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Genesis 47:1-10 - Exposition

Jacob and his sons before Pharaoh.


1. Their arrival announced ( Genesis 47:1 ). "My father and brethren are come out of the land of Canaan, and behold they are in the land of Goshen."

2. Their persons presented ( Genesis 47:2 ). "He took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them to Pharaoh. The import of this selection of five is explained in the exposition.

3. Their occupations declared ( Genesis 47:3 ). In answer to the king's interrogation they replied that they were shepherds. They had no desire to deceive, although they had learnt that persons of their trades were not commonly regarded with favor. Joseph indeed had convinced them that in this instance honesty would be the best policy; but even had it been precisely the reverse there is no reason to suppose they would have attempted any sort of prevarication.

4. Their purpose explained ( Genesis 47:4 ). It was not their intention to settle permanently in Egypt, but only to find in it a temporary shelter during the years of famine. But while man proposes God disposes.

5. Their wish stated ( Genesis 47:4 ). "Now, therefore, let thy servants dwell in Goshen." Though Joseph might have had sufficient power to accord them this favor, it was only courteous to ask it from Pharaoh. "Honor to whom honor is due," is the dictate of right feeling as well as of true religion, and men seldom find themselves the losers by practicing politeness.

6. Their request granted ( Genesis 47:6 ). Pharaoh at once responded—" The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell." Nay, Pharaoh even exceeded their desires or expectations.

7. Their promotion indicated ( Genesis 47:6 ). "If thou knowest any men of activity among them, make them rulers over my cattle." "Seest thou a man diligent in business? he shall stand before kings!"


1. The old man ' s blessing . "And Jacob blessed Pharaoh." This was

2. The old man ' s history . Gazing with tender interest on the venerable form of the patriarch as, leaning on the arm of his son, he softly steps across the threshold of the magnificent reception hall, the royal Pharaoh, probably struck with his aged and feeble appearance, kindly inquires, "How many are the days of the years of thy life?" to which Jacob with equal circumlocution, with perhaps a little of the garrulousness that is so natural and becoming in the old, but also with a true touch of pathos, replies, "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 lives of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage." His existence on the earth he characterizes as having been—


1. That prudence becomes a counselor. This was strikingly exemplified in Joseph's conduct in presenting his brethren before Pharaoh.

2. That honesty advances a suppliant. In the long run Joseph's brethren were better served by their perfect integrity and straightforwardness in Pharaoh's presence than they would have been by resorting to duplicity and equivocation.

3. That piety adorns the old. How beautiful 'does the character of Jacob, the aged wanderer, appear as it stands before us in Pharaoh's palace, in the westering sunlight of his earthly pilgrimage! "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it he found in the way of righteousness."

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