The Life of Joseph - Lesson 36, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 47:18-25, When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaohs. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.
This whole episode of the Bible gives us a glimpse of what will take place as Christ forms his millennial kingdom.
For as Isaiah 9:6 relates, the government shall be upon his shoulder.
Christ will come back to an exhausted, impoverished, famined earth.
The book of Revelation describes terrible ecological disasters, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, natural disasters which will bankrupt the world of its resources.
These disasters will have decimated the world's population.
All men will have come to the end of themselves and there is no hope.
Only one savior can do anything about it and that savior is our Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And he too will rule with a rod of iron and his rule will be gladly accepted by all who enter into the millennial Kingdom.
Men will say in that day:
there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
And what good are lands without God's blessing upon them?
And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
In doing this Joseph emphasized that the people's new relationship with Pharaoh was real and final.
This was drastic action for drastic times.
But the bottom line as far as God was concerned, and the people of Egypt knew nothing of this, was to provide a stable environment for the growth and development of the Israelites as a nation.
Also in this light it provided, in years to come one central ruler who knew not Joseph who would afflict the Israelites in accordance with God's will for Israel.
This whole affair, orchestrated by God, took powerful nobles and princes who were mostly independant of the control of the king and contained them.
This feudal society needed changing so that God's chosen people would be formed into a nation.
And so will drastic changes take place during the tribulation in preparation for King Jesus Christ to rule and reign for a thousand years.
He will not be ruling over an earth as we see it today for it will be an earth that he has fashioned to fit his kingdom.
Genesis 47:26, And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
These words were written by Moses and at the time of this writing Moses tells us that the law that Joseph made still prevailed in Moses day.
The children of Israel dwelt in Egypt for 400 years.
All of this time was a time of stability because Joseph under God's direction had laid foundations for this stability.
The land is the Pharaoh's and the people are given the land to work but the law of the whole land is to give the Pharaoh 20% of the produce of the land.
The worker of the land was to keep 80% which was to be sufficient for food and to produce seed for future plantings.
This was a fair distribution and not excessive in a culture where it was not abnormal to take one third to one half of the harvest.
And there is only indication that the people who sold their land to the Pharaoh agreed that this law was not excessive for they said:
Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.
Genesis 47:27, And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
Notice the difference in God's people.
The people of Egypt sold themselves and their land to Pharaoh but in Goshen we see a people who own land and have possessions.
It is a time of prosperity for Israel for they are under the special care of Joseph in the midst of the people of the world.
We as Christians' ought to rejoice in this for we know that nothing has changed even to this day for God always cares for his people even in the midst of the people of this world.