Although in Hebrew the phrase ben porath is used twice, the first time it is translated as 'fruitful son,' and the second time, 'a fruitful vine' (Targum; Saadia Gaon; Sh'muel ben Chofni). Others see it as a repetition (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra).
Or 'branch' or 'bough' (Targum; Saadia Gaon; Ibn Ezra; Ramban; Sforno; cf. Psalms 80:16). Or, 'a handsome son' (Rashi); 'a noble, distinguished son' (Hirsch); 'a vine sending forth shoots' (Ibn Ezra); 'a young bull' (Bereshith Rabbah 98; cf. Deuteronomy 33:17); 'a son of cows' (referring to Pharaoh's dream; Genesis 41:2; Bereshith Rabbah 98); 'a young interpreter [of dreams]' (Aggadath Bereshith 73; Midrash Aggadah); 'a son suffering from treachery' (Bereshith Rabbah 78); or, 'a royal son' (Tzeror HaMor). In ancient Egyptian, porath or pereth is grain.
Or 'well' or 'spring' (Targum). Or 'like a fountain' (Lekach Tov); 'to the eye' (Rashi); 'away from the eye' (Berakhoth 20a)
(Ibn Ezra). Or 'daughters' (see note on Genesis 49:22, 'running' ).
Literally, 'striding' or 'strutting.' Some translate the two words as 'running branches' (Ibn Ezra). On the basis of Semitic cognates, some translate these two words as 'a wild colt,' but there is no traditional basis for this.
(Rashi). Or, 'to see' (Rashi).
The verse can thus be rendered, 'Joseph is a handsome son, a son handsome to the eye; girls strode out to see him' (Bereshith Rabbah 98; Rashi); or 'young girls strode out on the wall [to see him]' (Targum Yonathan; Pirkey Rabbi Eliezer 39). Or, '[Your] daughters will walk the boundaries [of their own lands]' (Tanchuma, Pinchas 9; BaMidbar Rabbah 14:7, 21:12; alluding to the fact that among Joseph's descendants, women will be the first to inherit land; see Numbers 27:1, Joshua 17:6).
|made his life bitter|
(Rashi). Or, 'made him their target' (Ibn Ezra); or 'were treacherous to him' (Bereshith Rabbah 98).
Or 'quarreled' (Targum; Rashi). Or, 'shot at him' (Sekhel Tov; Ibn Ezra).
|masters of strife|
(Targum; Rashi; cf. Rashbam). Cf. Jeremiah 9:7, Proverbs 26:18,19. Or, 'expert bowmen' or 'masters of arrows' (Ibn Ezra).
|made him their target|
(Hirsch). Or 'attacked him' or 'were furious at him' (cf. Genesis 27:41). The verse can also be translated, 'Master bowmen hated him, they made him their target and shot at him' (Ibn Ezra); or 'Archers bitterly attacked him, they shot him and harassed him.'