Pharaoh Meets Joseph's Family
Genesis Forty Seven–


          Joseph wanted the arrival of his family to be handled in a proper manner. He quickly informed Pharaoh that they had arrived with all their possessions and cattle and he told him that they were in Goshen. Joseph chose five of his brothers to see Pharaoh. Why he chose this particular five we are not told. Pharaoh gave them Goshen, the best of the land and he also placed those with ability over his livestock. Joseph also introduced his father to Pharaoh. When Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was, Jacob replied that he had lived 130 difficult years. When they were settled in Goshen Joseph gave them food according to the number in their families. The famine was so bad that the people of the land spent all of their money to buy food. They then gave Joseph their livestock for food. Their livestock only paid for food for one year. Then they came and gave their land for food and the people became slaves for food. So Joseph bought their land and made them slaved to Pharaoh. Joseph gave the people seed and they were to give 20% of their crops to pay Pharaoh. During this time, “Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.” Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt and died at the age of 147 years. Before Jacob died he made Joseph promise that he would not bury him in Egypt, but that he would take him back to Canaan for burial.  

Joseph’s brothers are introduced to Pharaoh – Genesis 47:1-6: Joseph took five of his brothers to meet Pharaoh. We are not told which brothers he picked for this audience with the king. Likely he selected the ones who would make the best impression on Pharaoh. Joseph knew Pharaoh well. He had told them he would ask about their occupation, and immediately he did so. Their occupation would determine where they would be allowed to live in Egypt. They responded, “Sir, we are shepherds.” “Our families have always raised sheep. But in our country all the pastures are dried up, and our sheep have no grass to eat. So we, your servants, have come here. Please let us live in the region of Goshen.” Pharaoh treated Joseph's family with kindness and respect because of his appreciation of Joseph. Joseph was again a blessing to his entire family. Pharaoh told Joseph that it was good that his father and brothers had come. He said they could live anywhere in Egypt, but he suggested the land of Goshen. Goshen was the best part of Egypt. Pharaoh also asked Joseph to select some of his brothers who were hard workers, dependable and the finest shepherds a appoint them to care for his cattle. Remember, soon Pharaoh would own all the cattle in Egypt.

          Jacob is introduced to Pharaoh – Genesis 47:7-12: Joseph also introduced Jacob, his father, to Pharaoh. What a contrast is seen in this meeting. Here is a young king who ruled the most powerful nation in the world at that time and an old patriarch who ruled the small nation from which the Messiah would later be born. Early in their meeting, in a simple but moving statement the Bible says, “Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” In Hebrews 7:7 we read, “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (Hebrews 7:7) This is an especially interesting meeting when viewed from the standpoint that another Pharaoh had kicked Abraham out of Egypt. “Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.” (Genesis 12:19-20) At the time of Joseph the government in Egypt seemed interested in honesty, integrity and decency. After Jacob gave the king his blessings Pharaoh immediate asked Jacob, “How old are you?” Jacob’s answer was very sad, “Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” (Genesis 47:9) The word “pilgrimage” is a great description of Jacob’s life and of our life on earth as well. The writer of Hebrews wrote of the pilgrimage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saying, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:9-10) Jacob said life had been hard and the truth is that he brought many of those hardships on himself. There is no doubt that the lives of these two men had taken far different paths; possibly Pharaoh’s life had been much easier than Jacobs. As Jacob was going out from Pharaoh he again blessed him. Joseph obeyed the king’s orders and gave his father and brothers some of the best land in Egypt near the city of Rameses. He provided food for their families according to the number of people in each family.

The famine was severe in Egypt – Genesis 47:13-26: The famine was very severe in Egypt. The famine brought much more power to Pharaoh and to Egypt. With the exception of the priest and their property the famine changed things for everyone in Egypt. Remember, Joseph’s attitude was that God had sent him here to Egypt to save the lives of his family. The famine was so bad that the people had soon spent all their money for food. Now Pharaoh had all the money in Egypt. Next they traded their cattle to Joseph for food. Now Pharaoh owned all the cattle. Next they gave their land in order to get food. The famine became so severe that Joseph finally bought every piece of land in Egypt for the king and made everyone the king’s slaves, except the priests. The people were allowed to live on the land, but Pharaoh received 20% of everything that was produced there. Even in spite of all it had cost them the people were grateful to Joseph. They said, “Sir, you have saved our lives!” To be ungrateful to one who has saved our life would evil. How much more grateful should we have for Him who, by suffering and death provided a way for the salvation of our soul?

Jacob told Joseph not to bury him in Egypt – Genesis 47:27-31: Genesis 47:27-31 begins the account of the ending of Jacob’s life. During the 17 years that Israel lived in Goshen before his death the Bible says, “Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.” (Genesis 47:27) At this point in the account we are 12 years beyond the time when the famine ended. Jacob lived in Goshen for seventeen years, before dying at the age of one hundred forty-seven. Abraham was 175 years old when he died. (Genesis 25:7) Isaac was 180 years old when he died. (Genesis 35:28) Near the end of his life Jacob made Joseph promise him that he would not allow him to be buried in Egypt, but that he would return his body to Canaan for burial. This last wish must have been a matter of faith for Jacob. He knew that Canaan was the land God had promised to Abraham’s descendants. Joseph demonstrated the same faith at the end of his life, when he made arrangements for his body to be taken back to Canaan. “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” (Genesis 50:24-25) In Hebrews 11:22 we read, “By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.”

When you obey from the heart a form of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus you are made free from sin. (Romans 6:17-18) A form is a pattern to follow to get the desired results. Baptism is that form of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which will save us. In 1 Peter 3:21 Peter wrote, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Just as baptism washed away Paul’s sins in Acts 22:16, it will also wash away our sins as we obey that form of doctrine, the Gospel. If you are willing to truly believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 10:17), repent of sins (Luke 13:3-5), confess faith that Jesus is Christ (Matthew 10:32) and be baptized. (Acts 22:16) The Lord will save you and add you to His church which He purchased with His blood. (Acts 20:28)