty, and the seven lean cattle and the seven empty ears symbolized seven years of famine that would consume thereafter. The dream was doubled because God had established the thing and would shortly bring it to pass. Joseph recommended that Pharaoh set over Egypt a man discreet and wise, that he appoint overseers to take up a fifth of the harvests during the years of plenty, and that he store that food for the years of famine. Pharaoh agreed, questioning whether anyone could find a man such as Joseph in whom the spirit of God was. The second reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Third reading – Genesis 41:39–52
In the third reading (עליה, aliyah), Pharaoh told Joseph that in as much as God had shown him all this, there was none so discreet and wise as Joseph, and thus Pharaoh set Joseph over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, fine linen, a gold chain about his neck, and his second chariot, and had people cry before him "Abrech." And Pharaoh renamed Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On to be his wife. Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh, and in the seven years of plenty he gathered up grain as plentiful as the sand of the sea. Joseph and Asenath had two sons, the first of whom Joseph called Manasseh, for God had made him forget all his toil and all his father's house, and the second of whom he called Ephraim, for God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction. The third reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Fourth reading – Genesis 41:53–42:18
In the fourth reading (עליה, aliyah), the seven years of plenty ended and famine struck, and when Egypt was famished, Joseph opened the storehouses, and sold food to the Egyptians. People from all countries came to Egypt to buy grain, because the famine struck all the earth. Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, asked his sons why they sat around looking at each other, and sent them down to Egypt to buy some. Ten of Joseph's brothers went down to Egypt, but Jacob kept Benjamin behind, so that no harm might befall him. Joseph's brothers came to buy grain from Joseph and bowed down to him with their faces to the earth. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him, for he made himself strange to them and spoke roughly with them. Joseph remembered his dreams, and accused them of being spies. But they protested that they were not spies, but upright men come to buy food, ten sons of a man who had twelve sons, lost one, and kept one behind. Joseph told them that to prove their story, they would have to send one of them to fetch their brother, and he imprisoned them for three days. On the third day, Joseph told them his plan, because he feared God. The fourth reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Fifth reading – Genesis 42:19–43:15
In the long fifth reading (עליה, aliyah), Joseph told his brothers that he would allow them to prove themselves by letting one of them be bound in prison while the others carried grain to their houses and brought their youngest brother to Egypt. They said to one another that surely they were guilty concerning their brother, and so now this distress had come upon them. Reuben said that he had told them not to sin against their brother, but they had not listened. They did not realize that Joseph understood them, for he used an interpreter, and Joseph turned aside and wept. When Joseph returned, he bound Simeon before their eyes, and commanded that their vessels be filled with grain and that their money be restored to their sacks. They loaded their donkeys and departed. When they came to a lodging-place, one of them opened his sack and found his money, and their spirits fell, wondering what God had done to them. They went home and told Jacob all that had happened, and Jacob accused them of bereaving him of his children, first Joseph and now Simeon, and told them that they would not take Benjamin away. Reuben answered that Jacob could kill Reuben's two sons if Reuben failed to bring Benjamin back, but Jacob insisted that his son would not go down with them, for Joseph was dead and only he was left, and if harm befall Benjamin then it would be the death of Jacob. The famine continued, and Jacob told the brothers to buy more grain. But Judah reminded Jacob that the man had warned them that they could not see his face unless their brother came with them, so if Jacob sent their brother they could buy food, but if Jacob did not send him they could not go. Jacob asked them why they had treated him so ill as to tell the man that they had a brother. They explained that the man asked them directly about their kindred, whether their father was alive, and whether they had another brother, and they answered him; how were they to know that he would ask them to bring their brother down? Judah then asked Jacob to send the lad with him, so that they could go and the family could live, and Judah would serve as surety for him, for they could have been to Egypt and back by then if they had not lingered. Relenting, Jacob directed them to take a present for the man, double money in case the return of their payment was an oversight, and also their brother, and Jacob prayed that God might show them mercy before the man and that he might release Simeon and Benjamin to them. So the brothers went to Joseph. The long fifth reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Sixth reading – Genesis 43:16–29
In the sixth reading (עליה, aliyah), when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he directed his steward to bring the men into the house and prepare a meal for him to eat with them at noon. When the brothers were conducted into Joseph's house, they grew afraid that Joseph was going to hold them as bondmen because they had taken the money that they found in their sacks. So they explained to Joseph's steward how they had discovered their money returned to them and had brought it back with them, plus more money to buy grain. But the steward told them not to fear, for their God had given them treasure in their sacks; he had their money. The steward brought Simeon out to them, brought them into Joseph's house, gave them water, and fed their donkeys. When Joseph came home, they brought their present and bowed down to him. Joseph asked after their welfare and that of their father. They said that Joseph's servant their father was well, and they bowed their heads. Joseph looked upon Benjamin and asked them whether this was their youngest brother of whom they had spoken, and he prayed that God would be gracious to Benjamin. The sixth reading (עליה, aliyah) ends here.
Seventh reading – Genesis 43:30–44:17
In the seventh reading (עליה, aliyah), Joseph left hastily for his chamber and wept, washed his face, returned, and called for the servants to serve the meal. Joseph sat by himself, the brothers sat by themselves, and the Egyptians sat by themselves, because it was an abomination to the Egyptians to eat with the Hebrews. The brothers marveled that the servants had seated them according to their age. And Benjamin's portion was five times so much as any of his brothers'. Joseph directed the steward to fill the men's sacks with as much food as they could carry, put every man's money in his sack, and put Joseph's silver goblet in the youngest one's sack. At dawn, the brothers were sent away, but when they had not yet gone far from the city, Joseph directed his steward to overtake them and ask them why they had rewarded evil for good and taken the goblet with which Joseph drank and divined. They asked the steward why he accused them, as they had brought back the money that they had found in their sacks, and they volunteered that the one with whom the goblet was found would die, and the brothers would become bondmen. The steward agreed, with the amendment that the one with whom it was found would be a bondman and the others would go free. Hastily, every man opened his sack, starting with the eldest, and they found the goblet in Benjamin's sack. They rent their clothes, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
In the maftir (מפטיר) reading that concludes the parashah, Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house and fell before him on the ground. Joseph asked them what they had done, did they not know that a man such as he would divine? Judah asked how they could clear themselves when God had found out their iniquity; they were all Joseph's bondmen. But Joseph insisted that only the man in whose hand the goblet was found would be his bondman, and the others could go in peace to their father. The seventh reading (עליה, aliyah), the single closed portion (סתומה, setumah), and the parashah end here.
Readings according to the triennial cycle
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|2013–2014, 2016–2017, 2019–2020 . . .||2014–2015, 2017–2018, 2020–2021 . . .||2015–2016, 2018–2019, 2021–2022 . . .|
|Reading||Year 1 – 41:1–52||Year 2 – 41:53–43:15||Year 3 – 43:16–44:17|
In inner-Biblical interpretation
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these Biblical sources:
Genesis chapter 41
In Genesis 41:15, Pharaoh told Joseph that Pharaoh had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams, and in Genesis 41:16, Joseph replied: "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Similarly, in Daniel 2:26, King Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel whether Daniel could interpret dreams, and in Daniel 2:27–28, Daniel replied: "'The secret which the king has asked can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor astrologers, declare to the king; but there is a God in heaven Who reveals secrets, and He has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the end of days."
