As was planned out in the last chapter, Joseph introduces his brothers to Pharaoh and they admit to being shepherds. The plan works and not only are the Hebrews settled in Goshen, but they are also put in charge of Pharaoh’s own cattle.

Meeting Pharaoh

Joseph selling wheat to the people by Bartholomeus Breenbergh, 1655

Joseph selling wheat to the people by Bartholomeus Breenbergh, 1655

Jacob/Israel is then brought in to meet Pharaoh, and Pharaoh asks him how old he is. Jacob/Israel responds that he is 130 years old, and that “few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning” (Gen. 47:9). This, according to my study bible, “reflects the view that there was an increasing shortening and troubling of man’s life.”

Well, granted that the lifespans are getting shorted, but is it fair to say that they’re more filled with trouble? Abel was murdered, Noah saw the death of everyone outside of his immediate family, and Abraham prostituted his wife twice in supposed fear for his life. As for Jacob/Israel, with the exception of a famine that his family profited from anyway, all his troubles were in some way his own fault.

Big Government

The famine continues and “the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished” (Gen. 47:13). We don’t get an update on what’s going on in the rest of the world, though.

Joseph keeps selling food until no one in either country has any money left. When they come to him begging, he takes all their cattle in exchange for food. The next year, when they come to him again, he makes them trade in their bodies and their land – they are now slaves and all the land in Egypt (except what the priests owned) now belongs to the state. How’s that for Big Government?

Plus, the only reason that the priests were exempt is because they “had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance which Pharaoh gave them” (Gen. 47:22). Sounds like social security! And remember that all of this is part of God’s plan!

Have the Tea Baggers seen this?!

Come over here and grab daddy’s testicles

So the Hebs are “fruitful and multiplied exceedingly” (Gen. 47:27) in Egypt, thanks to Joseph providing for his family “according to the number of their dependents” (Gen. 47:12). This phrase sounds remarkably familiar… Meanwhile, the rest of Egypt starves.

Jacob/Israel goes on another 17 years (that makes 147 years in total). He calls Joseph to him and asks him to “put your hand under my thigh” (Gen. 47:29), which is truly one of the oddest cultural practices I’ve seen to date. He makes Joseph swear to bury him along with his forefathers, and not in Egypt.