Genesis 47

1. Having arrived to their new home, Jacob and five of his sons are taken before the Pharaoh, making an official request to reside in the land. Pharaoh is more charitable than the words reveal in 46:29 in that the livestock of Pharaoh needs a competent person to oversee his own flocks (47:5-6).

2. Now the great patriarch stands before the king, and his age is asked. Jacob tells him he is 130 years of age (Since Joseph is about 39, that would mean that Joseph was born to Jacob when he was 91. Jacob was at least twenty years with Laban, making him about 70 years of age when he left home and arrived at Laban’s.). Twice, in this section, Jacob “blesses” the king. It is not known in what way that Israel “blessed” Pharaoh, but Wenham thinks it might have been in a form of a prayer. The formal meeting is over, and Joseph takes his family and “settles” them in the land of Goshen (47:11-12).

3. Joseph now is underway with administration during the famine years (five years remaining), and in this period, the people sell their land to the government in order to survive – all with Joseph’s administrative ability. Joseph, in turn, moves the people into the cities and gives the people seed to sow the land – with a tax of 20%. Now, seventeen years have come and gone (47:28); Joseph was still in position of authority, and Jacob, preparing for death, makes a request of his son that he would not be buried in Egypt, but that his body would be taken back to the land of promise (47:30). Jewish theology has an odd reason for this request of Jacob: he knew “those who are buried outside Eretz Yisrael will not come to life at the Resurrection until they roll through the earth to Eretz Yisrael” (Chumash, p. 268). This odd reason of Jewish theology, I can safely say, is to be dismissed.

4. Application: I mention Jewish theology in this chapter for really one reason. They put a great deal of emphasis on the material land without regard to the power of God. Is it really the case that a body must be in the geographical border of Israel before he (she) will attain to the resurrection? The question has an obvious answer. It goes to show, however, that when loyalty to a material realm is so strong, spiritual rationality dismissed. In this we can make an application.