|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
47:1-6 Though Joseph was a great man, especially in Egypt, yet he owned his brethren. Let the rich and great in the world not overlook or despise poor relations. Our Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren. In answer to Pharaoh's inquiry, What is your calling? they told him that they were shepherds, adding that they were come to sojourn in the land for a time, while the famine prevailed in Canaan. Pharaoh offered to employ them as shepherds, provided they were active men. Whatever our business or employment is, we should aim to excel in it, and to prove ourselves clever and industrious.
Verse 2. - And he took some of his brethren, even five men, - literally, from the end, or extremity, of his brethren; not from the weakest, lest the king should select them for courtiers or soldiers (the Rabbis, Oleaster, Pererius, and others); or the strongest and most handsome, that the Egyptian monarch and his nobles might behold the dignity of Joseph s kindred (Lyre, Thostatus, and others); or the youngest and oldest, that the ages of the rest might be therefrom inferred (Calvin); but from the whole body of his brethren (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, et alii) he took five teen - and presented them unto Pharaoh (cf. Acts 7:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he took some of his brethren,.... Along with him, when he left his father in Goshen; the word for "some" signifies the extremity of a thing: hence some have fancied that he took some of the meanest and most abject, so Jarchi, lest if they had appeared to Pharaoh strong and robust, he should have made soldiers of them; others on the contrary think he took those that excelled most in strength of body, and endowments of mind, to make the better figure; others, that he took of both sorts, or some at both ends, the first and last, elder and younger; but it may be, he made no choice at all, but took some that offered next:
even five men: whom the Targum of Jonathan names as follow, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher; but Jarchi will have them to be Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Issachar and Benjamin; but on these accounts no dependence is to be had:
and presented them, unto Pharaoh; introduced them into his presence, that he might converse with them, and ask them what questions he thought fit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. he took some of his brethren—probably the five eldest brothers: seniority being the least invidious principle of selection.
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