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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 47

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-31

Genesis 46:28 Comments - According to Genesis 45:18, the land of Goshen was the best land in Egypt.

Genesis 45:18, “And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt , and ye shall eat the fat of the land.”

Genesis 46:34 “for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians” - Comments - The Egyptians were husbandmen, but not with sheep, as the Hebrews. Theirs were cattle, horses, asses, etc. A sheep tends to graze close to the ground and ruins a pasture so that cattle cannot graze on it. So cattle and sheep by their nature are not compatible.

Genesis 47:17, “And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.”

Genesis 47:7 “Jacob blessed Pharaoh” Comments - The fact that Jacob blessed Pharaoh was an indication that Jacob was a greater man than Pharaoh (note Hebrews 7:7).

Hebrews 7:7, “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”

Genesis 47:9 “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years” Comments - Scholars note that Jacob describes his life as a pilgrimage because he and his fathers were sojourners in the land of Canaan, living a nomadic life as shepherds.

Genesis 47:9 “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” Comments - Jacob describes his life as “few and evil.” Scholars note that “few” means he has lived a shorter life than his fathers, and “evil” means that he has suffered much affliction in comparison to Abraham and Isaac. [257]

[257] John Gill, Genesis, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Genesis 47:9.

Genesis 47:11 “in the land of Rameses” - Comments - This was the Egyptian name for the area called “Goshen” by the Hebrews.

Genesis 47:26 “unto this day” Comments - The phrase “unto this day” would probably refer to Moses' day if he is the author of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 47:28 Comments - Jacob was one hundred and thirty years old when he came into the land of Egypt.

Genesis 47:28 Comments - Note that Jacob died at a much earlier age than his father Isaac at 180 years old (Genesis 35:28) and his grandfather Abraham at 175 years old (Genesis 25:7). Perhaps Jacob died at an earlier age because he grieved for his son Joseph for so many years, and because his life was mixed with much affliction.

Genesis 47:31 “And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head” - Comments - Note how this phrase is quoted in the New Testament using the LXX translation:

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

Brenton, “And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff.”

Genesis 48:4 “and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession” - Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Genesis 17:8, “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Acts 7:5, “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him , when as yet he had no child.”

Genesis 48:5 “are mine, as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” - Comments - Jacob called Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as belonging to Jacob, just as Jacob’s first and second born sons Reuben and Simeon were his.

Genesis 48:5 Comments - Manasseh and Ephraim became two of the twelve tribes of Israel, being named with the twelve sons of Jacob. This seems to be a double portion blessing upon Joseph, which only the firstborn received. This is seen in Genesis 48:22.

Genesis 48:22, “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

Thus, in this passage, Jacob gave the double blessing of the firstborn to Joseph instead of to Reuben.

Genesis 48:6 “and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance” - Comments - Jacob saw the twelve tribes of Israel as possessing the land of Canaan according to their divisions.

Genesis 48:6 Comments - The rest of Joseph’s sons after these first two shall be named as being in the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.

Genesis 48:5-6 Comments Joseph’s Double Portion - Jacob claimed the perpetuation of his own names and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, not through his son Joseph, but thru his two grandsons. Manasseh and Ephraim would father entire tribes in their own names, thus giving Joseph a double portion of the inheritance.

Genesis 48:9 Comments - Jacob would have normally blessed his son Joseph. However, since Joseph’s two sons were now to be numbered with the twelve, Jacob proceeded to bless them.

Genesis 48:9 Scripture References - Note a similar verse:

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

Genesis 48:22 Comments - The giving of a special portion by Jacob to his favorite son Joseph was a reflection of the customs of his day. The Code of Hammurabi, believed by some scholars to have been written by a Babylonian king around 2100 B.C., impacted its culture for centuries. It is very likely that Jacob based this decision upon law 165 of this Code, which says, “If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a field, garden, and house, and a deed therefore: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the estate, then they shall first give him the present of his father, and he shall accept it; and the rest of the paternal property shall they divide.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 47". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-47.html. 2013.
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