Egypt’s Government Under Joseph

Genesis 47:13-26

Highlight from this Passage

  • Joseph manages the food crises successfully during the famine.
  • Joseph saves the Egyptian people by purchasing their property and giving them food.

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There was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, “Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For our money fails.”

Joseph said, “Give me your livestock; and I will give you food for your livestock, if your money is gone.”

They brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks, and for the herds, and for the donkeys: and he fed them with bread in exchange for all their livestock for that year. When that year was ended, they came to him the second year, and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord how our money is all spent, and the herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh. Give us seed, that we may live, and not die, and that the land won’t be desolate.”

So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe on them, and the land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he moved them to the cities from one end of the border of Egypt even to the other end of it. Only he didn’t buy the land of the priests, for the priests had a portion from Pharaoh, and ate their portion which Pharaoh gave them. That is why they didn’t sell their land. Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. Behold, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. It will happen at the harvests, that you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four parts will be your own, for seed of the field, for your food, for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.”

They said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.”

Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. Only the land of the priests alone didn’t become Pharaoh’s.

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