Jacob Arrives in Egypt
||Joseph went and told Pharaoh. He said, 'My father and brothers have come from Canaan, along with their sheep, their cattle, and all their belongings. They are now in the Goshen district.'
||From among his brothers, he selected five men and presented them to Pharaoh.
||Pharaoh asked [Joseph's] brothers, 'What is your occupation?'
'We are shepherds,' they replied to Pharaoh, 'we and our fathers before us.'
||'We have come to stay awhile in your land,' they explained to Pharaoh, 'because there is no grazing for our flocks, so severe is the famine in Canaan. If you allow us, we will settle in the Goshen district.'
||Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Your father and brothers have now come to you.
||The land of Egypt is at your disposal. Settle your father and brothers in the best area. Let them settle in the Goshen District. If you have capable men among them, you can appoint them as livestock officers over my [cattle].'
||Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
||'How old are you?' asked Pharaoh of Jacob.
||'My journey through life has lasted 130 years,' replied Jacob. 'The days of my life have been few and hard. I did not live as long as my fathers did during their pilgrimage through life.'
||With that, Jacob blessed Pharaoh and left his presence.
||Joseph found a place for his father and brothers to live. He gave them an estate in the Rameses region, in the best area, as Pharaoh had ordered.
||Joseph provided all the needs of his father, his brothers, and all his father's family, down to the very youngest.
||There was no bread in the entire area, since the famine was very severe. [The people of] Egypt and Canaan became weak with hunger.
||Joseph collected all the money in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the food [the people] were buying. Joseph brought [all] the money to Pharaoh's treasury.
||When the money in Egypt and Canaan was used up, Egyptians from all over came to Joseph. 'Give us bread!' they cried. 'Why should we die before you just because there is no money?'
||'Bring your livestock,' replied Joseph. 'If there is no more money, I will give you [what you need] in exchange for your animals.'
||They brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and donkeys. He saw them through that year with bread in exchange for all their livestock.
||The year came to an end. They came to him the next year, and said, 'We are not holding anything back from you, your highness. But since the money and animal stocks are used up, there is nothing left for you besides our dried-up bodies and our land.
||Why should we die before your very eyes - us and our land? Buy our bodies and our land in exchange for bread. Let us become Pharaoh's serfs, and let our land [also be his]. Give us seed grain! Let us live and not die! Let the land not become desolate.'
||Joseph [thus] bought up all the farm land in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every man in Egypt had sold his field, for the famine was too much for them, and the land became Pharaoh's property.
||[Joseph] moved the people to the cities in all Egypt's borders, from one end to the other.
||The only land he did not buy up was that of the priests, since the priests had a [food] allotment from Pharaoh. They ate the [food] allotment that Pharaoh gave them, and did not have to sell their lands.
||Joseph announced to the people, 'Today I have purchased your [bodies] and your lands for Pharaoh. Here is seed grain for you. Plant your fields.
||When it produces grain, you will have to give a fifth to Pharaoh. The other four parts will be yours, as seed grain for your fields, and as food for you, your wives and your children.'
||'You have saved our lives,' they responded. 'Just let us find favor in your eyes, and we will be Pharaoh's serfs.'
||Joseph set down a decree (that is in force until today) that one-fifth of [whatever grows on] the farm land of Egypt belonged to Pharaoh. Only the priestly lands did not belong to Pharaoh.
||Meanwhile, [the fledgling nation of] Israel lived in Egypt, in the Goshen district. They acquired property there, and were fertile, with their population increasing very rapidly.
Jacob's Last Days
||Jacob made Egypt his home for 17 years. He lived to be 147 years old.
||When Israel realized that he would soon die, he called for his son Joseph. 'If you really want to do me a kindness,' he said, 'place your hand under my thigh. Act toward me with truth and kindness, and do not bury me in Egypt.
||Let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their grave.'
'I will do as you say,' replied [Joseph].
||'Swear to me,' said [Jacob].
[Joseph] made an oath to him, and, from where he was on the bed, Israel bowed.
Some say that these were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar and Benjamin, the weakest of the brothers (Bereshith Rabbah 95; Rashi). According to others, they were the strongest of the brothers: Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher (Targum Yonathan; Bava Kama 92a).
|journey through life...|
Literally, 'the days of the years of my wandering.'
Since Jacob was born in 2108 (Genesis 25:26), the year was now 2238 (1523 b.c.e.).
This was in Goshen (Rashi; Ibn Ezra on Genesis 46:1). Some sources identify it with Pelusium, a city at the extreme northeast of the Nile delta (Targum Yonathan; see note on Exodus 1:11). Others identify it with Hero-opolis (cf. Genesis 45:10; Septuagint on Genesis 46:28), which may be Avaris, the ancient Hyksos capital (Josephus, Contra Apion 1:14), identified with Typho's City (Ibid. 1:26). Josephus himself, however, clearly identifies Rameses with Heliopolis (Antiquities 2:7:6), and this opinion is shared by Saadia Gaon (on Exodus 1:11).
Etymologically, Rameses comes from the Egyptian Ra-meses 'born of Ra,' where meses (born of) is also the root of the name Moses (Moshe) (see Exodus 2:10). Hence, it would be logical that the area around Heliopolis (or On, see note on Genesis 41:50) should be known as Rameses. The name was later also adopted by a number of Pharaohs.
Other sources identify Rameses with Tanis, Qantir or San el-Chagar.
|down to the very youngest|
Literally, 'bread according to the children' (cf. Rashi; Radak).
|Egypt and Canaan|
Here we see the extent of the famine. This would be highly unusual, since crops in Canaan depended on rain, while those in Egypt depended on the Nile, which was fed by precipitation in central Africa, an entirely different weather system.
|Egyptians from all over|
Literally, 'All Egypt.'
|flocks of sheep...|
Literally, 'possession of sheep and possession of cattle' (cf. Hirsch). It might mean that sheep and cattle were signed over rather than actually given, while horses and donkeys were actually given over.
|moved the people...|
Since they no longer owned the land.
See note on Genesis 41:34.
i.e. when the Torah was written.
|He lived to be...|
Literally, 'Jacob's days, the years of his life were ....'
|When Israel realized...|
Literally, 'The days grew near for Israel to die.'
|If you really want to do me a kindness|
Literally, 'If I have found favor in your eyes.' Here it is obvious that Jacob does not mean it literally, since he is speaking to his son. It is possible that this expression has the same idiomatic meaning in Genesis 18:3, 19:19, 30:27, 33:10, 33:15, 34:11, 39:4. The expression may have been used both literally and idiomatically (cf. Hirsch).
|from where he was on the bed...|
Or, 'he bowed, leaning on his staff' (Shmuel ben Chofni Gaon; Septuagint). See Genesis 37:10 (Lekach Tov).