Genesis 47: Jacob’s Family Settles in Goshen

1 So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” 2 And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” 4 They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” 5 Then 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 of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

-Not only do they get to live in peace within a land where there is plenty of food but they also get to be put in charge of the Pharaoh’s livestock. Not a bad deal. Goshen is located here not far from the Nile: http://bibleatlas.org/region/goshen.jpg .

7 Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh.

– When it says Jacob “blessed” Pharaoh, the Hebrew word used is “barak” which could also mean to kneel. So this obviously isn’t the same as when Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau even though its the same word. The context suggests Jacob kneeled or paid homage to the Pharaoh as one is expected to do when addressing a king. In other words, Jacob was being polite, courteous, and grateful.

11 Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers 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. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

-”land of the Rameses” is unknown other than being associated with this area of Goshen. Rameses was a city thought to be built by Hebrew slaves so perhaps this came later.

Joseph and the Famine

13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16 And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.

-Joseph is very very clever. He asks for livestock since they could not pay with money so that his family can profit by having more livestock to add to their wealth. God is continuing to take care of the people of Israel by not only keeping them safe but providing them with an abundance in a time of tremendous worldwide famine.

18 And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.” 20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. 21 As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

-Now Joseph’s actions are giving Pharaoh the status of absolute ruler over all of Egypt. Egypt is now a totalitarian dictatorship under the command of a self-proclaimed deity. This is also setting up the future when the Pharaoh will be the sole decider of what is to become of the Israelites when it is time to leave Egypt. For this generation, Pharaoh having all the power is good for the Israelites because he is very friendly towards them because of his favor for Joseph. So this can only help them right now.

23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25 And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

-Consider Egypt just became a “slave-state” because the people are now giving one-fifth (or 20%) in a tax to the federal government. What does that say about the United States when we give 35% to the government? And that doesn’t even include state and local taxes either. And 35% might just be the income tax, what about the social security and Medicare taxes? In California, there’s also a MediCAL tax. It’s amazing we read a story about Egypt becoming servants when they are still better off than we are today in terms of the amount of taxes we pay. But then again, women probably weren’t taken away and defiled or raped, men killed, people robbed, or any of the other dangers based on a percentage of the population at the rate they were in this time as they are now. But it seems like we’re catching up more and more.

27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years. 29 And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

-Athough it says “Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed”, that doesn’t mean he died right then in there as we see we still have a few more chapters to go. It could simply mean he fell to his bed in relief that Joseph swore to uphold this when he died.  This was very important becase even though they are being taken care of and prospering well in Egypt, they all know that Canaan is the promised land and their true home. We’ve talked about before that the people did not have a concept of heaven and hell and believed when you died you simply went to Sheol which is basically hell as we think of it today. The people of this time believed this life was the best there is and so the best hope they had was for a resurrection and so there is a belief among many experts that this was why they wished to be buried with their fathers in the land of Canaan so that God would fulfill His promise by resurrecting them in this land. Because still, it doesn’t appear God has fulfilled His promise because the land still hasn’t been given to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob because they are sojourners and they are sojourning in Egypt as well. At the end of their life, they must have believed they would come alive so that God’s promise would come true. We do know from end times prophesies that this will indeed be true. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will indeed live in the promised land on the New Earth and they will be resurrected except with new bodies that do not age or face death. They will know what it was like for Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden before the fall as will we all.

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