Genesis 47 - Jacob Meets Pharaoh; the Family Settles In Egypt
A. Jacob meets Pharaoh.
1. (1-4) The brothers ask for the land of Goshen.
2. (5-6) Pharaoh gives them the best of the land.
a. Dwell in the best of the land: this blessing is all because of Joseph. He has saved Egypt - and much of the world - from terrible famine, and now the whole family of Israel is blessed and receives an inheritance because of Joseph.
3. (7-10) Jacob blesses Pharaoh.
a. Jacob confessed he was on a pilgrimage. He knew that his real home was somewhere else: heaven.
b. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life is not a cynical statement by Jacob. It is a recognition of the general character of his life (lived in the flesh) and of the length of his life compared both to eternity and to the lives of his ancestors.
c. So Jacob blessed Pharaoh: Pharaoh acknowledges Jacob is a man of God by accepting his blessing. In the Egyptian religion, Pharaoh was no mere man, he was a god. Pharaoh was thought to be the human embodiment of Ra, the sun god. It is all the more remarkable he allows himself to be blessed by Israel!
4. (11-12) Israel takes the best of the land.
a. The family of Israel looks to Joseph, and Joseph only, as their source of provision and supply.
B. Joseph deals with the famine.
1. (13-14) In the early years of the famine, money pours into the treasury of Egypt, because it is the only place to buy food.
2. (15-26) In the later years of the famine, Joseph arranges ways for the people to purchase food with whatever they have to give.
a. In the process, the power and wealth of Pharaoh is multiplied greatly. Often, in times of national crisis, the power of central government increases.
b. Joseph wasn't unfair. He fed the people when they would have starved, and in return asked for one-fifth (20%) annually from the produce of the land. Many people today would be happy with only a 20% tax!
C. Israel anticipates his death.
1. (27) The multiplication of the family of Israel.
a. Grew and multiplied exceedingly is certainly true. In some 400 years, this will be a nation of some two million or more people.
b. Henry Morris calculates the initial group of five (Jacob and his four wives) grew into a clan of about 100 in 50 years (the 100 includes the 70 of Genesis 46:27 plus a few wives of the sons not mentioned and grandchildren). That is a growth rate of just over 6% per year. At that rate, there would be several million descendants by the time of the Exodus 430 years later.
2. (28-31) Israel makes Joseph vow to bury him in Canaan.
a. Israel knew Egypt was not his home. He belonged in the land that was promised to him and his descendants. He clearly believed and understood he was the inheritor of Abraham's covenant.