Genesis
1-6 The Brothers with Pharaoh 7-10 Jacob with Pharaoh 11-12 Joseph Takes Care of His Family 13-21 Joseph Buys Everything for Pharaoh 22 The Priests 23-26 The Part for Pharaoh 27-31 Jacob’s Last Years of Life
The Brothers with Pharaoh

1Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” 4They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”

Joseph tells Pharaoh about the arrival of his family and the place he assigned them in the land of Goshen. He is not ashamed of them (cf. Heb 2:1111For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one [Father]; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,). Joseph took five of his brothers with him. The names are not mentioned. The emphasis is therefore on the number five. Five is the number of responsibility, what a person does. Pharaoh’s question is: “What is your occupation?” They say they are shepherds. It means caring for what is weak and unable to ward off danger. The Lord Jesus is “the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11,1411“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.14I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,), “the Great Shepherd” (Heb 13:2020Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, [even] Jesus our Lord,) and “the Chief Shepherd” (1Pet 5:44And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.). He cares for all believers, whom He calls “My sheep” (Jn 10:2727My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;).

The brothers say that they have come to live in the land as sojourners. It is not their intention to settle there, because their actual residence is in Canaan. They want to stay in Egypt as long as the hunger lasts.

Pharaoh tells Joseph that his family can live in the land of Goshen. The consent of Pharaoh is in accordance with Joseph’s wish. Thus the Father accepts every request the Son makes to those who belong to Him. The best of the land is for his family. With their request to live in the land of Goshen, the brothers are following on from what Pharaoh has already promised Joseph. In this way God wants to give us what He has intended to give us in His counsel on the basis of our prayer.

Pharaoh asked Joseph to ensure that capable shepherds from his family are put in charge of his livestock. The Lord Jesus has given the church “shepherds” (Eph 4:1111And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers,). They have a responsibility to look after the livestock (1Pet 5:22shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to [the will of] God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;; Acts 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.).


Jacob with Pharaoh

7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence.

Joseph introduces not only his brothers to Pharaoh, but also his father Jacob. He is not ashamed of his old, crippled father. This is a lesson for all young people who have risen higher in life than their parents. Jacob may be an old poor greybeard, but he is rich in God.

As for the years of his life, he is beaten by his fathers, who have all grown older than he: Terah–205; Abraham–175; Isaac–180; Jacob–147. But he is aware of the preserving grace of God in his life. He is also aware that he has been a sojourner all his life and confesses this before Pharaoh (Heb 11:1313All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.).

Jacob is, by the promises made by God, the superior of Pharaoh. He is aware of this and as such blesses Pharaoh, at the time the most powerful man on earth. “Without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater” (Heb 7:77But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.). We see the same scene when Paul, a prisoner standing before Festus, addresses King Agrippa (Acts 26:2929And Paul [said], “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”).


Joseph Takes Care of His Family

11So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.

Joseph takes care of his father and his brothers. He gives them the best part in the land of Egypt. This is according to the command of Pharaoh. Everything the Lord Jesus does for His own is in perfect accordance with the Father’s will. His care goes out to old and young, great and small, that everyone gets what he needs. No one is forgotten.

Every member of his family experiences the care of Joseph. There is personal attention for each member. This is an important lesson for the care in the church.


Joseph Buys Everything for Pharaoh

13Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph gathered 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. 15When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For [our] money is gone.” 16Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you [food] for your livestock, since [your] money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.” 20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other.

Joseph uses his position as lord over everything to bring everything into complete submission to Pharaoh. He does this by submitting everything to himself: first the money (verse 1515When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For [our] money is gone.”), then the livestock (verses 16-1716Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you [food] for your livestock, since [your] money is gone.”17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.), finally the people themselves and their land (verses 18-2018When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands.19Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s.). Thus, everything becomes subservient to Pharaoh. In the same way, the Lord Jesus will soon submit all things to God (1Cor 15:24-2824then [comes] the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.26The last enemy that will be abolished is death.27For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.28When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.). He bought everything for God (Rev 5:99And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.; Mt 13:4444“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid [again]; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.; 2Pet 2:11But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.).

