47 Joseph went to Pharaoh. He told him, “My father and brothers have come from the land of Canaan. They’ve brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own. They are now in Goshen.” 2 Joseph had chosen five of his brothers to meet with Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What do you do for a living?” “We’re shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh. “And that’s what our fathers were.” 4 They also said to him, “We’ve come to live in Egypt for a while. There isn’t enough food anywhere in Canaan. There isn’t any grass for our flocks. So please let us live in Goshen.” 5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is open to you. Let your father and brothers live in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. Do any of them have special skills? If they do, put them in charge of my own livestock.” 7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in to meet Pharaoh. Jacob gave Pharaoh his blessing. 8 Then Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” 9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my journey through life are 130. My years have been few and hard. They aren’t as many as the years of my father and grandfather before me.” 10 Jacob gave Pharaoh his blessing. Then he left him. 11 So Joseph helped his father and his brothers make their homes in Egypt. He gave them property in the best part of the land, just as Pharaoh had directed him to do. That part was known as the territory of Rameses. 12 Joseph also provided food for his father and brothers. He provided for them and the rest of his father’s family. He gave them enough for all their children.
This story of Joseph presenting his father (Jacob) and brothers to Pharaoh captures me on a few levels. Pharaohs were often recorded as harsh rulers, or “god kings”, but this one shows a different character. Rewinding a bit in the story, he is the Pharaoh that appointed Joseph, a prisoner, to be second in charge of the whole of Egypt. The reason, because he recognised Joseph’s wisdom (interpretation of his dreams), but more importantly, he saw that Joseph gave the credit to God. I am curious of the godly influence Joseph had on Pharaoh, for even deep into the story of the famine, Pharaoh has an obvious deep respect for Joseph and anything to do with Joseph. This is demonstrated by Pharaoh offering to the brothers the best grazing land in all of Egypt, and any special skills they might have to be used in caring for Pharaoh’s own livestock.
Secondly, we see Jacob blessing Pharaoh, not once but twice. This also shows the humility of Pharaoh to accept and receive the blessing, and from a Hebrew. Again I think this attitude may have been an influence from Joseph.
What a man of God Joseph was, one of my heroes of the faith, who had great influence on so many.
Lord, may you continue to create in me a deep integrity in You, and that You extend my territory of influence for your glory. Amen
Written by Steve Fell