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Genesis 45-47

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Genesis Chapter 45

"Then Joseph [see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph] could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, "Make every one go out from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers [see Children of Jacob]. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it." (Genesis 45:1-2 RSV)

Pharaoh When Joseph at last revealed his identity, it opened a whole new set of concerns for his brothers. They went from dealing with a harsh foreign leader to their own brother who they themselves had treated very harshly years ago. Joseph reassured them however that it was actually The Lord (see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD) that had brought it all about.

"So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, I pray you." And they came near.

And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.

So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh [see Egypt's Royal House], and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Make haste and go up to my father and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry; you shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have; and there I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come; lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty.'" (Genesis 45:4-11 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 46

Joseph's brothers returned home with the good news. As Joseph said, The Lord had brought it about; The Lord then spoke to Jacob that going to Egypt was His will.

The Land Of Goshen

"So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac [see also Isaac's Faith And Obedience].

And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob."

And he said, "Here am I."

Then He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes."

Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their cattle and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt." (Genesis 46:1-7 RSV)

And so the Israelites entered The Land Of Goshen where they received a royal welcome from the Prime Minister who was one of their own family.

All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own offspring, not including Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all; and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, that came into Egypt, were seventy.

He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to appear before him in Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. Then Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while." (Genesis 46:26-29 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 47

So the Israelites were given to settle in Goshen by the Pharaoh himself, a part of the fertile, well-watered Nile Delta region.

Produce of the Land

"Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen; and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my cattle." (Genesis 47:5-6 RSV)

The famine then came in full intensity. Contrary to what is popularly believed, Egypt itself was very hard hit by the famine, as warned in the Pharaoh's dream (see also Joseph's Dreams) that Joseph had interpreted i.e. "It is as I told Pharaoh, God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of that famine which will follow, for it will be very grievous." (Genesis 41:28-31 RSV). What saved Egypt was the warning that enabled them to prepare strategic food reserves that were sold, not grown, during the famine.

"Now there was no food in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and The Land Of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up 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." (Genesis 47:13-14 RSV)

A destroyed economy and high prices from the law of supply and demand resulted in the people of Egypt themselves reduced to servitude to the government. Ironically, it was an Israelite Prime Minister who held the people of Egypt in slavery at that time.

"So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them. The land became Pharaoh's; and as for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other." (Genesis 47:20-21 RSV)

Fact Finder: The Exodus did not occur until about 400 years after Joseph's lifetime. Nevertheless, did Moses see to it that Joseph took part in the Exodus?
See Joseph's Bones


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