Joseph’s actions are not at the expense of the welfare of the Egyptians, but are in fact for their benefit (verse 2525So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”). The blessing of man lies in fact in delivering himself with everything he has to the Lord Jesus.


The Priests

22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land.

There is a group of people who are not subjected to Joseph: the priests. That reminds us of the believers of the church now. They are priests (1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.). When soon everything will be submitted to the Lord Jesus, the church will be excluded. The church may reign with Him: “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22,10-1110with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is,] the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,).


The Part for Pharaoh

23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, [here] is seed for you, and you may sow the land. 24At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” 25So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt [valid] to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

Following the salvation that Joseph worked on and through which their lives were saved, he now gives the people what they need to stay alive. Thus is the Lord Jesus also for all who belong to Him. He not only saves, but gives everything needed to live for Him. “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2Pet 1:33seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.).

We have been given life and everything necessary to live for God. To this end He has given us seed, which is the Word of God, which we may sow and which means nourishment for us. First the part for Pharaoh must be set aside. We must always be aware that God has the first rights to everything (Pro 3:99Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
).


Jacob’s Last Years of Life

27Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous. 28Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. 29When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.” 31He said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed [in worship] at the head of the bed.

Jacob said of the first hundred and thirty years of his life to Pharaoh: “Few and unpleasant have been the years of my life” (verse 99So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.”). That is because he had not accepted the guidance of the LORD, but had gone his own way. For this reason his life years have not “attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning”.

Isaac has not left the land and, as far as Scripture tells us, has had no particular difficulties. Abraham’s life was for the most part in the favor of and fellowship with God. Jacob did not understand that God wanted to lead him in love and did not experience that leadership. He did not rely on God, but thought he had to take care of himself to get what God promised him. So he came to Egypt after one hundred and thirty years.

However, in the last seventeen years of his life, years he spent with Joseph in Egypt, he grew towards an end that was more glorious than that of his fathers. In the way of faith he stays behind with Abraham and Isaac, but his end is better. We have no record of the deathbed of Abraham or Isaac. We read extensively about the deathbed of Jacob. That is to show how ultimately the grace of God triumphs over this man. It is the culmination of God’s patient work of discipline.

“When the time for Israel to die drew near” (verse 2929When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt,). The end of his walk is nearby (cf. Heb 13:77Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.). He calls Joseph and tells him to lay his hand under his thigh. At his thigh he is beaten at Penuel (Gen 32:2525When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.) and since then he walks crippled. He is constantly reminded in his walk of his struggle with God. Now he is where God wants him to be.

Jacob makes Joseph swear that he will be buried in the land. He wants to be buried with a view to the resurrection and to all the vows made by God in connection with the land of promise. The Lord Jesus also answers the question of the resurrection by referring to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He adds: “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Mt 22:31-3231But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God:32‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”). By this He says that the patriarchs live for God although they have died and that they will live in the resurrection and inherit the promises.

Joseph declares with an oath that he will fulfill his father’s wish. Here too Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus, for through Him all the promises of God will be fulfilled.

“Then Israel bowed [in worship] at the head of the bed” (verse 3131He said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed [in worship] at the head of the bed.). He pledged Joseph at his word. This gives him peace and he can worship. This verse is quoted in Hebrews 11. There it is translated with: “And worshiped, [leaning] on the top of his staff” (Heb 11:2121By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, [leaning] on the top of his staff.). The staff speaks of the support he needed on his way of life. He did not want to accept this support at first. He wanted to do everything himself. Since God struck him at the thigh, the staff has been an indispensable part of his life. Here he acknowledges that God has been his support and that leads him to worship.

His death is marked by worship of God and the distribution of blessing to his descendants. The latter we see in the following chapters. Is there a better ending imaginable?


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