EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
47:27-31 At last the time drew nigh that Israel must die. Israel, a prince with God, had power over the Angel, and prevailed, yet must die. Joseph supplied him with bread, that he might not die by famine, but that did not secure him from dying by age or sickness. He died by degrees; his candle gradually burnt down to the socket, so that he saw the time drawing nigh. It is an advantage to see the approach of death, before we feel it, that we may be quickened to do, with all our might, what our hands find to do. However, death is not far from any of us. Jacob's care, as he saw the day approach, was about his burial; not the pomp of it, but he would be buried in Canaan, because it was the land of promise. It was a type of heaven, that better country, which he declared plainly he expected, Heb 11:14. Nothing will better help to make a death-bed easy, than the certain prospect of rest in the heavenly Canaan after death. When this was done, Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head, worshipping God, as it is explained, see Heb 11:21, giving God thanks for all his favours; in feebleness thus supporting himself, expressing his willingness to leave the world. Even those who lived on Joseph's provision, and Jacob who was so dear to him, must die. But Christ Jesus gives us the true bread, that we may eat and live for ever. To Him let us come and yield ourselves, and when we draw near to death, he who supported us through life, will meet us and assure us of everlasting salvation.
And they were possessed thereof. - They become owners or tenants of the soil in Goshen. The Israelites were recognized as subjects with the full rights of freemen. "They grew and multiplied exceedingly." They are now placed in a definite territory, where they are free from the contamination which arises from promiscuous intermarriage with an idolatrous race; and hence, the Lord bestows the blessing of fruitfulness and multiplication, so that in a generation or two more they can intermarry among themselves. It is a remarkable circumstance that until now we read of only two daughters in the family of Jacob. The brothers could not marry their sisters, and it was not desirable that the females should form affinity with the pagan, as they had in general to follow the faith of their husbands. Here the twelfth section of the Pentateuch terminates.
23-28. Joseph said, Behold, &c.—The lands being sold to the government (Ge 47:19, 20), seed would be distributed for the first crop after the famine; and the people would occupy them as tenants-at-will on the payment of a produce rent, almost the same rule as obtains in Egypt in the present day. They had possessions,
i.e. lands, not for the dominion or propriety of them, for that rested in Pharaoh, but for the use and profit of them for their present subsistence.
And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen,.... The historian returns to the account of the Israelites, having before observed the placing of them in Goshen by Joseph, at the direction of Pharaoh, in compliance with their own request; and here they continued until they were grown more numerous, when they were obliged to spread themselves further in this same country:
and they had possessions therein; fields and vineyards, as the Targum of Jonathan; all the land was Pharaoh's, and they rented of him as his people did, it may be supposed:
and grew, and multiplied exceedingly; even in Jacob's lifetime they grew rich and numerous. And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.