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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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!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.
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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). 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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