corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Genesis 47

 

 

Verses 1-12

The migration to Egypt (46:1-47:12)

As they were leaving Canaan for Egypt, Jacob and his family stopped to worship God at Beersheba, the last town in Canaan. Here God told Jacob that, though he would die in Egypt, his descendants would one day return and possess the land (46:1-4). Jacob's family, at the time of the move to Egypt, numbered about seventy people (5-27).

Knowing that Egyptians did not like to live alongside people who kept sheep or cattle, Joseph told his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they were keepers of both sheep and cattle and that they had brought their flocks and herds with them. This would ensure that Pharaoh gave them a territory separate from the Egyptians, where they could live together and multiply without their culture and religion being too easily corrupted by the Egyptians (28-34). Joseph's plan again succeeded, and the family settled in the fertile land of Goshen near the mouth of the river Nile (47:1-12).


Verses 13-26

Joseph's economic policy (47:13-26)

If Joseph had not planned wisely, the seven-year famine would have ruined Egypt and Canaan. He gave the people food in return for their money (13-15), then, when they had no money, in return for their animals (16-17), then, when they had no animals, in return for their land and even themselves (18-19). In the end all the land belonged to the government and everybody worked for the government, but in return Joseph gave the people land and seed for farming (20-24).

Joseph's policy may have appeared to be hard-hearted at first, but in time the people discovered that it saved them from disaster. Soon they were producing good crops again, though they had to pay the usual tax to the government (25-26).


Verse 27

Words for Joseph and his sons (47:27-48:22)

By insisting that Joseph bury him at Machpelah, Jacob showed his faith in God's promises. He knew that Canaan would become the land of his people (27-31; cf. 23:17-20; 35:12; 46:4).

Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were by now about twenty years old (see 41:50; 45:6; 47:28), and Joseph wanted his father to bless them before he died. This blessing was more than an expression of good wishes; it was an announcement believed to carry with it the power to make the blessing come true. Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, raising them to the status of sons. This gave Joseph the birthright that Reuben had lost, for now Joseph, through his two sons, would receive twice the inheritance of Jacob's other sons (48:1-7; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2).

Both of Joseph's sons would become heads of tribes in Israel, though the tribe of the younger son Ephraim would be greater than that of Manasseh (8-20). Jacob also gave to Joseph his plot of ground near Shechem, which was the one piece of land he owned in Canaan (21-22; cf. 33:19; 34:26-29; John 4:5).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 47:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/genesis-47.html. 2005.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology