Genesis 47:31
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

King James Bible
And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

American Standard Version
And he said, Swear unto me: and he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he said: Swear then to me. And as he was swearing, Israel adored God, turning to the bed's head.

English Revised Version
And he said, Swear unto me: and he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, Swear to me: and he swore to him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

Genesis 47:31 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Then Joseph said to the people: "Behold I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh; there have ye (הא only found in Ezekiel 16:43 and Daniel 2:43) seed, and sow the land; and of the produce ye shall give the fifth for Pharaoh, and four parts (ידת, as in Genesis 43:34) shall belong to you for seed, and for the support of yourselves, your families and children." The people agreed to this; and the writer adds (Genesis 47:26), it became a law, in existence to this day (his own time), "with regard to the land of Egypt for Pharaoh with reference to the fifth," i.e., that the fifth of the produce of the land should be paid to Pharaoh.

Profane writers have given at least an indirect support to the reality of this political reform of Joseph's. Herodotus, for example (2, 109), states that king Sesostris divided the land among the Egyptians, giving every one a square piece of the same size as his hereditary possession (κλῆρον), and derived his own revenue from a yearly tax upon them. Diod. Sic. (1, 73), again, says that all the land in Egypt belonged either to the priests, to the king, or to the warriors; and Strabo (xvii. p. 787), that the farmers and traders held rateable land, so that the peasants were not landowners. On the monuments, too, the kings, priests, and warriors only are represented as having landed property (cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, i. 263). The biblical account says nothing about the exemption of the warriors from taxation and their possession of land, for that was a later arrangement. According to Herod. 2, 168, every warrior had received from former kings, as an honourable payment, twelve choice fields (ἄρουραι) free from taxation, but they were taken away by the Hephaesto-priest Sethos, a contemporary of Hezekiah, when he ascended the throne (Herod. 2, 141). But when Herodotus and Diodorus Sic. attribute to Sesostris the division of the land into 36 νομοί, and the letting of these for a yearly payment; these comparatively recent accounts simply transfer the arrangement, which was actually made by Joseph, to a half-mythical king, to whom the later legends ascribed all the greater deeds and more important measures of the early Pharaohs. And so far as Joseph's arrangement itself was concerned, not only had he the good of the people and the interests of the king in view, but the people themselves accepted it as a favour, inasmuch as in a land where the produce was regularly thirty-fold, the cession of a fifth could not be an oppressive burden. And it is probable that Joseph not only turned the temporary distress to account by raising the king into the position of sole possessor of the land, with the exception of that of the priests, and bringing the people into a condition of feudal dependence upon him, but had also a still more comprehensive object in view; viz., to secure the population against the danger of starvation in case the crops should fail at any future time, not only by dividing the arable land in equal proportions among the people generally, but, as has been conjectured, by laying the foundation for a system of cultivation regulated by laws and watched over by the state, and possibly also by commencing a system of artificial irrigation by means of canals, for the purpose of conveying the fertilizing water of the Nile as uniformly as possible to all parts of the land. (An explanation of this system is given by Hengstenberg in his Dissertations, from the Correspondance d'Orient par Michaud, etc.) To mention either these or any other plans of a similar kind, did not come within the scope of the book of Genesis, which restricts itself, in accordance with its purely religious intention, to a description of the way in which, during the years of famine, Joseph proved himself to both the king and people of Egypt to be the true support of the land, so that in him Israel already became a saviour of the Gentiles. The measures taken by Joseph are thus circumstantially described, partly because the relation into which the Egyptians were brought to their visible king bore a typical resemblance to the relation in which the Israelites were placed by the Mosaic constitution to Jehovah, their God-King, since they also had to give a double tenth, i.e., the fifth of the produce of their lands, and were in reality only farmers of the soil which Jehovah had given them in Canaan for a possession, so that they could not part with their hereditary possessions in perpetuity (Leviticus 25:23); and partly also because Joseph's conduct exhibited in type how God entrusts His servants with the good things of this earth, in order that they may use them not only for the preservation of the lives of individuals and nations, but also for the promotion of the purposes of His kingdom. For, as is stated in conclusion in Genesis 47:27, not only did Joseph preserve the lives of the Egyptians, for which they expressed their acknowledgements (Genesis 47:25), but under his administration the house of Israel was able, without suffering any privations, or being brought into a relation of dependence towards Pharaoh, to dwell in the land of Goshen, to establish itself there (נאחז as in Genesis 34:10), and to become fruitful and multiply.

Genesis 47:31 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Swear.

Genesis 24:3 And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth...

And Israel bowed. As {shachah}, which primarily signifies to {bow}, denotes also to {worship}; and as {mittah, a bed} pronounced {matteh} is a {staff}; the LXX. have taken the passage in the latter sense, and rendered it [] `and Israel worshipped upon the top of his staff,' which is literally copied by the apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews. The present reading is, however, supported by the Maoretic pointing and the Targums; and is most probably correct, as it would appear that Jacob was confined to his bed.

Genesis 47:29 And the time drew near that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said to him, If now I have found grace in your sight...

Genesis 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

Genesis 48:1,2 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick: and he took with him his two sons...

1 Kings 1:47 And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than your name...

Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Cross References
Hebrews 11:21
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

Genesis 21:23
Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned."

Genesis 21:24
And Abraham said, "I will swear."

Genesis 24:3
that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell,

Genesis 31:53
The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac,

Genesis 50:25
Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."

1 Kings 1:47
Moreover, the king's servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May your God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.' And the king bowed himself on the bed.

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