Genesis 47:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 47:16, NIV: Then bring your livestock,' said Joseph. 'I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.'

Genesis 47:16, ESV: And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.”

Genesis 47:16, KJV: And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Genesis 47:16, NASB: Then Joseph said, 'Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.'

Genesis 47:16, NLT: Joseph replied, 'Since your money is gone, bring me your livestock. I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.'

Genesis 47:16, CSB: But Joseph said, "Give me your livestock. Since the silver is gone, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock."

What does Genesis 47:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's plan to help Egypt and the nearby nations survive seven years of famine had worked beautifully (Genesis 41:33–36). Under the authority of Pharaoh, Joseph had sold food to the people for the first two to three years (Genesis 41:55–57). Before long, this used up the cash reserves of the people; Pharaoh's house had all the money in the region (Genesis 47:13–14).

Now the people have no money, but they continue to be desperate for food (Genesis 47:15). When they come back and demand food, Joseph offers an alternative plan: trading for livestock. Joseph suggested trading their cows, sheep, horses, and donkeys for food. It's not likely that Joseph was taking direct possession of every animal, though it would make sense that some would be given over physically in exchange for food. More than likely, Joseph is mortgaging or taking ownership of the animals in some sense. This, as well, drastically increases the wealth and power of the Egyptian Pharaoh (Genesis 47:17).