Genesis 47 has the introduction of Joseph’s family to Pharaoh. First Joseph brings in 5 of the best men – and Pharaoh is pleased and tells Joseph to “settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land”. Not bad for a kid that was bought into slavery some years ago – he is able to provide the best land in the world to his family. But Pharaoh is also doing well in this deal – Joseph has multiplied his position and he sees another opportunity. If Joseph was good – maybe some of the others are good too. So Pharaoh says “if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock”. He wouldn’t mind having another good man or two like Joseph on his staff.
Then Joseph brings in his father and “Jacob blessed Pharaoh”. Jacob is 130 years old now – and they talk about his age and the opportunity that Pharaoh is giving them. Joseph has done well for his family. But he hasn’t lost sight of his job either. Back in the real world – the famine continues and now people are running out of money. So Joseph goes to the next level – trading livestock for food. “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone”. They come to him with a problem – they are all broke – and he gives them a creative alternative – give me your livestock. That begins accumulation of another asset for Pharaoh – who now has all the money in the land thanks to Joseph’s management.
That doesn’t last long – soon the livestock has all been traded for food and now they come again. Joseph has another trick up his sleeve. “Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them….he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other”. Joseph not only got the land – all of it except that which belongs to the priests – but also got their labor. They are now slaves to the Pharaoh. And the amazing thing about it – they are happy to be that way: “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh”. The reality is that the people have nothing left – Joseph now has all the money, livestock, land and even their future.
But here is the magic in his genius – he lets them be part of going the next step – multiplying the assets. He gave them seed to sow the land which is now Pharaoh’s – but in exchange they need to give back 1/5th of the production. So Joseph has no costs other than the seed provided to replenish the granaries. He is going to leverage his business sense to prepare for the future. Jacob meanwhile is doing well with his clan. They settled in Goshen and “they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly”. Obviously God is blessing the entire batch from Jacob through Joseph and the rest. Jacob is now 147 and calls Joseph to his side as he prepares to die and makes him promise: “Do not bury me in Egypt”. He wants to go home to be buried. Joseph agrees to the request.