Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Genesis 47:1-6 Jacob Appeals to Pharaoh

"Joseph went and told Pharaoh, 'My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.  He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh asked the brothers, 'What is your occupation?'

'Your servants are shepherds,' they replied to Pharaoh, 'just as our fathers were.'  They also said to him, 'We have come to live here awhile, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants' flocks have no pasture.  So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.'

Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.  Let them live in Goshen.  And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.' " (Genesis 47:1-6 NIV)

It seems that Joseph had carefully planned for his family's meeting with Pharaoh.  He had previously instructed his brothers as to what they should say when they approached Pharaoh.  Joseph also did not bring all of his brothers into Pharaoh's court.  Whether this was because some brothers needed to remain behind to watch over the family's flocks and herds, or whether this was done for other reasons, is not stated.  Perhaps a smaller group was more appropriate, rather than overwhelming Pharaoh with the whole group of men.  Also, the men treated Pharaoh with appropriate deference ('your servants') and respect ('please let your servants settle in Goshen').

I do notice, though, that the brothers are not reluctant to ask for what they truly want.  They specifically ask to be allowed to settle in Goshen.  I think that this honesty is a good thing.  They are not being demanding, just requesting what they think would be the best outcome for their situation.

Pharaoh seems pleased to allow Joseph to settle his family in the best land which Egypt has to offer.  After all, Joseph's plan to store up food during the seven years of abundance did help save the Egyptians' lives and maintain order during the difficult years of famine, which were still upon the land.

Pharaoh also offers Joseph the opportunity for some of his brothers to oversee his own flocks.  We are not told if Joseph took him up on the offer, or whether the brothers already had enough work to do to keep their own herds healthy and intact.

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