Genesis 47:3
And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.
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(3) Also our fathers.—Joseph had instructed them to add this (Genesis 46:34), because occupations were hereditary among the Egyptians, and thus Pharaoh would conclude that in their case also no change was possible in their mode of life.

Genesis 47:3. What is your occupation? — Pharaoh takes it for granted they had something to do. All that have a place in the world should have an employment in it according to their capacity, some occupation or other. Those that need not work for their bread, yet must have something to do to keep them from idleness.

47:1-6 Though Joseph was a great man, especially in Egypt, yet he owned his brethren. Let the rich and great in the world not overlook or despise poor relations. Our Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren. In answer to Pharaoh's inquiry, What is your calling? they told him that they were shepherds, adding that they were come to sojourn in the land for a time, while the famine prevailed in Canaan. Pharaoh offered to employ them as shepherds, provided they were active men. Whatever our business or employment is, we should aim to excel in it, and to prove ourselves clever and industrious.Joseph announces to Pharaoh the arrival of his kindred. "Of the whole of his brethren," more exactly from the end of his brethren. Five men, a favorite number in Egypt. Shepherds, owners and feeders of sheep and other cattle. "Pasture." Hence, it appears that the drought had made the grazing extremely scanty. Men of ability, competent to take the oversight of others. "Jacob his father," he presents before Pharaoh, after he has disposed of all business matters. "Jacob blessed Pharaoh." This is the patriarch's grateful return for Pharaoh's great kindness and generosity toward him and his house. He is conscious of even a higher dignity than that of Pharaoh, as he is a prince of God; and as such he bestows his precious benediction. Pharaoh was struck with his venerable appearance, and inquired what was his age. "Pilgrimage" - sojourning, wandering without any constant abode or fixed holding.

Such was the life of the patriarchs in the land of promise Hebrews 11:13. "Few and evil." Jacob's years at this time were far short of those of Abraham and Isaac, not to speak of more ancient men. Much bitterness also had been mingled in his cup from the time that he beguiled his brother of the birthright and the blessing, which would have come to him in a lawful way if he had only waited in patience. Obliged to flee for his life from his father's house, serving seven years for a beloved wife, and balked in his expected recompense by a deceitful father-in-law, serving seven long years more for the object of his affections, having his wages changed ten times during the six years of his further toil for a maintenance, afflicted by the dishonor of his only daughter, the reckless revenge taken by Simon and Levi, the death of his beloved wife in childbed, the disgraceful incest of Reuben, the loss of Joseph himself for twenty-two years, and the present famine with all its anxieties - Jacob, it must be confessed, has become acquainted with no small share of the ills of life. "Blessed Pharaoh." It is possible that this blessing is the same as that already mentioned, now reiterated in its proper place in the narrative. "According to the little ones." This means either in proportion to the number in each household, or with all the tenderness with which a parent provides for his infant offspring.

2. he took some of his brethren—probably the five eldest brothers: seniority being the least invidious principle of selection. This employment is not pretended nor taken up by us in design, or in contempt of thee or thy people, but was handed to us by our fathers, and hath been our business to this day.

And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, what is your occupation?.... Which is the question he had told his brethren beforehand would be asked them, and prepared them to give an answer to it, Genesis 46:33; which was perhaps an usual question Pharaoh asked of persons that came to settle in his dominions, that he might have no idle vagrants there, and that he might know of what advantage they were like to be of in his kingdom, and might dispose of them accordingly:

and they said unto Pharaoh, thy servants are shepherds, both we and also our fathers; see Genesis 46:34.

And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.
3. And Pharaoh said] Pharaoh’s question and the men’s answer follow the outline given by Joseph in Genesis 46:34, but, instead of saying, “thy servants have been keepers of cattle,” they say, “thy servants are shepherds.”

Verse 3. - And Pharaoh said unto his (i.e. Joseph's) brethren, What is your occupation? (vide Genesis 46:33). And they said unto Pharaoh, - as directed (Genesis 46:34) - Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. Genesis 47:3Pharaoh asked them about their occupation, and according to Joseph's instructions they replied that they were herdsmen (צאן רעה, the singular of the predicate, see Ges. 147c), who had come to sojourn in the land (גּוּר, i.e., to stay for a time), because the pasture for their flocks had failed in the land of Canaan on account of the famine. The king then empowered Joseph to give his father and his brethren a dwelling (הושׁיב) in the best part of the land, in the land of Goshen, and, if he knew any brave men among them, to make them rulers over the royal herds, which were kept, as we may infer, in the land of Goshen, as being the best pasture-land.
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