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Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothing, and came before Pharaoh. Bible

“dungeon.” The Hebrew word is “pit.”

“He shaved.” The Egyptians were clean-shaven, in contrast to the Hebrews who wore beards. Interestingly, when the Egyptians were in mourning, they let their beards grow, but when the Hebrews were in mourning, they sometimes shaved their beards (Isa. 15:2). It would have been offensive to Pharaoh for Joseph to appear before him unshaved, so even though Pharaoh’s summons was urgent, Joseph took the time to shave and thus make himself acceptable. It is very important to make a favorable impression and not needlessly offend people or cause them concern: “An offended brother is harder to be won than a strong city” (Prov. 18:19).

It is universally true that people feel comfortable around other people who think and act like they do. We say our modern culture is tolerant and accepting of individuality, but that is more a facade than a reality. You can be “different” as long as your particular difference is acceptable, but a lot of differences, especially conservative Christian ones, are not at all acceptable among many “liberal” people who say they respect individual differences. Christians should be more interested in winning people to Christ than showing off one’s individual preferences.


Commentary for: Genesis 41:14