Genesis 41:53
And the seven years of plenty, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.
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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 commencement and the extent of the famine are now noted. "As Joseph had said." The fulfillment is as perfect in the one part as in the other. "In all the lands" - all the lands adjacent to Egypt; such as Arabia and Palestine. The word all in popular discourse is taken in a relative sense, to be ascertained by the context. We are not aware that this famine was felt beyond the distance of Hebron. "Go unto Joseph" Pharaoh has had reason to trust Joseph more and more, and now he adheres to his purpose of sending his people to him. "All the face of the land of Egypt." "And Joseph opened all places in which there was food" - all the stores in every city. "And sold unto Mizaim." The stores under Pharaoh's hand were public property, obtained either by lawful taxation or by purchase. It was a great public benefit to sell this grain, that had been providently kept in store, at a moderate price, and thus preserve the lives of a nation during a seven years' famine. "All the land." This is to be understood of the countries in the neighborhood of Egypt. Famines in these countries were not unusual. We have read already of two famines in Palestine that did not extend to Egypt Genesis 12:10; Genesis 26:1.

The fertility of Egypt depends on the rise of the waters of the Nile to a certain point, at which they will reach all the country. If it fall short of that point, there will be a deficiency in the crops proportioned to the deficiency in the rise. The rise of the Nile depends on the tropical rains by which the lake is supplied from which it flows. These rains depend on the clouds wafted by the winds from the basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The amount of these piles of vapor will depend on the access and strength of the solar heat producing evaporation from the surface of that inland sea. The same cause, therefore, may withhold rain from central Africa, and from all the lands that are watered from the Mediterranean. The duration of the extraordinary plenty was indeed wonderful. But such periods of excess are generally followed by corresponding periods of deficiency over the same area. This prepares the way for the arrival of Joseph's kindred in Egypt.

- Joseph and Ten of His Brethren

1. שׁבר sheber, "fragment, crumb, hence, grain." בר bar "pure," "winnowed," hence, "corn" (grain).

6. שׁליט shallı̂yṭ, "ruler, governor, hence," Sultan. Not elsewhere found in the Pentateuch.

25. כלי kelı̂y, "vessel," here any portable article in which grain may be conveyed. שׂק śaq, "sack," the very word which remains in our language to this day. אמתחת 'amtachath "bag."

Twenty years, the period of Joseph's long and anxious waiting, have come to an end. The dreams of his boyhood are now at length to be fulfilled. The famine has reached the chosen family, and they look at one another perplexed and irresolute, not knowing what to do.

53-56. The seven years of plenteousness … ended—Over and above the proportion purchased for the government during the years of plenty, the people could still have husbanded much for future use. But improvident as men commonly are in the time of prosperity, they found themselves in want, and would have starved by thousands had not Joseph anticipated and provided for the protracted calamity. 1708 No text from Poole on this verse. And the seven years of plenteousness that was in the land of Egypt were ended. Perhaps quickly after the birth of Ephraim, Joseph's second son; since the account follows upon that, and it is certain that he was born before the years of famine began, Genesis 41:50; some connect the words, "moreover when" the seven years of plenty were ended, then began, as follows, seven years of famine; these events were fulfilled just as Joseph had predicted. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 53, 54. - And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, - the most complete parallel to Joseph's famine was that which occurred in A.D. -1071, in the reign of Fatimee Khaleefeh, El-Mustansir-bilh, when the people ate corpses and animals that died of themselves; when a dog was sold for five, a cat for three, and a bushel of wheat for twenty, deenars (vide Smith's 'Bib. Dict.,' art. Famine) - according as Joseph had said (thus confirming Joseph's character as a prophet): and the dearth was in all lands; - i.e. in all the adjoining countries, and notably in Palestine (vide Genesis 42:1, 2) - but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. For the seven years of superabundance the land bore לקמצים, in full hands or bundles; and Joseph gathered all the provisional store of these years (i.e., the fifth part of the produce, which was levied) into the cities. "The food of the field of the city, which was round about it, he brought into the midst of it;" i.e., he provided granaries in the towns, in which the corn of the whole surrounding country was stored. In this manner he collected as much corn "as the sand of the sea," until he left off reckoning the quantity, or calculating the number of bushels, which the monuments prove to have been the usual mode adopted (vid., Hengst. p. 36).
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