And there will I nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine; lest you, and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thy household.—As the famine had lasted only two years, and as Jacob had preserved his flocks and herds, so probably he had lost few or none of the large number of men-servants and women-servants who belonged to him. He would thus go down to Egypt as head of a large tribe, who would be called Israelites after him, just as the Ishmaelites, to whom Joseph was sold (Genesis 37:25), bore Ishmael’s name, not because they were lineally descended from him, but because he had made them subject to his authority and that of his race. In Genesis 45:18 Joseph speaks of “their households,” showing that each of the patriarchs had now his own body of dependants, besides the still larger clan which belonged to Jacob.
The remembrance of their crime, the absolute power of Joseph, and the justice of revenge, would rush upon their minds. No wonder they were silent and troubled at his presence. "Is my father yet alive?" This question shows where Joseph's thoughts were. He had been repeatedly assured of his father's welfare. But the long absence and the yearning of a fond heart bring the question up again. It was reassuring to the brethren, as it was far away from any thought of their fault or their punishment. "Come near unto me." Joseph sees the trouble of his brothers, and discerns its cause. He addresses them a second time, and plainly refers to the fact of their having sold him. He points out that this was overruled of God to the saving of life; and, hence, that it was not they, but God who had mercifully sent him to Egypt to preserve all their lives. "For these two years." Hence, we perceive that the sons of Jacob obtained a supply, on the first occasion, which was sufficient for a year. "To leave to you a remnant in the land."
This is usually and most naturally referred to a surviving portion of their race. "Father to Pharaoh;" a second author of life to him. Having touched very slightly on their transgression, and endeavored to divert their thoughts to the wonderful providence of God displayed in the whole affair, he lastly preoccupies their minds with the duty and necessity of bringing down their father and all their families to dwell in Egypt. "In the land of Goshen." This was a pasture land on the borders of Egypt and Arabia, perhaps at some distance from the Nile, and watered by the showers of heaven, like their own valleys. He then appeals to their recollections and senses, whether he was not their very brother Joseph. "My mouth that speaketh unto you;" not by an interpreter, but with his own lips, and in their native tongue. Having made this needful and reassuring explanation, he breaks through all distance, and falls upon Benjamin's neck and kisses him, and all his other brothers; after which their hearts are soothed, and they speak freely with him.
for yet there are five years of famine; still to come, two of the seven only being past:And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Genesis 31:35) that ye sold me hither; for God hath sent me before you to preserve life." Sic enim Joseph interpretatur venditionem. Vos quidem me vendidistis, sed Deus emit, asseruit et vindicavit me sibi pastorem, principem et salvatorem populorum eodem consilio, quo videbar amissus et perditus (Luther). "For," he continues in explanation, "now there are two years of famine in the land, and there are five years more, in which there will be no ploughing and reaping. And God hath sent me before you to establish you a remnant (cf. 2 Samuel 14:7) upon the earth (i.e., to secure to you the preservation of the tribe and of posterity during this famine), and to preserve your lives to a great deliverance," i.e., to a great nation delivered from destruction, cf. Genesis 50:20. פּליטה that which has escaped, the band of men or multitude escaped from death and destruction (2 Kings 19:30-31). Joseph announced prophetically here, that God had brought him into Egypt to preserve through him the family which He had chosen for His own nation, and to deliver them out of the danger of starvation which threatened them now, as a very great nation.
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