Key verse: Genesis 47:5-6a
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have come to you, the land of Egypt is open before you; settle your father and brothers in the best part of the land.” (CSB)


Notice…the seemingly-strange way that the Egyptians respond to becoming “slaves” of Pharaoh. First, Joseph takes all of their silver in exchange for food. Then, when their silver is gone, they say, “Give us food. Why should we die here in front of you?” So Joseph takes all their livestock in exchange for food. When the livestock is gone, they again implore Joseph for food, saying, “Why should we die here in front of you?” So Joseph takes both their land one fifth of all of their harvest in exchange for food, in effect making them bond-slaves to Pharaoh. “You have saved our lives,” they said. “We have found favor with our lord and will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”
This odd response reflects the practice of selling oneself to a lord as a bond-slave–a condition preferable to poverty and starvation. But don’t miss that this also foreshadows how the Israelites will respond to facing hunger in the wilderness. Though God has promised them both land and abundance in Canaan, they will be will be willing to give all that up for slavery, rather than “die in the wilderness.”

From the Apologetics Study Bible for Students note on vv. 29-31, “To put your hand under another’s thigh and make a promise was, in ancient cultures, a most solemn way of committing yourself to carry out your promise. Over time, Jacob had begun to take more seriously the Lord’s promises at Bethel to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants and to bring Jacob back to that land permanently (28:13,15; 48:4). When he first received those promises from God, he had been content to remain away from Canaan for twenty years (31:41). As he neared the end of his life, Jacob came to view things much differently.”

Answer: To bless someone indicates some kind of authority over that person–how is it that Jacob blesses Pharaoh? What ambiguous phrase appears at the end of this chapter that indicates that Joseph’s dreams have been fulfilled in full?