Genesis chapter 42
|The Narrator in Genesis 42||Judah in Genesis 44|
|7And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly with them; and he said to them: "From where do you come?" And they said: "From the land of Canaan to buy food." 8And Joseph knew his brethren, but they did not know him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams that he dreamed of them, and said to them: "You are spies; to see the nakedness of the land you are come." 10And they said to him: "No, my lord, but to buy food are your servants come. 11We are all one man's sons; we are upright men; your servants are no spies." 12And he said to them: "No, but to see the nakedness of the land you are come."||19My lord asked his servants, saying: "Have you a father, or a brother?"|
|13And they said: "We your servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not."||20And we said to my lord: "We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him."|
|14And Joseph said to them: "That is it that I spoke to you, saying: You are spies. 15Hereby you shall be proved, as Pharaoh lives, you shall not go there, unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be proved, whether there be truth in you; or else, as Pharaoh lives, surely you are spies." 17And he put them all together into ward three days. 18And Joseph said to them the third day. "This do, and live; for I fear God: 19if you are upright men, let one of your brethren be bound in your prison-house; but go, carry corn for the famine of your houses; 20and bring your youngest brother to me; so shall your words be verified, and you shall not die." And they did so.||21And you said to your servants: "Bring him down to me, that I may set mine eyes upon him." 22And we said to my lord: "The lad cannot leave his father; for if he should leave his father, his father would die." 23And you said to your servants: "Except your youngest brother come down with you, you shall see my face no more."|
In early nonrabbinic interpretation
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these early nonrabbinic sources:
Genesis chapter 44
Philo observed that having attained authority and presented with the opportunity for revenge for the ill-treatment that he had received, Joseph nonetheless bore what happened with self-restraint and governed himself.
In classical rabbinic interpretation
Genesis chapter 41
A Midrash asked what was so exceptional about the report of Genesis 41:1, "Pharaoh dreamed," as all people dream. The Midrash answered that while it is true that all people dream, a king's dream affects the whole world.
The Gemara taught that a dream is a sixtieth part of prophecy. Rabbi Hanan taught that even if the Master of Dreams (an angel, in a dream that truly foretells the future) tells a person that on the next day the person will die, the person should not desist from prayer, for as Ecclesiastes 5:6 says, "For in the multitude of dreams are vanities and also many words, but fear God." (Although a dream may seem reliably to predict the future, it will not necessarily come true; one must place one's trust in God.) Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of Rabbi Jonathan that a person is shown in a dream only what is suggested by the person's own thoughts (while awake), as Daniel 2:29 says, "As for you, Oh King, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed," and Daniel 2:30 says, "That you may know the thoughts of the heart." When Samuel had a bad dream, he used to quote Zechariah 10:2, "The dreams speak falsely." When he had a good dream, he used to question whether dreams speak falsely, seeing as in Numbers 10:2, God says, "I speak with him in a dream?" Rava pointed out the potential contradiction between Numbers 10:2 and Zechariah 10:2. The Gemara resolved the contradiction, teaching that Numbers 10:2, "I speak with him in a dream?" refers to dreams that come through an angel, whereas Zechariah 10:2, "The dreams speak falsely," refers to dreams that come through a demon.
Rabbi Johanan taught that the wicked stand over their gods, as Genesis 41:1 says, "And Pharaoh dreamed, and, behold, he stood over the river." (The Egyptians worshiped the Nile as a god.) But God stands over them, as Genesis 28:13 says, "and, behold, the Lord stood over him." (Thus, idolaters must stand over and protect their idols, but God protects God's people.)
A Midrash taught that in the words of Genesis 41:2, "And, behold, there came up out of the river seven cows," God hinted to Pharaoh what his dream symbolized, for plenty does not come to Egypt other than from the Nile River, and likewise famine does not come to Egypt other than from the Nile River.
Reading in Genesis 41:8 that Pharaoh "sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt . . . but there was none that could interpret them for Pharaoh," Rabbi Joshua of Siknin taught in Rabbi Levi's name that there were indeed interpreters of the dream, but their interpretations were unacceptable to Pharaoh (and thus "there were none . . . for Pharaoh"). For example, the magicians said that the seven good cows meant that Pharaoh would have seven daughters and the seven ill-favored cows meant that Pharaoh would bury seven daughters. They told Pharaoh that the seven full ears of corn meant that Pharaoh would conquer seven provinces and the seven thin ears meant that seven provinces would revolt against him. Thus Rabbi Joshua concluded that the words of Proverbs 14:6, "A scorner seeks wisdom, and finds it not," applied to Pharaoh's magicians, while the continuation of the verse, "But knowledge is easy for him who has discernment," applied to Joseph.
A Midrash read the words of Genesis 41:8, "he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt . . . but there was none that could interpret them for Pharaoh," to teach that every nation in the world appoints five wise men as its ministers. And God grants each nation wisdom, understanding, and strength. When God judges the world, God takes these things away from the nation that God punishes, as Obadiah 1:8–9 says, "‘Shall I not in that day,' says the Lord, ‘destroy the wise men out of Edom, and discernment [understanding] out of the mount of Esau? And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed – broken.'" The Midrash taught that the purpose of all this sending for and failing of magicians was so that Joseph might come at the end and be raised to high rank. God saw that if Joseph came at the beginning and interpreted the dream, Joseph would gain little praise, for the magicians would be able to say that had one asked them, we would have interpreted the dream long before. Therefore, God waited until the magicians had wearied and had exhausted Pharaoh's spirit, and then Joseph came and restored it. Thus Proverbs 29:11, "A fool spends all his spirit," refers to Pharaoh's magicians, and the continuation of Proverbs 29:11, "But a wise man stills it within him," alludes to Joseph, as Genesis 41:39 reports that Pharaoh said to Joseph, "There is none so discreet and wise as you."
Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Johanan that God intervened to cause Pharaoh to be angry with his servants, the chief cupbearer and the baker, in order to fulfill the fate of a righteous man, Joseph, in Genesis 41:12.
Rabbi Bana'ah argued that the import – and potential prophetic nature – of a dream on the waking world follows its interpretation. Rabbi Eleazar found Biblical support for the proposition in the chief cupbearer's words about Joseph in Genesis 41:13, "As he interpreted for us, so it came to pass." Rava added a qualification, concluding that a dream follows its interpretation only if the interpretation corresponds to the content of the dream, for the chief cupbearer said in Genesis 41:12, "To each man according to his dream he did interpret."
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi taught that those who dream of shaving should rise early and say the words of Genesis 41:14, "And Joseph shaved himself and changed his clothes," to prevent thinking of Samson's less favorable encounter with the razor in Judges 16:17, "If I am shaven, then my strength will go from me."
