|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
47:13-26 Care being taken of Jacob and his family, which mercy was especially designed by Providence in Joseph's advancement, an account is given of the saving the kingdom of Egypt from ruin. There was no bread, and the people were ready to die. See how we depend upon God's providence. All our wealth would not keep us from starving, if rain were withheld for two or three years. See how much we are at God's mercy, and let us keep ourselves always in his love. Also see how much we smart by our own want of care. If all the Egyptians had laid up corn for themselves in the seven years of plenty, they had not been in these straits; but they regarded not the warning. Silver and gold would not feed them: they must have corn. All that a man hath will he give for his life. We cannot judge this matter by modern rules. It is plain that the Egyptians regarded Joseph as a public benefactor. The whole is consistent with Joseph's character, acting between Pharaoh and his subjects, in the fear of God. The Egyptians confessed concerning Joseph, Thou hast saved our lives. What multitudes will gratefully say to Jesus, at the last day, Thou hast saved our souls from the most tremendous destruction, and in the season of uttermost distress! The Egyptians parted with all their property, and even their liberty, for the saving of their lives: can it then be too much for us to count all but loss, and part with all, at His command, and for His sake, who will both save our souls, and give us an hundredfold, even here, in this present world? Surely if saved by Christ, we shall be willing to become his servants.
Verse 13. - And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore (literally, heavy), so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted (literally, was exhausted, had become languid and spiritless) by reason of the famine. The introduction of the present section, which first depicts the miseries of a starving population, and then circumstantially describes a great political revolution forced upon them by the stern necessity of hunger, may have been due to a desire
(1) to exhibit the extreme urgency which existed for Joseph's care of his father and brethren (Bush),
(2) to show the greatness of the benefit conferred on Joseph's house (Baumgarten, Keil, Lange), and perhaps also
(3) to foreshadow the political constitution afterwards bestowed upon the Israelites (Gerlach).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there was no bread in all the land,.... The land of Egypt and the parts adjacent, but in Pharaoh's storehouses, all being consumed that were in private hands the first two years of the famine:
for the famine was very sore; severe, pressed very hard:
so that the land of Egypt, and all the land of Canaan, fainted by reason of the famine; that is, the inhabitants of both countries, their spirits sunk, as well as their flesh failed for want of food: or "raged" (b); became furious, and were like madmen, as the word signifies; according to Kimchi (c), they were at their wits' end, knew not what to do, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and became tumultuous; it is much they had not in a violent manner broke open the storehouses of corn, and took it away by force; that they did not must be owing to the providence of God, which restrained them, and to the care and prudence of Joseph as a means, who, doubtless, had well fortified the granaries; and very probably there were a body of soldiers placed everywhere, who were one of the three parts or states of the kingdom of Egypt, as Diodorus Siculus (d) relates; to which may be added, the mild and gentle address of Joseph to the people, speaking kindly to them, giving them hopes of a supply during the famine, and readily relieving them upon terms they could not object to.
(b) "insanivit vel acta fuit in rahiem", Vatablus; "furebat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (c) In Sepher Shorash rad so Ben Melech in loc. (d) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 67.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-15. there was no bread in all the land—This probably refers to the second year of the famine (Ge 45:6) when any little stores of individuals or families were exhausted and when the people had become universally dependent on the government. At first they obtained supplies for payment. Before long money failed.
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