Genesis 47* Joseph presents his brethren to Pharaoh. (1-6) Jacob blessesPharaoh. (7-12) Joseph's dealings with the Egyptians during thefamine. (13-26) Jacob's age. His desire to be buried in Canaan.(27--31)1-6 Though Joseph was a great man, especially in Egypt, yet heowned his brethren. Let the rich and great in the world notoverlook or despise poor relations. Our Lord Jesus is notashamed to call us brethren. In answer to Pharaoh's inquiry,What is your calling? they told him that they were shepherds,adding that they were come to sojourn in the land for a time,while the famine prevailed in Canaan. Pharaoh offered to employthem as shepherds, provided they were active men. Whatever ourbusiness or employment is, we should aim to excel in it, and toprove ourselves clever and industrious. 7-12 With the gravity of old age, the piety of a true believer,and the authority of a patriarch and a prophet, Jacob besoughtthe Lord to bestow a blessing upon Pharaoh. He acted as a mannot ashamed of his religion; and who would express gratitude tothe benefactor of himself and his family. We have here a veryuncommon answer given to a very common question. Jacob calls hislife a pilgrimage; the sojourning of a stranger in a foreigncountry, or his journey home to his own country. He was not athome upon earth; his habitation, his inheritance, his treasureswere in heaven. He reckons his life by days; even by days lifeis soon reckoned, and we are not sure of the continuance of itfor a day. Let us therefore number our days. His days were few.Though he had now lived one hundred and thirty years, theyseemed but a few days, in comparison with the days of eternity,and the eternal state. They were evil; this is true concerningman. He is of few days and full of trouble; since his days areevil, it is well they are few. Jacob's life had been made up ofevil days. Old age came sooner upon him than it had done uponsome of his fathers. As the young man should not be proud of hisstrength or beauty, so the old man should not be proud of hisage, and his hoary hairs, though others justly reverence them;for those who are accounted very old, attain not to the years ofthe patriarchs. The hoary head is only a crown of glory, whenfound in the way of righteousness. Such an answer could not failto impress the heart of Pharaoh, by reminding him that worldlyprosperity and happiness could not last long, and was not enoughto satisfy. After a life of vanity and vexation, man goes downinto the grave, equally from the throne as the cottage. Nothingcan make us happy, but the prospect of an everlasting home inheaven, after our short and weary pilgrimage on earth. 13-26 Care being taken of Jacob and his family, which mercy wasespecially designed by Providence in Joseph's advancement, anaccount is given of the saving the kingdom of Egypt from ruin.There was no bread, and the people were ready to die. See how wedepend upon God's providence. All our wealth would not keep usfrom starving, if rain were withheld for two or three years. Seehow much we are at God's mercy, and let us keep ourselves alwaysin his love. Also see how much we smart by our own want of care.If all the Egyptians had laid up corn for themselves in theseven years of plenty, they had not been in these straits; butthey regarded not the warning. Silver and gold would not feedthem: they must have corn. All that a man hath will he give forhis life. We cannot judge this matter by modern rules. It isplain that the Egyptians regarded Joseph as a public benefactor.The whole is consistent with Joseph's character, acting betweenPharaoh and his subjects, in the fear of God. The Egyptiansconfessed concerning Joseph, Thou hast saved our lives. Whatmultitudes will gratefully say to Jesus, at the last day, Thouhast saved our souls from the most tremendous destruction, andin the season of uttermost distress! The Egyptians parted withall their property, and even their liberty, for the saving oftheir lives: can it then be too much for us to count all butloss, and part with all, at His command, and for His sake, whowill both save our souls, and give us an hundredfold, even here,in this present world? Surely if saved by Christ, we shall bewilling to become his servants. 27-31 At last the time drew nigh that Israel must die. Israel,a prince with God, had power over the Angel, and prevailed, yetmust die. Joseph supplied him with bread, that he might not dieby famine, but that did not secure him from dying by age orsickness. He died by degrees; his candle gradually burnt down tothe socket, so that he saw the time drawing nigh. It is anadvantage to see the approach of death, before we feel it, thatwe may be quickened to do, with all our might, what our handsfind to do. However, death is not far from any of us. Jacob'scare, as he saw the day approach, was about his burial; not thepomp of it, but he would be buried in Canaan, because it was theland of promise. It was a type of heaven, that better country,which he declared plainly he expected, #Heb 11:14|. Nothing willbetter help to make a death-bed easy, than the certain prospectof rest in the heavenly Canaan after death. When this was done,Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head, worshipping God, as itis explained, see #Heb 11:21|, giving God thanks for all hisfavours; in feebleness thus supporting himself, expressing hiswillingness to leave the world. Even those who lived on Joseph'sprovision, and Jacob who was so dear to him, must die. ButChrist Jesus gives us the true bread, that we may eat and livefor ever. To Him let us come and yield ourselves, and when wedraw near to death, he who supported us through life, will meetus and assure us of everlasting salvation.
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