Genesis 47:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 47:21, NIV: and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other.

Genesis 47:21, ESV: As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other.

Genesis 47:21, KJV: And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.

Genesis 47:21, NASB: As for the people, he relocated them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other.

Genesis 47:21, NLT: As for the people, he made them all slaves, from one end of Egypt to the other.

Genesis 47:21, CSB: and Joseph made the people servants from one end of Egypt to the other.

What does Genesis 47:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's plan, provided by the blessing of the Lord, to save Egypt and the surrounding peoples from a seven-year famine has succeeded (Genesis 41:33–36; 55–57). The stores of grain set aside during seven years of plenty before the famine have provided all the food needed to keep the people alive. However, the famine has brought another consequence. Through Joseph, Pharaoh has not simply given food away. Instead, he has sold it, first for money and then for livestock. As the famine raged on, the people gave all their money, herds, and land to Pharaoh's house in exchange for food (Genesis 47:13–20).

Now, through Joseph, Pharaoh has brought all the people of Egypt under servitude. The people have sold their freedom to avoid starvation. Previously free—in the sense of controlling their own money and land and livestock—the Egyptian people are now under a loose form of enslavement, or indentured servitude.