Genesis 47:1-6 – Joseph could not assign the land of Goshen to his family unless Pharaoh gave his blessing. So he took some of his brothers and came before Pharaoh. Joseph explains that his family has come and that they are presently dwelling in the land of Goshen. Pharaoh asked them what they did for a living so that he might learn how best to help them integrate into Egyptian society.
They shared with him, as instructed by Joseph that they were shepherds. They also said that they had come to sojourn, which meant that they were there temporarily because of the famine and that they had no place for their flocks to graze. In saying this they were assuring Pharaoh that they were not intending to lay permanent claim to any land that they were occupying. Pharaoh remembered his offer to Joseph’s family and was delighted to have them dwell in the land of Goshen. He then offered to employ Israelites for his flocks.
Genesis 47:7-10 – Joseph brings his father to meet their benefactor, Pharaoh. Jacob the father of God’s chosen people meets the most powerful man in the world, and like Abraham and Melechzedek the lesser blesses the greater (Hebrews 7:7). Jacob was 130 when he appeared before Pharaoh and 147 when he died (Genesis 47:28), did not attain the longevity of Abraham (175) or of Isaac (180).
The hardships and sorrows that came upon Jacob took their toll on him and shortened his life. Here he confesses that he was a pilgrim, which we find as one of the things that commended him and his fathers to God (Hebrews 11:13). Jacob then blesses Pharaoh again, perhaps even praying for him.
Genesis 47:11-12 – Joseph with Pharaoh’s blessing gives the land of Rameses which is a later name for the region of Goshen. According to Exodus 1:11 it was in Rameses that the Jewish people were forced to build storage cities. The area was on the East side of the Nile River where they were able to get fish to eat, this was a great blessing for the Israelites but was thrown in Moses face when the Jewish people were complaining in the wilderness (Numbers 11:5). Note that Joseph gave them food according to their number, which is an indication that he did not give them more food than was given to the other Egyptians.
Genesis 47:13-26 – As the famine became more severe and the people ran out of money, Joseph permitted grain to be exchanged for their animals and finally for their other property. Soon Pharaoh owned all the land except that of the priests (Genesis 47:22), though the people tilled it and kept four‑fifths of its produce. In essence this worked out to an income tax of 20% since they were able to keep for themselves 80% of what they earned. The people did not have to pay rent for the land that they “sold” to Pharaoh.
This proposal came from the people and not from Joseph, and there was no hint of complaining, instead there was only gratitude to Joseph, who made their deliverance possible. He did not gain personally from all of this but his master Pharaoh did. The people trusted Joseph who had made it possible for them to be able to survive and have a confidence about the future, while the surrounding nations did not have the same kind of hope and assurance. Joseph provided the people with seed so that they would be able to harvest for themselves when the blight would end. The arrangement concerning the priests was at the direction of Pharaoh so Joseph was not endorsing the pagan religion of Pharaoh and Egypt.
Genesis 47:27-31– God was with Jacob and his children and they prospered and multiplied as God promised they would. Jacob now is coming to the end of his earthly life and requests of Joseph that he be buried back in the land of promise. This was so important to Jacob that he made Joseph swear by placing his hand under his thigh. This was the same gesture that Abraham made his servant do when he sent him to find a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:2).
In all likelihood this involved placing his hand on his sexual organ the place of the sign of the covenant of circumcision and the vessel by which future generations would originate. It is a further indication of the importance of the land for Israel and his children. Jacob wanted his burial to be a testimony of his faith in the future promises of God. When Joseph took this vow Jacob bowed his head and worshiped the Lord. In these last days Jacob was given insight by the Lord into the future of his sons.