We have explained in our article
Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at
that the Biblical Author indicated bullets
by using repeating keywords.
That is, if a modern
author wanted to get a point across using bullets -
a list of similar but contrastive items -
then the Biblical
Author would use repeating keywords.
Today's verse illustrates this principle.
the news of Joseph's brothers coming
And he wept aloud;
- and Egypt heard
- and Pharoh's household heard
The bulleted structure indicated by the repeating keyword heard
creates a parallel structure. Rashi explains:
Egypt menotomycally refers to the Egyptian people.
Similarly Pharoh's household refers, not only to his family, but to his staff.
In presenting this Rashi we have used the universal metonomy principle which
states that an item can refer to things closely related to it. A classical example
of metonomy is using a national land, like Egypt to refer to its people,
Rashi has a subtle emotional point. It wasn't just Pharoh and his family that took a liking
to Joseph. Even Pharoh's staff, the maids, butlers and other personel, who do their work, pick
up their paycheck and go home, they also were genuinely happy that the slave boy who made it good
was finally reunited with his family whom he hadn't seen in ages. We tend to think of Egypt as
a structured society, people without emotions, where everyone fit into a slot. Here we see the emotional aspect of the
Egyptians. They were ordinary people who had empathy for family-type events in other nationals.
(The actual degradation and slavery that developed happened several 100 years later and then too,
as related in the Bible,
the individual Egyptians empathically felt for the Jews).