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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Genesis 47

 

 

Verses 1-31


Joseph presents his Brethren and his Father to Pharaoh. He makes extensive Changes in the Land Tenure of Egypt

6. Rulers over my cattle] The superintendenee of the royal flocks and herds would be a position of importance.

9. Few and evil, etc.] Abraham was 175 years and Isaac 180 years old at their death. Jacob, therefore, regarded his years as comparatively few. The 'evil 'times in his life are not difficult to trace.

11. Land of Rameses] or Raamses. Evidently identical with the 'land of Goshen '(Genesis 47:4 and Genesis 47:6). The name here is probably anticipatory of the time of the great Rameses, who made his court at Zoan: see on Exodus 1:11.

14-25. From being owners of the land the people became tenants of the crown. They remained on the land, paying one-fifth of the produce for state requirements, and retaining four-fifths for their own use. In such a fertile land as Egypt these conditions must be regarded as much more favourable than in some Eastern states in the present day, such as Turkey and Persia, where the peasants have to hand over from a half to three-fourths of the produce of the land to the government. See Dillmann, and on Genesis 47:25.

16, 17. When Joseph took the people's cattle which they were unable to support in the dried-up Nile valley, he probably removed them to Goshen (cp. Genesis 47:6) until the famine was ended.

18. The second year] not of the famine, but the year after they had given up their cattle.

21. It is now generally held that the v. should be rendered (with the LXX, Vulgate, and Samaritan texts), 'As for the people, he made bondmen of them from one end,' etc. (RM). The people became the tenants of the crown: see on Genesis 47:14-25.

22. The priests were already provided for by the state; it was therefore unnecessary for them to sell their land. It is said that in later times the king, the soldiers, and the priests each owned one-third of the land.

23. 'The peculiar system of Egyptian land tenure, which is here attributed to Joseph, is so far in accordance with the evidence of the monuments that whereas in the Old Empire the nobility and governors of the nomes (district) possessed large landed estates, in the New Empire (which followed the expulsion of the Hyksôs), the old aristocracy has made way for royal officials, and the landed property has passed out of the hands of the old families into the possession of the crown and the great temples '(D.).

25. The people were satisfied with Joseph's stipulations. They would be much better off when holding their land direct from the state under definite conditions, than when suffering from the exactions of small feudal rulers, who were a great infliction in Egypt.

29. Put.. thy hand, etc.] see on Genesis 24:2.

31. Bowed himself upon the bed's head] perhaps better, 'worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff,' as in Hebrews 11:21. The Hebrew words for 'bed' and 'staff' are very like each other.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 47:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/genesis-47.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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