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Genesis 47

47
1Joseph went to Pharaoh and told him, “My father and brothers with their flocks and herds and everything they own have come from Canaan. Right now they are in Goshen.”
2-3He had taken five of his brothers with him and introduced them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked them, “What kind of work do you do?”
3-4“Your servants are shepherds, the same as our fathers were. We have come to this country to find a new place to live. There is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine has been very bad there. Please, would you let your servants settle in the region of Goshen?”
5-6Pharaoh looked at Joseph. “So, your father and brothers have arrived—a reunion! Egypt welcomes them. Settle your father and brothers on the choicest land—yes, give them Goshen. And if you know any among them that are especially good at their work, put them in charge of my own livestock.”
7-8Next Joseph brought his father Jacob in and introduced him to Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How old are you?”
9-10Jacob answered Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are 130—a short and hard life and not nearly as long as my ancestors were given.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and left.
11-12Joseph settled his father and brothers in Egypt, made them proud owners of choice land—it was the region of Rameses (that is, Goshen)—just as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph took good care of them—his father and brothers and all his father’s family, right down to the smallest baby. He made sure they had plenty of everything.
13-15The time eventually came when there was no food anywhere. The famine was very bad. Egypt and Canaan alike were devastated by the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan to pay for the distribution of food. He banked the money in Pharaoh’s palace. When the money from Egypt and Canaan had run out, the Egyptians came to Joseph. “Food! Give us food! Are you going to watch us die right in front of you? The money is all gone.”
16-17Joseph said, “Bring your livestock. I’ll trade you food for livestock since your money’s run out.” So they brought Joseph their livestock. He traded them food for their horses, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. He got them through that year in exchange for all their livestock.
18-19When that year was over, the next year rolled around and they were back, saying, “Master, it’s no secret to you that we’re broke: our money’s gone and we’ve traded you all our livestock. We’ve nothing left to barter with but our bodies and our farms. What use are our bodies and our land if we stand here and starve to death right in front of you? Trade us food for our bodies and our land. We’ll be slaves to Pharaoh and give up our land—all we ask is seed for survival, just enough to live on and keep the farms alive.”
20-21So Joseph bought up all the farms in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every Egyptian sold his land—the famine was that bad. That’s how Pharaoh ended up owning all the land and the people ended up slaves; Joseph reduced the people to slavery from one end of Egypt to the other.
22Joseph made an exception for the priests. He didn’t buy their land because they received a fixed salary from Pharaoh and were able to live off of that salary. So they didn’t need to sell their land.
23-24Joseph then announced to the people: “Here’s how things stand: I’ve bought you and your land for Pharaoh. In exchange I’m giving you seed so you can plant the ground. When the crops are harvested, you must give a fifth to Pharaoh and keep four-fifths for yourselves, for seed for yourselves and your families—you’re going to be able to feed your children!”
25They said, “You’ve saved our lives! Master, we’re grateful and glad to be slaves to Pharaoh.”
26Joseph decreed a land law in Egypt that is still in effect, A Fifth Goes to Pharaoh. Only the priests’ lands were not owned by Pharaoh.
27-28And so Israel settled down in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property and flourished. They became a large company of people. Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. In all, he lived 147 years.
29-30When the time came for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said, “Do me this favor. Put your hand under my thigh, a sign that you’re loyal and true to me to the end. Don’t bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me alongside them.”
“I will,” he said. “I’ll do what you’ve asked.”
31Israel said, “Promise me.” Joseph promised.
Israel bowed his head in submission and gratitude from his bed.
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.