Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: email@example.com) 2004
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GENESIS 47:1-12 (Joseph’s father and brothers are presented to Pharaoh)
47:1-2 Having informed Pharaoh that his father and brothers had arrived in the land of Goshen, Pharaoh wanted to meet them. So Joseph presented five of his brothers for questioning.
47:3-4 They told Pharaoh that they were shepherds, and had come to reside as aliens in the land because the famine was so severe in Canaan that there was nothing for their animals to graze on. Could they be granted the right to reside in the area of Goshen?
47:5-6 Turning to Joseph, Pharaoh gave the permission for these aliens to settle in the best part of the land for grazing. He also told Joseph to appoint the most capable among them to care for Pharaoh’s own livestock.
47:7-10 Pharaoh then wanted to meet Joseph’s father, and asked about his age. Jacob asked for God’s blessing on Pharaoh, and informed him that he was then 130 years old. His father Isaac had lived to be 180 (35:28), and his grandfather Abraham had died at the age of 175 (25:7). At the end of the interview the old man again asked God’s blessing on the Egyptian monarch.
Jacob was conscious of his failings in the past, but as an elderly God-fearing Jew he had the privilege of passing on God’s blessing to others (as in 27:2-4; 48:9; 49:28; Numbers 6:22-27, 31, 36; Deuteronomy 33:1; Mark 10:16; Luke 2:34 6:28; 24:30; Romans 12:14).
47:11-12 Joseph made sure that his father, and his brothers, and their family of seventy persons were well provided for. Rameses was rebuilt before the Exodus by Jewish slave labor as a store city (Exodus 1:11). And Rameses was the gathering place for the Israelites as they prepared to move out from slavery into freedom (Exodus 12:37).
GENESIS 47:13-26 (As the famine took hold, Joseph enslaved the Egyptians)
47:13-14 By now the famine in Egypt and Canaan was into its third year (45:6). Joseph sold grain to the people for cash. And huge amounts of money came into Pharaoh’s treasury.
47:15-17 By the next year people had no money, and so Joseph took their domestic animals in exchange for food from his storehouses.
47:18-21 In the fifth year of famine people were so desperate that they sold their land and then sold themselves as slaves to Pharaoh. That meant that all the people of Egypt were reduced to being landless slave laborers.
47:22 An exception was made for the powerful priestly class of the land. They lived on a fixed allowance from the state
47:23-25 The next step was to give the farmers seed to sow crops on the land which no longer belonged to them. One fifth of what they were able to grow was exacted from them. And they even thanked Joseph for saving their lives by enslaving them to Pharaoh.
47:26 As a result of this massive social change the people of Egypt became landless slaves who had to grow crops of which one fifth belonged to Pharaoh.
GENESIS 47:27-31 (The Jewish people multiply in the land of Goshen)
47:27 While the Egyptian people lost their land and became the slaves of Pharaoh, the Jews retained their livestock in the land of Goshen. The 70 people who had come into the land were able to prosper and multiply very rapidly. We can imagine that this caused huge resentment, and eventually resulted in the Jewish people themselves being enslaved (Exodus 1:9-14).
47:28 Jacob was 130 years old when he arrived in Egypt (47:9), and he lived another 17 years in the land before his death at the age of 147.
47:29-31 Before he died Jacob made Joseph promise that he would not bury him in Egypt. The promise was sealed by making Joseph put his hand under his father’s thigh. Another occasion when an oath was sealed in this way was when Abraham’s servant was sent to find a bride for Isaac (24:2,9). Jacob insisted that his body was to be taken for burial to the family burial place in the cave of Machpelah (see 49:29-32). In chapter 50 we will see how Joseph had Jacob embalmed and led a great funeral procession up to Hebron for this purpose (50:1-14).
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