Genesis 47:26
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New International Version
So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt--still in force today--that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh's.

King James Bible
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.

Darby Bible Translation
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, [that] the fifth should be for Pharaoh, except the land of the priests: theirs alone did not become Pharaoh's.

World English Bible
Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. Only the land of the priests alone didn't become Pharaoh's.

Young's Literal Translation
and Joseph setteth it for a statute unto this day, concerning the ground of Egypt, that Pharaoh hath a fifth; only the ground of the priests alone hath not become Pharaoh's.

Genesis 47:26 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And Joseph made it a law - That the people should hold their land from the king, and give him the fifth part of the produce as a yearly tax. Beyond this it appears the king had no farther demands. The whole of this conduct of Joseph has been as strongly censured by some as applauded by others. It is natural for men to run into extremes in attacking or defending any position. Sober and judicious men will consider what Joseph did by Divine appointment as a prophet of God, and what he did merely as a statesman from the circumstances of the case, the complexion of the times, and the character of the people over whom he presided. When this is dispassionately done, we shall see much reason to adore God, applaud the man, and perhaps in some cases censure the minister. Joseph is never held up to our view as an unerring prophet of God. He was an honored instrument in the hands of God of saving two nations from utter ruin, and especially of preserving that family from which the Messiah was to spring, and of perpetuating the true religion among them. In this character he is represented in the sacred pages. His conduct as the prime minister of Pharaoh was powerfully indicative of a deep and consummate politician, who had high notions of prerogative, which led him to use every prudent means to aggrandize his master, and at the same time to do what he judged best on the whole for the people he governed. See the conclusion at Genesis 50:26 (note).

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

made it a law. From this history, and from Diodorus Siculus (lib i), we learn that the land of Egypt was divided into three parts: one belonged to the Priests, (verses

Genesis 47:22,26 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh...

); a {second} was the king's, (which appears to have been the land of Rameses, or Goshen, verse

Genesis 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land...

); the {remainder} was the subjects'. Now Joseph, having purchased the land of the people (verses

Genesis 47:19,20 Why shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh...

), restored it, on the condition of their paying a {fifth} part of the produce to the king, beyond which he appears to have made no demand.


Genesis 47:22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh...

Ezekiel 7:24 Why I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease...

priests. or, princes.

Genesis 47:30 But I will lie with my fathers, and you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burial plot. And he said...

Two Retrospects of one Life
'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'--GENESIS xlvii. 9. 'The God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.' --GENESIS xlviii. 15,16. These are two strangely different estimates of the same life to be taken by the same man. In the latter Jacob categorically contradicts everything that he had said in the former. 'Few and evil,' he said before Pharaoh. 'All my life long,' 'the Angel which redeemed me from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Shortness and Misery of Life.
1 Our days, alas! our mortal days Are short and wretched too; "Evil and few," the patriarch says, [1] And well the patriarch knew. 2 'Tis but at best a narrow bound That heaven allows to men, And pains and sins run thro' the round Of threescore years and ten. 3 Well, if ye must be sad and few, Run on, my days, in haste; Moments of sin, and months of woe, Ye cannot fly too fast. 4 Let heavenly love prepare my soul, And call her to the skies, Where years of long salvation roll, And glory never dies.
Isaac Watts—Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Cross References
Genesis 47:22
However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

Genesis 47:25
"You have saved our lives," they said. "May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh."

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