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Genesis 47

47
1Joseph went to Pharaoh. He told him, “My father and brothers have come from the land of Canaan. They’ve brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own. They are now in Goshen.” 2Joseph had chosen five of his brothers to meet with Pharaoh.
3Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What do you do for a living?”
“We’re shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh. “And that’s what our fathers were.” 4They also said to him, “We’ve come to live in Egypt for a while. There isn’t enough food anywhere in Canaan. There isn’t any grass for our flocks. So please let us live in Goshen.”
5Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6The land of Egypt is open to you. Let your father and brothers live in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. Do any of them have special skills? If they do, put them in charge of my own livestock.”
7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in to meet Pharaoh. Jacob gave Pharaoh his blessing. 8Then Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”
9Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my journey through life are 130. My years have been few and hard. They aren’t as many as the years of my father and grandfather before me.” 10Jacob gave Pharaoh his blessing. Then he left him.
11So Joseph helped his father and his brothers make their homes in Egypt. He gave them property in the best part of the land, just as Pharaoh had directed him to do. That part was known as the territory of Rameses. 12Joseph also provided food for his father and brothers. He provided for them and the rest of his father’s family. He gave them enough for all their children.
Joseph Saves Many Lives
13But there wasn’t any food in the whole area. In fact, there wasn’t enough food anywhere. The people of Egypt and Canaan lost their strength because there wasn’t enough food to go around. 14Joseph collected all the money in Egypt and Canaan. People paid it to him for the grain they were buying. And Joseph brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all the Egyptians came to Joseph. They said, “Give us food. What good would it do you to watch us all die? Our money is all gone.”
16“Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “You say your money is gone. So I’ll trade you food for your livestock.” 17They brought their livestock to Joseph. He traded them food for their animals. They gave him their horses, sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys. He helped the people live through that year by trading them food for all their livestock.
18When that year was over, they came to him the next year. They said, “We can’t hide the truth from you. Our money is gone. Our livestock belongs to you. We don’t have anything left to give you except our bodies and our land. 19What good would it do you to watch us die? Why should our land be destroyed? Trade us food for ourselves and our land. Then we and our land will belong to Pharaoh. Give us some seeds so we can live and not die. We don’t want the land to become a desert.”
20So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. All the people of Egypt sold their fields. They did that because there wasn’t enough food anywhere. So the land became Pharaoh’s. 21Joseph made the people slaves from one end of Egypt to the other. 22But Joseph didn’t buy the land that belonged to the priests. They received a regular share of food from Pharaoh. They had enough food from what Pharaoh gave them. That’s why they didn’t have to sell their land.
23Joseph said to the people, “I’ve bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. So here are some seeds for you to plant in the ground. 24But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. Keep the other four-fifths for yourselves. They will be seeds for the fields. And they will be food for yourselves, your children, and the other people who live with you.”
25“You have saved our lives,” they said. “If you are pleased with us, we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”
26So Joseph made a law about land in Egypt. It’s still the law today. A fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. Only the land belonging to the priests didn’t become Pharaoh’s.
27The people of Israel lived in Egypt in the area of Goshen. They received property there. They had children and so became many.
28Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt. He lived a total of 147 years. 29The time came near for Israel to die. So he sent for his son Joseph. He said to him, “If you are pleased with me, put your hand under my thigh. Promise me that you will be kind and faithful to me. Don’t bury me in Egypt. 30When I join the members of my family who have already died, carry me out of Egypt. Bury me where they are buried.”
“I’ll do exactly as you say,” Joseph said.
31“Give me your word that you will do it,” Jacob said. So Joseph gave him his word. And Israel worshiped God as he leaned on the top of his walking stick.
47
1Then Yosef went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers have come from the land of Kena‘an with their flocks, livestock and all their possessions; right now they are in the land of Goshen.” 2He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” They answered Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our ancestors,” 4and added, “We have come to live in the land, because in the land of Kena‘an there is no place to pasture your servant’s flocks, the famine is so severe there. Therefore, please, let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Your father and brothers have come to you, 6and the land of Egypt lies before you. Have your father and brothers live on the best property in the country — let them live in the land of Goshen. Moreover, if you know that some of them are particularly competent, put them in charge of my livestock.”
7Yosef then brought in Ya‘akov his father and presented him to Pharaoh, and Ya‘akov blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh asked Ya‘akov, “How old are you?” 9and Ya‘akov replied, “The time of my stay on earth has been 130 years; they have been few and difficult, fewer than the years my ancestors lived.” 10Then Ya‘akov blessed Pharaoh and left his presence.
(vii) 11Yosef found a place for his father and brothers and gave them property in the land of Egypt, in the best region of the country, in the land of Ra‘amses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12Yosef provided food for his father, his brothers and all his father’s household, taking full care of even the youngest.
13There was no food anywhere, for the famine was very severe, so that both Egypt and Kena‘an grew weak from hunger. 14Yosef collected all the money there was in Egypt and Kena‘an in exchange for the grain they bought, and put the money in Pharaoh’s treasury. 15When all the money in Egypt had been spent, and likewise in Kena‘an, all the Egyptians approached Yosef and said, “Give us something to eat, even though we have no money; why should we die before your eyes?” 16Yosef replied, “Give me your livestock. If you don’t have money, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.” 17So they brought Yosef their livestock; and Yosef gave them food in exchange for the horses, flocks, cattle and donkeys — all that year he provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock.
18When that year was over, they approached Yosef again and said to him, “We won’t hide from my lord that all our money is spent, and the herds of livestock belong to my lord. We have nothing left, as my lord can see, but our bodies and our land. 19Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be enslaved to Pharaoh. But also give us seed to plant, so that we can stay alive and not die, and so that the land won’t become barren.” 20So Yosef acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, as one by one the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine weighed on them so severely. Thus the land became the property of Pharaoh. 21As for the people, he reduced them to serfdom city by city, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22Only the priests’ land did he not acquire, because the priests were entitled to provisions from Pharaoh, and they ate from what Pharaoh provided them; therefore they did not sell their land.
23Then Yosef said to the people, “As of today I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you to sow the land. 24When harvest time comes, you are to give twenty percent to Pharaoh; eighty percent will be yours to keep for seed to plant in the fields, as well as for your food and for that of your households and your little ones.”
(Maftir) 25They replied, “You have saved our lives! So if it pleases my lord, we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Yosef made it a law for the country of Egypt, valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have twenty percent. Only the property belonging to the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.
27Isra’el lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. They acquired possessions in it and were productive, and their numbers multiplied greatly.
Haftarah Vayigash: Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 37:15–28
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Vayigash: Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 13–15)
Parashah 12: Vayechi (He lived) 47:28–50:26
28Ya‘akov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; thus Ya‘akov lived to be 147 years old. 29The time came when Isra’el was approaching death; so he called for his son Yosef and said to him, “If you truly love me, please put your hand under my thigh and pledge that, out of consideration for me, you will not bury me in Egypt. 30Rather, when I sleep with my fathers, you are to carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” He replied, “I will do as you have said.” 31He said, “Swear it to me,” and he swore to him. Then Isra’el bowed down at the head of his bed.