Monday, September 04, 2006

Genesis 47

Genesis 47: The Hebrews settle into their new home in Egypt; Joseph continues to handle the famine

Synopsis

The last chapter ended with the Hebrews getting ready to move to Egypt. The first part of this chapter ends with the conversation between Joseph, Jacob/Israel, and the Pharaoh—I really should have included this piece with the last piece, instead of sticking slavishly to the “one chapter per post” rule.

Anyway, as planned, Jacob/Israel and Joseph tell the Pharaoh that the Hebrews are shepherds, and Pharaoh gives them Goshen to live in:

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.” (verses 5–6)

Also, there is a section which seems to clear up whether Goshen was the best part of Israel—a question I had raised in the last post, because of the Egyptians’ dislike for Hebrews—in verses 11–12:

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

That out of the way, the story of the famine continues. As we had read earlier, in chapter 41, Joseph had stored up grain during the good years, and when the bad years started, he began selling the grain back to the Egyptians. Unfortunately, the Egyptians eventually ran out of money. So Joseph agreed to sell them the food in exchange for livestock.

Eventually, the Egyptians ran out of livestock, too. So Joseph sold them the food in exchange for their land, and their servitude. From that time forward, the Egyptians were required to give the Pharaoh one fifth of all of their produce. They didn’t seem to mind, though:

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

At the end of the chapter, when Jacob/Israel is getting close to death, he brings Joseph to him, and makes Joseph promise not to bury him in Egypt. Instead, he is to be buried in the same land where his fathers are buried.

Thoughts

I don’t have much to say about this chapter. I’m not entirely comfortable with Joseph selling the Egyptians into slavery, to keep them from dying, but oh well.

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