Genesis Chapter Forty-Seven
Read Genesis 47:1-12
v.1-2 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
As would be appropriate under these circumstances, Joseph now presents his family to Pharaoh. Though he has all of the power in this land that any man could have; he understands that there is still one whom he serves, just as Jesus did:
Matthew 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
v.3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.
Joseph, with all of his virtues, had
Genesis 46:34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath
been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the
They were instructed to say that they herded cattle, which they did, but their primary occupation was that of shepherds and so they answer Pharaohs inquiry honestly, they are shepherds. Pharaoh, as much as he appreciated Joseph, as generous as he was willing to be, apparently wanted to make sure that these strangers who had sold their brother into slavery would be an addition to the wellbeing of his country, not a burden.
v.4 They said morever unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
As we noted in earlier study, the
v.5-6 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
Pharaoh is generous with Josephs
family, allowing them to live in the land in
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
As shepherds and herdsmen they are people who:
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. Proverbs 27:23
Consequently Pharaoh also wants to hire them to tend to his herds as well.
v,7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh
Jacob, or Israel, is the patriarch, the priest, of the Most High God, consequently when he is brought before the king of Egypt as Gods representative he performs much the same service as Melchizedek did for Abraham:
Genesis 14:18-19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
v.8-10 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
For whatever reason, we do not know,
perhaps by the providence of God so that man would have a mark in time to
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
v.11-12 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families.
So Pharaoh allows Joseph to place
his family in land that apparently belonged to him, the king. This would be in agreement with the hiring of
During his life time Joseph nourished and cared for his family, his people, providing them with what was needful in their new land.
Read Genesis 47:13-26 The Depth of the Famine
v.13 AND there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
Two years and more have passed since the famine began. It was so complete and so devastating that now the people are beginning to faint or fall by the wayside as a result of hunger. How wonderful indeed is the providence of God and how pitiful is man when that providence is suspended for a time. We need to remember from time to time that even from the beginning God has provided for our every need:
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. Genesis 9:3
v.14-15 And Joseph
gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land
of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into
Pharaoh's house. And when money failed
Through the necessity of purchasing grain for bread the people of these regions have run out of money, there is no more. During the times of plenty they did not provide for themselves and consequently have had to rely on the grain purchased and stored by Joseph to live. Now a new crisis has arisen, there is no more money with which to buy grain. They turn to the government of the country asking Joseph to give them bread that they might live.
v.16-17 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
Joseph now does the best he can for the Egyptian people. He will not give them bread for that would burden the country without having received any benefit and reward its people for their poor preparation for this famine. So he strikes a bargain, he offers to trade bread for their animals. This they do and it sustains them for one year.
v.18-19 When that
year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will
not hide it from my lord, how
that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not
ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: Wherefore
shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for
bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give
Another year has passed by and the people are desperate for bread for food again. So they come to Joseph again. The king owns all of their money, all of their animals and now all they have left is themselves and their land. So they bargain with Joseph to trade their land and their own servitude for enough to continue to live life.
v.20-21 And Joseph
bought all the land of
So Joseph accepts their offer and
buys all of the land of the country of
v.22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
In all of the dealings with the Egyptian people during the famine there was one exception made. Those who served as priests to the Egyptian gods were supported and maintained by Pharaoh. Consequently the priests continue to hold their land, and kept their animals just as they had before. Of course, as we remember from earlier verses the Israelites were also sustained by Pharaoh through Joseph.
v.23-24 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
Now that Pharaoh owns all of the
land in the country and it has come time to plant again as the famine will be
brought to an end. Another bargain is
struck with the people of
v.25-26 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
The Egyptian people are so grateful for being preserved during the great famine that they readily agree to be Pharaohs servants. They will work the land and provide Pharaoh a one-fifth share of what they produce in exchange. Joseph makes this a law to be observed throughout the country for the future as well.
All during this period of time and
for the years following
Exodus 1:7-9 And the
v.28-29 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
Time relentlessly marches on and
when Jacob had been in
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: Genesis 24:2-3
v.30-31 But I will
lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their
buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said,
Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And
He requires Joseph to swear that he will be returned to the buryingplace of his fathers, the land and cave that Abraham purchased from the Hittites.
Genesis 23:19-20 And after
this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah
before Mamre: the same is