Genesis 47:1-12

1 Then Joseph went and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers, their flocks and their herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; and indeed they are in the land of Goshen.”

And he took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.

Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and also our fathers.”

And they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to dwell in the land, because your servants have no pasture for their flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”

Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, “Your father and your brothers have come to you.

The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock.”

Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How old are you?”

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.”

10 So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

11 And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

12 Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with bread, according to the number in their families.

dwell (v.4, first usage) = sojourn, dwell as a newcomer for a time (The second use of the word in the verse simply means to live.)

one hundred and thirty (v.9) — Jacob was 130 when he arrived in Egypt and died 17 years later, at 147. Abraham lived to 175, and Isaac to 180.

Though Pharaoh was the more wealthy and powerful, Jacob clearly was the superior, for he “blessed Pharaoh.” Melchizedek had blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:19), thus showing his superiority to Abraham, for “the less is blessed of the better” (Hebrews 7:7). — Morris, page 637.

land of Rameses (v.11) — a name given later to Goshen, probably added here to help locate the place where the Israelites settled.

This region seems to have been bordered on the west by the Nile, since the Israelites “did eat fish freely in Egypt (Numbers 11:5. According to Psalm 78:12, their property must have included “the field of Zoan,” which was on one of the outlet channels of the Nile fairly near the sea. In general it was close to Egypt’s northeast corner, more or less isolated from the bulk of the Egyptian population, which tended to concentrate more to the south and west. — Morris, pages 638-639.


Not only does the sojourn in Egypt enable Jacob and his family to be physically reunited with Joseph and his family, but it also provides the ideal venue within which the family of Jacob can grow into the “great people/nation” that God had promised to make them. Whereas in the land of Canaan the patriarchal family was one among a plethora of tribes and peoples (most of them stronger and more numerous) constantly contending for land and resources, in Egypt they were given—at Pharaoh’s order—a privileged place in the best of the land … in the land of Goshen. Here they would have the room to expand and grow, free from molestation and with abundant provision, so that after 400 years had passed they would have “increased greatly and multiplied, and become exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1:7)—a people then numerous to likewise spread throughout and fill the land of their inheritance under the dominion of their Law-giving King. — Wechsler, page 261.

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