Genesis 47

 

וַיָּבֹא יֹוסֵף וַיַּגֵּד לְפַרְעֹה וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וְאַחַי וְצֹאנָם וּבְקָרָם וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם בָּאוּ מֵאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וְהִנָּם  47:1

בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן

Gene. 47:1  And Joseph went in and told to Pharoah and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that is theirs have come out of the land of Canaan and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.”                                                              [Return to v. 47:11]

וּמִקְצֵה אֶחָיו לָקַח חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנָשִׁים וַיַּצִּגֵם לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה  47:2

Gene. 47:2  And from among his brothers he took five men and set them before Pharoah.

The use of the word hceq.miW, which is here translated as “And from among …,” appears somewhat strange, and it appears only this once in the bible.  The root noun can have a variety of meanings in this context:  end, extremity, whole, and other meanings not appropriate in this context.  Whole implies everything contained between the ends.  Among is not a really good synonym for it, but it seems to fit the best.  However, I suspect that the choice of word was deliberate on the part of the scribe.  It may indicate that Joseph picked brothers who spanned the ages of all of them.  In other words, he may have selected the oldest -- Reuben, the youngest -- Benjamin, and three others interspersed between them.

וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל־אֶחָיו מַה־מַּעֲשֵׂיכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹה רֹעֵה צֹאן עֲבָדֶיךָ גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַּם־אֲבֹותֵינוּ  47:3

Gene. 47:3  And Pharoah said to his brothers, “What is your Occupation?”  And they said to Pharoah, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.”

The words that are translated as shepherds, !aco h[ero, is singular, literally keeper of sheep.   The subject, on the other hand, your servants, is plural.     More  >>

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹה לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ כִּי־אֵין מִרְעֶה לַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר לַעֲבָדֶיךָ כִּי־כָבֵד הָרָעָב בְּאֶרֶץ  47:4

כְּנָעַן וְעַתָּה יֵשְׁבוּ־נָא עֲבָדֶיךָ בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן

Gene. 47:4  Then they said to Pharoah, “We have come to dwell in the land, for there was no pasture for the flock that is your servants’, for sore is the famine in the land of Canaan.  So now please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”                              [Return to v. 47:11]

וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל־יֹוסֵף לֵאמֹר אָבִיךָ וְאַחֶיךָ בָּאוּ אֵלֶיךָ  47:5

Gene. 47:5  And Pharoah spoke to Joseph saying, “Your father and your brothers have come to you.”

אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְפָנֶיךָ הִוא בְּמֵיטַב הָאָרֶץ הֹושֵׁב אֶת־אָבִיךָ וְאֶת־אַחֶיךָ יֵשְׁבוּ בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן וְאִם־יָדַעְתָּ וְיֶשׁ־בָּם אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל וְשַׂמְתָּם שָׂרֵי מִקְנֶה עַל־אֲשֶׁר־לִי

Gene. 47:6  “The land of Egypt, it is before you.  Make your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land.  They shall dwell in the land of Goshen.  And if you know that there are among them any able men, then appoint them keepers over whatever cattle are mine.”

                                                                                                                            [Return to v. 47:11]

וַיָּבֵא יֹוסֵף אֶת־יַעֲקֹב אָבִיו וַיַּעֲמִדֵהוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְבָרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב אֶת־פַּרְעֹה  47:7

Gene. 47:7  Then Joseph brought in Jacob, his father, and set him before Pharoah, and Jacob blessed Pharoah.

וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל־יַעֲקֹב כַּמָּה יְמֵי שְׁנֵי חַיֶּיךָ  47:8

Gene. 47:8  And Pharoah said to Jacob, “What is the duration of the years of your life?”

וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־פַּרְעֹה יְמֵי שְׁנֵי מְגוּרַי שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה מְעַט וְרָעִים הָיוּ יְמֵי שְׁנֵי חַיַּי וְלֹא  47:9

הִשִּׂיגוּ אֶת־יְמֵי שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי אֲבֹתַי בִּימֵי מְגוּרֵיהֶם

Gene. 47:9  And Jacob said to Pharoah, “The time of the years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty years.  Few and troubled have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not reached the days of the years of the lives of my fathers in the days of their sojournings.”

