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Throughout the ancient Middle East, beards were considered the norm, especially among "Asiatics" such as the Israelites.In fact the longer and more styled the beard, the greater the admiration. The king was depicted with a long tightly curled beard. Egyptians are rarely depicted with beards and those few times that they are depicted with facial hair, it is usually the pharaoh and not any of his subjects. And, behold, there came up from the river seven cows, fat and beautiful; and they fed in the reed grass.During the first quarter of the Assyrian Empire, a healthy slave could fetch 50-60 pieces of silver and by the middle of the first millennium, the price of a slave soared to over 100 shekels. When the Torah tells us that Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver it was an accurate reflection of the price of a slave in Canaan/Egypt at that time period, about 1500 BCE according to our Biblical chronology. The Torah (Genesis ) tells us that the name of Joseph's slave-master was Potiphar.It later tells us that Joseph's wife's name was Asenath (Genesis ).The concept of imprisonment was not widespread in the ancient world of the early Biblical era.In the Torah itself, we do not find any mention of imprisonment being a form of punishment.
Therefore, these Egyptologists claim, the Torah had no choice but to remain silent about ancient Egyptian practices. "And they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph to Egypt" (Genesis ).In Egyptian tomb and temple depictions, enemies are often depicted with beards. And, behold, seven other cows came up after them, scrawny and very gaunt and thin, such as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt for badness.The Biblical "author(s)" seem to be very aware that proper Egyptian etiquette demanded that Joseph had to shave before entering the presence of the pharaoh, unlike anywhere else in the ancient world. And the thin and the gaunt cows ate the first seven fat cows.Though Pharaoh had consulted his wise men as to the meaning of the dream, they could not explain it in such a manner that would satisfy the pharaoh.Why did the pharaoh find Joseph's interpretation acceptable? In Egyptian mythology, the goddess of fate was Hathor, the cow-goddess.
For the Jewish People, ancient Egypt has a much deeper allure.