God’s Renewing Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Genesis 47:13-31: As the famine becomes more severe, Joseph administers the distribution of grain. Jacob and his family remain in Egypt; and as Jacob approaches death, Joseph promises his father that he will bury Jacob with his ancestors.
13 The famine was so severe that there was no food anywhere, and the people of Egypt and Canaan became weak with hunger. 14 As they bought grain, Joseph collected all the money and took it to the palace. 15 When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food! Don’t let us die. Do something! Our money is all gone.”
16 Joseph answered, “Bring your livestock; I will give you food in exchange for it if your money is all gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock.
18 The following year they came to him and said, “We will not hide the fact from you, sir, that our money is all gone and our livestock belongs to you. There is nothing left to give you except our bodies and our lands. 19 Don’t let us die. Do something! Don’t let our fields be deserted. Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We will be the king’s slaves, and he will own our land. Give us grain to keep us alive and seed so that we can plant our fields.”
20 Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for the king. Every Egyptian was forced to sell his land, because the famine was so severe; and all the land became the king’s property. 21 Joseph made slaves of the people from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 The only land he did not buy was the land that belonged to the priests. They did not have to sell their lands, because the king gave them an allowance to live on. 23 Joseph said to the people, “You see, I have now bought you and your lands for the king. Here is seed for you to sow in your fields. 24 At the time of harvest you must give one-fifth to the king. You can use the rest for seed and for food for yourselves and your families.”
25 They answered, “You have saved our lives; you have been good to us, sir, and we will be the king’s slaves.” 26 So Joseph made it a law for the land of Egypt that one-fifth of the harvest should belong to the king. This law still remains in force today. Only the lands of the priests did not become the king’s property.
Jacob’s Last Request
27 The Israelites lived in Egypt in the region of Goshen, where they became rich and had many children. 28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, until he was a hundred and forty-seven years old. 29 When the time drew near for him to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “Place your hand between my thighs and make a solemn vow that you will not bury me in Egypt. 30 I want to be buried where my fathers are; carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”
Joseph answered, “I will do as you say.”
31 Jacob said, “Make a vow that you will.” Joseph made the vow, and Jacob gave thanks there on his bed.
Today’s Key Verse: Genesis 47:27
The Israelites lived in Egypt in the region of Goshen, where they became rich and had many children.
Twice the people come to Joseph, begging him to “do something” (verses, 15, 19). What actions does Joseph take to ensure that the people continue to receive food? What measures are in place in your community to provide for those in need of food?
Gracious God, keep me close to you. Under your watchful eye, I am in your loving care and you provide for my daily needs. Open my eyes and heart to those around me who are hurting and in need. As you have blessed me, may I be a channel of your blessings to someone today. Amen.
Genesis 48:1-22: Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons.