|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
47:7-12 With the gravity of old age, the piety of a true believer, and the authority of a patriarch and a prophet, Jacob besought the Lord to bestow a blessing upon Pharaoh. He acted as a man not ashamed of his religion; and who would express gratitude to the benefactor of himself and his family. We have here a very uncommon answer given to a very common question. Jacob calls his life a pilgrimage; the sojourning of a stranger in a foreign country, or his journey home to his own country. He was not at home upon earth; his habitation, his inheritance, his treasures were in heaven. He reckons his life by days; even by days life is soon reckoned, and we are not sure of the continuance of it for a day. Let us therefore number our days. His days were few. Though he had now lived one hundred and thirty years, they seemed but a few days, in comparison with the days of eternity, and the eternal state. They were evil; this is true concerning man. He is of few days and full of trouble; since his days are evil, it is well they are few. Jacob's life had been made up of evil days. Old age came sooner upon him than it had done upon some of his fathers. As the young man should not be proud of his strength or beauty, so the old man should not be proud of his age, and his hoary hairs, though others justly reverence them; for those who are accounted very old, attain not to the years of the patriarchs. The hoary head is only a crown of glory, when found in the way of righteousness. Such an answer could not fail to impress the heart of Pharaoh, by reminding him that worldly prosperity and happiness could not last long, and was not enough to satisfy. After a life of vanity and vexation, man goes down into the grave, equally from the throne as the cottage. Nothing can make us happy, but the prospect of an everlasting home in heaven, after our short and weary pilgrimage on earth.
Verses 8, 9. - And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? - literally, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage (literally, of my sojournings, wanderings to and fro without any settled condition) are an hundred and thirty years. Since Joseph was now thirty-seven years of age (Genesis 45:6), it is apparent that he was born in his father's ninety-first year; and since this event took place in the fourteenth year of Jacob's residence in Padan-aram (Genesis 30:25), it is equally apparent that Jacob was seventy-seven years of age when he left Beersheba after surreptitiously securing the patriarchal blessing (Genesis 28:1). Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. As Jacob s life fell short of that of his ancestors in respect of duration (witness the 175 years of Abraham, and the 180 of Isaac), so it greatly surpassed theirs in respect of the miseries that were crowded into it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, how old art thou? Or, "how many are the days of the years of thy life?" which way of speaking Jacob takes up, and very pertinently makes use of in his answer that follows: Dr. Lightfoot (m) thinks Pharaoh had never seen so old a man before, so grave a head, and so grey a beard, and in admiration asked this question.
(m) Works, vol. 1. p. 667.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?—The question was put from the deep and impressive interest which the appearance of the old patriarch had created in the minds of Pharaoh and his court. In the low-lying land of Egypt and from the artificial habits of its society, the age of man was far shorter among the inhabitants of that country than it had yet become in the pure bracing climate and among the simple mountaineers of Canaan. The Hebrews, at least, still attained a protracted longevity.
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