What does Genesis 47:23 mean?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).