Genesis 47:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 47:19, NIV: Why should we perish before your eyes--we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.'

Genesis 47:19, ESV: Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

Genesis 47:19, KJV: 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.

Genesis 47:19, NASB: Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.'

Genesis 47:19, NLT: Why should we die before your very eyes? Buy us and our land in exchange for food; we offer our land and ourselves as slaves for Pharaoh. Just give us grain so we may live and not die, and so the land does not become empty and desolate.'

Genesis 47:19, CSB: Why should we die here in front of you--both us and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. Then we with our land will become Pharaoh's slaves. Give us seed so that we can live and not die, and so that the land won't become desolate."

What does Genesis 47:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Before the famine began, Joseph stockpiled grain using taxes (Genesis 41:33–36). He then sold the reserves to people in Egypt and Canaan when the land stopped producing (Genesis 41:55–57). Over time, the people of the region gave all their money to Egypt's ruler in exchange for food. They then traded or mortgaged their animals (Genesis 47:13–17). As the famine persisted, the people had nothing left to offer other than their lands and their own lives.

The people's growing desperation is seen in their pleas. At first, they asked Pharaoh what to do, and he referred them to Joseph, who arranged for sale of grain (Genesis 41:55). Then, they came directly to Joseph to beg for food (Genesis 47:15) and agreed to his terms. Now, they seem to come to Joseph with an immediate offer: their lands and servitude in exchange for food.

The people's remark about the land dying is key to understanding how serious the situation had become. Unless the people can continue to receive grain from Joseph, they will not be able to cultivate anything from the land. Clearly, there is already so little that it cannot sustain the people (Genesis 47:13). If the people die, or leave, the land itself would revert entirely to wilderness. This time, Joseph did not have to suggest any bargains. The people came with the idea themselves, literally offering themselves and their land in exchange for grain and seed to plant on the land to keep it from becoming completely desolate.

If Joseph accepts this proposal, Pharaoh will become the owner of all the money, livestock, land, and people in the region.