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Genesis 47

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Settlement in Goshen. 1Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers have come from the land of Canaan, with their flocks and herds and everything else they own; and they are now in the region of Goshen.” 2He then presented to Pharaoh five of his brothers whom he had selected from their full number. 3When Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?” they answered, “We, your servants, like our ancestors, are shepherds. 4We have come,” they continued, “in order to sojourn in this land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, because the famine has been severe in the land of Canaan. So now please let your servants settle in the region of Goshen.”#Ex 23:9; Dt 23:8. 5Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and your brothers have come to you, 6the land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and brothers in the pick of the land. Let them settle in the region of Goshen. And if you know of capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” 7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Then Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9Jacob replied: “The years I have lived as a wayfarer amount to a hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been these years of my life, and they do not compare with the years that my ancestors lived as wayfarers.”#Wayfarer…wayfarers: human beings are merely sojourners on earth; cf. Ps 39:13. 10Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and withdrew from his presence.
11Joseph settled his father and brothers and gave them a holding in Egypt on the pick of the land, in the region of Rameses,#The region of Rameses: same as the region of Goshen; see note on 45:10. as Pharaoh had ordered. 12And Joseph provided food for his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest.
Joseph’s Land Policy. 13Since there was no food in all the land because of the extreme severity of the famine, and the lands of Egypt and Canaan were languishing from hunger, 14Joseph gathered in, as payment for the grain that they were buying, all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan, and he put it in Pharaoh’s house. 15When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, pleading, “Give us food! Why should we perish in front of you? For our money is gone.” 16“Give me your livestock if your money is gone,” replied Joseph. “I will give you food in return for your livestock.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and their donkeys. Thus he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock in that year. 18That year ended, and they came to him in the next one and said: “We cannot hide from my lord that, with our money spent and our livestock made over to my lord, there is nothing left to put at my lord’s disposal except our bodies and our land. 19Why should we and our land perish before your very eyes? Take us and our land in exchange for food, and we will become Pharaoh’s slaves and our land his property; only give us seed, that we may survive and not perish, and that our land may not turn into a waste.”
20So Joseph acquired all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. Each of the Egyptians sold his field, since the famine weighed heavily upon them. Thus the land passed over to Pharaoh, 21and the people were reduced to slavery, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22Only the priests’ lands Joseph did not acquire. Since the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived off the allowance Pharaoh had granted them, they did not have to sell their land.
23Joseph told the people: “Now that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh, here is your seed for sowing the land. 24But when the harvest is in, you must give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, while you keep four-fifths as seed for your fields and as food for yourselves and your households and as food for your children.” 25“You have saved our lives!” they answered. “We have found favor with my lord; now we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Thus Joseph made it a statute for the land of Egypt, which is still in force, that a fifth of its produce should go to Pharaoh. Only the land of the priests did not pass over to Pharaoh.
Israel Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh. 27Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. There they acquired holdings, were fertile, and multiplied greatly.#Ex 1:7. 28#47:28–50:26] Supplements to the Joseph story. Most of the material in this section centers on Jacob—his blessing of Joseph’s sons, his farewell testament, and his death and burial in Canaan. Only the last verses (50:15–26) redirect attention to Jacob’s sons, the twelve brothers; they are assured that the reconciliation will not collapse after the death of the patriarch. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; the span of his life came to a hundred and forty-seven years. 29When the time approached for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him: “If it pleases you, put your hand under my thigh as a sign of your enduring fidelity to me; do not bury me in Egypt. 30When I lie down with my ancestors, take me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”#Gn 50:5. “I will do as you say,” he replied. 31But his father demanded, “Swear it to me!” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.#Israel bowed at the head of the bed: meaning perhaps that he gave a nod of assent and appreciation as he lay on his bed. The oath and gesture are the same as Abraham’s in 24:2. Israel’s bowing here suggests the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams in 37:9–10, when parents and brothers bowed down to Joseph (cf. 42:6; 43:26). By using different vowels for the Hebrew word for “bed,” the Greek version translated it as “staff,” and understood the phrase to mean that he bowed in worship, leaning on the top of his staff; it is thus quoted in Heb 11:21.
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Joseph’s Wise Administration
1 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father, my brothers, their flocks and herds, and all that they own have arrived from the land of
Canaan. They are now#tn Heb “Look they [are] in the land of Goshen.” Joseph draws attention to the fact of their presence in Goshen. in the land of Goshen.” 2 He took five of his brothers and introduced them to Pharaoh.#tn Heb “and from the whole of his brothers he took five men and presented them before Pharaoh.”
3 Pharaoh said to Joseph’s#tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brothers, “What is your occupation?” They said to Pharaoh, “Your servants take care of flocks, just as our ancestors did.”#tn Heb “both we and our fathers.” 4 Then they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to live as temporary residents#tn Heb “to sojourn.” in the land. There#tn Heb “for there.” The Hebrew uses a causal particle to connect what follows with what precedes. The translation divides the statement into two sentences for stylistic reasons. is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. So now, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.”
5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best region of the land. They may live in the land of Goshen. If you know of any highly capable men#tn Heb “men of skill.” among them, put them in charge#tn Heb “make them rulers.”sn Put them in charge of my livestock. Pharaoh is, in effect, offering Joseph’s brothers jobs as royal keepers of livestock, a position mentioned often in Egyptian inscriptions, because the Pharaohs owned huge herds of cattle. of my livestock.”
7 Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and presented him#tn Heb “caused him to stand.” before Pharaoh. Jacob blessed#sn The precise meaning of the Hebrew verb translated “blessed” is difficult in this passage, because the content of Jacob’s blessing is not given. The expression could simply mean that he greeted Pharaoh, but that seems insufficient in this setting. Jacob probably praised Pharaoh, for the verb is used this way for praising God. It is also possible that he pronounced a formal prayer of blessing, asking God to reward Pharaoh for his kindness. Pharaoh. 8 Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How long have you lived?”#tn Heb “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, “All#tn Heb “the days of.” the years of my travels#tn Heb “sojournings.” Jacob uses a term that depicts him as one who has lived an unsettled life, temporarily residing in many different places. are 130. All#tn Heb “the days of.” the years of my life have been few and painful;#tn The Hebrew word רַע (ra’) can sometimes mean “evil,” but that would give the wrong connotation here, where it refers to pain, difficulty, and sorrow. Jacob is thinking back through all the troubles he had to endure to get to this point. the years of my travels are not as long as those of my ancestors.”#tn Heb “and they have not reached the days of the years of my fathers in the days of their sojournings.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.#tn Heb “from before Pharaoh.”
11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers. He gave them territory#tn Heb “a possession,” or “a holding.” Joseph gave them a plot of land with rights of ownership in the land of Goshen. in the land of Egypt, in the best region of the land, the land of Rameses,#sn The land of Rameses is another designation for the region of Goshen. It is named Rameses because of a city in that region (Exod 1:11; 12:37). The use of this name may represent a modernization of the text for the understanding of the intended readers, substituting a later name for an earlier one. Alternatively, there may have been an earlier Rameses for which the region was named. just as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 Joseph also provided food for his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household, according to the number of their little children.
13 But there was no food in all the land because the famine was very severe; the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan wasted away#tn The verb לַהַה (lahah, = לָאָה, la’ah) means “to faint, to languish”; it figuratively describes the land as wasting away, drooping, being worn out. because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money that could be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan as payment#tn Or “in exchange.” On the use of the preposition here see BDB 90 s.v. בְּ. for the grain they were buying. Then Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s palace.#tn Heb “house.” 15 When the money from the lands of Egypt and Canaan was used up, all the Egyptians#tn Heb “all Egypt.” The expression is a metonymy and refers to all the people of Egypt. came to Joseph and said, “Give us food! Why should we die#tn The imperfect verbal form has a deliberative force here. before your very eyes because our money has run out?”
