King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Genesis 47

Joseph presents his brethren to Pharaoh. (1-6) Jacob blesses Pharaoh. (7-12) Joseph’s dealings with the Egyptians during the famine. (13-26) Jacob’s age. His desire to be buried in Canaan. (27-31)

Genesis 47 Audio:

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Joseph presents his brethren to Pharaoh

1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.

2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.

3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.

4 They said morever unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.

5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:

6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

Jacob blesses Pharaoh

7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?

9 And 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.

10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.

Joseph’s dealings with the Egyptians during the famine

13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.

22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Jacob’s age. His desire to be buried in Canaan

27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:

30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.

31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. The last. Extremos. Some interpret this word of the chiefest, and most sightly: but Joseph seems rather to have chosen out such as had the meanest appearance, that Pharao might not think of employing them at court, with danger of their morals and religion; (Ch). or in the army, where they might be distracted with many cares, and be too much separated from one another. H. — He took such of his brethren as came first at hand. Vatable.

Ver. 7. Blessed him, Pharao; saying, perhaps, God save the king; or, O king live for ever: thus wishing that he might enjoy all sorts of blessings. M. — It is generally taken in this sense, when men bless one another; but when they bless God, they mean to praise, supplicate, or thank him. C.

Ver. 9. Pilgrimage. He hardly deigns to style it life, as he was worn out with labour and sorrows, and was drawing fast to an end, so much sooner than his ancestors. Isaac had lived 180 years, and was only dead the year before Joseph was made ruler of Egypt. Some had lived above 900 years. H.

Ver. 13. Chanaan. The whole world that was inhabited, and known to the Hebrews, felt perhaps the effect of this raging famine; but the countries here mentioned were the most afflicted. H.

Ver. 14. Treasure, reserving nothing for himself. Philo.

Ver. 15. Wanted. Or “failed both in Egypt and Chanaan,” as the Hebrew insinuates. H.

Ver. 18. Second; or the next year after they had sold their cattle; the fourth of the famine, or perhaps the last, since they ask for seed, v. 19. In that year, Joseph gave back the cattle, &c. to the Egyptians, on condition that they should ever after pay the fifth part of the products of the land to the king, the sole proprietor, who had thus full authority to send them to till any part of his dominions. C.

Ver. 19. Servants. A person may part with his liberty, to preserve life. M.

Ver. 21. People, “he transplanted” from, &c. as the Heb. Arab. &c. now read, by the change of one letter. Herodotus, ii. 108, says, the same person has never a field there two years together. Diodorus 1. also attests, that individuals have no property in Egypt, the land being divided among the priests, the king, and the military. Tradesmen always follow their father’s profession, which makes them very skilful.

Ver. 22. Priests. This was done by the king’s direction, as they were probably idolaters. M. — The immunities of the sacred ministers have been respected both by Pagans, Jews, and Christians; by all who have had any sentiments of religion. Reason dictates that they should live by the altar. They have to labour for the truest interests of the people, and consequently are worthy of their hire. — Which had been given, &c. Inasmuch as their wants were supplied, and the king forebore to claim their land. Heb. “only the land of the priests he, Joseph, bought not.” H. — If infidels did so much for their priests, ought we to do less for those of God? S. Chrys. hom. 65. W.

Ver. 26. This day. When Moses wrote, and long after, as we learn from Josephus. S. Clem. Alex. Diod. &c. C.

Ver. 29. Thigh. To swear, as the steward of Abraham did. C. xxiv. 2. — Kindness and truth. This act of real mercy; or, shew me mercy, by promising freely to comply with my request; and truth, by fulfilling this oath. M.

Ver. 30. Place. Hebron, where Sara, Abraham, and Isaac reposed. C. — Thus he manifested his belief in a future resurrection with his Saviour, who should be born in that land; and he admonished his descendants never to lose sight of it, nor forfeit the promises by their wicked conduct. C. xxiii. 17. M. — He teaches us likewise, to be solicitous to obtain Christian burial. W.

Ver. 31. To the bed’s head. S. Paul, (Heb. xi. 21,) following the Greek translation of the Septuagint, reads adored the top of his rod. Where note, that the same word in the Hebrew, according to the different pointing of it, signifies both a bed and a rod. And to verify both these sentences, we must understand that Jacob, leaning on Joseph’s rod, adored, turning towards the head of his bed: which adoration, inasmuch as it was referred to God, was an absolute, and sovereign worship: but inasmuch as it was referred to the rod of Joseph, as a figure of the sceptre, that is, of the royal dignity of Christ, was only an inferior and relative honour. Ch. — S. Aug. proposes another very probable explanation. He adored God, supporting himself on the top of his staff, or of Joseph’s sceptre, q. 162. The Sept. and Syriac intimate, that Jacob bowed down respectfully towards the sceptre of his son, and thus complied with the explication which he had given to his dream. C. xxxvii. 10. Others, who understand the Hebrew Hamitta, in the sense given to it by S. Jerom, Aquila, and Symmachus, suppose that after he had given his last instructions to Joseph in a sitting posture, growing weaker, he laid his head again upon his pillow. C. —God was pleased to have this recorded in a language subject to such various interpretations; as he, perhaps, would have us to understand, that Jacob literally bowed down both to the bed-head and to the top of the sceptre. For many believe, that the Scripture has often several literal meanings. T. — If the Massoretic points had been known to the Sept. we should not have had this variation. But the learned generally agree, that they are of human, and even of very modern invention.