Genesis  ◦   Chapter 47

1Joseph went to Pharaoh and told him, “My father and brothers, along with their flocks and herds and all they possess, have come from Canaan and are now in Goshen.” 2He chose five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.

3When Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?”

They answered, “We, your humble servants, have tended livestock our entire lives, just as our fathers did.”
4They also said to him, “We have come to live here in Egypt for a while, because the famine is so severe in Canaan that our flocks and herds have no pasture. So please, grant your humble servants permission to live in Goshen.”

5Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am so happy for you that your father and brothers have come to you here, in Egypt. 6You are my governor over all of Egypt, so settle your father and brothers in the land you deem best for them. Let them live in Goshen if that is what you think is best. And if any of them are competent, skilled and trustworthy like you, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh then asked him, “How old are you?”

9Jacob told Pharaoh, “I have traveled the road of life for one hundred and thirty years. But my life has been filled with hardship and heartache, and my life journey will not be as long as those of my ancestors.” 10Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh once more and left his presence.

11Joseph gave his family – his father and brothers – the best land in Egypt, settling them in the region of Ramses, just as Pharaoh had directed. 12Joseph provided everything his father and brothers and their families needed, including plenty of food for every member of his father’s household.

13The famine was so severe that there was no food anywhere in the entire region; the people and animals in both Egypt and Canaan were starving because of the famine. 14Joseph, by selling the grain, encouraged the people to procure only what they needed, but eventually he collected all the money to be found in Egypt and Canaan, and he secured the money in Pharaoh’s palace. 15With no more money in either Egypt or Canaan, the people came to Joseph and said, “We are starving and have no more money, so please, give us food or else we will die before your very eyes.”

16Joseph said to them, “Since your money is gone, transfer ownership of your livestock to Pharaoh in exchange for food.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys. In this way, Joseph provided them food sufficient for another year.

18The people came to Joseph the following year and said, “Lord governor, you well know that we have no money and all our livestock now belong to the crown; all we have left is our land and our bodies. 19Why should we starve to death and our land become desolate when you have food to feed us? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we will be Pharaoh’s serfs; we will occupy and work Pharaoh’s land in exchange for food. So give us grain that we may live and that our land does not become desolate.”

20So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every Egyptian was forced to sell their land, because the famine was too severe for them to survive otherwise; and all the land became Pharaoh’s. 21Thus, Joseph made the people across the entire land of Egypt serfs to Pharaoh. 22However, this did not include the priests – Joseph did not buy their land, because they received a regular allotment of food from Pharaoh, sufficient to sustain them. Thus, the priests did not sell their land.

23After buying the land, Joseph set these terms with the people: “Now that I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you to plant and work the land. 24When the harvest comes, one fifth will be returned to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths will be yours to use for seed to replant your fields and as food for you and your families.”

25Thankful, the people said, “We have found favor in your eyes, and you have saved our lives, lord governor. We will be Pharaoh’s serfs.”

26So Joseph made it a law in the land of Egypt that one-fifth of the harvest belongs to Pharaoh. This law remains in effect today. Only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

27And so the Israelites settled in Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They prospered, acquired land, flourished, and greatly increased in number.

28Jacob lived another seventeen years after moving to Egypt. He lived to be one hundred and forty-seven years old. 29When Israel’s death drew near, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If you honor me as your father, place your hand beneath my upper thigh and thereby symbolically place yourself under the witness of my future descendants, and promise me that you will love me and act kindly to me in this: Do not bury me in Egypt,

30but when I sleep in death with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

“I will do as you have said,” Joseph replied.

31But Jacob said, “Swear a sacred oath to me that you will do it.” So Joseph swore a sacred oath, promising his father that he would do as he said. Relieved, Israel bowed his head in thanks to the Lord while leaning on the top of his staff.