Genesis 47:16
And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
JOSEPH’S POLICY IN EGYPT.

(16) Give your cattle.—As the people were in want of food, and their land incapable of cultivation as long as the Nile ceased to overflow, this was a merciful arrangement, by which the owners were delivered from a burden, and also a portion of the cattle saved for the time when they would be needed again for agricultural purposes. As the charge of so many cattle in time of dearth would be a very serious matter (1Kings 18:5-6), we now see the reason why Pharaoh wished the ablest of Joseph’s brethren to be employed in the task; and probably while there was no food for them in the Nile Valley, there would still be grass in the alluvial soil of the delta, which men used to move about with cattle would be able to find.

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.16. And Joseph said, Give your cattle—"This was the wisest course that could be adopted for the preservation both of the people and the cattle, which, being bought by Joseph, was supported at the royal expense, and very likely returned to the people at the end of the famine, to enable them to resume their agricultural labors." No text from Poole on this verse. And Joseph said, give your cattle,.... Oxen, sheep, horses, asses, as follows:

and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail; that is, corn for cattle, if they had no money to give.

And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. I will give you] The word “bread” is evidently understood; and is found supplied in the Sam., LXX and Vulg. versions.Verses 16, 17. - And Joseph said, Give (literally, bring) your cattle; and I will give you (sc. bread) for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks (literally, and for cattle of the flocks), and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses (the severity of these terms of sale and purchase was not so great as at first sight appears, since to a famishing people under-fed cattle and starving horses must have been comparatively worthless): and he fed them - literally, led, in the sense of cared for and maintained, them (cf. Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 40:11) - for all their cattle for that year - this was the sixth year of the famine (vide ver. 23). After this probably short interview, of which, however, only the leading incidents are given, Jacob left the king with a blessing.
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