In this verse, it is more appropriate to literally translate the word ymey> found in two places here, in the middle of the verse, and in the last quarter of the verse, as days of.  Changing the subject, notice how Interesting it is that Jacob contrasts his longevity with that of Abraham and Isaac.  Their ages at their deaths were:  Abraham, 180; Isaac, 175; Jacob, 147.  I imagine that Jacob’s words indicate that he thought he was soon to die.  However, he lived another seventeen years after this.                                                                              [Return to Exod. 1:8]

וַיְבָרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב אֶת־פַּרְעֹה וַיֵּצֵא מִלִּפְנֵי פַרְעֹה  47:10

Gene. 47: 10  And Jacob blessed Pharoah as he exited from before Pharoah.

Now did Jacob bless Pharoah when he first met him and again as he departed?  In v. 47:7, we are told that “… and Jacob blessed Pharoah.”  I believe that there was only one blessing, before Jacob’s parting from Pharoah.  Two blessings make little sense.  Jacob doesn’t do that at any other time in his life.  If I am correct, this makes the phrase in v. 47:7 another of those introductory phrases or verses that I have identified up to this point.  The idea is that the event was being anticipated, and this appears to be a quite common literary style throughout the bible.

Bible scholars have questioned the repetition within three verses.  One conclusion is that the word for blessed in v. 47:7 is to be interpreted as greeted, and that in this verse, asked for permission to leave.  I have some difficulty with this interpretation, as it is not done elsewhere in the bible.  As I state in the previous paragraph, I suspect that the statement in v. 47:7 was introductory, an anticipatory reference to when Jacob would actually do the blessing, that is, in this verse.  What I am trying to describe here is the technique that first appeared in Genesis 1 in which a verse or phrase was identified as an introduction to an event, and then the event was described.  That’s what I think may be happening in vss. 47:7 and 47:10.  There is only one blessing, the one in this verse before Jacob leaves Pharoah’s presence.

וַיֹּושֵׁב יֹוסֵף אֶת־אָבִיו וְאֶת־אֶחָיו וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם אֲחֻזָּה בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּמֵיטַב הָאָרֶץ בְּאֶרֶץ רַעְמְסֵס  47:11

כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה פַרְעֹה

Gene. 47:11   And 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 Pharoah had commanded.

The land of Rameses must be another name for the land of Goshen.  See Gene. 45:10, 46:28, 46:29, 46:34, and 47:1, 47:4, 47:6.

וַיְכַלְכֵּל יֹוסֵף אֶת־אָבִיו וְאֶת־אֶחָיו וְאֵת כָּל־בֵּית אָבִיו לֶחֶם לְפִי הַטָּף  47:12

Gene. 47:12   And Joseph supplied his father and his brothers and all the house of his father food for the mouths of the children.

This verse has some strange Hebrew in it.  The grammar raises questions.  The first word, lKel.k;y>w:, translated by me as “And supplied …,” should take food as its object, but the words “his father and his brothers and all the house of his father” are indicated by the Hebrew to be the objects of supplied.  Is a word missing?  Most bibles with which I am familiar translate the word above as “And fed …,” or “And sustained….” This doesn’t change anything, because in both cases, food should still be the object.  And in both cases, a word must be missing.  The word that seems to be missing is “with” before the word for food.  And this extra word appears in many translations although it is absent in the Hebrew.  Does this constitute another error?  I believe not.  I feel this is another of our scribe’s anticipatory or suggestive verses, letting us know of a sequence ongoing into the future.  The word lKel.k;y>w: can be translatable in a variety of ways, expressing different nuances, such as:  Seized, contained, measured, calculated, sustained, nourished, restrained, endured, and held.  Does it seem reasonable to conclude that the scribe meant most of these at once, thereby giving the impression that Joseph continued in every way he could to help his family -- and at no cost to them?  Perhaps.

וְלֶחֶם אֵין בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ כִּי־כָבֵד הָרָעָב מְאֹד וַתֵּלַהּ אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וְאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָב  47:13

Gene. 47:13   And there was no bread in all the land, for the famine was very oppressive, and the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.

וַיְלַקֵּט יֹוסֵף אֶת־כָּל־הַכֶּסֶף הַנִּמְצָא בְאֶרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם וּבְאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּשֶּׁבֶר אֲשֶׁר־הֵם שֹׁבְרִים וַיָּבֵא  47:14

יֹוסֵף אֶת־הַכֶּסֶף בֵּיתָה פַרְעֹה

Gene. 47:14   And Joseph gathered all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the corn that they were buying, and Joseph brought the money to the house of Pharoah.

