Genesis 41:46-57


Verse 46, And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

I.    Jesus was about 30 years old when He started His personal ministry.

A.     Jesus had a long preparatory period for the ministry planned for him.

B.     Joseph had a long preparatory period for the ministry planned for him.


II.    Joseph went throughout all the land of Egypt.

A.     This is different from the latter part of verse 45.

1.       In verse 45, Joseph is doing no work.

2.       He is being introduced to the people.

B.     In verse 46, Joseph has gone to work, setting the plan of God into action.

1.       Verse 34, there is no doubt that Joseph has people working under him.

2.       Joseph is responsible for the work, so he personally visits and inspects the progression of the work.


Verse 47-49, And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. {48} And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. {49} And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

I.    The dream came true.

A.     Any doubts that the people had about Joseph would be erased when the first crop began to grow.

1.       There was probably some doubters about this "wild plan" of Joseph's.

2.       It is not entirely true that as people began to believe Joseph, they would also begin to believe in Joseph's God.

a.      Genesis 43:32 - It remained an abomination for the Egyptians to eat with the Hebrews.

b.      Genesis 45:16 - When it was told that Joseph's family was coming to Egypt, it pleased the people well.

c.      Exodus 1:8 - There was not a permanent change in Egypt, for after Joseph and the Pharaoh of that generation died, the new king began to persecute Israel, for he didn't know Joseph or what he had done for Egypt.

B.     It would be good if farmers would realize that only God can give increase.

1.       There is a certain skill involved in farming.

2.       "Good" farmers will consistently produce more crops than "poor" farmers.

a.      A "good" farmer once told me he would teach me to plant if I wanted to start farming.

b.      He said the secret to raising a good crop was in planting.

c.      His dad had taught him to plant.


II.    The grain that was gathered.  It is very difficult to visualize the abundance of grain produced by simply reading the verses.

A.     The 20% retained by the government.

1.       Joseph gathered 20% (the fifth part, verse 34) of all grain raised.

2.       This would mean that in five years, he would gather the equivalent of one years crop.

3.       In 7 years he would gather a total amount of grain amounting to 1.4 years of crop production.

4.       This amount of grain is enough to feed all Egypt, plus many of the surrounding nations, for seven years!!

B.     The 80% retained by the people.

1.       It is obvious that the Egyptians welcomed the government purchasing 20% of their crop.

2.       A farmer would have difficulty selling his grain, for everybody would have plenty.

3.       If the law of supply and demand was in effect (and it would be) the price of the grain would be low, so the farmer, in effect, would not get rich.

4.       His total income would likely be greater than before, but it probably wouldn't be that much more.

5.       It is very obvious that Joseph could have bought 50% of the grain and the farmers would still have plenty left for all their purposes.

C.     The place of storage.

1.       Each city was surrounded by its fields.

2.       The grain raised in those fields was brought into that particular city and stored there.

D.     The amount of grain.

1.       There was a record kept of the vast amount of grain, until it became impossible.

2.       Some have declared that the Egyptians did not have the mathematical skill necessary to count the vast amount of grain.

3.       I don't think this is true, for the Egyptians had the skill to store the grain for at least 10 years, and the skill to embalm dead bodies so they wouldn't decay.  Some of these "mummies" are still with us today!

4.       I believe they stopped counting, because the Bible says it was as impossible to count the grain as it was to count the sand of the sea.

5.       It would be very interesting if we were able to go back in time and visit Egypt at the end of the seven years of prosperity.

a.      Every city in Egypt would be completely surrounded by the vast storage of grain.

b.      It would be very difficult to see the city for the grain surrounding them.

c.      Every visitor to any city of Egypt would have to pass through these vast corridors of grain before they could enter the city.

d.      These visitors would go back home and tell what they had seen in Egypt, thus Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, Genesis 42:2.

E.      They didn't stop gathering grain because it looked like they had enough.

1.       Human reasonings would surely declare that there was enough grain.

2.       It is a good thing Joseph was put in charge, because he was following God, not human reasonings.

3.       If those people were anything like people today, there was probably "protesters" trying to get the government to stop receiving 20% of the crop.  The Egyptian government might not put up with a lot of evil like our government does, especially an evil against the direct commands of God.

4.       The lesson for us is that we need to be very careful not to look at our circumstances, and make decisions based on those circumstances.  We ought to look at the Word of God, and make decisions based on what God says, completely forgetting human reasonings.


