Genesis 47: Joseph Settles His Family in Egypt; Joseph Acquires All of Egypt’s Possessions; Jacob Prepares to Die

farmer grain pile wheat harvest agriculture

Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Joseph’s family meets Pharaoh and settles in Goshen/Rameses. Due to the severity of the famine, the people of Egypt give all of their money, livestock, and land to Joseph and Pharaoh. Jacob makes Joseph promise to bury him with his ancestors in Hebron.

II. Photo

Joseph acquires all of the farmland in Egypt: “So Joseph gained possession of all the farm land of Egypt for Pharaoh, every Egyptian having sold his field because the famine was too much for them; thus the land passed over to Pharaoh.” (v. 20)

III. Outline

1-12. Joseph settles his family in Goshen

1-2. Joseph presents five of his brothers to Pharaoh, telling him they live in Goshen

3-6. Pharaoh permits Joseph’s brothers to live there and asks that they shepherd his flock

7-10. Jacob meets pharaoh, telling him he is only 130 years old

11-12. Summary: Joseph fed his family and settled them in the land of Rameses

13-26. Joseph acquires all of Egypt’s wealth and land for Pharaoh

13. Introduction: the famine was severe

14. Joseph collected all the money in the land as payment for rations

15-17. Joseph next collects livestock for rations

18-21. Joseph next acquires all the land in Egypt for rations

22. Note: Joseph did not collect land from the priests, who had been given land by Pharaoh

23-25. Joseph enters into a serf relationship with the people of Egypt, who must give 1/5 of their produce to Pharaoh

26. Joseph’s law of 1/5 is still

27-31. Jacob prepares to die

27. Israel’s (called such) family grew and prospered in Egypt

28. Jacob (called such) lived for 17 more years for a total of 147

29-31. Jacob has Joseph vow to bury him with his ancestors [in Hebron]

IV. Select Verses

5-6: Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “As regards your father and your brothers who have come to you, the land of Egypt is open before you: settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them stay in the region of Goshen. And if you know any capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

8-9: Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How many are the years of your life?” And Jacob answered Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourn [on earth] are one hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been the years of my life, nor do they come up to the life spans of my fathers during their sojourns.”

23-26: Then Joseph said to the people, “Whereas I have this day acquired you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you to sow the land. And when harvest comes, you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be yours as seed for the fields and as food for you and those in your households, and as nourishment for your children.”  And they said, “You have saved our lives! We are grateful to my lord, and we shall be serfs to Pharaoh.” And Joseph made it into a land law in Egypt, which is still valid, that a fifth should be Pharaoh’s; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

28-31: Jacob lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt, so that the span of Jacob’s life came to one hundred and forty-seven years. And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “Do me this favor, place your hand under my thigh as a pledge of your steadfast loyalty: please do not bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my fathers, take me up from Egypt and bury me in their burial-place.” He replied, “I will do as you have spoken.” And he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.

V. Comment

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VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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