Noting the differences between the narrator's account of Pharaoh's dreams in Genesis 41:1–7 and Pharaoh's recounting of them to Joseph in Genesis 41:17–24, a Midrash taught that Pharaoh somewhat changed his account so as to test Joseph. As reported in Genesis 41:18, Pharaoh said, "Behold, there came up out of the river seven cows, fat-fleshed and well-favored (בְּרִיאוֹת בָּשָׂר, וִיפֹת תֹּאַר, beriot basar, vifot toar)." But Joseph replied that this was not what Pharaoh had seen, for they were (in the words of Genesis 41:2) "well-favored and fat-fleshed (יְפוֹת מַרְאֶה, וּבְרִיאֹת בָּשָׂר, yifot mareh, uvriot basar)." As reported in Genesis 41:19, Pharaoh said, "seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ill-favored (דַּלּוֹת וְרָעוֹת, dalot veraot) and lean-fleshed." But Joseph replied that this was not what Pharaoh had seen, for they were (in the words of Genesis 41:3) "ill favored and lean-fleshed (רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה, וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר, raot mareh, vedakot basar)." As reported in Genesis 41:22, Pharaoh said that there were seven stalks, "full (מְלֵאֹת, meleiot) and good." But Joseph replied that this was not what Pharaoh had seen, for they were (in the words of Genesis 41:5) "healthy (בְּרִיאוֹת, beriot) and good." As reported in Genesis 41:23, Pharaoh said that there were then seven stalks, "withered, thin (צְנֻמוֹת דַּקּוֹת, tzenumot dakot)." But Joseph replied that this was not what Pharaoh had seen, for they were (in the words of Genesis 41:6) "thin and blasted with the east wind (דַּקּוֹת וּשְׁדוּפֹת קָדִים, dakot u-shedufot kadim)." Pharaoh began to wonder, and told Joseph that Joseph must have been behind Pharaoh when he dreamed, as Genesis 41:39 says, "Forasmuch as God has shown you all this." And this was the intent of Jacob's blessing of Joseph in Genesis 49:22, "Joseph is a fruitful vine (בֵּן פֹּרָת יוֹסֵף, bein porat Yoseif)," which the Midrash taught one should read as, "Joseph was among the cows (בֵּן הַפָּרוֹת יוֹסֵף, bein ha-parot Yoseif)." So Pharaoh then told Joseph, in the words of Genesis 41:40, "You shall be over my house."
The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer taught that the Holy Spirit rested upon Joseph, enabling him to interpret Pharaoh's dream, as Genesis 41:38 reports, "And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'"
The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer taught that when Joseph rode in his chariot (as described in Genesis 41:43), the Egyptian girls climbed up the walls to see him and threw him rings of gold so that he might look at them and they could see the beauty of his figure.
Rabbi Levi used Genesis 37:2, 41:46, and 45:6 to calculate that Joseph's dreams that his brothers would bow to him took 22 years to come true, and deduced that a person should thus wait for as much as 22 years for a positive dream's fulfillment.
Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba taught in the name of Rabbi Johanan that when in Genesis 41:44 Pharaoh conferred power on Joseph, Pharaoh's astrologers questioned whether Pharaoh would set in power over them a slave whom his master bought for 20 pieces of silver. Pharaoh replied to them that he discerned royal characteristics in Joseph. Pharaoh's astrologers said to Pharaoh that in that case, Joseph must be able to speak the 70 languages of the world. That night, the angel Gabriel came to teach Joseph the 70 languages, but Joseph could not learn them. Thereupon Gabriel added a letter from God's Name to Joseph's name, and Joseph was able to learn the languages, as Psalm 81:6 reports, "He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt, where I (Joseph) heard a language that I knew not." The next day, in whatever language Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, Joseph was able to reply to Pharaoh. But when Joseph spoke to Pharaoh in Hebrew, Pharaoh did not understand what he said. So Pharaoh asked Joseph to teach it to him. Joseph tried to teach Pharaoh Hebrew, but Pharaoh could not learn it. Pharaoh asked Joseph to swear that he would not reveal his failing, and Joseph swore. Later, in Genesis 50:5, when Joseph related to Pharaoh that Jacob had made Joseph swear to bury him in the Land of Israel, Pharaoh asked Joseph to seek to be released from the oath. But Joseph replied that in that case, he would also ask to be released from his oath to Pharaoh concerning Pharaoh's ignorance of languages. As a consequence, even though it was displeasing to Pharaoh, Pharaoh told Joseph in Genesis 50:6, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear."
Resh Lakish deduced from the words, "And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came," in Genesis 41:50 that Joseph did not have marital relations during the famine, and generalized that no man should. The Gemara qualified the injunction, however, teaching that childless people may have marital relations in years of famine. Similarly, reading Genesis 41:50, "And unto Joseph were born two sons," Rabbi Muna and Rav Huna taught that this occurred before the famine came.
A Midrash applied the words of Ecclesiastes 8:4, "the king's word has power (שִׁלְטוֹן, shilton)" to Joseph's story. The Midrash taught that God rewarded Joseph for resisting Potiphar's wife by making him ruler (הַשַּׁלִּיט, hashalit) over the land of Egypt (as reported in Genesis 42:6). "The king's word" of Ecclesiastes 8:4 were manifest when, as Genesis 41:17 reports, "Pharaoh spoke to Joseph: In my dream . . . ." And the word "power (שִׁלְטוֹן, shilton)" of Ecclesiastes 8:4 corresponds to the report of Genesis 42:6, "And Joseph was the governor (הַשַּׁלִּיט, hashalit) over the land." The words of Ecclesiastes 8:4, "And who may say to him: ‘What are you doing?'" are thus reflected in Pharaoh's words of Genesis 41:55, "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do." The Midrash taught that Joseph received so much honor because he observed the commandments, as Ecclesiastes 8:5 teaches when it says, "Whoever keeps the commandment shall know no evil thing."
A Midrash told that when the famine became severe in Egypt, the Egyptians cried out to Joseph for bread. Joseph told them to circumcise themselves first. They cried out to Pharaoh, as Genesis 41:55 reports, and Pharaoh told them to go to Joseph. The people complained that Joseph asked them to circumcise themselves, and they complained that it was not fitting for a Hebrew to wield power over Egyptians. Calling them fools, Pharaoh recalled that during the years of plenty, a herald had continually proclaimed that a famine was coming, and asked why they had not saved grain in reserve. The people replied that all the grain that they had left had rotted. Pharaoh asked them whether any flour was left from the day before. The people replied that even the bread in their baskets had gone moldy. Pharaoh answered that if grain rotted at Joseph's decree, perhaps he might decree that the Egyptians die! So Pharaoh directed them to go to Joseph and obey him, even if he told them to cut off something of their flesh.
Reading Genesis 41:56, "And the famine was over all the face of the earth," a Midrash asked why the text did not simply say, "And the famine was over the earth." Rabbi Samuel ben Nahman answered that Genesis 41:56 teaches that the famine began with the wealthy, for the expression "the face of the earth" refers to the wealthy. The wealthy have a smiling face to show their friends, but the poor hide their face in embarrassment.
