|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
41:46-57 In the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph owned the Divine providence. 1. He was made to forget his misery. 2. He was made fruitful in the land of his affliction. The seven plenteous years came, and were ended. We ought to look forward to the end of the days, both of our prosperity and of our opportunity. We must not be secure in prosperity, nor slothful in making good use of opportunity. Years of plenty will end; what thy hand finds to do, do it; and gather in gathering time. The dearth came, and the famine was not only in Egypt, but in other lands. Joseph was diligent in laying up, while the plenty lasted. He was prudent and careful in giving out, when the famine came. Joseph was engaged in useful and important labours. Yet it was in the midst of this his activity that his father Jacob said, Joseph is not! What a large portion of our troubles would be done away if we knew the whole truth! Let these events lead us to Jesus. There is a famine of the bread of life throughout the whole earth. Go to Jesus, and what he bids you, do. Attend to His voice, apply to him; he will open his treasures, and satisfy with goodness the hungry soul of every age and nation, without money and without price. But those who slight this provision must starve, and his enemies will be destroyed.
Verses 53, 54. - And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, - the most complete parallel to Joseph's famine was that which occurred in A.D. -1071, in the reign of Fatimee Khaleefeh, El-Mustansir-bilh, when the people ate corpses and animals that died of themselves; when a dog was sold for five, a cat for three, and a bushel of wheat for twenty, deenars (vide Smith's 'Bib. Dict.,' art. Famine) - according as Joseph had said (thus confirming Joseph's character as a prophet): and the dearth was in all lands; - i.e. in all the adjoining countries, and notably in Palestine (vide Genesis 42:1, 2) - but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the seven years of plenteousness that was in the land of Egypt were ended. Perhaps quickly after the birth of Ephraim, Joseph's second son; since the account follows upon that, and it is certain that he was born before the years of famine began, Genesis 41:50; some connect the words, "moreover when" the seven years of plenty were ended, then began, as follows, seven years of famine; these events were fulfilled just as Joseph had predicted.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
53-56. The seven years of plenteousness … ended—Over and above the proportion purchased for the government during the years of plenty, the people could still have husbanded much for future use. But improvident as men commonly are in the time of prosperity, they found themselves in want, and would have starved by thousands had not Joseph anticipated and provided for the protracted calamity.
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