New American Standard Bible 1995

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Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.


Verse part Definition: Part of speech: Strong's: Hebrew: Transliteration:
Now before not yet, ere, before that Prepostion H2962 בְּטֶ֥רֶם be·te·rem
the year a year Noun H8141 שְׁנַ֣ת she·nat
of famine famine, hunger Noun H7458 הָרָעָ֑ב ha·ra·'av;
came, to come in, come, go in, go Verb H935 תָּבֹ֖וא ta·vo·v
two two (a card. number) Noun H8147 שְׁנֵ֣י she·nei

Two: Two divergent opinions

The classic example for the number "two" is found in Matthew chapter 26. There, Yeshua says to His disciples,

"You know that after two days comes the Passover, and the Son of Man will be given over for crucifixion."  Matthew 26:2

The phrase "after two days" is somewhat meaningless because after two days can mean three or more days. The period is unspecified. The reason for such ambiguous language is because the purpose of the number two in this passage is not solely numerical. This means that the text is not intending to provide the reader with some definite information concerning a time period. Rather, the purpose of the number two in this context is one of the numerological meanings of the number two.  Often the number two relates to two divergent opinions. In the aforementioned verse, the author wants to inform the reader that there are two very different understandings for this coming Passover. Yeshua wants to emphasize that He is going up to Jerusalem in order to die as the true Passover sacrifice. Even though Yeshua states this emphatically, the disciples did not receive this. In fact, the disciples did not perceive at all what was going to take place during Passover in regard to Yeshua. In other words, Yeshua and the disciples have two divergent opinions concerning the Passover.

This same principle is also found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Covenant). In the book of Amos one reads,

"Can two walk together without them having agreed" Amos 3:3

The word which was translated into English with the phrase "them having agreed" is נועדו. The root of this word is יעד, which relates to a specific destination. The word which precedes this word is בלתי and in this context the word implies a change to the condition. In other words, had there not been a change in the condition, then the two could not walk together, i.e. they could not have arrived at the common destination.

The concept of divergent or different is also seen in the book of Genesis. In speaking about the sun and moon one reads, "And God made two great lights…" (Genesis 1:16). Obviously the sun and moon are very different, as one is a source of light, while the latter just reflects light. Also in the book of Genesis, one encounters the account of the flood. Here Noah is commanded to bring onto the ark two sorts of each type of animal. In this passage, the two relates to two different (or divergent) kinds of the same sort, i.e. male and female. 

Likewise, two angels came to Sodom, demonstrating that the people of Sodom had a very different way of living from that of the Law of God. Once again, the reader should not assume that every occurrence of the number two in the Bible demands this interpretation. However, one will find in a great majority of Biblical passages, the reader will be assisted in arriving at the proper interpretation, when he considers this divergent quality for the number two. - Baruch Korman, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved - Used with Permission 2016 

sons son Noun H1121 בָנִ֔ים va·nim,
were born to bear, bring forth, beget Verb H3205 יֻלַּד֙ yul·lad
to Joseph, "he increases," a son of Jacob, also the name of several Isr. Noun H3130 וּלְיֹוסֵ֤ף u·le·yo·v·sef
Read more about: Joseph
whom who, which, that Particle H834 אֲשֶׁ֤ר a·sher
Asenath, perhaps "belonging to Neith," the wife of Joseph Noun H621 אָֽסְנַ֔ת a·se·nat,
Read more about: Asenath
the daughter daughter Noun H1323 בַּת־ bat-
of Potiphera Joseph's father-in-law Noun H6319 פֶ֖רַע fe·ra
priest priest Noun H3548 כֹּהֵ֥ן ko·hen
of On, a city in N. Eg. Noun H204 אֹֽון׃ o·vn.
Read more about: On
bore to bear, bring forth, beget Verb H3205 יָֽלְדָה־ ya·le·dah-
to him.      



perhaps |belonging to Neith,| the wife of Joseph


  Joseph There are three famous people in the Bible named Joseph: All three of their profiles are shown below: Joseph, a son of Jacob/Israel Joseph was one of 12 sons of Jacob. He was the first born son of Rachel (Gen 30:22-24). He received preferential treatment which angered his ten older brothers. His brothers faked his death to their father Jacob, and sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelite traders who were on their way to Egypt. God ga... View Details

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New American Standard Bible 1995 Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.
King James Bible Now And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, which Asenath the daughter of Potiphera Potipherah priest of On, bore to On bare unto him.
Hebrew Greek English Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.