Rav Judah in the name of Samuel deduced from Genesis 47:14 that Joseph gathered in and brought to Egypt all the gold and silver in the world. The Gemara noted that Genesis 47:14 says: "And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan," and thus spoke about the wealth of only Egypt and Canaan. The Gemara found support for the proposition that Joseph collected the wealth of other countries from Genesis 41:57, which states: "And all the countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy corn." The Gemara deduced from the words "and they despoiled the Egyptians" in Exodus 12:36 that when the Israelites left Egypt, they carried that wealth away with them. The Gemara then taught that the wealth lay in Israel until the time of King Rehoboam, when King Shishak of Egypt seized it from Rehoboam, as 1 Kings 14:25–26 reports: "And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; and he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house."
Genesis chapter 42
Rabbi Johanan reread the words of Genesis 42:1, "Now Jacob saw that there was corn (שֶׁבֶר, shever) in Egypt," to read, "Now Jacob saw that there was hope (שֵׂבֶר, sever) in Egypt." Rabbi Johanan taught that Genesis 42:1 thus bears out the text of Psalm 146:5, "Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope (שִׂבְרוֹ, sivro) is in the Lord his God." Similarly, Resh Lakish taught that Psalm 146:5, "whose hope (שִׂבְרוֹ, sivro) is in the Lord his God," refers to Joseph, who was the hope for the entire world when he was in Egypt. And God showed Jacob that his hope (שִׂבְרוֹ, sivro) was in Egypt, as Genesis 42:1 can be read, "Now Jacob saw that there was hope (שֵׂבֶר, sever) in Egypt."
The Sages read Genesis 42:1 to teach that Jacob warned his sons against appearing well fed when others around them were without food. The Sages taught that if one fasted on account of some trouble and it passed, or for a sick person and the sick person recovered, then the one fasting should nevertheless complete the fast. If one journeyed from a place where they were not fasting to a place where they were, then one should fast with the people of the new place. If one journeyed from a place where they were fasting to a place where they were not, then one should nevertheless complete the fast. If one forgot and ate and drank, then one should not make it apparent in public nor indulge in luxuries. For the Sages read Genesis 42:1 to say, "And Jacob said to his sons: ‘Why should you show yourself?'" Thus, the Sages taught, Jacob conveyed to his sons: "When you are fully sated, do not show yourselves either before Esau or before Ishmael, so that they should not envy you." Similarly, a Midrash read Genesis 42:1 to say, "And Jacob said to his sons: ‘Why should you be conspicuous?'" The Midrash interpreted Genesis 42:1 to mean that Jacob told his sons that they were all strong and brotherly; they were not to enter through one gate and all stand in the same place, so that they should not tempt the evil eye.
The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer taught that all the nations came to Joseph to purchase food and Joseph understood their languages and spoke to each people in their own tongue. Therefore he was called Turgeman (interpreter), as Genesis 42:23 says, "For Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them."
A Midrash asked who "took him, and cast him into the pit" in Genesis 37:24, and replied that it was his brother Simeon. And the Midrash taught that Simeon was repaid when in Genesis 42:24, Joseph took Simeon from among the brothers and had him bound before their eyes.
Genesis chapter 43
Rav Huna deduced from Judah's commitment to Jacob with regard to Benjamin in Genesis 43:9, "I will be surety for him; of my hand shall you require him," that a guarantor becomes responsible for the debt that he has guaranteed. Rav Hisda, however, demurred, saying that Judah assumed an unconditional obligation to return Benjamin, for in Genesis 42:37, Reuben promised, "Deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him back to you," and Judah surely promised no less than Reuben.
Reading Judah's contingent vow in Genesis 43:8–9, "Send the lad with me . . . ; if I do not bring him to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever," Rav Judah in the name of Rav deduced that a conditional exclusion, even if self-imposed, requires formal annulment. The Gemara told that all through the 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, Judah's bones were jolted about in their coffin until Moses asked God for mercy on Judah's behalf and to annul Judah's vow.
Rabbi Hiyya the Elder met a Babylonian in the Land of Israel and asked him about the welfare of Rabbi Hiyya's father in Babylon. The Babylonian replied that Rabbi Hiyya's mother in Babylon had asked about Rabbi Hiyya. Rabbi Hiyya exclaimed that he asked one thing and the Babylonian spoke to him of another. The Babylonian replied that people ask about the living, but not about the dead (hinting that Rabbi Hiyya's father had died). The Midrash thus read Joseph's question, "Is your father well?" in Genesis 43:27 to allude to Jacob, and Joseph's reference in Genesis 43:27 to "the old man of whom you spoke" to allude to Isaac. When Genesis 43:28 reports, "And they said: ‘Your servant our father is well, he is yet alive,'" the Midrash interpreted the brothers to imply that Isaac had died.
Rav Judah taught that three things shorten a person's years: (1) to be given a Torah scroll from which to read and to refuse, (2) to be given a cup of benediction over which to say grace and to refuse, and (3) to assume airs of authority. To support the proposition that assuming airs of authority shortens one's life, the Gemara cited the teaching of Rabbi Hama bar Hanina that Joseph died (as Genesis 50:26 reports, at the age of 110) before his brothers because he assumed airs of authority (when in Genesis 43:28 and 44:24–32 he repeatedly allowed his brothers to describe his father Jacob as "your servant").
Rabbi Samuel ben Nahman taught that when Joseph saw Benjamin, his mind was immediately set at rest and he exclaimed in the words of Genesis 43:29, "God be gracious to you, my son," and ordered that they bring him near. Joseph then asked Benjamin whether he had a brother. Benjamin replied that he had a brother, but did not know where he had gone. Joseph asked Benjamin whether he had wife. Benjamin replied that he had a wife and ten sons. Joseph asked what their names were. Benjamin replied with their names, as listed in Genesis 46:21, explaining that their names reflected Benjamin's loss of Joseph. The name Bela signified that Benjamin's brother was swallowed up (nit-bala) from him; Becher signified that he was a firstborn (bechor); Ashbel signified that he was taken away captive (nishbah); Gera signified that he became a stranger (ger) in a strange country; Naaman signified that his actions were seemly (na'im) and pleasant (ne'im-im); Ehi signified that he indeed was "my brother" (ahi); Rosh signified that he was Benjamin's superior (rosh); Muppim signified that he was exceedingly attractive (yafeh ‘ad me'od) in all matters; and Huppim signified that Benjamin did not see his marriage-canopy (huppah) and he did not see Benjamin's; and Ard signified that he was like a rose-bloom (ward).
Rabbi Melai taught in the name of Rabbi Isaac of Magdala that from the day that Joseph departed from his brothers he abstained from wine, reading Genesis 49:26 to report, "The blessings of your father . . . shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was a nazirite (since his departure) from his brethren." Rabbi Jose ben Haninah taught that the brothers also abstained from wine after they departed from him, for Genesis 43:34 reports, "And they drank, and were merry with him," implying that they broke their abstention "with him." But Rabbi Melai taught that the brothers did drink wine in moderation since their separation from Joseph, and only when reunited with Joseph did they drink to intoxication "with him."
