And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 41:30. Seven years of famine — See the perishing nature of our worldly enjoyments. The great increase of the years of plenty was quite lost and swallowed up in the years of famine; and the over-plus of it, which seemed very much, yet did but just serve to keep men alive.
The measures here suggested to Pharaoh were, we must suppose in conformity with the civil institutions of the country. Thee exaction of a fifth, or two tithes, during the period of plenty, may have been an extraordinary measure, which the absolute power of the monarch enabled him to enforce for the public safety. The sovereign was probably dependent for his revenues on the produce of the crown lands, certain taxes on exports or imports, and occasional gifts or forced contributions from his subjects. This extraordinary fifth was, probably, of the last description, and was fully warranted by the coming emergency. The "gathering up of all the food" may imply that, in addition to the fifth, large purchases of corn were made by the government out of the surplus produce of the country.
25. Joseph said, … The dream … is one—They both pointed to the same event—a remarkable dispensation of seven years of unexampled abundance, to be followed by a similar period of unparalleled dearth. The repetition of the dream in two different forms was designed to show the absolute certainty and speedy arrival of this public crisis; the interpretation was accompanied by several suggestions of practical wisdom for meeting so great an emergency as was impending.
and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the seven years of plenty being all spent, it should be as if it never was; the minds of men would be so intent upon their present distressed case and circumstances, that they should wholly forget how it had been with them in time past; or it would be as if they had never enjoyed it, or were never the better for it: this answers to and explains how it was with the ill favoured kine, when they had eaten up the fat kine; they seemed never the better, nor could it be known by their appearance that they had so done:
and the famine shall consume the land: the inhabitants of it, and all the fruits and increase of it the former years produced.And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Genesis 14:24), God will answer Pharaoh's good," i.e., what shall profit Pharaoh; just as in Genesis 40:8 he had pointed the two prisoners away from himself to God. Pharaoh then related his double dream (Genesis 41:17-24), and Joseph gave the interpretation (Genesis 41:25-32): "The dream of Pharaoh is one (i.e., the two dreams have the same meaning); God hath showed Pharaoh what He is about to do." The seven cows and seven ears of corn were seven years, the fat ones very fertile years of superabundance, the lean ones very barren years of famine; the latter would follow the former over the whole land of Egypt, so that the years of famine would leave no trace of the seven fruitful years; and, "for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice" (i.e., so far as this fact is concerned, it signifies) "that the thing is firmly resolved by God, and God will quickly carry it out." In the confidence of this interpretation which looked forward over fourteen years, the divinely enlightened seer's glance was clearly manifested, and could not fail to make an impression upon the king, when contrasted with the perplexity of the Egyptian augurs and wise men. Joseph followed up his interpretation by the advice (Genesis 41:33-36), that Pharaoh should "look out (ירא) a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt;" and cause יעשׂה) that in the seven years of superabundance he should raise fifths (חמּשׁ), i.e., the fifth part of the harvest, through overseers, and have the corn, or the stores of food (אכל), laid up in the cities "under the hand of the king," i.e., by royal authority and direction, as food for the land for the seven years of famine, that it might not perish through famine.
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