16 Then Joseph said, “If your money is gone, bring your livestock, and I will give you food#tn The word “food” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. in exchange for#tn On the use of the preposition here see BDB 90 s.v. בְּ. your livestock.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for their horses, the livestock of their flocks and herds, and their donkeys.#tn The definite article is translated here as a possessive pronoun. He got them through that year by giving them food in exchange for livestock.
18 When that year was over, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We cannot hide from our#tn Heb “my.” The expression “my lord” occurs twice more in this verse. lord that the money is used up and the livestock and the animals belong to our lord. Nothing remains before our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your very eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we, with our land, will become#tn After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with vav here indicates consequence. Pharaoh’s slaves.#sn Pharaoh’s slaves. 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 the 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. Give us seed that we may live#tn After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with vav here indicates purpose or result. and not die. Then the land will not become desolate.”#tn The disjunctive clause structure (vav [ו] + subject + negated verb) highlights the statement and brings their argument to a conclusion.
20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. Each#tn The Hebrew text connects this clause with the preceding one with a causal particle (כִּי, ki). The translation divides the clauses into two sentences for stylistic reasons. of the Egyptians sold his field, for the famine was severe.#tn The Hebrew text adds “upon them.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons. So the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 Joseph#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity. made all the people slaves#tc The MT reads “and the people he removed to the cities,” which does not make a lot of sense in this context. The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX read “he enslaved them as slaves.” from one end of Egypt’s border to the other end of it. 22 But he did not purchase the land of the priests because the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh and they ate from their allotment that Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.
23 Joseph said to the people, “Since I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you. Cultivate#tn The perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive is equivalent to a command here. the land. 24 When you gather in the crop,#tn The words “the crop” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. give#tn The perfect form with the vav (ו) consecutive is equivalent to an imperfect of instruction here. one-fifth of it to Pharaoh, and the rest#tn Heb “four parts.” will be yours for seed for the fields and for you to eat, including those in your households and your little children.” 25 They replied, “You have saved our lives! You are showing us favor,#tn Heb “we find favor in the eyes of my lord.” Some interpret this as a request, “may we find favor in the eyes of my lord.” and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”#sn Slaves. See the note on this word in v. 21.
26 So Joseph made it a statute,#tn On the term translated “statute” see P. Victor, “A Note on Hoq in the Old Testament,” VT 16 (1966): 358-61. which is in effect#tn The words “which is in effect” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. to this day throughout the land of Egypt: One-fifth belongs to Pharaoh. Only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.
27 Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they owned land there. They were fruitful and increased rapidly in number.
28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; the years#tn Heb “the days of the years.” of Jacob’s life were 147 in all. 29 The time#tn Heb “days.” for Israel to die approached, so he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh#sn On the expression put your hand under my thigh see Gen 24:2. and show me kindness and faithfulness.#tn Or “deal with me in faithful love.” Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest#tn Heb “lie down.” Here the expression “lie down” refers to death. with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” Joseph#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said, “I will do as you say.”
31 Jacob#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said, “Swear to me that you will do so.”#tn Heb “swear on oath to me.” The words “that you will do so” have been supplied in the translation for clarity. So Joseph#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity. gave him his word.#tn Heb “swore on oath to him.” Then Israel bowed down#sn The Hebrew verb normally means “bow down,” especially in worship or prayer. Here it might simply mean “bend low,” perhaps from weakness or approaching death. The narrative is ambiguous at this point and remains open to all these interpretations. at the head of his bed.#tc The MT reads מִטָּה (mittah, “bed, couch”). The LXX reads the word as מַטֶּה (matteh, “staff, rod”) and interprets this to mean that Jacob bowed down in worship while leaning on the top of his staff. The LXX reading was used in turn by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews (Heb 11:21).