I hope you all had a better Christmas than me – alone, had to work, pipes froze, but on the plus side I did advance a level in Psychonauts!
Anyway, this post is going to be brief because I didn’t have a whole lot of new thoughts reading this. The main one is that I have more evidence for “Joseph wants to hide his ethnic identity” when he sits separately from his brothers. This is because, the text tells us “the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.” (v 32) From what I’ve read (and like a lot of kids I went through an Egypt phase when I was younger; unlike a lot of kids, I have a near-perfect memory and it’s all still housed in my head like an information lint trap) the Egyptians didn’t think much of anyone who wasn’t an Egyptian. “Hebrew” in this context could just mean “anybody from the Levant” rather than an ethnic identity. No wonder some scholars thought they’d hit the motherload with the word apiru.
What’s more interesting about this verse, though, is that word, “abomination,” which gets thrown around a lot in the Hebrew Bible and by certain modern Christians and Christian groups. There are a couple of Hebrew words that get translated to abomination in English, so I looked up which this was. It’s tōʻēḇā, the same term used in Leviticus for everything from child sacrifice to illicit sex to using rigged weights in business. It can also be a verb, which then made me look up the verb form of abomination, abominate: “to hate or loathe intensely.”
That makes sense for the Japanese, which translates the term as itou koto. Itou is a verb that means “to hate, dislike” but also “to only do something reluctantly.” The negative form, itowanai, can be used for “I don’t mind doing (something).” Thus itou koto means “a thing they intensely dislike and won’t do unless forced.” It’ll be interesting to see whether the NCT is consistent in its translation when we get to Leviticus.
The Japanese: tamerau “to hesitate, hold back” (v 10), meisan “well-known products” (v 11), shitsuji “butler, chamberlain,” hofuru “to butcher” (v 16; this one was used before, but I completely forgot it, so it counts as Japanese I don’t know), morotomo “together with” (v 18), hizamazuku “to kneel” (v 28), heisei “composure,” yosooi “guise” (v 31), shouban “dinner together” (v 32), kubaru “to distribute, pass out,” shuen “drinking party, merrymaking” (v 34).