Verse 50-52, And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. {51} And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. {52} And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

I.    Joseph's personal prosperity.

A.     There is no mention of Joseph's prosperity being wealth, although he probably was wealthy.

B.     Joseph didn't have any children by Potiphar's wife.

1.       They would have been children of depression, not prosperity.

2.       Joseph worshipped God and waited on Him to give him a wife.

C.     Joseph had his children by his wife.

1.       God blessed their union with these two boys, who would eventually become two of the twelve tribes of Israel, Numbers 1:10.

a.      Rev. 7:6, 8, Manasseh and Joseph are included in the tribes of Israel.

b.      Ephraim is not included because they sinned against God in idolatry, I Kings 12:28,29.

c.      Deut 29:18-20 states that God will blot out the name of the person, family, or tribe that worships idols.

d.      It was the grace of God that placed Joseph as a tribe of Israel, because all those faithful of Ephraim can be included in the kingdom under the tribe of Joseph.

2.       Manasseh, the first born, means "making to forget", for God has made me forget:

a.      All my toil.  Joseph has become so comfortable living in Egypt that he has forgotten the former toil in Canaan, in Potiphar's house, and in prison.

b.      My fathers house.  I don't think the memory of his fathers house had left his mind, but that Joseph was no longer homesick.

3.       Ephraim, the second born, means "double fruit", because God has made me fruitful.

a.      To be fruitful is one thing, but God has done more than that.

b.      He has made Joseph fruitful in the land of his affliction.

c.      Some would think prosperity could only come if Joseph was away from Egypt, where he was sold into slavery.

d.      The power of God can really be seen when we stay in a place of affliction, and God so turns the affairs of our lives that we become fruitful, prosperous and happy.


Verse 53-57, And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. {54} And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. {55} And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. {56} And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. {57} And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

I.    Feast and famine.

A.     The seven years of plenty was only in the land of Egypt.

1.       There is no mention anywhere in the Bible that other nations had the kind of fruitfulness Egypt had.

2.       The dream came only to Egypt, for God would use them as a savior for other nations.

3.       This does not mean that Egypt was greater or better than other nations, it simply means that God chose to use them.

4.       If we are saved, and God uses us, this does not mean that we are greater or better than others, it simply means that God has chosen to use us.

B.     Verse 54 - The seven years of dearth are in all lands.

1.       This includes the lands of Northern Africa, and Canaan.

2.       Since the Bible says "all lands", there is no doubt in my mind that this is a world wide dearth.

3.       Verse 56 - "And the famine was over all the face of the earth".  This must mean what it says!

C.     If God is in control of everything, why did He bring the seven years of plenty to Egypt, and the seven years of dearth to all lands?

1.       There is no doubt God could have stopped both from occurring.

2.       We must not think that God was obligated to bring the years of plenty and the years of dearth because of past circumstances or events, for God is never bound by circumstances.  He does as it pleases Him.

3.       We may not know the answers to all our questions, but one thing is sure - it has pleased God to bring these things to pass.

D.     Egypt had bread.

1.       This is speaking about the individuals who had stored grain.

2.       The amazing thing about this is that the government stored 20% of the grain and this is enough for many nations for seven years.

3.       The individual people had 80% of the grain for themselves, yet didn't store enough to last any time at all.


II.    The famine increases.

A.     The individual storage runs out.

1.       I really don't know how long this took, but it doesn't appear to be very long.

2.       Famished means "to be hungry", "to suffer in hunger".

3.       This teaches us that the Egyptians went as far as they could go on their own storage.

a.      They didn't live in luxury because they knew the government could feed them if necessary.

b.      They actually did without before they called on the government to help them.

B.     The cry is unto Pharaoh, not Joseph.

1.       Joseph has not tried to take control away from Pharaoh.

2.       He has stayed in his place, doing what Pharaoh told him to do.

3.       The people have no doubt that Pharaoh is in charge, for they don't call on Joseph for anything.

4.       Many churches have "hired" an assistant pastor only for that man to try to take over the church.  It's too bad that some men are so ambitious they destroy others in their attempt to "be somebody".

C.     Pharaoh directs the people to Joseph.

1.       At least seven years ago, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of this project, and he is still in charge.

2.       When every person tries to do his own job, things sure do run a lot smoother.

3.       I would imagine that Pharaoh and Joseph have gained a lot of admiration and respect for each other over the years.


III.    The storehouses are opened.

A.     The fact that the storehouses are opened seems to indicate that the grain was stored inside.

1.       Archaeologists have discovered 3,000 year old grain in Egypt that had not spoiled.  This grain would sprout and grow under proper conditions.

B.     Joseph sells to the Egyptians.

1.       He sells to the Egyptians because he probably bought from them during the seven years of plenty.

2.       It is evident that Joseph sold to other nations, but the Egyptians came before the other nations.  This is as it should be.

C.     The famine gets worse.

1.       I don't know if people tried to raise a crop, but knowing people, I imagine some people tried.

2.       There are always those people who don't believe God's Word, and must find out for themselves.

D.     Other nations come to buy food.

1.       I really don't know how many nations came to buy food.

2.       The Bible says "all countries". 

3.       Some of them had to travel a long way, so there must have been great caravans of people coming to Egypt.