|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 21. - And as for the people, he removed them - not enslaved them, converted them into serfs and bondmen to Pharaoh (LXX., Vulgate), but simply transferred them, caused them to pass over - to cities - not from cities to cities, as if changing their populations (Onkelos, Rosenmüller, Kalisch), but either from the country districts to the towns (Targums Jonathan and Jerusalem, Lange, Schumann, Gerlach, Murphy), or according to the cities, i.e. in which the grain had been previously collected (Keil) - from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Not that the people were transported from one side of the country to the other as a high stroke of policy to complete their subjugation (Jarchi, Grotius, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, and others), but that throughout the land they were moved into the nearest cities, as a considerate and even merciful arrangement for the more efficiently supplying them with food (Calvin, Keil, Lange, Wordsworth, Speaker's Commentary).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And as for the people, he removed them,.... From the places where they dwelt, that it might appear they had no more property there, and might forget it, and be more willing to pay rent elsewhere; and their posterity hereafter could have no notion of its being theirs, or plead prescription; and besides, by such a removal and separation of the inhabitants of cities, some to one place, and some to another, sedition and mutiny might be prevented: he had them
to cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt, even unto the other end thereof; according to the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, those that dwelt in provinces, or in country towns and villages, he removed to cities, and those that dwelt in cities he removed into provinces, and placed them at the utmost distance from their former habitations, for the reasons before given; and the above Targums suggest another reason, to teach the Egyptians not to reproach the Israelites with being exiles and strangers, when they were all of them removed from their native places, and were strangers, where they were.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. as for the people, he removed them to cities—obviously for the convenience of the country people, who were doing nothing, to the cities where the corn stores were situated.
Genesis 47:21 Parallel Commentaries
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