Genesis 41:47
And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
41:46-57 In the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph owned the Divine providence. 1. He was made to forget his misery. 2. He was made fruitful in the land of his affliction. The seven plenteous years came, and were ended. We ought to look forward to the end of the days, both of our prosperity and of our opportunity. We must not be secure in prosperity, nor slothful in making good use of opportunity. Years of plenty will end; what thy hand finds to do, do it; and gather in gathering time. The dearth came, and the famine was not only in Egypt, but in other lands. Joseph was diligent in laying up, while the plenty lasted. He was prudent and careful in giving out, when the famine came. Joseph was engaged in useful and important labours. Yet it was in the midst of this his activity that his father Jacob said, Joseph is not! What a large portion of our troubles would be done away if we knew the whole truth! Let these events lead us to Jesus. There is a famine of the bread of life throughout the whole earth. Go to Jesus, and what he bids you, do. Attend to His voice, apply to him; he will open his treasures, and satisfy with goodness the hungry soul of every age and nation, without money and without price. But those who slight this provision must starve, and his enemies will be destroyed.The fulfillment of the dream here commences. "By handfuls." Not in single stalks or grains, but in handfuls compared with the former yield. It is probable that a fifth of the present unprecedented yield was sufficient for the sustenance of the inhabitants. Another fifth was rendered to the government, and the remaining three fifths were stored up or sold to the state or the foreign broker at a low price. "He left numbering because there was no number." This denotes that the store was immense, and not perhaps that modes of expressing the number failed.47. the earth brought forth by handfuls—a singular expression, alluding not only to the luxuriance of the crop, but the practice of the reapers grasping the ears, which alone were cut. Or, unto handfuls, to wit, growing upon one stalk; or, unto heaps; or, as the ancients render it, for the barns or storehouses; i.e. in such plenty, that all their storehouses were filled with heaps of corn. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. Such as the gatherers take up in their hands when reaped, in order to bind up in sheaves: now such was the fruitfulness of the land during the seven years of plenty, that either one stalk produced as many ears as a man could hold in his hand; or one grain produced an handful, as Ben Melech observes; though Onkelos paraphrases the words,"the inhabitants of the earth in the seven years of plenty gathered even into their treasuries:''and this they did by the order and direction of Joseph as he passed through the land; what he bought of them they brought, and put into the granaries, as he directed them. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 47, 48. - And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls (i.e. abundantly). And he (Joseph, through his subordinates) gathered up all the food (i.e. all the portions levied) of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: - men bringing corn into granaries appear upon the monuments at Beni-hassan (Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' vol. 1. p. 371, ed. 1878) - the food of the field, which was round about every city (literally, the food of the field of the city, which was in its environs), laid he up in the same (literally, in the midst of it). Joseph's Promotion. - This counsel pleased Pharaoh and all his servants, so that he said to them, "Shall we find a man like this one, in whom the Spirit of God is?" "The Spirit of Elohim," i.e., the spirit of supernatural insight and wisdom. He then placed Joseph over his house, and over all Egypt; in other words, he chose him as hid grand vizier, saying to him, "After God hath showed thee all this, there is none discreet and wise as thou." ישּׁק על־פּיך, "according to thy mouth (i.e., command, Genesis 45:21) shall my whole people arrange itself." נשׁק does not mean to kiss (Rabb., Ges., etc.), for על נשׁק is not Hebrew, and kissing the mouth was not customary as an act of homage, but "to dispose, arrange one's self" (ordine disposuit). "Only in the throne will I be greater than thou."
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