Settlement in Goshen. 1Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers have come from the land of Canaan, with their flocks and herds and everything else they own; and they are now in the region of Goshen.” 2He then presented to Pharaoh five of his brothers whom he had selected from their full number. 3When Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?” they answered, “We, your servants, like our ancestors, are shepherds. 4We have come,” they continued, “in order to sojourn in this land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, because the famine has been severe in the land of Canaan. So now please let your servants settle in the region of Goshen.”a 5Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and your brothers have come to you, 6the land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and brothers in the pick of the land. Let them settle in the region of Goshen. And if you know of capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” 7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Then Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9Jacob replied: “The years I have lived as a wayfarer amount to a hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been these years of my life, and they do not compare with the years that my ancestors lived as wayfarers.”* 10Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and withdrew from his presence.
11Joseph settled his father and brothers and gave them a holding in Egypt on the pick of the land, in the region of Rameses,* as Pharaoh had ordered. 12And Joseph provided food for his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest.
Joseph’s Land Policy. 13Since there was no food in all the land because of the extreme severity of the famine, and the lands of Egypt and Canaan were languishing from hunger, 14Joseph gathered in, as payment for the grain that they were buying, all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan, and he put it in Pharaoh’s house. 15When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, pleading, “Give us food! Why should we perish in front of you? For our money is gone.” 16“Give me your livestock if your money is gone,” replied Joseph. “I will give you food in return for your livestock.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and their donkeys. Thus he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock in that year. 18That year ended, and they came to him in the next one and said: “We cannot hide from my lord that, with our money spent and our livestock made over to my lord, there is nothing left to put at my lord’s disposal except our bodies and our land. 19Why should we and our land perish before your very eyes? Take us and our land in exchange for food, and we will become Pharaoh’s slaves and our land his property; only give us seed, that we may survive and not perish, and that our land may not turn into a waste.”
20So Joseph acquired all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. Each of the Egyptians sold his field, since the famine weighed heavily upon them. Thus the land passed over to Pharaoh, 21and the people were reduced to slavery, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22Only the priests’ lands Joseph did not acquire. Since the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived off the allowance Pharaoh had granted them, they did not have to sell their land.
23Joseph told the people: “Now that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh, here is your seed for sowing the land. 24But when the harvest is in, you must give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, while you keep four-fifths as seed for your fields and as food for yourselves and your households and as food for your children.” 25“You have saved our lives!” they answered. “We have found favor with my lord; now we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Thus Joseph made it a statute for the land of Egypt, which is still in force, that a fifth of its produce should go to Pharaoh. Only the land of the priests did not pass over to Pharaoh.
Israel Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh. 27Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. There they acquired holdings, were fertile, and multiplied greatly.b 28* Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; the span of his life came to a hundred and forty-seven years. 29When the time approached for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him: “If it pleases you, put your hand under my thigh as a sign of your enduring fidelity to me; do not bury me in Egypt. 30When I lie down with my ancestors, take me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”c “I will do as you say,” he replied. 31But his father demanded, “Swear it to me!” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.*
* [47:9] Wayfarer…wayfarers: human beings are merely sojourners on earth; cf. Ps 39:13.
* [47:11] The region of Rameses: same as the region of Goshen; see note on 45:10.
* [47:28–50:26] Supplements to the Joseph story. Most of the material in this section centers on Jacob—his blessing of Joseph’s sons, his farewell testament, and his death and burial in Canaan. Only the last verses (50:15–26) redirect attention to Jacob’s sons, the twelve brothers; they are assured that the reconciliation will not collapse after the death of the patriarch.
* [47:31] Israel bowed at the head of the bed: meaning perhaps that he gave a nod of assent and appreciation as he lay on his bed. The oath and gesture are the same as Abraham’s in 24:2. Israel’s bowing here suggests the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams in 37:9–10, when parents and brothers bowed down to Joseph (cf. 42:6; 43:26). By using different vowels for the Hebrew word for “bed,” the Greek version translated it as “staff,” and understood the phrase to mean that he bowed in worship, leaning on the top of his staff; it is thus quoted in Heb 11:21.