What does Genesis 41:43 mean?
ESV: And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.
NIV: He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, 'Make way!' Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
NASB: And he had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed ahead of him, 'Bow the knee!' And he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
CSB: He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, "Make way! " So he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
NLT: Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, 'Kneel down!' So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt.
KJV: And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
NKJV: And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt.
Verse Commentary:
Pharaoh has made Joseph the second most powerful man in Egypt after himself (Genesis 41:38–41). He has given Joseph his signet ring, along with fine linen robes and a gold necklace or collar (Genesis 41:42). These are not only part of Joseph's payment for his role, but also important signs about his acceptance by Egypt's king. Later, Pharaoh will enhance this naturalization—a process of making someone an official member of a society—by giving him an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife (Genesis 41:45).

Now Pharaoh assigns his second chariot to Joseph. This implies Joseph is taken out in public, riding in the streets to demonstrate his authority and presence. Everywhere Joseph goes, the people are made to kneel as a sign of respect and submission. Joseph's position as ruler is real and weighty. He will have all the authority he needs to prepare for and manage the coming famine crisis (Genesis 41:28–36).
Verse Context:
Genesis 41:37–57 describes Joseph's sudden and breathtaking rise to power. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, is convinced that God's Spirit is with Joseph, after seeing him interpret dreams and offer sound advice. He appoints Joseph to be the second most powerful man in the nation. His main task is to prepare for the devastating famine to come. Pharaoh gives to Joseph his own signet ring, along with a new Egyptian name and wife. Joseph sets about to use Pharaoh's authority to gather and store massive amounts of grain. This stockpile, built during the seven years of abundance can then be accessed when the famine strikes (Genesis 47:13–26).
Chapter Summary:
Joseph's status in Genesis 41 begins as "forgotten Hebrew prison slave" and ends as "the second most powerful man in Egypt." The cupbearer from the previous chapter finally mentions Joseph two years later, when Pharaoh is troubled by dreams which wise men can't interpret. Joseph reveals the meaning of the dreams: seven years of abundance will be followed by seven years of great famine in the land. Pharaoh, recognizing that God's Spirit is with Joseph, makes him second in command over the entire nation and tasks him with preparing for the famine.
Chapter Context:
Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37:24–28). He then excelled in his work for an Egyptian official, only to be falsely accused and imprisoned (Genesis 39:20). There, he accurately interpreted dreams for servants of the Egyptian ruler (Genesis 40:20–22). Unfortunately, the restored cupbearer failed to mention Joseph, leaving him in prison for two more years (Genesis 40:23). A series of disturbing dreams leads to Joseph's audience with Pharaoh. This, in turn, leads to Joseph becoming the second most powerful man in the nation. The following chapters emphasize Joseph's reunion with his family. Details about his administration of food during the famine are recorded in Genesis 47:13–26.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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