Genesis chapter 44
A Tanna taught that in Genesis 45:24 Joseph told his brethren not to take big strides and bring the sun into the city. For a Master taught that big strides rob a person of one five-hundredth part of that person's eyesight. And on bringing the sun into the city, Rav Judah said in the name of Rav that one should always leave a city by daylight and enter a city by daylight, as Genesis 44:3 reports that Joseph delayed until daylight to send his brothers away.
Rabbi Ishmael cited Genesis 44:8 as one of ten a fortiori (kal va-chomer) arguments recorded in the Hebrew Bible: (1) In Genesis 44:8, Joseph's brothers told Joseph, "Behold, the money that we found in our sacks' mouths we brought back to you," and they thus reasoned, "how then should we steal?" (2) In Exodus 6:12, Moses told God, "Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened to me," and reasoned that surely all the more, "How then shall Pharaoh hear me?" (3) In Deuteronomy 31:27, Moses said to the Israelites, "Behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against the Lord," and reasoned that it would follow, "And how much more after my death?" (4) In Numbers 12:14, "the Lord said to Moses: ‘If her (Miriam's) father had but spit in her face,'" surely it would stand to reason, "‘Should she not hide in shame seven days?'" (5) In Jeremiah 12:5, the prophet asked, "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you," is it not logical to conclude, "Then how can you contend with horses?" (6) In 1 Samuel 23:3, David's men said to him, "Behold, we are afraid here in Judah," and thus surely it stands to reason, "How much more then if we go to Keilah?" (7) Also in Jeremiah 12:5, the prophet asked, "And if in a land of Peace where you are secure" you are overcome, is it not logical to ask, "How will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?" (8) Proverbs 11:31 reasoned, "Behold, the righteous shall be requited in the earth," and does it not follow, "How much more the wicked and the sinner?" (9) In Esther 9:12, "The king said to Esther the queen: ‘The Jews have slain and destroyed 500 men in Shushan the castle,'" and it thus stands to reason, "‘What then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces?'" (10) In Ezekiel 15:5, God came to the prophet saying, "Behold, when it was whole, it was usable for no work," and thus surely it is logical to argue, "How much less, when the fire has devoured it, and it is singed?"
A Midrash told that when in Genesis 44:12 the steward found Joseph's cup in Benjamin's belongings, his brothers beat Benjamin on his shoulders, calling him a thief and the son of a thief, and saying that he had shamed them as Rachel had shamed Jacob when she stole Laban's idols in Genesis 31:19. And by virtue of receiving those unwarranted blows between his shoulders, Benjamin's descendants merited having the Divine Presence rest between his shoulders and the Temple rest in Jerusalem, as Deuteronomy 33:12 reports, "He dwells between his shoulders"
Rabbi Judah ben Ilai taught that Scripture speaks in praise of Judah. Rabbi Judah noted that on three occasions, Scripture records that Judah spoke before his brethren, and they made him king over them (bowing to his authority): (1) in Genesis 37:26, which reports, "Judah said to his brethren: ‘What profit is it if we slay our brother'"; (2) in Genesis 44:14, which reports, "Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house"; and (3) in Genesis 44:18, which reports, "Then Judah came near" to Joseph to argue for Benjamin.
Rav Nahman bar Isaac quoted Judah's words, "What shall we speak or how shall we clear ourselves (נִּצְטַדָּק, niztadak)," in Genesis 44:16 as an example of where the Torah used an abbreviation. Rav Nahman bar Isaac read the word נִּצְטַדָּק, NiZTaDaK, "can we show innocence," as an acronym for: We are honest (נכונים, Nekonim), we are righteous (צַדִּיקִים, Zaddikim), we are pure (טְהוֹרִים, Tehorim), we are submissive (דָּכְיָם, Dakkim), we are holy (קְדוֹשִׁים, Kedoshim).
A Midrash read Judah's questions in Genesis 44:16, "What shall we speak or how shall we clear ourselves?" to hint to a series of sins. Judah asked, "What shall we say to my lord," with respect to the money that they retained after the first sale, the money that they retained after the second sale, the cup found in Benjamin's belongings, the treatment of Tamar in Genesis 38, the treatment of Bilhah in Genesis 35:22, the treatment of Dinah in Genesis 34, the sale of Joseph, allowing Simeon to remain in custody, and the peril to Benjamin. Reading the words of Genesis 44:16, "God has found out (מָצָא, mazah) the iniquity of your servants," Rabbi Isaac taught that the Creditor – God – had found (מָצָא, mazah) the opportunity to exact His debt. Rabbi Levi said like one who drains (מצוי, mizuy) a barrel of wine, leaving only its lees (God punished them to the last drop).
As Exodus 1:6 reports that "Joseph died, and all his brethren," the Rabbis concluded that Joseph died before his brothers. Rabbi Judah haNasi taught that Joseph died before his brothers because Joseph "commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father" (as Genesis 50:2 reports). But the Rabbis taught that Jacob had directed his sons to embalm him, as Genesis 50:12 reports that "his sons did to him as he commanded them." According to the Rabbis, Joseph died before his brothers because nearly five times Judah said to Joseph, "Your servant my father, your servant my father" (four times himself in Genesis 44:24, 27, 30, and 31, and once together with his brothers in Genesis 43:48), yet Joseph heard it and kept silent (not correcting Judah to show humility to their father).
In medieval rabbinic interpretation
The parashah is discussed in these medieval rabbinic sources:
Genesis chapter 41
The Zohar taught that a dream is a sixtieth part of prophecy, and so forms the sixth grade removed from prophecy, which is the grade of Gabriel, the supervisor of dreams. The Zohar taught that as a normal dream proceeds from that grade, there is not a dream that is not intermingled with it some spurious matter, so that it is a mixture of truth and falsehood. Hence, all dreams follow their interpretation, as Genesis 41:13 says, "And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was," for since the dream contains both truth and falsehood, the word has power over it, and therefore it is advisable that every dream should be interpreted sensibly.
Reading the account of Pharaoh's dream in Genesis 41:2, Nachmanides taught that the cows symbolized plowing, and the ears of corn symbolized the harvest, as Joseph said in Genesis 45:6, "there shall be neither plowing nor harvest." Thus he saw that the river would rise so slightly that there would be no plowing, and the little that would be planted would be burned because (in the words of Hosea 13:15) "an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord coming up from the wilderness," and thus he saw (in the words of Genesis 41:6) "ears [of corn], thin and blasted with the east wind."
