by Harley Howard

This content is part of a series.

Genesis Chapter 47 (44 of 47)
Series: The Study of The Word Of God
Harley Howard

1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.
2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.

Joseph introduces his family to the Pharaoh who was extremely gracious to the family of Joseph, sight unseen. The word shepherd could mean a herdsman, thus not offending the Pharaoh. But I have seen that many commentators believe that this is indeed the word for shepherd and that these men whom Joseph presented before Pharaoh would not deny or deemphasize what they were or did. They told Pharaoh plainly that they were shepherds, both we and our fathers.

But another view should also be considered and holds some weight as to the interpretation.

Joseph had already instructed them as to what to say to Pharaoh, i.e. that they were not looking for jobs or food, that they were herdsmen who had brought their livestock with them and just needed some grazing land, and that they would not be a burden to Egypt. The reason why this was important was because the Egyptians saw shepherds are freebooters and robbers, looking to steal food and livestock.

4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.

They all had the right attitude as calling themselves servants. I don't believe that their attitudes were the least bit cocky, even though they told Pharaoh that they were shepherds. They came to appeal to Pharaoh to allow them for a time t ...

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