Gen. 47:1 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.
Gen. 47:2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
Gen. 47:3 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.
Gen. 47:4 They said moreover 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.
Gen. 47:5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:
Gen. 47:6 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.
Joseph went before Pharaoh as he had said and took five of his brothers with him to represent the family. When asked their occupation, they told Pharaoh that they were shepherds and had come to live here for a while because of the famine, hoping to settle in Goshen. Evidently, Goshen was some of the best land in Egypt, and the Pharaoh kept his promise to provide them with Egypt’s best. He did request that if any among them had exceptional abilities, that they be put in charge of his own livestock.
My daughter-in-law shared her beautiful thoughts with me on this section. She noted how Pharaoh loved and trusted Joseph. He treated these strangers so well simply because they were related to Joseph. It reminded her of how God treats us with great blessing simply because of our relationship with Jesus. It has nothing to do with what we have done and is solely because of what He has done!
Gen. 47:7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
Gen. 47:8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
Gen. 47:9 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.
Gen. 47:10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
Then Joseph presented his father to the king. Jacob blessed the Pharaoh who asked him his age. Jacob told him that he was 130 years old—a short time in comparison to the years of his forefathers.
I assume that Jacob’s blessing was recognized as an acceptable way of honoring Pharaoh in light of Jacob’s age.
Gen. 47:11 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.
Gen. 47:12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.
Joseph’s family was allowed to settle in Goshen, recognized as some of the best land in Egypt, located in the district of Ramses. Joseph also provided each family with food according to their need.
Gen. 47:13 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.
Gen. 47:14 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.
Gen. 47:15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
Gen. 47:16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
Gen. 47:17 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.
The famine became so severe that eventually the people ran out of money to buy food. Pharaoh had it all. So the people came to Joseph and asked him if he was just going to let them die since their money was gone. So Joseph agreed to sell them grain in exchange for livestock. By the next year they were out of livestock and approached Joseph again.
Gen. 47:18 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:
Gen. 47:19 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 us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
Gen. 47:20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.
Gen. 47:21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
Gen. 47:22 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.
This time they offered to sell themselves and their land to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Eventually, Pharaoh owned all of the land in Egypt except what belonged to the priests. All the people had become his servants.
Constable quoting the NET Bible: “The idea of slavery is not attractive to the modern mind, but in the ancient world it was the primary way of dealing with the poor and destitute. If people became slaves of Pharaoh, it was Pharaoh"s responsibility to feed them and care for them. It was the best way for them to survive the famine."
Gen. 47:23 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.
Gen. 47:24 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.
Gen. 47:25 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.
Gen. 47:26 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.
Next Joseph gave seed to the people to plant. This seems to indicate that the years of famine were at an end. When their crops were ready to harvest, they were to give 1/5 of the produce to Pharaoh. The people were grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to serve.
I just keep thinking how we would probably respond today. I’m sure there would be much complaining and then an attitude of who does he think he is? Next would probably be an attempt to overthrow the government or something. We have a distinct idea that the world owes us in this day and age. These people were glad to have an opportunity to work for food. It’s hard to find those willing to put in an honest day’s work for a day’s pay nowadays.
Gen. 47:27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
Evidently, the Israelites in the land of Goshen were acquiring property and increasing in number—thanks to God’s provision for them through Joseph.
Smith: “So seventy came down to Egypt. Four hundred years later, two million of them marched out. So when it says multiplied exceedingly, you can see that yes, indeed, that is what happened.”
Gen. 47:28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
Gen. 47:29 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:
Gen. 47:30 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.
Gen. 47:31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.
Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years to the age of 147. As he was dying, he called for Joseph and asked him to promise not to bury him in Egypt, to take him and bury him with his fathers. Joseph swore to do just that.
It seems that placing the hand under the thigh was a custom regarding a solemn promise. Abraham did the same with his servant before sending him to get a wife for Isaac.
Genesis 24:2–3 “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….”
“And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.” To me, this paints a word picture of a man leaning over his bed in prayer on his knees before his God. I imagine he reminded himself of the many blessings God had given him in life and how he had made provision for him and his family, especially in the hard times. Age and experience give us quite a different perspective as we look back over events in our lives vs. memories of how we felt at specific times.
This event is referenced in Hebrews 11:21: “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
The Believer’s Bible Commentary explains the use of bed vs. staff. “….the same Hebrew consonants can be read bed or staff depending on which vowels are supplied.”