Genesis Chapter 47

The most recent chapter in the Old Testament, Jacob (Israel) was reunited with his son Joseph, who he had thought was dead. Joseph, as a ruler in Egypt, was invited by Pharaoh to allow his family to settle in the land of Egypt during the famine. Jacob accepted the offer and brought all his family and belongings to Egypt. The story of Jacob and his family continues as follows:

1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.
2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
3 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.
4 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.
5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:
6 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: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
9 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.
10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

Jacob’s family, otherwise known as Israelites, made their home in Goshen. This was near to where Joseph and his family were, and meant that Jacob’s entire family was nearby. Joseph had told his family to be honest with Pharaoh about their profession as shepherds, because it was not a job that they looked upon well there. When he brought his brothers to Pharaoh, and introduced them, they told him honestly that they were shepherds who desired to live in his land. Then Jacob was brought before Pharaoh and after being introduced and talking to him about how old he was and how life had been for him, Jacob blessed him.

11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, 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 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.

The family of Jacob, was given the best of the land as Pharaoh had said. Joseph took care of his family’s need for food during the famine.

13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.
15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.
21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.
26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Joseph began to sell food to those in need, for their cattle, because money was of little value when no one had the necessities of life. Once they had no cattle to sell, the people began to offer their lands and moreover themselves, as servants to Pahraoh if they could have food to sustain themselves. All the land, excluding the land for the priests, was then Pharaoh’s and he gained many servants. As servants, or people indebted to him, they planted their seed in Pharaoh’s land. Part of their crop, a fifth, would be Pharaoh’s, but they could keep the rest to provide for their families. This was much like a tax on their harvest, but at time it was a great blessing to them. The people of the land were grateful to Joseph and to Pharaoh for saving their lives.

27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
29 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:
30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.
31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.

After seventeen years of living in Egypt, Jacob (Israel) knew his time was coming to die. Jacob asked that Joseph covenant with him, that he would not allow him to be buried there in Egypt. Instead, he wanted to be buried with his fathers in the land of Canaan. Joseph promised his father that he would be buried with his family. It sounds as though Jacob was grateful that his son would promise him this, and so he bowed in gratitude for God, at the head of his bed.

When we get near the end of our days in this mortal life, it seems that we feel a greater pull to those things of eternal significance. Jacob’s ancestors and more especially, his wife, were all buried together in the land of Canaan. He had a desire to lay his body near theirs and not in a land that was so foreign to him. Egypt was not where he had made his covenants with God and his family. He desired to be in the land he truly called his home. I am so glad that we have examples throughout the scriptures, of great men and women who recognize the significance of their covenants. I want to be someone who always recognized the sacred value of the covenants I have made. I am so grateful for the blessings of my covenants and the temple where I was able to make most of them.

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