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Chapter 47

Settlement in Goshen. Joseph 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.” He then presented to Pharaoh five of his brothers whom he had selected from their full number. When Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?” they answered, “We, your servants, like our ancestors, are shepherds. We 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.”(A) Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and your brothers have come to you, the 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.” Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” Jacob 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.”[a] 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and withdrew from his presence.

11 Joseph settled his father and brothers and gave them a holding in Egypt on the pick of the land, in the region of Rameses,[b] as Pharaoh had ordered. 12 And Joseph provided food for his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest.

Joseph’s Land Policy. 13 Since 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, 14 Joseph 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. 15 When 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.” 17 So 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. 18 That 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. 19 Why 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.”

20 So 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, 21 and the people were reduced to slavery, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22 Only 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.

23 Joseph told the people: “Now that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh, here is your seed for sowing the land. 24 But 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.” 26 Thus 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. 27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. There they acquired holdings, were fertile, and multiplied greatly.(B) 28 [c]Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; the span of his life came to a hundred and forty-seven years. 29 When 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. 30 When I lie down with my ancestors, take me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”(C) “I will do as you say,” he replied. 31 But his father demanded, “Swear it to me!” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.[d]

Footnotes

  1. 47:9 Wayfarer…wayfarers: human beings are merely sojourners on earth; cf. Ps 39:13.
  2. 47:11 The region of Rameses: same as the region of Goshen; see note on 45:10.
  3. 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.
  4. 47:31 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 Hb 11:21.

47 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan(A) and are now in Goshen.”(B) He chose five of his brothers and presented them(C) before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”(D)

“Your servants(E) are shepherds,(F)” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while,(G) because the famine is severe in Canaan(H) and your servants’ flocks have no pasture.(I) So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”(J)

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle(K) your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.(L) Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability,(M) put them in charge of my own livestock.(N)

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him(O) before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed[a] Pharaoh,(P) Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.(Q) My years have been few and difficult,(R) and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.(S) 10 Then Jacob blessed[b] Pharaoh(T) and went out from his presence.

11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land,(U) the district of Rameses,(V) as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.(W)

Joseph and the Famine

13 There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine.(X) 14 Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying,(Y) and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace.(Z) 15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone,(AA) all Egypt came to Joseph(AB) and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes?(AC) Our money is all gone.”

16 “Then bring your livestock,(AD)” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.(AE) 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses,(AF) their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys.(AG) And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18 When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone(AH) and our livestock belongs to you,(AI) there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish before your eyes(AJ)—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food,(AK) and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh.(AL) Give us seed so that we may live and not die,(AM) and that the land may not become desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe(AN) for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude,[c](AO) from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests,(AP) because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment(AQ) Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed(AR) for you so you can plant the ground.(AS) 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth(AT) of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.”

25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord;(AU) we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”(AV)

26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth(AW) of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.(AX)

27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen.(AY) They acquired property there(AZ) and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.(BA)

28 Jacob lived in Egypt(BB) seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.(BC) 29 When the time drew near for Israel(BD) to die,(BE) he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes,(BF) put your hand under my thigh(BG) and promise that you will show me kindness(BH) and faithfulness.(BI) Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers,(BJ) carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”(BK)

“I will do as you say,” he said.

31 “Swear to me,”(BL) he said. Then Joseph swore to him,(BM) and Israel(BN) worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.[d](BO)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 47:7 Or greeted
  2. Genesis 47:10 Or said farewell to
  3. Genesis 47:21 Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint (see also Vulgate); Masoretic Text and he moved the people into the cities
  4. Genesis 47:31 Or Israel bowed down at the head of his bed

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