This article is part of a series of articles that resulted from my time preaching through the book of Genesis. The commentary on the passage is my own, resulting from hours of research and exegetical study. It is my intent to draw a biblical theology chapter by chapter through the book of Genesis that places the events of the narratives into the broad picture of the entire Bible, demonstrating the progressiveness of theology and the sufficiency of every Word of Scripture. It is my prayer that these articles are helpful to those seeking a better understanding of the book of Genesis and of the Bible as a whole. The sermon series and other resources can be found at www.fbcroxana.com.
1 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2 He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” 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. Now, therefore, please let your servants live 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 at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”
Joseph shrewdly guided his family into a suitable land where they could live and prosper. Pharaoh graciously gave the best of the land of Goshen to the family of Israel. He also had some of their men put in charge of his livestock.
7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. 11 So 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 ordered. 12 Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.
Here was a meeting between the heads of two nations. Though Egypt was more powerful than Israel, and had welcomed Israel as refugees, it was Jacob who blessed Pharaoh…twice! Pharaoh, the ruler of the most powerful nation at the time, deferred to Israel. Pharaoh recognized God’s blessing on the life of Jacob and the wealth of his family, and was blessed by Jacob. This is a picture of Israel’s role among the nations. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God said that Israel would be a blessing to the nations. It would happen as the nations recognized God’s great blessing upon Israel and as they came to worship before Him.
Because of his hospitality toward Israel, Pharaoh became rich and powerful through Joseph’s wise actions.
13 Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14 Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 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, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” 16 Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18 When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19 Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So 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 every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. 22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. 23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. 24 At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” 25 So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26 Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.
So Joseph made Pharaoh rich beyond measure and gave Pharaoh possession of all the land of Egypt. Joseph was not only wise in Pharaoh’s eyes, but in the eyes of the people as well. He was the beloved ruler who had saved them from the famine.
27 Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous. 28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.
During those seventeen years, he had the chance to know Joseph and his sons. How great is the LORD for restoring what had been lost and multiplying it as well! His ways are mysterious and unknown. All that we, His people, can do is trust His wisdom.
Now begins the deathbed scenes of Jacob.
29 When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.” 31 He said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.
God had promised Jacob that Joseph would close his eyes and carry him back to the Promised Land. So now Jacob made sure that Joseph knew that was what needed to happen. So Joseph swore that he would take Jacob’s remains back to the cave that Abraham had bought. He would not be buried beside his wife, Rachel, but beside his wife, Leah.