Genesis 47:13
And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
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Genesis 47:13. The land fainted — So the Chaldee renders the word תלה. That is, the spirits of the people were depressed and sunk within them, and their flesh also wasted for want of food. But many critics prefer translating the words, The land raged, or became furious. This is commonly the case with the lower class of people in a time of scarcity and famine. Instead of being humbled under the chastening hand of God, they are filled with rage both against him and their governors, and become furious.

Genesis 47:19-25. Wherefore shall we die, we and our land? — Land may be said to die when it is desolate and barren; or when the fruits of it die, or, which is the same in effect, do not live and flourish. Buy us and our land for bread — The severity of the famine brought them to this. To obtain bread they not only readily parted with their money, their cattle, their lands, but even at last sold themselves nay, and thought themselves under great obligations to Joseph that they could, even on these apparently hard terms, obtain food! How thankful we ought to be in this country, that we seldom know, by experience, what either famine or scarcity means!47:13-26 Care being taken of Jacob and his family, which mercy was especially designed by Providence in Joseph's advancement, an account is given of the saving the kingdom of Egypt from ruin. There was no bread, and the people were ready to die. See how we depend upon God's providence. All our wealth would not keep us from starving, if rain were withheld for two or three years. See how much we are at God's mercy, and let us keep ourselves always in his love. Also see how much we smart by our own want of care. If all the Egyptians had laid up corn for themselves in the seven years of plenty, they had not been in these straits; but they regarded not the warning. Silver and gold would not feed them: they must have corn. All that a man hath will he give for his life. We cannot judge this matter by modern rules. It is plain that the Egyptians regarded Joseph as a public benefactor. The whole is consistent with Joseph's character, acting between Pharaoh and his subjects, in the fear of God. The Egyptians confessed concerning Joseph, Thou hast saved our lives. What multitudes will gratefully say to Jesus, at the last day, Thou hast saved our souls from the most tremendous destruction, and in the season of uttermost distress! The Egyptians parted with all their property, and even their liberty, for the saving of their lives: can it then be too much for us to count all but loss, and part with all, at His command, and for His sake, who will both save our souls, and give us an hundredfold, even here, in this present world? Surely if saved by Christ, we shall be willing to become his servants.Joseph introduces remarkable changes into the relation of the sovereign and the people of Egypt. "There was no bread in all the land." The private stores of the wealthy were probably exhausted. "And Joseph gathered up all the silver." The old stores of grain and the money, which had flowed into the country during the years of plenty, seem to have lasted for five years. "And Joseph brought the silver into Pharaoh's house." He was merely the steward of Pharaoh in this matter, and made a full return of all the payments that came into his hands. "The silver was spent." The famishing people have no more money; but they must have bread. Joseph is fertile in expedients. He proposes to take their cattle. This was really a relief to the people, as they had no means of providing them with fodder. The value of commodities is wholly altered by a change of circumstances. Pearls will not purchase a cup of water in a vast and dreary wilderness. Cattle become worthless when food becomes scarce, and the means of procuring it are exhausted. For their cattle Joseph supplies them with food during the sixth year.13-15. there was no bread in all the land—This probably refers to the second year of the famine (Ge 45:6) when any little stores of individuals or families were exhausted and when the people had become universally dependent on the government. At first they obtained supplies for payment. Before long money failed.Quest. Whence came it that the people in this extremity did not take the corn by force out of the several store-houses?

