Genesis 47:13-26




Verse 13,14,  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.   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.

I.    This is the first of three articles gathered by Joseph.

A.     Joseph gathered up three things from Egypt:

1.       Verse 13-14 - money.

2.       Verse 15-17 - cattle.

3.       Verse 18-21 - the people and their land.

B.     This is actually an exchange for food.


II.    No bread in all the land.

A.     There had been no crop for at least three years.

1.       The people had used all their personal storehouses.

2.       There was nothing to make bread out of.

B.     It is amazing that people won't lay aside for hard times when they know hard times are coming.

1.       If the average person had believed Joseph, they would have surely laid aside enough to do seven years.

2.       The reason they didn't believe Joseph is because they weren't personally involved in the dream like Pharaoh was.


III.    The famine was also in the land of Canaan.

A.     Only the land of Egypt and Canaan is mentioned as having a famine.

1.       The famine may have been in other countries, but they are not mentioned in the Bible.

2.       If the other nations had been of interest in this story, it would have been mentioned.

B.     Fainted by reason of the famine.

1.       They were completely out of strength.

2.       There was no food to be had in any of those places, except for the food stored in Egypt.


IV.    Compare the welfare of Israel and Egypt.

A.     Israel dwelling in Goshen had plenty while the Egyptian living on his own land had no food.

B.     This may seem very unfair to the person who doesn't understand that God always takes care of His people.


V.    Brought the money to Pharaoh.

A.     Joseph did not keep any of the money for himself.

1.       This would be a great temptation for a lessor person.

2.       The incident about Potiphar's wife had helped Joseph learn how to resist temptation.

B.     Joseph was honest before God and men saw his honesty.




Verse 15-17,  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.

I.    The money failed in Egypt and Canaan.

A.     Canaan is again mentioned.

1.       No other country is mentioned.

2.       We can assume the famine wasn't in any other country, but this assumption doesn't make it so.

B.     God knows what is going on in the promised land, even if Israel isn't there.


II.    The Egyptians come to Joseph.

A.     The Bible doesn't record that any person in Canaan came to Joseph.

1.       If they didn't have any money to buy food with, there was no need of coming.

2.       There may have been some Canaanites come to Joseph, but the Bible doesn't mention it.

B.     The Egyptians come to Joseph, not to Pharaoh.

1.       They come to Joseph because he is in charge of this project.

2.       It is always good to make inquiry to the person in charge.

3.       Joseph doesn't go to them.

a.      He knows there is enough grain for everybody if they do not waste it.

b.      Joseph will wait until the people come to him because of need, then he willingly distributes food to them.

C.     The terrible condition of the Egyptians.

1.       They are going to die if Joseph doesn't help them.

2.       They don't have any money to buy food, but they must have food.


III.    Verse 16, Joseph ask their cattle in payment for food.

A.     If they people had cattle, why didn't they eat their cows?

1.       They had probably eaten some of their cattle, but cattle have to eat something.

2.       There is no pasture, and if the people couldn't feed their cattle, that source of food would soon die.

B.     Joseph's offer to buy their cattle would help in two ways.

1.       They would have food in exchange for their cattle.

2.       They wouldn't have cattle to feed.

C.     The exchange of cattle for food would last one year.



IV.    Note the amount of grain that the Egyptian government has.

A.     There is enough to feed all the Egyptians for the total famine, seven years.

B.     There is also enough grain to feed all the cattle of the land.

C.     If there is this much grain, why didn't Joseph simply give it away?

1.       Any person, or government, that gives away their wealth without expecting an equal exchange of value will soon wind up in poverty.

2.       If Joseph was handling his personal property, he might have given it away, but since he is handling the property of another, he must require an equal exchange.




Verse 18-21,  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.

I.    The second year is probably the second year after Israel comes into Egypt, not the second year of famine.


II.    The distress of the people.

A.     They do not hide their poverty from Joseph.

1.       They have no money.

2.       They have no cattle to barter with.

3.       They have only their land and their bodies.

B.     They offer to sell their land and their bodies to Pharaoh for food.

1.       This is a voluntary type of feudal system.

2.       This system of government is similar to that found during the dark ages.

3.       A part of the bargain is that when the seven years of famine is over that Joseph would give them seed to sow the land.

