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Chapter 47

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ch. 47:1-12    ch. 47:13-31

 

Chapter 47:1 12  -  carries on from chapter 46 in the NIV

 

In verses 1 and 2 Joseph tells Pharaoh that his family had now arrived in Goshen.   Joseph takes five of his brothers to introduce them to Pharaoh.  Why he takes five brothers, and not all, we don't know.

 

In verse 3 Pharaoh asks the question that the brothers were expecting.  He asks what their occupation was. 

 

In verses 4 and 5 they answered Pharaoh according to what Joseph had told them in the last chapter.  They told Pharaoh that they were shepherds as was their forefathers.  Then they ask, almost pleading, that they could stay in Goshen.  Of course, they knew that they could stay, but this request was seen as a formality before Pharaoh. 

 

Note also in verse 4 that the brothers viewed their stay in Goshen as temporary.  God had told Jacob in the last chapter that it would be temporary.  Besides, the Abrahamic Covenant stated, and had been restated on many occasions, that Israel was to live in Canaan.  This is mere temporary accommodations.    

 

In verses 5 and 6 Pharaoh grants Joseph's family the right to live in the best land of Egypt.  Notice that even though the brothers asked Pharaoh for permission to say in Egypt, Pharaoh did not directly answer them.  Pharaoh spoke the answer to Joseph.  I'm guessing that Pharaoh directing these words to the brothers through Joseph was a matter of protocol. 

 

Pharaoh also told Joseph that if any of his family had special ability to look after livestock, have them put in charge of looking after his livestock.  Pharaoh obviously knew that Joseph had special ability, so it is only likely that more in his family had special ability as well.

 

After permission to stay in Goshen was granted, in verses 7 and 8 Joseph brings Jacob into the room and introduces him to Pharaoh.   Pharaoh asks Jacob how old he was, and in verse 9 Jacob replies by saying he was one hundred and thirty years old. 

 

Note how Jacob puts it.  He says that "the years of his pilgrimage" are one hundred and thirty years."  Jacob understood his life on earth as we should understand it.  He saw his life as a "pilgrimage", a trip in this present age that would eventually lead to the next life.  We should view life in the same way.  Those who don't believe in a life after death can't view this life as a pilgrimage.  A pilgrimage is simply a trip from point A to point B.   If there is no point B, there is no pilgrimage.  Our life on earth is a pilgrimage, and what we do here has great consequences to the next life, where the pilgrimage ends.

 

In verse 9 Jacob also says that the years of his pilgrimage have been "few and difficult".  It is quite evident that most of Jacob's life was difficult.  He had just spent that last couple of decades in depression.  He spent a couple decades away from his home working for his father-in-law.  He had trouble with his brother Esau.  Jacob did not live a real happy life, although he has become one of the most important men in Israeli history. 

 

You might wonder why Jacob would view one hundred and thirty years of life as being "few".   He qualifies this in verse 9 as well.  He compares his life span to his fathers.  They lived longer than he, therefore he considered his life in fewer years.  But Jacob wasn't dead yet.  You might wonder how he would know that he would die soon.  Well, he was probably feeling pretty old at this time, and he might not have been in good health.  Beyond that,  I believe he just believed in his heart that now that he saw Joseph, he could now die in peace, and that is what he expected would happen.

 

Verse 10 simply states that Jacob blessed Pharaoh and left.

 

Verse 11 states that Pharaoh gave Israel the area of Rameses, a certain part of the land of Goshen. There is some controversy concerning Rameses, but it did become the capital of Egypt at some point in history.  It might well have been the capital at this point in time, if so, Israel lived just outside of the city.

 

Verse 12 states that Joseph provided all the food for all of Israel that they needed.  Once again, Joseph's dream is realized before his brothers' eyes.

 

Joseph And The Famine (ch. 47:13 - 31)                 

 

We need to note again that verse 13 is historically accurate.  The verse re-emphasizes the severe state of the famine.  There are other non-Biblical historical writings that confirm this famine at this time.  This only goes to show just another reason why the Bible is historically authentic.  

 

In verses 14 and 15 we see that not only was the food gone from the land, but people now had run out of money to buy the food that Joseph had stored.  They were now coming to Joseph, asking for free food so they would not die.  This is how bad things were getting.

 

We note in verses 16 and 17 that Joseph did not give the people of Egypt , or anyone else, free food.  He was quite the business man.  He gave them food in exchanged for their livestock.  This famine was clearly financially devastating for people, but profitable for Pharaoh.

 

Well, the food dried up again.  The next year people were returning to Joseph.  They had no money or livestock to give.  They didn't ask for free food this time.  They said that they would exchanged their land for food, leaving them with nothing but their lives.

 

In verses 20 and 21 we see that Joseph agreed to the people's deal.  He exchanged land for food.  In the process, the people became servants of the state.  They lost their freedom, but they still had their lives.  That's interesting to me.  I know things were severe, but a great price was paid for their survival. 

 

This reminds me of the time that will come at the end of this age.  Economically, things will get so bad that we will do the same as these Egyptians did.  We will gladly becomes slaves to the state to maintain our own peace and prosperity.  The foundation to this mentality is now being laid.  The present day bail-outs of General Motors, banks, and now even countries, shows this to be true.  We tell the state to bail us out, and we will serve the state.  No matter the cost, people of the world will hand their freedom over to the anti-christ in exchange for a better economy and  personal peace and affluence.

 

In verse 22 we note that the Egyptian priests did not have to sell their land.  They had no need because they received their food from Pharaoh.  They worked for the state.  In our terms today, they were civil servants.  They worked for the government, something the new religious order will do in the days of the anti-christ.

 

Again, we see the shrewdness of Joseph in verses 23 and 24.  He gave the people seed to grow crops.  Yet, since the land was now owned by Pharaoh, a fifth, twenty percent, of the crops had to be given to Pharaoh.  The people's land now belonged to Pharaoh, and part of what was grown on the land was given to Pharaoh.  No wonder Pharaoh liked Joseph so much. 

 

Notice the reaction of the people in verse 25.  This is amazing, and prophetic of what will shortly come to pass at the end of this age.  The Egyptian people were grateful to Pharaoh.  He saved their lives, so they gladly became his slaves.  Once again. bondage for security. 

 

Verse 26 states that the giving of a fifth to Pharaoh became the law of the land that lasted for years and years.  Taxation is nothing new.  Once government takes, it's hard for government to stop taking.

 

Verse 27 appears to tell a different story when it came to Israel.  They were able to buy the land for themselves, something the Egyptians could not do.  He, strangers in a land were better off than those who had always lived in the land.  This would become a problem in later years.

 

In verse 28 we note that Jacob lived a total of seventeen years in Egypt , and then he died. When he arrived in Egypt , it was in the second of the seven years of famine.  This means that he lived in Egypt twelve years after the famine was over. 

 

In verses 29 to 31 we see that Jacob made Joseph promise him that when he died, he would burry his body with his fathers.  The text does not say it here, but we know that would be in Hebron , since that is where Abraham and Isaac were buried.  No Jew would want to be buried in Egypt.

 

To confirm this oath, Jacob made Joseph swear to this by having Joseph place his hand under his thigh. 

 

Note here that Jacob calls Joseph lord.  Here, the father calls the son lord.  How amazing that is when you think of the culture of Israel of the day.  The father was well respected as "the lord of the family', not  so in this case.   Once again, Joseph's dreams are realized.  This reminds me of Jesus Himself.  I'm sure He respected His earthly father Joseph, but like this situation in Genesis, Joseph was to respect Jesus, his adopted son, as his "Lord".    

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