GRIFFIN COMMENTS GEN 47 (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. Goshen was never considered of any great value to the Egyptians, though it was good fertile ground. The Egyptians were river people and planted their crops along the Nile so they could irrigate the land. That may be a reason they did not care for this portion of their land since it was so far from the Nile. FROM FAMINE TO FRUITFULNESS TEXT: Gen_47:1; Gen_48:22 TEXT: (Gen_47:11) INTRODUCTION: Jacob and his sons and their families finally arrive in the land of Egypt. Joseph's brethren and his father are about to be presented unto Pharaoh. Jacob is also nearing the end of his earthly journey. 1.
THE PRESENTATION TO PHARAOH (Gen_47:1-10) 1.
Their arrival announced.
Their persons presented.
Their occupations declared.
Their purpose explained.
Their wish stated.
Their request granted.
Their promotion indicated.
Their blessings added.
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THE POSSESSIONS IN EGYPT (Gen_47:11-12, Gen_47:27) 1.
A settlement in Goshen.
Food in spite of famine.
Secured in their rights of property.
THE PLAN FOR PROSPERITY (Gen_47:28-31) 1.
Grain exchanged for money.
Grain exchanged for cattle.
Grain exchanged for lands.
THE PROMISE OF JOSEPH (Gen_48:1-22) 1.
To deal kindly and truly with Jacob.
To bury Jacob in the land of his fathers.
THE PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (Gen_48:1-22) 1. The blessing upon Ephraim. 2. The blessing upon Manasseh. 3. The blessing upon both. 4. The blessing upon Joseph. CONCLUSION: Joseph exacts a promise to be buried with his fathers, showing his faith in God's promise. No matter what the outward circumstances may appear, let not your faith in His promises fail you.
(Gen 47:2) And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
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The word “some” here means of the extremity and there has been much conjecture as to what that meant. There were five, and if he meant that he took them from the extreme elements of the family it would have been Reuben and Benjamin for they were the extreme in age, first and last. It would have included wife and concubine, loved and unloved, to include the various elements of the family and give Pharaoh a good idea of what his family consisted of. (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. Joseph had told his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they dealt in cattle instead of saying that they were shepherds because shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, but they said the wrong words anyway, probably from nervousness and having always answered that way when asked. It did not apparently bring about any damage that Joseph had feared, however. (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. They told Pharaoh that they only wanted to sojourn in the land. (H1481 gûr goor) They were not planning to stay permanently, but as the word implies, to turn aside from the road for a while, to lodge among them as a guest. Canaan had been promised to them from the days of Abraham and they knew that eventually they would go there, but for now they wanted to rest in this land. (Gen 47:5) And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: This statement was not to give Joseph information, for Joseph knew it before Pharaoh, but it was the beginning statement of the recognition of the fact to lead into what he would say next. He gives them a land of rest, He gives them a land of safety, He gives them a land of abundance, and He giveth them the best things
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in that land. He not only pardons them, but His pardon is a costly pardon. He not only gives them righteousness, but He gives them a glorious righteousness. (J. H. Evans, M. A.) (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. The land of Goshen was good for cattle and the Nile valley was good for farming, so the two peoples could get along well as far as business was concerned. They both would have the best land for what they were doing. The land of Goshen was marshy and would keep grass greener than other parts of Egypt. Joseph's faithfulness affected his entire family. When he was in the pit and in prison, Joseph must have wondered about his future. Instead of despairing, he faithfully obeyed God and did what was right. Here we see one of the exciting results. We may not always see the effects of our faith, but we can be sure that God will honor faithfulness. (Life Application Study Bible) (Gen 47:7) And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. What a contrast between this Pharaoh and the one in the days of Moses. The patriarch blessed this one and his kingdom was probably much better for it. We know that he treated Joseph well and when he did that God naturally blessed his kingdom. He shows not a particle of shame of his rusticity, Jacob's homespun must have contrasted strangely with Pharaoh's purple; Jacob's uncouth phrases of country-life with the king's polished diction. Joseph knew well enough how such people were ordinarily despised at the court, and yet how he omits no chance to show to Pharaoh how much he loved and honored his father. (F. E. Clark) (Gen 47:8) And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
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Probably out of curiosity as to how old the patriarch was, and as a means of conversation, he asked after his age. Wisdom was associated with age and it is likely Pharaoh hoped to draw some of that wisdom from this great man of God. Dr. Lightfoot (m) thinks Pharaoh had never seen so old a man before, so grave a head, and so gray a beard, and in admiration asked this question. (m) Works, vol. 1. p. 667. (Gill) (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. With the gravity of old age, the piety of a true believer, and the authority of a patriarch and a prophet, Jacob besought the Lord to bestow a blessing upon Pharaoh. He acted as a man not ashamed of his religion; and who would express gratitude to the benefactor of himself and his family. We have here a very uncommon answer given to a very common question. Jacob calls his life a pilgrimage; the sojourning of a stranger in a foreign country, or his journey home to his own country. He was not at home upon earth; his habitation, his inheritance, his treasures were in heaven. (Matthew Henry) There appears to be a greater desire to live long than to live well. Measured by man's desires, he cannot live long enough. Measured by his evil deeds, he has lived too long (Zimmerman) (Gen 47:10) And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. His first blessing probably was more of a salutation and thanksgiving for allowing them to live in his land, and a pray that Godâ€™s hand of prosperity would rest upon him. Then this before he left would be more like that offered when giving a covenant blessing, that the religious purposes would be fulfilled in his life and that he would be associated with God in full and satisfying manner.
