And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
Jacob lives seventeen years in Egypt, and so survives the famine twelve years. "He called his son Joseph." Joseph retained his power and place near Pharaoh after the fourteen years of special service were completed; hence, Jacob looks to him for the accomplishment of his wishes concerning the place of his burial. "Put thy hand under my thigh" Genesis 24:2
. He binds Joseph by a solemn asseveration to carry his mortal remains to the land of promise. "And Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed." On receiving the solemn promise of Joseph, he turns toward the head of the bed, and assumes the posture of adoration, rendering, no doubt, thanks to God for all the mercies of his past life, and for this closing token of filial duty and affection. The Septuagint has the rendering: ἐπί τὸ ἄκρον τῆσῥάβδον αὐτοῦ epi to ākron akron tēs rabdou autou "on the top of his staff," which is given in the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 11:21. This is obtained by a mere change in the vowel pointing of the last word.
- Joseph Visits His Sick Father
The right of primogeniture has been forfeited by Reuben. The double portion in the inheritance is now transferred to Joseph. He is the first-born of her who was intended by Jacob to be his first and only wife. He has also been the means of saving all his father's house, even after he had been sold into slavery by his brethren. He has therefore, undeniable claims to this part of the first-born's rights.
And Joseph made it a law - That the people should hold their land from the king, and give him the fifth part of the produce as a yearly tax. Beyond this it appears the king had no farther demands. The whole of this conduct of Joseph has been as strongly censured by some as applauded by others. It is natural for men to run into extremes in attacking or defending any position. Sober and judicious men will consider what Joseph did by Divine appointment as a prophet of God, and what he did merely as a statesman from the circumstances of the case, the complexion of the times, and the character of the people over whom he presided. When this is dispassionately done, we shall see much reason to adore God, applaud the man, and perhaps in some cases censure the minister. Joseph is never held up to our view as an unerring prophet of God. He was an honored instrument in the hands of God of saving two nations from utter ruin, and especially of preserving that family from which the Messiah was to spring, and of perpetuating the true religion among them. In this character he is represented in the sacred pages. His conduct as the prime minister of Pharaoh was powerfully indicative of a deep and consummate politician, who had high notions of prerogative, which led him to use every prudent means to aggrandize his master, and at the same time to do what he judged best on the whole for the people he governed. See the conclusion at Genesis 50:26
And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years,.... He lived just the same term of years with Joseph in Egypt as he had lived with him in Syria and Canaan, Genesis 37:2
; about two hours' walk from Fium are now to be seen the ruins of an ancient town, which the Coptics say was inhabited by the patriarch Jacob, and for this cause they name it, yet, Modsellet Jacub, or the tabernacle of Jacob (n), which place is supposed to be in the land of Goshen, see Genesis 47:11
so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years; he was one hundred and thirty when he stood before Pharaoh, Genesis 47:9; and now had lived in Egypt seventeen years, as in the above clause, which together make up the sum; and this exact time of the years of his life is given by Polyhistor from Demetrius, an Heathen writer (o).
(n) Vansleb's Relation of a Voyage to Egypt, p. 167. (o) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 21. p. 425. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
23-28. Joseph said, Behold, &c.—The lands being sold to the government (Ge 47:19, 20), seed would be distributed for the first crop after the famine; and the people would occupy them as tenants-at-will on the payment of a produce rent, almost the same rule as obtains in Egypt in the present day.
The lands of the priests Joseph did not buy, "for the priests had an allowance from Pharaoh, and ate their allowance, which Pharaoh gave them; therefore they sold not their lands." חק a fixed allowance of food, as in Proverbs 30:8
; Ezekiel 16:27
. This allowance was granted by Pharaoh probably only during the years of famine; in any case it was an arrangement which ceased when the possessions of the priests sufficed for their need, since, according to Diod. Sic. i. 73, the priests provided the sacrifices and the support of both themselves and their servants from the revenue of their lands; and with this Herodotus also agrees (2, 37).
the whole...: Heb. the days of the years of his life
47:27-31 At last the time drew nigh that Israel must die. Israel, a prince with God, had power over the Angel, and prevailed, yet must die. Joseph supplied him with bread, that he might not die by famine, but that did not secure him from dying by age or sickness. He died by degrees; his candle gradually burnt down to the socket, so that he saw the time drawing nigh. It is an advantage to see the approach of death, before we feel it, that we may be quickened to do, with all our might, what our hands find to do. However, death is not far from any of us. Jacob's care, as he saw the day approach, was about his burial; not the pomp of it, but he would be buried in Canaan, because it was the land of promise. It was a type of heaven, that better country, which he declared plainly he expected, Heb 11:14. Nothing will better help to make a death-bed easy, than the certain prospect of rest in the heavenly Canaan after death. When this was done, Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head, worshipping God, as it is explained, see Heb 11:21, giving God thanks for all his favours; in feebleness thus supporting himself, expressing his willingness to leave the world. Even those who lived on Joseph's provision, and Jacob who was so dear to him, must die. But Christ Jesus gives us the true bread, that we may eat and live for ever. To Him let us come and yield ourselves, and when we draw near to death, he who supported us through life, will meet us and assure us of everlasting salvation.Verse 28.
- And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was
(literally, the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were
) an hundred forty and seven years
. He had lived seventy-seven years in Canaan, twenty years in Padanaram, thirty-three in Canaan again, and seventeen in Egypt, in all 147 years.
Margin whole age
Or, days of the years of his life.
Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years …
the whole age. Heb. the days of the years of his life.
Genesis 47:8,9 And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How old are you…
Psalm 90:10,12 The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason …
Psalm 119:84 How many are the days of your servant? when will you execute judgment …
47:28 Jacob lived seventeen years after he came into Egypt, far beyond his own expectation: seventeen years he had nourished Joseph, for so old he was when he was sold from him, and now, seventeen years Joseph nourished him. Observe how kindly Providence ordered Jacob's affairs; that when he was old, and least able to bear care and fatigue, he had least occasion for it, being well provided for by his son without his own forecast.
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