Joseph: Valedictorian at the Dick Cheney School of Governance: Genesis 47

Chapter 47 begins where 46 left off, with Joseph presenting his family to Pharaoh. For some reason, he picks only five of them, and they don’t specify which five he chooses. Pharaoh asks them what they do, and they answer according to their coaching by Joseph, that they are shepherds and they would like to settle in Goshen. Pharaoh gives the OK and says they can watch his cows too.

The contrast between Pharaoh, who welcomes these foreigners with open arms, and the paranoid xenophobia of the Israelites is notable. Pharaoh invites them to enjoy the best his land has to offer, and offers them the use of fertile pastures during a famine when he could easily deny them access to his limited resources. We have never seen any of the protagonists act nearly as generously, even with their own families, let alone foreign strangers. On the contrary, every paterfamilias all the way back to Cain has preached skepticism or outright hostility to neighbors and has put strong proscriptions in place against intermarriage or fraternization. Likewise, the mighty Jehovah has demanded that his people stay separate and isolated from their neighbors…except when he’s commanding them to go into their cities to commit genocide.

Jacob and Pharaoh talk for a bit, and Jacob acts like a fucking asshole. Pharaoh asks him how old he is and Jacob responds:

9 `The days of the years of my sojournings [are] an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not reached the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their sojournings.’

The king of Egypt himself, who has just offered your family a safe and bountiful new home, politely asks you how old you are, and you answer “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” And the motherfucker complains about “only” reaching 130 years of age. You’re not going to find a lot of sympathy for that one, you ancient fuck.

Jacob and his family settle down and try to ride out the rest of the famine. Meanwhile, Joseph is acting like the coldest profiteer in the universe. As people begin starving to death in Egypt, he tells them to bring him their silver to buy corn. When they run out of silver, he takes their cows and horses. When they run out of livestock, he takes their land. I guess we’re supposed to respect him for his “cleverness and resourcefulness,” not consider him to be a greedy, selfish, opportunistic cunt. He took advantage of the desperation of starving people to increase his personal wealth and standing in Pharaoh’s court. He made them choose between starvation and enslavement:

20And Joseph buyeth all the ground of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians have sold each his field, for the famine hath been severe upon them, and the land becometh Pharaoh’s;

21 as to the people he hath removed them to cities from the [one] end of the border of Egypt even unto its [other] end.

That’s some Halliburton shit right there. Cold as ice.

Apparently, despite the famine, Jacob and his family thrive in Goshen and “multiply exceedingly.” Congratu-fucking-lations. Flash forward seventeen years, and Jacob is ready to die. Despite the fact that his life was incredibly shitty in Canaan and exceedingly fruitful in Egypt, he begs Joseph not to bury him in Egypt. Then we’re left hanging again, with the old man clinging to life and extracting oaths from his family to bring his old dead ass back to the shitty place he came from.

GENESIS 47

1 And Joseph cometh, and declareth to Pharaoh, and saith, `My father, and my brethren, and their flock, and their herd, and all they have, have come from the land of Canaan, and lo, they [are] in the land of Goshen.’

And out of his brethren he hath taken five men, and setteth them before Pharaoh;

and Pharaoh saith unto his brethren, `What [are] your works?’ and they say unto Pharaoh, `Thy servants [are] feeders of a flock, both we and our fathers;’

and they say unto Pharaoh, `To sojourn in the land we have come, for there is no pasture for the flock which thy servants have, for grievous [is] the famine in the land of Canaan; and now, let thy servants, we pray thee, dwell in the land of Goshen.’

And Pharaoh speaketh unto Joseph, saying, `Thy father and thy brethren have come unto thee:

the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land cause thy father and thy brethren to dwell — they dwell in the land of Goshen, and if thou hast known, and there are among them men of ability, then thou hast set them heads over the cattle I have.’

And Joseph bringeth in Jacob his father, and causeth him to stand before Pharaoh; and Jacob blesseth Pharaoh.

And Pharaoh saith unto Jacob, `How many [are] the days of the years of thy life?’

And Jacob saith unto Pharaoh, `The days of the years of my sojournings [are] an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not reached the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their sojournings.’

10 And Jacob blesseth Pharaoh, and goeth out from before Pharaoh.

11 And Joseph settleth his father and his brethren, and giveth to them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh commanded;

12 and Joseph nourisheth his father, and his brethren, and all the house of his father [with] bread, according to the mouth of the infants.

13 And there is no bread in all the land, for the famine [is] very grievous, and the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan are feeble because of the famine;

14 and Joseph gathereth all the silver that is found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn that they are buying, and Joseph bringeth the silver into the house of Pharaoh.

15 And the silver is consumed out of the land of Egypt, and out of the land of Canaan, and all the Egyptians come in unto Joseph, saying, `Give to us bread — why do we die before thee, though the money hath ceased?’

16 and Joseph saith, `Give your cattle; and I give to you for your cattle, if the money hath ceased.’

17 And they bring in their cattle unto Joseph, and Joseph giveth to them bread, for the horses, and for the cattle of the flock, and for the cattle of the herd, and for the asses; and he tendeth them with bread, for all their cattle, during that year.

18 And that year is finished, and they come in unto him on the second year, and say to him, `We do not hide from my lord, that since the money hath been finished, and possession of the cattle [is] unto my lord, there hath not been left before my lord save our bodies, and our ground;

19 why do we die before thine eyes, both we and our ground? buy us and our ground for bread, and we and our ground are servants to Pharaoh; and give seed, and we live, and die not, and the ground is not desolate.’

20 And Joseph buyeth all the ground of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians have sold each his field, for the famine hath been severe upon them, and the land becometh Pharaoh’s;

21 as to the people he hath removed them to cities from the [one] end of the border of Egypt even unto its [other] end.

22 Only the ground of the priests he hath not bought, for the priests have a portion from Pharaoh, and they have eaten their portion which Pharaoh hath given to them, therefore they have not sold their ground.

23 And Joseph saith unto the people, `Lo, I have bought you to-day and your ground for Pharaoh; lo, seed for you, and ye have sown the ground,

24 and it hath come to pass in the increases, that ye have given a fifth to Pharaoh, and four of the parts are for yourselves, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for those who [are] in your houses, and for food for your infants.’

25 And they say, `Thou hast revived us; we find grace in the eyes of my lord, and have been servants to Pharaoh;’

26 and Joseph setteth it for a statute unto this day, concerning the ground of Egypt, [that] Pharaoh hath a fifth; only the ground of the priests alone hath not become Pharaoh’s.

27 And Israel dwelleth in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they have possession in it, and are fruitful, and multiply exceedingly;

28 and Jacob liveth in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the days of Jacob, the years of his life, are an hundred and forty and seven years.

29 And the days of Israel are near to die, and he calleth for his son, for Joseph, and saith to him, `If, I pray thee, I have found grace in thine eyes, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and thou hast done with me kindness and truth; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt,

30 and I have lain with my fathers, and thou hast borne me out of Egypt, and buried me in their burying-place.’ And he saith, `I — I do according to thy word;’

31 and he saith, `Swear to me;’ and he sweareth to him, and Israel boweth himself on the head of the bed.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s