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(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. Goshen was a land of healthy, growing vegetation, the best pastureland in Lower Egypt. Goshen lay along the eastern branch of the Nile. It included a part of the district of Heliopolis, or "On," the capital, and on the east stretched out a considerable length into the desert. The soil included within these boundaries was a natural meadow, very rich and fertile and well adapted for the purposes of the Hebrew shepherds (Gen_49:24; Psa_34:10; Psa_78:72). (Gen 47:12) And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families. Ordinarily this land would have supplied all of their needs, but since a famine was going on and would continue for some time, Joseph had to take care of the family, as he had to do for all Egypt. He was indeed the savior of the world at that time, not only the family of God, but the outside world as well. What a glorious fulfillment of his dreams. (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. All over Egypt and Canaan the famine laid very heavily upon the people so that they were at their wits end as to know what to do. They were indeed weary and heavy laden. The severity of the bad weather made all life difficult and men were hard pressed to find a way to survive. All of the economy was slowed down and they had a long time yet to endure it. Thus we learn that all the land “fainted,” because of the famine. The word fainted (H38 56 ּ לההlahahh ̂ lawhah') literally is to go insane, to languish from the exhaustion of the mental and emotional agitation. (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.
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If the world could copy the welfare system used by Joseph, there would be no needs of the people. He was fair and helpful to the people. When money ran out, they bartered with their lands and possessions, and then became servants to Pharaoh until they could buy their way out. Once this cycle was complete they were again owners of their own land. (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. Famine causes disaster on the entire economy. The income had been cut off so there was no outgo. The law of supply and demand require something coming in and production of our resources, so now they were faced with an impasse. Their money was spent and they had no crops coming in. Therefore they came as people usually do asking for a handout. Please give us bread. But Joseph knew that would not work because of the greedy nature of man, so he proposed a plan to barter with them once their money was gone. So why die? (Gen_47:15-19) When He is the "resurrection and life" (Joh_11:25)? (Gen 47:16) And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. Here was the operation of good government. Joseph knew that the welfare of the nation was above any personal aggrandizement. Any leader who understands the give and take of the economy knows that the only way he can prosper is if others are prospering. When he oppresses them there will not be the production that also makes him prosperous, so Joseph begins to buy off their property as they have little more to give, with the idea of getting these people back on their feet, not in possession of their goods. (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.
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Here again we see Joseph as a type of Jesus. He was acting with equity (Isa_11:1-3), and not judging after the sight of his eyes but following the leading of the Spirit of God. One would wonder what Joseph should do with all their cattle, where put them, and feed them, in such a time of drought; though it is probable the number was not exceeding large, since they only fetched one year's provision of bread. (Gill) (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: Joseph was able to work with them in each stage of their poverty, and as matters got worse he kept the line open to help them out of the present dilemma and not make them totally dependent upon the government, and keep an incentive to regain their property later. However, now they had reached the bottom of possessions. All they had left was their bodies and land. Only their bodies were left (Gen_47:18) which we should present (Rom_12:1-2). Joseph bought them (Gen_47:23) even as we have been "Bought with a price" (1Co_6:20; 1Pe_1:18-19). The corn provided food for the hungry and seed for those to go and sow (Gen_47:23) which reminds us of Him who promised 2Co_9:10 and Isa_55:10-11. Water was also given (Genesis 49:22) as Jesus promised water of everlasting life (Joh_4:14). Before Joseph sent these "bought" Egyptians on to the service of the kingdom they had to come in all their need. "We hide it not from our Lord." (Gen_47:18). They were at the end of their resources. When we are at the end of our resources then we have plenty of room for Christ's fullness (Eph_3:19 "of His fullness have we received" Prodigal "had spent all" (Luk_15:14) then he said, "I will arise and go" (Luk_15:18).
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Woman with the issue of blood "had spent all" (Luk_8:43) Then she touched the hem of His garment (verse Luk_8:44) Debtors had nothing to pay (Luk_7:42) Then the creditor frankly forgave them We must bring our empty sacks to Joseph's storehouse. Like the Egyptians, we cannot sow until we have been fed—and we can only scatter what has supplied our need. "he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed." (2Co_9:10). (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. Joseph made slaves of this people. Many would consider this a bad thing, and it may have started something that was abused later, but Joseph did not do this in order that they would be slaves. He made them slaves that they might purchase their property back and become self-sufficient again. Had he simply fed them at the governments expense, they would have never gone back to work and he would have soon had an impossible situation on his hands. But slavery in this case was the best way to handle the problem of poverty and the problem of laziness. (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. It was here that a man with a despotic mind would have taken advantage of this people. Either Joseph or Pharaoh could have at this time established themselves in the riches of others and walked away with everyone’s goods and left them oppressed. But Joseph knew and it appears that Pharaoh knew, that this would be the downfall of the nation eventually. There has to be an independence of people to build a good economy.
