Genesis 47

Joseph works well for his master Pharaoh

1 Joseph went to Pharaoh. He told him, ‘My father and brothers have arrived from Canaan. They have come with their animals and everything that belongs to them. They are now in Goshen.’ 2 Joseph took five of his brothers to go with him to meet Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, ‘What is your job?’ The brothers replied, ‘We are shepherds, sir. We take care of animals, just like our ancestors did.’ 4 They also said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to stay here for a short time because there is a bad famine in Canaan. Our animals do not have any grass to eat there. Please sir, let us stay in Goshen.’

5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have now come to you. 6 The whole land of Egypt is here for them. Your fathers and brothers should stay in the best part of the land. They may live in Goshen. You should choose the best shepherds from among them to take care of my own animals.’

7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob to meet Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Then Pharaoh asked Jacob, ‘How old are you?’ 9 Jacob replied, ‘I have been alive for 130 years. My years have been few, and they have been difficult. I have not lived for as long as my ancestors lived.’ 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again and he left.

47:9Abraham lived for 175 years (Genesis 25:7). And Isaac lived for 180 years (Genesis 35:28).

11 So, Joseph helped his father and his brothers to make their home in Egypt. He gave them a good place to live in the best region of Egypt. This was in the region that is now called Rameses. Joseph did for his family what Pharaoh had told him to do.

47:11Rameses is the Egyptian name for Goshen.

12 Joseph also sent food to his father, his brothers and all his father's people. He gave them enough food for themselves and all their children.

13 But because the famine was bad, no food grew in all of Egypt. As a result, the people of Egypt and Canaan became hungry and weak. 14 Joseph received money from the people when he sold food to them. He took all the money to Pharaoh's palace. 15 Soon the people of Egypt and Canaan did not have any more money. All the Egyptians went to Joseph and they said, ‘Give us food to eat. If not, we will die! We do not have any more money.’

16 Joseph said to the people, ‘If you have no money, bring me your animals. I will give you food if you pay me with your animals instead of money.’ 17 So the people brought their animals to Joseph. They brought horses, sheep, goats, cows and donkeys. Joseph sold food to them in return for their animals. In that way, he sold enough food for them to eat that year.

18 When that year finished, the people came to Joseph again. They said to him, ‘Sir, you know that we do not have any money. Our animals now belong to you. We have nothing left to give to you. We only have our land and our own bodies. 19 Do not let us die here and now! Do not destroy our land! If you give food to us, we will pay you with ourselves and with our land. We will become Pharaoh's slaves. Our land will become Pharaoh's land. Give us grain to eat and seed to plant. Then we will not die. Our fields will not be empty.’

20 Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. Because the famine was very bad, all the Egyptians sold their fields to buy food. So all the land now belonged to Pharaoh. 21 Joseph made all the people become slaves, wherever they lived in Egypt. 22 But Joseph did not buy the land which belonged to the priests. Pharaoh himself gave the priests enough food. So the priests did not have to sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, ‘Now I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh. So I will give you some seed to plant in your fields. 24 But when the plants are ready to eat, you must give one fifth part to Pharaoh. You may keep the other four parts. You may keep it for seed to plant again and you may eat it. It will be food for you, for your people and for your children.’ 25 The people said, ‘You have saved our lives! Because you have been kind to us, we agree to become Pharaoh's slaves.’

26 So Joseph made a law which everybody in Egypt has to obey. The law says that one fifth of all food that people grow belongs to Pharaoh. Only the priests' land did not become Pharaoh's land. This law still has authority today.

47:26‘still has authority today’ means that the law was still there when Genesis was written.

27 The Israelites stayed in Egypt, in the region called Goshen. They had their own land there. They gave birth to many children so that they became very many people.

28 Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years. His whole life was 147 years. 29 The time came for him to die. So he called his son Joseph to come to him. Jacob said to him, ‘If you agree, make a serious promise to me. Put your hand between my legs to show that I can trust you. Promise that you will be kind to me and that you will do as I ask. When I die, do not bury me here in Egypt. 30 Carry my body out of Egypt. Bury me in the grave of my ancestors.’ Joseph said, ‘I will do as you say.’ 31 Jacob said, ‘Promise me that you will do this.’ Then Joseph made a promise to him. After that, Jacob rested on his bed and he thanked God.

47:29Joseph put his hand between Jacob's legs. He was promising to do as Jacob asked. See also Genesis 24:2.