Genesis 47:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 47:23, NIV: Joseph said to the people, 'Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground.

Genesis 47:23, ESV: Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land.

Genesis 47:23, KJV: Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Genesis 47:23, NASB: Then Joseph said to the people, 'Behold, today I have purchased you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land.

Genesis 47:23, NLT: Then Joseph said to the people, 'Look, today I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh. I will provide you with seed so you can plant the fields.

Genesis 47:23, CSB: Joseph said to the people, "Understand today that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you. Sow it in the land.

What does Genesis 47:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Every time Joseph is given power by his master, he greatly increases that master's success. This was the case with Potiphar (Genesis 39:5), and with the Egyptian prison manager (Genesis 39:22–23). It has been even more so the case with the king of Egypt, known by the title Pharaoh.

Representing Pharaoh, Joseph taxed the people during seven years of abundance, stockpiling massive amounts of grain (Genesis 41:33–36). When the famine struck, he then sold that food to the people of Egypt and Canaan (Genesis 41:55–57). Ultimately, this meant the people exchanged all their cash, livestock, land, and even their freedom. All but the priests are now servants of Pharaoh—everything of value is effectively mortgaged to the king of Egypt (Genesis 47:13–22).

Joseph now announces the completion of this agreement with the people. In essence, being "owned" by Pharaoh will help the people in the short term. They no longer need to come up with something to trade for food from year to year. Pharaoh will provide them with both food and seed to use for planting to keep the land from wasting away. Even in a famine, the people know they need to keep cultivating land, so it won't completely revert into wilderness (Genesis 47:19).

In fact, the famine is nearing its conclusion. Soon, regular planting and harvest will begin again in Egypt and the surrounding regions. To prepare for this, Joseph's plan includes a transition that will both restore normal harvesting and ensure the wealth of Pharaoh. This, again, involves taxing the people (Genesis 47:24).