Joseph and the Famine

Dec 13, 2015

וְלֶחֶם אֵין בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ כִּי־כָבֵד הָרָעָב מְאֹד וַתֵּלַהּ אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וְאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָב׃

Now there was no bread in all the world, for the famine was very severe; both the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.

Genesis 47:13

וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן וַיֵּאָחֲזוּ בָהּ וַיִּפְרוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ מְאֹד׃

Thus Yisrael settled in the country of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; they acquired holdings in it, and were fertile and increased greatly.

Genesis 47:27

The Torah details Joseph’s administrative work. As people come from across Egypt and Canaan to buy bread, Joseph amasses great wealth for Pharaoh. When the people run out of money for food, he accepts livestock as payment. When even that is diminished, he takes their land in payment, allowing them to continue living as serfs to Pharaoh. He resettles the residents of the land, with the exception of the priests, and distributes grain for the people to plant, demanding that they give Pharaoh one fifth of everything they grow in exchange for living off the land. The people are grateful to Pharaoh and to Joseph, for his actions save their lives. The portion closes with the statement that the Children of Israel settle in Goshen, gain wealth and multiply greatly.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Joseph resettles the residents across the country?

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