What does Genesis 47:2 mean?
ESV: And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh.
NIV: He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.
NASB: And he took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.
CSB: He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.
NLT: Joseph took five of his brothers with him and presented them to Pharaoh.
KJV: And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
NKJV: And he took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.
Verse Commentary:
Joseph is presenting his family at the court of Pharaoh. They are newly arrived at Pharaoh's invitation (Genesis 45:16–20), in the land of Egypt. Jacob and his descendants are a large group from the land of Canaan. Pharaoh commanded Joseph to offer the best of the land of Egypt to his family to save them from a widespread famine (Genesis 41:28–31).

Instead of presenting all 11 of his brothers before Pharaoh, Joseph selects five. Egyptians preferred the number five, much as Scripture often values the number seven. Joseph seems very concerned that his family make the best impression possible. Joseph knows that he is highly favored by Pharaoh, but he wants to make the best home for his own people while avoiding any ill will between them and the Egyptians. In the prior passage, Joseph prepared his family with the right words to say when they met Egypt's ruler (Genesis 46:31–34).
Verse Context:
Genesis 47:1–12 describes how Joseph's family officially arrived as landowners in Egypt. They are given the fertile region of Goshen. At court, Joseph's brothers formally request permission to settle there, and Jacob blesses Pharaoh twice. Pharaoh gives Joseph the authority to give his family enough land in Goshen to accommodate their herds and growing families. Joseph also begins to distribute a regular allotment of food to each member of his extended family.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 47 begins with Pharaoh interviewing Joseph's brothers and father before granting their request to settle in the region of Goshen in Egypt. Just as Joseph had hoped, his family is secure. The rest of the people of Egypt and Canaan are not. Most run out of money and can no longer buy food from Joseph. On Pharaoh's behalf, Joseph trades food for their livestock and then their land and even their freedom. Nearly all people will be required to pay to Pharaoh 20 percent of their harvest each year from this time forward. After several years, Jacob asks Joseph to swear that he will bury Jacob's body with his fathers in Canaan.
Chapter Context:
After describing the family's journey from Canaan and their arrival in Egypt in chapter 46, this passage opens on a formal conversation between Pharaoh and Joseph's family. He officially grants their request to settle in Egypt. As the famine continues, citizens of Egypt and Canaan turn over their money, land, and livestock to Joseph in exchange for food. The final three chapters of Genesis explain Jacob's dying blessings, and the passing of both Jacob and Joseph.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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