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Genesis 41.46 - 42.5

posted 11 Mar 2014, 02:33 by Ben@theorderoftheblacksheep.com
Now Joseph was 30 years old when he entered into Pharaoh’s service. He left the king of Egypt’s presence to travel throughout the land. 47 For seven years—the years of plenty—the land produced abundantly. 48 Joseph gathered up all of the food he could during those seven years of plenty in the land of Egypt and stored the grain in the cities. He arranged for every city to store the food grown in local fields. 49 And he stored up so much grain—as much as the grains of sand on the seashore—that he stopped measuring it. It was more than anyone could measure!

50 Now before the famine began, Joseph had two sons by his wife Asenath (daughter of Potiphera, priest of On). 51 Joseph named his firstborn son Manasseh because he said, “God has made me forget all about my hardship and all of my father’s family.” 52 He named the second son Ephraim, because as he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.”

53 Eventually, the seven years of plenty in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine settled in, just as Joseph had predicted. Although the famine extended to all the surrounding lands, in Egypt there was still food stored away in the cities. 55 When the people in Egypt became famished, they appealed to Pharaoh for food; and Pharaoh directed them all to Joseph.

Pharaoh: Go to Joseph, and do what he tells you to do.

56 So when the famine had spread across the land of Egypt, Joseph opened up the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. But he waited until the famine had become severe in the land. 57 When the surrounding peoples heard Egypt still had food, they journeyed to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because by this time the entire world was in the grip of a severe famine.

Famine in this part of the world normally involves a drought that extends for years. Only those with access to bodies of fresh water can survive. The Egyptians are perfectly positioned to use the Nile River to irrigate their crops during a drought. Most of the land of Canaan, on the other hand—where Jacob and his sons still live—has little fresh water even when there is no drought. Although some grain can be moved up and down the Nile or across the Mediterranean over established trade routes, the amount of grain needed to keep large populations alive cannot be moved across land or sea. So people have to go where the food is, or they starve to death. Israel knows he is out of options at home, so he has to look abroad.

42 Now when Jacob found out there was grain to be had in Egypt, he talked to his sons about it.

Jacob: Why do you just keep sitting here looking at each other? Listen! I’ve heard they have grain for sale in Egypt! Go down there, and buy grain for us so that we have enough to live and won’t die of hunger.

So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with the others, because he was afraid something might happen to him. So the sons of Israel decided to go down and buy grain along with many others, because the famine had reached the land of Canaan.