Jacob Blesses Pharaoh and Settles In Goshen
Then Joseph went to see Pharaoh and told him, “My father and my brothers have arrived from the land of Canaan. They have come with all their flocks and herds and possessions, and they are now in the region of Goshen.”
Joseph took five of his brothers with him and presented them to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”
They replied, “We, your servants, are shepherds, just like our ancestors.”
Genesis 47:1-3 (NLT)
The ceremony begins, and Joseph begins the pre-planned agenda by formally announcing to the Pharaoh the arrival of his family. And, of course, right on cue, Pharaoh asks their occupation. And, doing their part, the 5 brothers chosen to represent the whole family, respond that they are shepherds and that they have come to request that Pharaoh might let them come to Egypt as the famine is so severe in their homeland, Canaan, that they can no longer survive there.
Moreover, they said to Pharaoh, We have come to sojourn in the land, for your servants have no pasture for our flocks, for the famine is very severe in Canaan. So now, we pray you, let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
Genesis 47:4 (AMP)
It is interesting in verse 4 that the term used to describe the stay the Hebrew brothers seek, is to “sojourn”. That is, to stay temporarily. To be guests, not citizens! It is clear that while Jacob knows they’re going to be in Egypt a long time, either he has not revealed this to his sons…the ones that are currently speaking with Pharaoh… or, more likely, they choose not to believe such a pessimistic assessment.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have joined you here, choose any place in the entire land of Egypt for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if any of them have special skills, put them in charge of my livestock, too.”
Genesis 47:5-6 (NLT)
In a magnanimous gesture of friendship befitting of royalty, Pharaoh offers the Israelites the land of Goshen. And, further befitting of royalty, Pharaoh does NOT respond to these lowly Hebrew shepherds, he turns to Joseph and gives his reply.
Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
“How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.
Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.
So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt—the region of Rameses—to his father and his brothers, and he settled them there, just as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided food for his father and his brothers in amounts appropriate to the number of their dependents, including the smallest children.
Genesis 47:7-12 (NLT)
Now, that might sound a little odd…for it really kind of reverses their stations in life. It would seem that the humble and simple shepherd like Jacob, a refugee, would have NO business or place blessing such a great man as Pharaoh.
But, what this amounted to was the respect that existed in that day for the aged. And, Jacob was probably the most aged man in all Egypt, perhaps the oldest man Pharaoh had ever met. Egyptian records simply don’t show Egyptians living nearly as long as the Hebrews.
In fact, Jacob’s elderliness so intrigued Pharaoh that he says to Jacob in V8 “How old ARE you?” And, Jacob responds that he’s 130 years old, and most of those years have NOT been pleasant. But, then he also tells Pharaoh that 130 years old is nothing. His ancestors lived too much older ages than he.
So, Jacob and all his clan are settled in the land of Goshen, and there they will remain for the next 4 centuries.
To Be Continued…