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.
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.
They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
To sojourn in the land are we cane — Not to settle there for ever; only to sojourn, while the famine prevailed so in Canaan, which lay high, that it was not habitable for shepherds, the grass being burnt up much more than in Egypt, which lay low, and where the corn chiefly failed, but there was tolerable good pasture.
And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
How old art thou? — A question usually put to old men, for it is natural to us to admire old age, and to reverence it. Jacob's countenance no doubt shewed him to be old, for be had been a man of labour and sorrow. In Egypt people were not so long-lived as in Canaan, and therefore Pharaoh looks upon Jacob with wonder.
And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
Observe1. Jacob calls his life a pilgrimage, looking upon himself as a stranger in this world, and a traveller towards another. He reckoned himself not only a pilgrim now he was in Egypt, a strange country in which he never was before, but his life even in the land of his nativity was a pilgrimage2. He reckoned his life by days; for even so it is soon reckoned, and we are not sure of the continuance of it for a day to an end, but may be turned out of this tabernacle at less than an hours warning3. The character he gives of them was, (1.) That they were few. Though he had now lived130 years, they seemed to him but as a few days, in comparison of the days of eternity, in which a thousand years are but as one day; (2.) That they were evil. This is true concerning man in general, Job 14:1, he is of few days and full of trouble: Jacob's life particularly had been made up of evil days. the pleasantest days of his life were yet before him. (3.) That they were short of the days of his fathers; not so many, not so pleasant as their days. Old age came sooner upon him than it had done upon some of his ancestors.
And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
And Jacob blessed Pharaoh — Which was not only an act of civility but an act of piety; he prayed for him, as one having the authority of a prophet and a patriarch: and a patriarch's blessing was not a thing to be despised, no not by a potent prince.
And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
He removed them to cities — He transplanted them, to shew Pharaoh's sovereign power over them, and that they might, in time, forget their titles to their lands, and be the easier reconciled to their new condition of servitude. How hard soever this seems to have been upon them, they themselves were sensible of it as a great kindness, and were thankful they were not worse used.
And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
Jacob lived seventeen years after he came into Egypt, far beyond his own expectation: seventeen years he had nourished Joseph, for so old he was when he was sold from him, and now, seventeen years Joseph nourished him. Observe how kindly Providence ordered Jacob's affairs; that when he was old, and least able to bear care and fatigue, he had least occasion for it, being well provided for by his son without his own forecast.
And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
And the time drew nigh that Israel must die — Israel, that had power over the angel, and prevailed, yet must yield to death. He died by degrees; his candle was not blown out, but gradually burnt down, so that he saw, at some distance, the time drawing nigh. He would be buried in Canaan, not because Canaan was the land of his nativity, but in faith, because it was the land of promise, which he desired thus, as it were to keep possession of 'till the time should come when his posterity should be masters of it: and because it was a type of heaven, that better country, which he was in expectation of. When this was done, Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head - Worshipping God, as it is explained, Hebrews 11:21, giving God thanks for all his favours, and particularly for this, that Joseph was ready, to put his hand upon his eyes. Thus they that go down to the dust should, with humble thankfulness, bow before God, the God of their mercies.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 47". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany