The term of honor and dignity called out before the chariot of Joseph after Pharaoh made him second in the kingdom. (Ge 41:43) If of Hebrew origin, as the ancient translator Aquila conjectured and as supported by the Latin Vulgate, it could mean “bow the knee,” and is so translated in many versions. (AS, KJ, Da, Dy, ER, Ro, RS) However, this view is rejected by many in favor of similar words in other languages. For example, some think it may be a Babylonian or an Assyrian title of a high official, meaning “seer” or “grand vizier.” Some turn to the Coptic and say it means “bow the head”; others observe that the Arabs say something similar in commanding their camels to kneel down. The Syriac Peshitta reads: “Father and Ruler!” Other investigators believe that it is strictly Egyptian. Origen, a native of Egypt, and Jerome think it means “a native Egyptian,” and because of the disregard Egyptians had for foreigners, they reason that it was a public proclamation of naturalization. A similar expression, appearing in a papyrus finding, means ‘your commandment is the object of our desire,’ that is, ‘we are at your service.’—The Life and Times of Joseph in the Light of Egyptian Lore, by H. Tomkins, London, 1891, pp. 49, 50.
The exact meaning of this expression has therefore not yet been determined, hence some versions leave it untranslated. (NW, JP, JB) This non-Hebrew custom of making public acclamation before an honored one as he rode through town also finds an example in Esther 6:11, when Mordecai was publicly honored at the command of Persian King Ahasuerus.