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(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. Hunger drives people to work and that is why Paul could tell the Thessalonians that if they did not work they should not eat. The hunger would make them go into action. So here Joseph bought these people and the only way to survive now is to work, first for the government, but keeping in mind that they wanted to buy back their property and be independent again which would happen in a short time after this famine was over. (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 was another reason to believe that this Egyptian Pharaoh was different from most and believed in a religious purpose and spiritual life. He kept a priesthood well maintained. This is the earliest account we have of an established religion supported by the state. (Adam Clarke) (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. I can see a possibility here that I cannot prove, but I hope is what happened. Someway this Pharaoh saw the wisdom of Joseph’s method of operation. Therefore it is my contention that he was often in Joseph’s counsel and was told about the God of Abraham, and the need to abide by the precepts of righteousness. There was no law yet but Joseph lived by the unwritten law of God. It is quite likely he convinced this Pharaoh to do the same. At least we know he went along with all that Joseph did. (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.
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They had given a fifth in the past and that was what was sustaining them now, but in doing so they were at the mercy of Joseph. This was a very dangerous position to be in if his motives had not been right. With a man like Joseph a people could flourish and become a great nation, even if it were Egypt or any other heathen country. We often think of these blessings belonging to God’s people, and in a way they do, but any people who are willing to follow His guidelines will be blessed for doing so. (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. Here was one of the most wonderful results of good leadership in the Bible. A man was able to convince a people to be slaves because he found favor in their sight. He had lived a life of integrity. They could trust him. There is good reason that the Savior of our lives should be the Master of our lives. “Thou hast saved us; do what thou wilt with us.” (Matthew Henry) (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. It is amazing to me that a man in a foreign land could rise in the esteem of the people until they allow him to institute laws to govern that land. I doubt if such has happened very often in history. The vital ingredient in such a possibility is the integrity of the person and his favor with God that can work on every aspect of the undertaking. People like Joseph and Nehemiah show us what can happen when a person honors God and maintains a life of integrity. (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. While Joseph was working out the problems faced by the Egyptians, his own people were feeling the effects of his wise government and prospering in the land of Goshen. How glad they should have been
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now that he “is ruling over us.” It is amazing how things turn around for those who keep their dreams and remain faithful to their God. (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. Joseph was seventeen when he came to Egypt, and now his father spent his last seventeen years with Joseph, so he was with his father as long before his trip to Egypt as he was after his father arrived. He lived just the same term of years with Joseph in Egypt as he had lived with him in Syria and Canaan, Gen_37:2; about two hours' walk from Fium are now to be seen the ruins of an ancient town, which the Coptics say was inhabited by the patriarch Jacob, and for this cause they name it, yet, Modsellet Jacub, or the tabernacle of Jacob (n), which place is supposed to be in the land of Goshen, see Gen_47:11. (Gill) (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: Both Abraham and Jacob used this method of swearing where he requested the partner in the promise to put his hand under his thigh. Jacob's Apprehension WHAT IT WAS. 1. It was not anxiety about temporal support, for that had been generously made sure to him by his son Joseph. 2. It was not concern about the future fortunes of his family, for these had been graciously taken under God's protection. 3. It was not uncertainty as to his own personal acceptance with Jehovah, for of that he had long ago been assured.
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4. It was scarcely even fear of his approaching death, for besides being a thought with which Jacob had long been familiar, to a weary pilgrim like him the event itself would not be altogether unwelcome. 5. It was dread lest his lifeless body should be interred in Egypt, far from the graves of his ancestors in the holy land. (W. Roberts) (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. Abraham had received the promise of a better land and looked for a city whose foundations were built by God. Jacob wanted to be buried with the one who received that promise. It is all one to the Christian where his body is laid. And yet even the Christian has the natural desire to be laid beside his kindred; so that in all our cemeteries we have family lots, and in many of our old country homesteads we come yet upon the quiet and secluded enclosure where the ashes of the first settlers and those of their successors lie. But Jacob's desire that his body should be laid in Machpelah had a deeper root than nature. The land of Canaan was his by God's covenant. He had not yet obtained it. For aught that he could see, he was to die without entering on its possession; but even in his death he would show that he still believed that his children would have its ownership, and therefore he made Joseph swear that he would bury him in the sepulchre of his fathers. (W. M. Taylor, D. D.) (Gen 47:31) And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head. Jacob wanted to be sure that Joseph would return his body to be buried with his fathers, so he insisted on Joseph swearing that he would not leave him in Egypt. He showed appreciation for the hospitality of the Egyptians, and was grateful that they allowed Israel to stay out the famine in their land, but he knew that he belonged to Canaan, the land of Godâ€™s promise.
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