In modern interpretation
The parashah is discussed in these modern sources:
Genesis chapters 37–50
|At Home||Potiphar's House||Prison||Pharaoh's Court|
|Verses||Genesis 37:1–36||Genesis 37:3–33||Genesis 39:1–20||Genesis 39:12–41:14||Genesis 39:20–41:14||Genesis 41:14–50:26||Genesis 41:1–50:26|
|Symbols of Position and Transition||Long Sleeved Robe||Cloak||Shaved and Changed Clothes|
|Symbols of Ambiguity and Paradox||Pit||Prison||Egypt|
In critical analysis
Some secular scholars who follow the Documentary Hypothesis find evidence of four separate sources in the parashah. Thus some scholars consider the bulk of chapters 42–44 (with some minor exceptions inserted by the Elohist, sometimes abbreviated E) to have been composed by the Jahwist (sometimes abbreviated J) who wrote possibly as early as the 10th century BCE. And these scholars attribute the bulk of chapter 41 to the Elohist, with insertions in Genesis 41:46 by the Priestly source (sometimes abbreviated P) who wrote in the 6th or 5th century BCE and a late Redactor (sometimes abbreviated R). For a similar distribution of verses, see the display of Genesis according to the Documentary Hypothesis at Wikiversity.
The haftarah for the parashah is 1 Kings 3:15–4:1. It is the story of King Solomon and the two women, one with a dead baby and one with a live baby. Joseph's rule of Egypt "becomes a precursor to wise Solomon's reign." Goswell argues that "in both cases it is wisdom that equips a man to exercise authority."
On Shabbat Chanukah
When Parashah Miketz coincides with the first Sabbath of Chanukah (as it does in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016), the haftarah is Zechariah 2:14–4:7. When Parashah Miketz coincides with the second Sabbath of Chanukah (as it did in 2009), the haftarah is 1 Kings 7:40–50. Additionally, when Parashah Miketz occurs on Rosh Chodesh (as it does in 2015), some congregations read additional verses in honor of the new month. (The month of Tevet always begins during Chanukah.)
The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:
- Epic of Gilgamesh 6:92-113 Mesopotamia, 14th–11th century BCE. In, e.g., James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, pages 84–85. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. ISBN 0-691-03503-2. (Bull of Heaven and seven years of famine).
- Genesis 31:32 (improvident oath).
- Judges 11:30–31 (improvident oath).
- Daniel 2:1–49; 4:1–5:31 (interpreting dreams).
- Philo the Epic Poet. On Jerusalem. Fragment 3. 3rd–2nd century BCE. Quoted in Eusebius. Preparation for the Gospel. 9:24:1. Translated by H. Attridge. In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Volume 2: Expansions of the "Old Testament" and Legends, Wisdom and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms, and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic works. Edited by James H. Charlesworth, pages 783–84. New York: Anchor Bible, 1985. ISBN 0-385-18813-7. (Joseph in Egypt).
- Josephus. Antiquities 2:5:4–6:8. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by William Whiston. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
- Joseph and Aseneth 1st century BCE.–2nd century CE. In, e.g., James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, volume 2, pages 177–247. New York: Doubleday, 1985. ISBN 0-385-18813-7.
- Qur'an 12:43–79. Arabia, 7th century.
- Jerusalem Talmud: Berakhot 4b, 60a, 75b; Kilayim 72b; Maaser Sheni 45a; Shabbat 24a, 48a; Megillah 37a; Sanhedrin 11a. Land of Israel, circa 400 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volumes 1–2, 5, 10, 13–14, 26. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2005–2013.
- Genesis Rabbah Genesis Rabbah 31:12; 34:7; 69:3; 84:16–17; 89:1–92:9; 93:7; 100:3. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 820–56. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Babylonian Talmud: Berakhot 55b, 56b; Shabbat 105a, 139a; Pesachim 2a, 7b; Taanit 9a, 10b, 11a; Megillah 13b; Yevamot 17b, 22a, 88a; Ketubot 27b, 30a; Nazir 5a; Sotah 13b; Bava Metzia 39a, 53b; Bava Batra 4a, 15a, 173b; Sanhedrin 63b, 92a, 112b; Makkot 11a, 11b, 19b; Chullin 85a, 91a, 95b. Babylonia, 6th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 volumes. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.
- Rashi. Commentary. Genesis 41–44. Troyes, France, late 11th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi's Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 1:447–91. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-89906-026-9.
- Rashbam. Commentary on the Torah. Troyes, early 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rabbi Samuel Ben Meir's Commentary on Genesis: An Annotated Translation. Translated by Martin I. Lockshin, pages 278–310. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1989. ISBN 0-88946-256-9.
- Judah Halevi. Kuzari. 4:15. Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel. Introduction by Henry Slonimsky, page 221. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
- Abraham ibn Ezra. Commentary on the Torah. Mid-12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Genesis (Bereshit). Translated and annotated by H. Norman Strickman and Arthur M. Silver, pages 372–96. New York: Menorah Publishing Company, 1988. ISBN 0-932232-07-8.
- Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hizkuni. France, circa 1240. Reprinted in, e.g., Chizkiyahu ben Manoach. Chizkuni: Torah Commentary. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 1, pages 293–309. Jerusalem: Ktav Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-1-60280-261-2.
- Nachmanides. Commentary on the Torah. Jerusalem, circa 1270. Reprinted in, e.g., Ramban (Nachmanides): Commentary on the Torah: Genesis. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, volume 1, pages 493–528. New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1971. ISBN 0-88328-006X.
- Zohar volume 1, pages 25a, 145a, 175a, 183a, 193a–205a, 206a; volume 2, pages 198a; volume 3, pages 22b, 62b, 268a. Spain, late 13th century.
- Isaac ben Moses Arama. Akedat Yizhak (The Binding of Isaac). Late 15th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Yitzchak Arama. Akeydat Yitzchak: Commentary of Rabbi Yitzchak Arama on the Torah. Translated and condensed by Eliyahu Munk, volume 1, pages 253–70. New York, Lambda Publishers, 2001. ISBN 965-7108-30-6.
- Isaac Abrabanel. Commentary on the Torah. Italy, between 1492–1509. Excerpted in, e.g., Abarbanel on the Torah: Selected Themes. Translated by Avner Tomaschoff, pages 322–44. Jerusalem: Jewish Agency for Israel, 2007. ISBN 965-7118-05-0.
- Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno. Commentary on the Torah. Venice, 1567. Reprinted in, e.g., Sforno: Commentary on the Torah. Translation and explanatory notes by Raphael Pelcovitz, pages 218–39. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89906-268-7.
- Moshe Alshich. Commentary on the Torah. Safed, circa 1593. Reprinted in, e.g., Moshe Alshich. Midrash of Rabbi Moshe Alshich on the Torah. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 1, pages 265–94. New York, Lambda Publishers, 2000. ISBN 965-7108-13-6.
- Avraham Yehoshua Heschel. Commentaries on the Torah. Cracow, Poland, mid 17th century. Compiled as Chanukat HaTorah. Edited by Chanoch Henoch Erzohn. Piotrkow, Poland, 1900. Reprinted in Avraham Yehoshua Heschel. Chanukas HaTorah: Mystical Insights of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel on Chumash. Translated by Avraham Peretz Friedman, pages 96–98. Southfield, Michigan: Targum Press/Feldheim Publishers, 2004. ISBN 1-56871-303-7.
- Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, 3:34. England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, page 431. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0-14-043195-0.