וַיִּתֹּם הַכֶּסֶף מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וּמֵאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ כָל־מִצְרַיִם אֶל־יֹוסֵף לֵאמֹר הָבָה־לָּנוּ לֶחֶם וְלָמָּה  47:15

נָמוּת נֶגְדֶּךָ כִּי אָפֵס כָּסֶף

Gene. 47:15   When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, then all the Egyptians came to Joseph saying, “Give bread to us, for why should we die in your presence because the money is gone?”

וַיֹּאמֶר יֹוסֵף הָבוּ מִקְנֵיכֶם וְאֶתְּנָה לָכֶם בְּמִקְנֵיכֶם אִם־אָפֵס כָּסֶף  47:16

Gene. 47:16   And Joseph said, “If the money is gone, give your cattle, and I will give you for your cattle.”

This verse contains a word with a non-inverting vav prefix.  It is hn"T.a,w, translated as and I will give, in the middle of the verse.  The verb is first-person imperfect.

וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־מִקְנֵיהֶם אֶל־יֹוסֵף וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם יֹוסֵף לֶחֶם בַּסּוּסִים וּבְמִקְנֵה הַצֹּאן וּבְמִקְנֵה הַבָּקָר   47:17

וּבַחֲמֹרִים וַיְנַהֲלֵם בַּלֶּחֶם בְּכָל־מִקְנֵהֶם בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִוא

Gene. 47:17   So they brought their cattle to Joseph and Joseph gave them bread according to the horses and according to the flocks of sheep and according to the herds of cattle and according to the asses, and he refreshed them with bread according to all their cattle throughout that year.

וַתִּתֹּם הַשָּׁנָה הַהִוא וַיָּבֹאוּ אֵלָיו בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹו לֹא־נְכַחֵד מֵאֲדֹנִי כִּי אִם־תַּם הַכֶּסֶף   47:18

וּמִקְנֵה הַבְּהֵמָה אֶל־אֲדֹנִי לֹא נִשְׁאַר לִפְנֵי אֲדֹנִי בִּלְתִּי אִם־גְּוִיָּתֵנוּ וְאַדְמָתֵנוּ

Gene. 47:18   When that year was ended, then they came to him for the next year and said to him, “We will not conceal from my lord that if the money is gone and the herds of cattle belong to my lord, we will have nothing left before my lord except only our bodies and our land.  

לָמָּה נָמוּת לְעֵינֶיךָ גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַּם אַדְמָתֵנוּ קְנֵה־אֹתָנוּ וְאֶת־אַדְמָתֵנוּ בַּלָּחֶם וְנִהְיֶה אֲנַחְנוּ  47:19

וְאַדְמָתֵנוּ עֲבָדִים לְפַרְעֹה וְתֶן־זֶרַע וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת וְהָאֲדָמָה לֹא תֵשָׁם

Gene. 47:19   Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land?  Buy us and our lands for bread, and we (with our lands) will become bondsmen to Pharoah.  And give seed that we may live and not die and the land not be desolate.”

This verse contains two words with non-inverting vav prefixes.  They are hy<h.nIw, the second from last word in the top line, translated as and we ... will become, and hy<x.nIw, the sixth from the end of the verse, translated as that we may live.  They are both first-person imperfect verbs.

וַיִּקֶן יֹוסֵף אֶת־כָּל־אַדְמַת מִצְרַיִם לְפַרְעֹה כִּי־מָכְרוּ מִצְרַיִם אִישׁ שָׂדֵהוּ כִּי־חָזַק עֲלֵהֶם הָרָעָב   47:20

וַתְּהִי הָאָרֶץ לְפַרְעֹה

Gene. 47:20   So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharoah, for the Egyptians sold, each his field, because the famine was constant upon them.  And the land became Pharoah’s.

וְאֶת־הָעָם הֶעֱבִיר אֹתֹו לֶעָרִים מִקְצֵה גְבוּל־מִצְרַיִם וְעַד־קָצֵהוּ  47:21

Gene. 47:21   And he had the people pass by him according to the cities, from one extreme of the border of Egypt out to the other.

רַק אַדְמַת הַכֹּהֲנִים לֹא קָנָה כִּי חֹק לַכֹּהֲנִים מֵאֵת פַּרְעֹה וְאָכְלוּ אֶת־חֻקָּם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָהֶם פַּרְעֹה  47:22

עַל־כֵּן לֹא מָכְרוּ אֶת־אַדְמָתָם

Gene. 47:22   Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for a portion was for the priests from Pharoah, and they ate their portion that Pharoah gave to them.  Therefore they did not have to sell their land.

