Genesis 47The Voice (VOICE)
47 So Joseph went to Pharaoh.
Joseph (to Pharaoh): My father and brothers have arrived from the land of Canaan with their flocks and herds and the rest of their belongings. They are now waiting in the land of Goshen.
2 Now Joseph had chosen five of his brothers and brought them along to present to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh (to Joseph’s brothers): 3 What is your occupation?
Joseph’s Brothers: Your servants are shepherds. We tend sheep and goats as our ancestors did before us.
4 We’ve come to reside in this land as foreigners for a time because there is no place in the land of Canaan for us to pasture our flocks on account of the severity of the famine. Now please, allow your servants to settle in the land of Goshen until this famine is over.
Pharaoh (to Joseph): 5 Your father and brothers have come to you for help. 6 You have the entire land of Egypt at your disposal. Settle your family in the best areas of the land. Let them live in Goshen, and if you know of any who are particularly good at what they do, then put them in charge of my livestock.
7 Then Joseph brought his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh, and Jacob gave Pharaoh a blessing.
Jacob blesses Pharaoh. As we have seen, words spoken as a blessing have great meaning at this time. It may be no more than a greeting spoken, such as “shalom,” which means “peace.” However the story of Genesis prompts us to consider another possibility. In God’s plan to redeem and reclaim His creation, He chooses Abraham and his descendants to be a blessing to all the families on earth. Jacob, Abraham’s grandson and God’s covenant partner, speaks a blessing over Pharaoh that creates a new reality for Egypt and its king. Little does Pharaoh know that this humble nomadic family in need of his help will one day change the course of history.
Pharaoh (to Jacob): 8 How old are you now?
Jacob: 9 I have journeyed through life for 130 years. My life has been short and hard. But they don’t compare with the many years my ancestors traveled this earth.
10 Jacob gave Pharaoh a blessing for a second time and left his presence. 11 So Joseph settled his father and brothers on some of the best land in Egypt—granting them property of their own in a region known as Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed. 12 And Joseph also provided them with food, according to the number of all of their dependents.
13 As time went on, the famine became more severe, and food became scarce in the lands of Egypt and Canaan. The people were starving. 14 Everyone from the lands of Egypt and Canaan spent all the money they had to buy grain. Joseph collected all the money and stored it in Pharaoh’s palace. 15 But when the people of Egypt and Canaan ran out of money, the Egyptians came to Joseph to plead with him.
Egyptians: Please, give us food! Why should we all die here in front of you? Our money is gone.
Joseph: 16 You can pay with livestock then. I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.
17 So the people brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for horses, flocks, herds, and donkeys. That year, he supplied them with food in exchange for livestock. 18 But when that year was over, they came to him the next year.
Egyptians: My lord, we cannot hide the fact that our money is all spent, and now the herds of livestock all belong to you. We have nothing left to exchange for food except our bodies and our lands. 19 Why should we and our land perish now right before your eyes? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We will become slaves to Pharaoh. We will work the land for him. Just please give us seed, so that we can live and avoid dying of hunger and so that the land doesn’t become wild and deserted.
20 So Joseph agreed. He bought up all of the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians sold their fields because the famine was too severe for them to get by on their own, and so all of the land became the property of Pharaoh. 21 As for the people, he made slaves of them, from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 But he did not purchase the land belonging to the priests because they received an allowance from Pharaoh and were able to live off of it. So they didn’t have to sell their land.
Joseph (to the people): 23 See I have done what you asked. I have bought you and your lands for Pharaoh. Now here is the seed you need to sow the land. 24 When the harvest arrives, you will be required to give one-fifth of what you produce to Pharaoh; and four-fifths will be your own to plant the fields and feed your families, households, and children.
Egyptians: 25 You have saved our lives. If it pleases my lord, we are honored to serve as slaves to Pharaoh under these terms.
26 So Joseph made a law regarding the land of Egypt—which stands to this day—declaring Pharaoh is due one-fifth of all the land produces. Only the land of the priests remained personal property.
27 So this was how Israel and his descendants came to live in the land of Egypt, in the region known as Goshen. They acquired property in the area, had children, and their number increased rapidly. 28 Jacob lived another 17 years in the land of Egypt; he lived to be 147. 29 And when Israel was close to death, he called his son Joseph to his side.
Jacob (to Joseph): If I have found favor with you, I need a favor from you. Put your hand here under my thigh. Swear to deal kindly and faithfully with me by honoring my dying wish: please do not bury me in Egypt. 30 When I die let me lie with my ancestors. Take my body away from Egypt, and bury me where they are buried.
Joseph: I will do as you ask, Father.
Jacob: 31 Swear to me.
And Joseph took the oath. Then, Israel bowed down at the head of his bed.
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