- Chaim ibn Attar. Ohr ha-Chaim. Venice, 1742. Reprinted in Chayim ben Attar. Or Hachayim: Commentary on the Torah. Translated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 1, pages 324–54. Brooklyn: Lambda Publishers, 1999. ISBN 965-7108-12-8.
- Judah Leib Gordon. Osenath, Daughter of Potiphera. Vilna, Russia, 1868.
- Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal). Commentary on the Torah. Padua, 1871. Reprinted in, e.g., Samuel David Luzzatto. Torah Commentary. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 2, pages 393–431. New York: Lambda Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-965-524-067-2.
- Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter. Sefat Emet. Góra Kalwaria (Ger), Poland, before 1906. Excerpted in The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of Sefat Emet. Translated and interpreted by Arthur Green, pages 61–65. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998. ISBN 0-8276-0650-8. Reprinted 2012. ISBN 0-8276-0946-9.
- Abraham Isaac Kook. The Lights of Penitence, 11:6. 1925. Reprinted in Abraham Isaac Kook: the Lights of Penitence, the Moral Principles, Lights of Holiness, Essays, Letters, and Poems. Translated by Ben Zion Bokser, page 83. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press 1978. ISBN 0-8091-2159-X.
- Irving Fineman. Jacob, An Autobiographical Novel. New York: Random House, 1941.
- Thomas Mann. Joseph and His Brothers. Translated by John E. Woods, pages 257, 274–75, 526–27, 609, 672–74, 765, 788, 1007–253, 1287–373. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4001-9. Originally published as Joseph und seine Brüder. Stockholm: Bermann-Fischer Verlag, 1943.
- Anne Frank. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. Edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler; translated by Susan Massotty, page 107. New York: Doubleday, 1995. ISBN 0-385-47378-8. Originally published as Het Achterhuis. The Netherlands, 1947. ("As the Benjamin of the Annex, I got more than I deserved.")
- George W. Coats. "The Joseph Story and Wisdom: a Reappraisal." Catholic Biblical Quarterly, volume 35 (1973): pages 285–97.
- George W. Coats. "Redactional Unity in Genesis 37–50." Journal of Biblical Literature, volume 93 (1974): pages 15–21.
- Donald A. Seybold. "Paradox and Symmetry in the Joseph Narrative." In Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives. Edited by Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, with James S. Ackerman & Thayer S. Warshaw, pages 59–73. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1974. ISBN 0-687-22131-5.
- George W. Coats. From Canaan to Egypt: Structural and Theological Context for the Joseph Story. Washington: Catholic Biblical Association, 1975. ISBN 0-915170-03-5.
- S. David Sperling. "Genesis 41:40: A New Interpretation." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society, volume 10 (1978): pages 113–19.
- Robert Alter. "Joseph and His Brothers." Commentary, volume 70 (number 5) (November 1980): pages 59–69.
- Murray H. Lichtenstein. "Idiom, Rhetoric and the Text of Genesis 41:16." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society, volume 19 (1989): pages 85–94.
- Lawrence M. Wills. Jew in the Court of the Foreign King: Ancient Jewish Court Legends. Fortress Press, 1990. ISBN 0800670809.
- Arnold Ages. "Why Didn't Joseph Call Home?" Bible Review, volume 9 (number 4) (August 1993).
- Frederick Buechner. The Son of Laughter, pages 240–61. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. ISBN 0-06-250116-X.
- Aaron Wildavsky. Assimilation versus Separation: Joseph the Administrator and the Politics of Religion in Biblical Israel. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1993. ISBN 1-56000-081-3.
- Judith S. Antonelli. "Asnat: Joseph's Wife." In In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah, pages 114–22. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1995. ISBN 1-56821-438-3.
- Naomi H. Rosenblatt and Joshua Horwitz. Wrestling With Angels: What Genesis Teaches Us About Our Spiritual Identity, Sexuality, and Personal Relationships, pages 341–62. Delacorte Press, 1995. ISBN 0-385-31330-6.
- Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, pages 284–313. New York: Image Books/Doubelday, 1995. ISBN 0-385-48337-6.
- Walter Wangerin, Jr.. The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel, pages 86–98. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996. ISBN 0-310-20409-7.
- Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden. Teaching Torah: A Treasury of Insights and Activities, pages 65–70. Denver: A.R.E. Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-86705-041-1.
- Leon R. Kass. The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, pages 561–93. New York: Free Press, 2003. ISBN 0-7432-4299-8.
- Jon D. Levenson. "Genesis." In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 81–88. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
- W. Gunther Plaut. The Torah: A Modern Commentary: Revised Edition. Revised edition edited by David E.S. Stern, pages 267–85. New York: Union for Reform Judaism, 2006. ISBN 0-8074-0883-2.
- Nili Shupak. "A Fresh Look at the Dreams of the Officials and of Pharaoh in the Story of Joseph (Genesis 40–41) in the Light of Egyptian Dreams." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society, volume 30 (2006): pages 103–138.
- Suzanne A. Brody. "Incubus." In Dancing in the White Spaces: The Yearly Torah Cycle and More Poems, page 72. Shelbyville, Kentucky: Wasteland Press, 2007. ISBN 1-60047-112-9.
- Esther Jungreis. Life Is a Test, pages 106–12. Brooklyn: Shaar Press, 2007. ISBN 1-4226-0609-0.
- Lisbeth S. Fried. "Why Did Joseph Shave?" Biblical Archaeology Review Volume 33 (number 4) (July/August 2007): pages 36–41.
- The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss, pages 233–58. New York: URJ Press, 2008. ISBN 0-8074-1081-0.
- Anna Patricio. Asenath. Imajin Books, 2011. ISBN 1-926997-26-3.
- Shmuel Herzfeld. "The Miracle of Overflowing Oil." In Fifty-Four Pick Up: Fifteen-Minute Inspirational Torah Lessons, pages 52–58. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 2012. ISBN 978-965-229-558-3.
- Hillel I. Millgram. The Joseph Paradox: A Radical Reading of Genesis 37–50. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2012. ISBN 0786468505.
- Dara Horn. A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. ISBN 0-393-06489-1. (novel retelling the Joseph story).
- "Bereshit Torah Stats". Akhlah Inc. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- "Parashat Miketz". Hebcal. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 243–73. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2006. ISBN 1-4226-0202-8.
- Genesis 41:1–2.
- Genesis 41:3–4.
- Genesis 41:5–7.
- Genesis 41:8.
- Genesis 41:9–13.
- Genesis 41:14.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, page 245.
- Genesis 41:15–16.
- Genesis 41:17–25.
- Genesis 41:26–31.
- Genesis 41:32.
- Genesis 41:33–36.
- Genesis 41:37–38.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 249–50.
- Genesis 41:39–41.
- Genesis 41:42–43.
- Genesis 41:44–45.
- Genesis 41:46–49.
- Genesis 41:50–52.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 252–53.
- Genesis 41:53–56.
- Genesis 41:57.
- Genesis 42:1–2.
- Genesis 42:3–4.
- Genesis 42:5–6.
- Genesis 42:7–8.
- Genesis 42:9.