4.       This indicates they would have an opportunity to earn back what the famine took from them.


III.    Joseph buys the land and people.

A.     There is no record of the price of the land or people.

1.       I assume the price was food for as long as the famine lasted.

2.       After the famine ended, Joseph would give seed to plant the land.

B.     Every person sold their land and body.

1.       It is hard to imagine that every person works for the government.

2.       It is equally hard to imagine that the government owned every square inch of land.

C.     Joseph turned over all the property to Pharaoh.

1.       He didn't keep any of it for himself.

2.       He is honest in his dealings as a Christian ought to be.

D.     This government is a total dictatorship.

1.       What is so amazing about this dictatorship is that the people are allowed to regain control of their lives and lands.

2.       If Joseph hadn't been in power, Pharaoh might have let all this wealth and control go to his head, ruining Egypt as a world power.


IV.    Verse 21, Moving the people.

A.     It seems a normal government activity to move people from their native homeland when they have the authority to do so.

B.     It may have been that Joseph could more efficiently distribute food if the people were moved to the city containing the most food.

C.     I think we can safely assume Joseph didn't move Israel, for they had a daily allowance of food from Pharaoh.


Verse 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.

I.    The land of the priests was the only land not sold for food.

A.     The priests had food from the daily allowance.

B.     We must assume that the land of Goshen was not sold.

1.       Israel dwells in this land, and they also have a daily provision from pharaoh.

2.       The land didn't belong to Israel, so they wouldn't gain anything for selling it to Pharaoh.


II.    Does this scripture speak of a government religion?  (Did Egypt have separation of church and state?)

A.     It is quite evident that Egypt had a state religion.  (A religion supported by tax dollars.)

B.     In Europe, the priesthood was supported by tax dollars.

1.       This is one reason why our forefathers left that land and sought a place where they could worship according to the dedicates of their hearts.

2.       Our forefathers thought it unscriptural to support a church with their tax dollars that taught doctrines contrary to the Bible.

C.     Our country was founded on the principle of "separation of church and state".

1.       This means that the church is not supported by tax dollars.

2.       In the beginning of this nation, people couldn't understand how a church would exist without receiving tax dollars.

3.       It was suggested that a religion that could not exist on the free will offerings of the people that worshipped there was a religion unworthy of tax dollars.

4.       Thus was born the notion that churches would be supported by the free will offerings of the worshippers.

5.       Today, liberals are trying to tell us that the separation of church and state means that the government (and the individuals in government) must operate with total disregard to any morals or guides from the Bible.

a.      This definition has lead to prayer being removed from public schools, while sex education, and almost every other wickedness, is allowed, and actively encouraged.

b.      According to Helen E. and Lynn Sauls, writers for Liberty Magazine, some people in the government school system are beginning to wonder what place religion has played in the forming of our nation.  Reading through history and social studies textbooks in government schools, they were unable to find a single reference to religion in America.  Riverside, one of many publishing companies, produced 32 pages on the Pilgrims without a single reference to religion!




Verse 23-26,  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.

I.    At the end of the seven year famine, Joseph published this report.

A.     We must remark that Joseph issued this report before there was any evidence the famine was over.

1.       Joseph still believes the interpretation of the dream that Pharaoh had 14 years ago!

2.       This is a remarkable testimony of faith.

3.       Many Christians don't even know the promises of God, much less believe in them for 14 years.

B.     The plan of God for Egypt not only included their living through the famine, but also their reconstruction after the famine.

1.       God's plans are always complete plans.

2.       He will always bring His plans to pass, sometimes using human instrumentality to do it.


II.    The reconstruction of Egypt.

A.     Joseph gave seed.

1.       It is really amazing that there was enough food for a very severe seven year famine, enough seed to sow the eighth year, and enough food for the eighth year until the new crop was harvested!

2.       The seven years of plenty was really seven years of plenty!

B.     The tax on the increase will be 20%.

1.       This would allow the people 80% to rebuild their personal fortunes.

2.       The 20% would be plenty for the government to operate on.

C.     This is a flat rate tax.

1.       There doesn't appear to be any loopholes in this tax law.

2.       Everybody would pay the same rate.

3.       This sounds like a good plan of taxation for any nation.


III.    Verse 25,26, The reaction of the people.

A.     The people have nothing but gratitude for Joseph.

1.       Joseph is a very popular leader, for he does what is necessary, even in hard times.

2.       The common people are more willing to "bite the bullet" to make a project work if they believe their leaders are looking out for their best interests.

B.     I don't suppose there has ever been a politician who received 100% support from the people.  Joseph does!

C.     The only people who weren't taxed is the priests.

1.       As a preacher, I would certainly like to see a tax law like this passed in our country.

2.       Of course, then everybody would claim to be a preacher.