And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.
take up the fifth part of the land—that is, of the land's produce, to be purchased and stored by the government, instead of being sold to foreign corn merchants.
and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh; as his property, and only to be disposed of by his orders; for as it was to be purchased with his money, it was right that it should be in his hands, or in the hands of his officers appointed by him, as the Targum of Jonathan:And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)35. let them gather all the food] This is rhetorical, and need not be pressed as contradicting the exaction of the one-fifth in Genesis 41:34. But see Genesis 41:48.
lay up corn] i.e. store up the grain in the keeping of the king’s officers. The establishment of state granaries appears here for the first time in history.
under the hand of Pharaoh] The king’s authority is never to be relaxed. The measures proposed will enhance the monarchy.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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