- Genesis 42:10–13.
- Genesis 42:15–17.
- Genesis 42:18.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, page 258.
- Genesis 42:19–20.
- Genesis 42:21.
- Genesis 42:22.
- Genesis 42:23–24.
- Genesis 42:24–25.
- Genesis 42:26.
- Genesis 42:27–28.
- Genesis 42:29–36.
- Genesis 42:37–38.
- Genesis 43:1–2.
- Genesis 43:3–5.
- Genesis 43:6.
- Genesis 43:7.
- Genesis 43:8–10.
- Genesis 43:11–14.
- Genesis 43:15.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, page 265.
- Genesis 43:15–16.
- Genesis 43:17–18.
- Genesis 43:19–22.
- Genesis 43:23.
- Genesis 43:23–24.
- Genesis 43:25–26.
- Genesis 43:27.
- Genesis 43:28.
- Genesis 43:29.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, page 268.
- Genesis 43:30–31.
- Genesis 43:32.
- Genesis 43:33.
- Genesis 43:34.
- Genesis 44:1–2.
- Genesis 44:3–6.
- Genesis 44:7–9.
- Genesis 44:10.
- Genesis 44:11–12.
- Genesis 44:13.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 272–73.
- Genesis 44:14.
- Genesis 44:15.
- Genesis 44:16.
- Genesis 44:17.
- See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bereishis/Genesis. Edited by Menachem Davis, page 273.
- See, e.g., "A Complete Triennial Cycle for Reading the Torah" (PDF). The Jewish Theological Seminary. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- For more on inner-Biblical interpretation, see, e.g., Benjamin D. Sommer. "Inner-biblical Interpretation." In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 1829–35. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
- On Joseph 28:166.
- Babylonian Talmud Nazir 5a. Babylonia, 6th century.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:4. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 630–31, 822. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 57b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Tractate Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 372. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-965-301-563-0.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 10b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Tractate Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 65.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Tractate Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 361.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Tractate Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 360.
- Genesis Rabbah 69:3; 89:4. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 630–31, 822.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:4. Reprinted in, e.g., The Midrash: Midrash Rabbah with an Annotated, Interpretive Elucidation and Additional Insights. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, volume 4, Mikeitz, page 32. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2011. ISBN 1-4226-1140-X.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:5. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 822–23. See also Midrash Tanhuma Mikeitz 2. 6th–7th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Metsudah Midrash Tanchuma. Translated and annotated by Avraham Davis; edited by Yaakov Y.H. Pupko, volume 2, page 215. Monsey, New York: Eastern Book Press, 2006.
- Midrash Tanhuma Mikeitz 2. Reprinted in, e.g., Metsudah Midrash Tanchuma. Translated and annotated by Avraham Davis; edited by Yaakov Y.H. Pupko, volume 2, page 216.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:6. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 823.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:6. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 823–24.
- Babylonian Talmud Megillah 13b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Taanit • Megillah. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 12, page 273. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2014. ISBN 978-965-301-573-9. See also Genesis Rabbah 88:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 815.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Yosef Widroff, Mendy Wachsman, Israel Schneider, and Zev Meisels; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 2, pages 55b5–6. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-57819-601-9.
- Numbers Rabbah 10:10. 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, page 381. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Genesis Rabbah 89:9. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 825.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 56b.
- Midrash Tanhuma Mikeitz 3. Reprinted in, e.g., Metsudah Midrash Tanchuma. Translated and annotated by Avraham Davis; edited by Yaakov Y.H. Pupko, volume 2, pages 223–24.
- Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 39. Early 9th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer. Translated and annotated by Gerald Friedlander, page 306. London, 1916. Reprinted New York: Hermon Press, 1970. ISBN 0-87203-183-7.
- Genesis Rabbah 90:1. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 827.
- Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 39. Reprinted in, e.g., Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer. Translated and annotated by Gerald Friedlander, page 307.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55b.
- Babylonian Talmud Sotah 36b.
- Babylonian Talmud Taanit 11a. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Taanit • Megillah. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 12, page 56.
- Genesis Rabbah 31:12; 34:7. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 1, pages 245–46, 271.
- Numbers Rabbah 14:6. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 6, page 596.
- Genesis Rabbah 91:5. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 838–39.
- Babylonian Talmud Pesachim 119a. See also Avot of Rabbi Natan 41.
- Genesis Rabbah 91:1. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 832–33.
- Midrash Tanhuma Mikeitz 5.
- Babylonian Talmud Taanit 10b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Taanit • Megillah. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 12, page 54.
- Genesis Rabbah 91:6. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 839.
- Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 39. Reprinted in, e.g., Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer. Translated and annotated by Gerald Friedlander, pages 306–07.
- Genesis Rabbah 84:16. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 781.
- Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 173b.
- Babylonian Talmud Makkot 11b.
- Genesis Rabbah 92:5. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 851–52.
- Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55a. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Yosef Widroff, Mendy Wachsman, Israel Schneider, and Zev Meisels; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 2, page 55a2.
- Genesis Rabbah 93:7. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 862, 864–65.
- Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 139a.
- Babylonian Talmud Taanit 10b.
- Genesis Rabbah 92:7. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 853–54.
- Midrash Tanhuma Mikeitz 10. Reprinted in, e.g., Metsudah Midrash Tanchuma. Translated and annotated by Avraham Davis; edited by Yaakov Y.H. Pupko, volume 2, pages 254–55.
- Genesis Rabbah 84:17. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 782–83.
- Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 105a.
- Genesis Rabbah 92:9. See also Genesis Rabbah 85:2. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, pages 788, 790, 855.
- Genesis Rabbah 100:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 990.
- See also Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 57b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Yosef Widroff, Mendy Wachsman, Israel Schneider, and Zev Meisels; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 2, page 57b3.
- Zohar, Bereshit, section 1, page 183a. Spain, late 13th century. Reprinted in, e.g., The Zohar: Pritzker Edition. Translation and commentary by Daniel C. Matt, volume 3, pages 114–15. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8047-5210-9.
- Nachmanides. Commentary on the Torah. Jerusalem, circa 1270. Reprinted in, e.g., Ramban (Nachmanides): Commentary on the Torah. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, page 494. New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1971. ISBN 0-88328-006X.
- Donald A. Seybold. "Paradox and Symmetry in the Joseph Narrative." In Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives. Edited by Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, with James S. Ackerman and Thayer S. Warshaw, pages 63–64, 68. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1974. ISBN 0-687-22131-5.
- See, e.g., Richard Elliott Friedman. The Bible with Sources Revealed, pages 3–5, 102–06.
- Richard Elliott Friedman. The Bible with Sources Revealed, pages 99–102.
- Maimonides. Mishneh Torah. Cairo, Egypt, 1170–1180. Reprinted in Maimonides. The Commandments: Sefer Ha-Mitzvoth of Maimonides. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, 2 volumes. London: Soncino Press, 1967. ISBN 0-900689-71-4. Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, volume 1, page 91. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.
- Gregory Goswell. "The Hermeneutics of the Haftarot." Tyndale Bulletin, volume 58 (2007): page 89.