וַיֹּאמֶר יֹוסֵף אֶל־הָעָם הֵן קָנִיתִי אֶתְכֶם הַיֹּום וְאֶת־אַדְמַתְכֶם לְפַרְעֹה הֵא־לָכֶם זֶרַע וּזְרַעְתֶּם אֶת־  47:23

הָאֲדָמָה

Gene. 47:23   Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have bought you and your land this day for Pharoah.  Here is seed for you that you may sow the land.”

וְהָיָה בַּתְּבוּאֹת וּנְתַתֶּם חֲמִישִׁית לְפַרְעֹה וְאַרְבַּע הַיָּדֹת יִהְיֶה לָכֶם לְזֶרַע הַשָּׂדֶה וּלְאָכְלְכֶם וְלַאֲשֶׁר  47:24

בְּבָתֵּיכֶם וְלֶאֱכֹל לְטַפְּכֶם

Gene. 47:24   “And it shall be with the crops, that you shall give a fifth to Pharoah, and the four parts, it shall be for you, for seed of the field and for your food and for those in your houses and for food for your children.”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ הֶחֱיִתָנוּ נִמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינֵי אֲדֹנִי וְהָיִינוּ עֲבָדִים לְפַרְעֹה  47:25

Gene. 47:25   And they said, “You have saved our lives.  May we find favor in the eyes of my lord, and let us be bondsmen to Pharoah.”

The vav prefix to WnyyIh'w> has been considered by bible scholars to be either inverting or non-inverting (primarily inverting).  This translation assumes it to be inverting.  If it is non-inverting, the translation becomes “…. May we find favor in the eyes of my lord that we are bondsmen to Pharoah.”  In my opinion, this is a normal occurrence of an inverting vav, because the first-person verb is perfect, not imperfect.

וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָהּ יֹוסֵף לְחֹק עַד־הַיֹּום הַזֶּה עַל־אַדְמַת מִצְרַיִם לְפַרְעֹה לַחֹמֶשׁ רַק אַדְמַת הַכֹּהֲנִים לְבַדָּם  47:26

לֹא הָיְתָה לְפַרְעֹה

Gene. 47:26   And Joseph made it for a statute until this day: “Concerning the land of Egypt, a fifth is for Pharoah.”  Only the land of the priests alone was not for Pharoah.

וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן וַיֵּאָחֲזוּ בָהּ וַיִּפְרוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ מְאֹד  47:27

Gene. 47:27   And Israel dwelled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they took possession of it, and they were fruitful and they increased exceedingly.

This verse is another example of a reversed description of the order of events.  Notice that Israel dwelled first and then took possession.  Unless one is a temporary renter, one has to take possession before one can dwell.  Additionally, note that Israel apparently did not have to sell their land for food and grain or give one-fifth to Pharoah.

וַיְחִי יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וַיְהִי יְמֵי־יַעֲקֹב שְׁנֵי חַיָּיו שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וְאַרְבָּעִים וּמְאַת  47:28

שָׁנָה

Gene. 47:28   And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years.  So the time of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred years and forty-seven years.

                                                                                [Return to Gene. 48:1]                  [Return to Exod. 1:8]

וַיִּקְרְבוּ יְמֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל* לָמוּת וַיִּקְרָא לִבְנֹו לְיֹוסֵף וַיֹּאמֶר לֹו אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ שִׂים־נָא יָדְךָ  47:29

תַּחַת יְרֵכִי וְעָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת אַל־נָא תִקְבְּרֵנִי בְּמִצְרָיִם

Gene. 47:29   And the time of Israel drew near for dying, so he called to his son, to Joseph, and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please put your hand under my thigh that you will deal kindly and truly with me:  I pray you, you must not bury me in Egypt.”

וְשָׁכַבְתִּי עִם־אֲבֹתַי וּנְשָׂאתַנִי מִמִּצְרַיִם וּקְבַרְתַּנִי בִּקְבֻרָתָם וַיֹּאמַר אָנֹכִי אֶעֱשֶׂה כִדְבָרֶךָ  47:30

Gene. 47:30   “When I will sleep with my fathers, then you shall carry me from Egypt and bury me in their burying place.”  And he said, “I will do according to your word.”

וַיֹּאמֶר הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי וַיִּשָּׁבַע לֹו וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה  47:31

Gene. 47:31   And he said, “Swear to me.”  So he swore to him.  And Israel bowed down on top of the bed.

 

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