Answ. Besides that singular providence of God which watcheth over kings and rulers, and stilleth the tumults of the people, Joseph had no doubt foreseen this difficulty, and took due care to prevent it, partly, by disposing the stores in strong and well-guarded places; partly, by adding wealth and strength to the king, whereby he might more easily suppress any seditious risings; and principally, by not permitting the people to despair, or come to the utmost extremity, but giving them relief in all their exigences. And there was no bread in all the land,.... The land of Egypt and the parts adjacent, but in Pharaoh's storehouses, all being consumed that were in private hands the first two years of the famine:

for the famine was very sore; severe, pressed very hard:

so that the land of Egypt, and all the land of Canaan, fainted by reason of the famine; that is, the inhabitants of both countries, their spirits sunk, as well as their flesh failed for want of food: or "raged" (b); became furious, and were like madmen, as the word signifies; according to Kimchi (c), they were at their wits' end, knew not what to do, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and became tumultuous; it is much they had not in a violent manner broke open the storehouses of corn, and took it away by force; that they did not must be owing to the providence of God, which restrained them, and to the care and prudence of Joseph as a means, who, doubtless, had well fortified the granaries; and very probably there were a body of soldiers placed everywhere, who were one of the three parts or states of the kingdom of Egypt, as Diodorus Siculus (d) relates; to which may be added, the mild and gentle address of Joseph to the people, speaking kindly to them, giving them hopes of a supply during the famine, and readily relieving them upon terms they could not object to.

(b) "insanivit vel acta fuit in rahiem", Vatablus; "furebat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (c) In Sepher Shorash rad so Ben Melech in loc. (d) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 67.

And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
13–27a (J (?)). The Famine in Egypt, and Joseph’s Policy

13. in all the land] or “in all the earth.” LXX πάσῃ τῇ γῇ; Lat. in toto orbe. Cf. Genesis 41:54; Genesis 41:57; Acts 11:28, “a great famine over all the world.” “Very sore”: cf. Genesis 12:10, Genesis 41:31; Genesis 41:56, Genesis 43:1.

fainted] A striking metaphor (the Heb. word not occurring again in O.T.) to express the complete collapse of the inhabitants of Egypt and Canaan: LXX ἐξέλιτε. Notice the association of Canaan with Egypt in these three Genesis 47:13-15. Afterwards only Egypt is spoken of.Verse 13. - And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore (literally, heavy), so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted (literally, was exhausted, had become languid and spiritless) by reason of the famine. The introduction of the present section, which first depicts the miseries of a starving population, and then circumstantially describes a great political revolution forced upon them by the stern necessity of hunger, may have been due to a desire

(1) to exhibit the extreme urgency which existed for Joseph's care of his father and brethren (Bush),

(2) to show the greatness of the benefit conferred on Joseph's house (Baumgarten, Keil, Lange), and perhaps also

(3) to foreshadow the political constitution afterwards bestowed upon the Israelites (Gerlach). Joseph then presented his father to Pharaoh, but not till after the audience of his brothers had been followed by the royal permission to settle, for which the old man, who was bowed down with age, was not in a condition to sue. The patriarch saluted the king with a blessing, and replied to his inquiry as to his age, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are 130 years; few and sorrowful are the days of my life's years, and have not reached (the perfect in the presentiment of his approaching end) the days of the life's years of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage." Jacob called his own life and that of his fathers a pilgrimage (מגוּרים), because they had not come into actual possession of the promised land, but had been obliged all their life long to wander about, unsettled and homeless, in the land promised to them for an inheritance, as in a strange land. This pilgrimage was at the same time a figurative representation of the inconstancy and weariness of the earthly life, in which man does not attain to that true rest of peace with God and blessedness in His fellowship, for which he was created, and for which therefore his soul is continually longing (cf. Psalm 39:13; Psalm 119:19, Psalm 119:54; 1 Chronicles 29:15). The apostle, therefore, could justly regard these words as a declaration of the longing of the patriarchs for the eternal rest of their heavenly fatherland (Hebrews 11:13-16). So also Jacob's life was little (מעט) and evil (i.e., full of toil and trouble) in comparison with the life of his fathers. For Abraham lived to be 175 years old, and Isaac 180; and neither of them had led a life so agitated, so full of distress and dangers, of tribulation and anguish, as Jacob had from his first flight to Haran up to the time of his removal to Egypt.
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