And he told [it] to his father, and to his brethren
After he had told it to his brethren, he told it to his father a second time in their hearing, that he might pass his judgment on it, and give his sense of it before them:
and his father rebuked him;
not as being ignorant of the meaning of the dream, for by what follows he had a clear understanding of it, or as if he thought it was an idle dream, and would never have any accomplishment: but he thought fit, in his great wisdom and prudence, to put on such an air, partly to check young Joseph, lest he should grow proud, and haughty, and insolent upon it, and behave in a disagreeable manner to himself and to his brethren; and partly to conciliate the minds of his brethren to him, which he perceived were exasperated by his dreams:
and said unto him, what [is] this dream that thou hast dreamed?
what dost thou take to be the meaning of it? canst thou imagine that it is of God? is it not a mere whim and imagination of thine own wandering brain in thy sleep? why dost thou tell such an idle dream as this, as if there were something divine in it, when it appears the most absurd and irrational?
shall I, thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed come to bow down
ourselves to thee to the earth?
whereby it plainly shows he understood the meaning of the dream, though he would not seem to countenance it. By the "sun" he understood himself, the principal and head of the family, the active instrument of the generation of it, the light, life, and support of it; and by the "moon" his wife, the passive instrument of generation, who had the lesser share of rule in the family, yet contributed much to its good and welfare; by whom is meant not Rachel, the real mother of Joseph, who was dead, unless this is observed to show the seeming absurdity of it, from whence the whole might appear ridiculous; but rather Leah, who was now Jacob's only true wife, and the stepmother of Joseph; or else Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, who since her death was a mother to Joseph; and by the eleven "stars" he understood the eleven brethren of Joseph, who were as stars that receive their light from the sun; and in allusion to the twelve constellations in the Zodiac, to which Joseph and his eleven brethren answered. This had its fulfilment, in some measure, when Jacob sent presents to Joseph when governor of Egypt, though unknown to him, and when he and his family went thither, when, no doubt, Jacob showed a civil respect according to his dignity, and in regard to the office he bore: and so his wife, if he then had any, that went with him, and if not personally, yet in her posterity paid a deference to him, as it is certain all his brethren did. Grotius observes from the Oneirocritics or interpreters of dreams, particularly Achmes, that according to the doctrine of the Persians and Egyptians, that if anyone should dream that he rules over the stars, he shall rule over all people.