Sep 18, 2019

Egypt and Israel in Genesis 47

The reason for the inclusion of Joseph's economic policy in Genesis 47:13-26 is debated. But one likely explanation is that it is included to portray a contrast between Egypt and Israel as a way of highlighting the covenantal faithfulness of the Lord to his people. Egypt then is functioning as a literary foil. In fact, both Egypt (where Israel is) and Canaan (where Israel was) are described as languishing or wasting away (v. 13) while Israel prospers (v. 27). I recently shared the following table with one of my classes.
The Contrasting Situations of the Egyptians Versus Israel
Situation presented negatively (e.g. draught)
Situation presented positively (i.e., fruitful and multiplying, v. 27)
Egyptians lose possessions
Israel gains possessions (v. 27)
Priests were exempted
Israel seems exempted (foreshadowing a priestly status, see Exodus 19:6?)

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