NIV - 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
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Despite the fact that their names were similar, and may have had the same meaning ("gift of Ra"), the Bible gives different spellings of their names (Potiphar versus Poti-pherah). I also find it very unlikely that Pharaoh would have arranged a marriage for Joseph with the daughter of the man who had been responsible for imprisoning him (not to mention the enmity that would have existed toward Joseph by Potiphar's wife). In addition, it would also seem unlikely to me that the same man would be described as both the captain of Pharaoh's guard (Genesis 39:1) and as a priest of On (Genesis 46:20). One is a civic or military function, and the other a religious position.
Genesis 37:36, "Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah and captain of the guard." This Potiphar was perhaps a guard in the palace. He may have been a guard for a harem. Esther 2:3, "And let the King appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to SHUSHAN the citadel, into the women's quarters, under the custody of HEGAI the kings eunuch custodian of the women." These women were for the King only. At either job Potiphar was in a position of importance. This man gave Joseph the job of an overseer in his home. Genesis 39:5. Genesis 42:45, "And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On..." Joseph now bears an Egyptian name, which either refers to an Egyptian pagan God, or to Joseph's true God. Joseph's Wife's name means belonging to the goddess Neith. Poti-Pherah means he whom Ra (the sun God) gave. On was a city in northern Egypt noted for worship of the Sun God. Anyway, this man was a priest, a man who honored pagan God's. Potiphar and Poti-Perah are definitely two different people. I have learned that in Bible study every jot and tittle counts.
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