Gen. 47:13-31, historical anchor

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    This half chapter is a remarkable one, in part because it anchors Joseph in history, even though people still argue about which time in history.

    It is not just the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of severe famine, but something that Joseph established which can be tracked in time.

    This section of chapter 47 tells us that Joseph established, bit by bit, the absolute domination of the Pharaoh over all lands, people, and livestock. All ended up belonging to the Pharaoh in what can only be called an early humungous feudal system. The tax system established was then 20% across the board.

    This was quite different from the previous taxation system which depended on how high the Nile rose each year, flooding the land with good new soil and water. The following quote is from Time-Life's TimeFrame series, the volume entitled 3000-1500 B.C.; The Age of the God-Kings, pp. 84-87 (a picture page intervenes):

    Joseph was the vizier of his time. An excellent description of his powers and responsibilities is from another Time-Life book from the series "Great Ages of Man" entitled Ancient Egypt, p. 94:

    THIS, then, was Joseph's position granted him from Pharaoh. And this, then, explains what we see in the passage of study here. Through the distribution of food, Joseph gained control, for the Pharaoh, first of all the money of both Egypt and Canaan (vv 14-15), and then all their livestock (vv 16-17), and then their land and then themselves. Only the priests, who had a regular allotment of food from the Pharaoh anyway, were able to keep their land and themselves out of the central control.

    It is at this point Joseph establishes a 20% tax across the board on all Egyptians. The Bible does not say whether or not this tax applied to the new Israeli settlement in Goshen.

    Thus, by tracking the advent of the Pharaoh taking over all the private enterprise, we can see when Joseph lived. Nevertheless the battle still rages between the "Middle Kingdom" of Egypt and the Hyksos interval.

    At the end of this chapter, we are told that Jacob lived 147 years, and toward the end of his life made Joseph promise to return his bones to his own land in Canaan. Joseph promised.
     
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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