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Verses 13-19

"It was axiomatic in the ancient world that one paid one’s way so long as one had anything to part with-including, in the last resort, one’s liberty." [Note: Kidner, p. 211.]

"Both Egyptian and Mesopotamian slavery differentiated generally between formerly free people who became debt slaves and foreigners (usually war captives) who were bought and sold as chattel. Mesopotamian laws and contracts indicate that creditors obtained the service of the debt slave until the debt was covered, but chattel slaves belonged to their owners without much chance of release. Although we cannot know from Genesis, there is reason to believe that the voluntary submission of the people assumes that the enslavement was not permanent (cp. the law established by Joseph, Genesis 47:26)." [Note: Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, p. 851.]

"The idea of slavery is not attractive to the modern mind, but in the ancient world it was the primary way of dealing with the poor and destitute. If people became slaves of Pharaoh, it was Pharaoh’s responsibility to feed them and care for them. It was the best way for them to survive the famine." [Note: The NET Bible note on 47:19.]

This is the first mention of horses in the Bible, the primary beast of burden and military mechine at this time (Genesis 47:17). Egypt was an important source of horses in Solomon’s day (cf. 1 Kings 10:28-29).

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