Genesis 47:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 47:20, NIV: So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh's,

Genesis 47:20, ESV: So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s.

Genesis 47:20, KJV: And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.

Genesis 47:20, NASB: So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh’s.

Genesis 47:20, NLT: So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold him their fields because the famine was so severe, and soon all the land belonged to Pharaoh.

Genesis 47:20, CSB: In this way, Joseph acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, because every Egyptian sold his field since the famine was so severe for them. The land became Pharaoh's,

What does Genesis 47:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph, as representative of the king of Egypt, has made the Pharaoh an enormously wealthy and powerful man. The people will die without the food stores that Joseph oversees. After spending all their money, the people traded their livestock (Genesis 47:13–17). Still starving, they offered their land and themselves—as servants and slaves—in trade for another year's worth of food.

Joseph agrees and buys all the land of Egypt as Pharaoh's property. This implies that, in some sense, the people had previously been free and privately owned their lands and herds. They had been a free people, such as it was, but would now be entirely subject to the king of Egypt. Now they have sold their land for food. Joseph will continue this pattern, buying the people themselves as servants. Pharaoh would now own nearly everything of value in all Egypt, and he would have Joseph to thank for it.

In practice, most of the people would remain on their land and continue in their occupations. The mortgaging of their property, land, and freedom would involve giving 20 percent of all their future harvests to Pharaoh (Genesis 47:23–24).