Read Genesis 47:13-19
1. What did Joseph suggest when the people ran out of money to buy food?
2. Once that supply was depleted, what did the people next offer in exchange for food the following year?
Read Genesis 47:20-25
3. What happened to the land the people owned? Who was exempt from this plan?
4. Describe the feudal system that came into being. Who furnished the people seed and what did they have to pay in return?
Read Genesis 47:26-27
5. What happened to the Israelites who had settled in the region of Goshen? See Genesis 35:11 and Genesis 46:3 to see how the covenant promise was fulfilled.
When God helped Joseph interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, He also put an administrative plan in his heart to get them through the seven years of famine. Joseph ended up putting a full-fledged feudal system into being. The government furnished the people seed, and the people paid one-fifth of their crops to the state. The same was true during the seven years of plenty, but now all the land on which the produce grew would belong to Pharaoh as well. It seemed like a high price to pay but the people agreed to it in order to feed their families. They believed Joseph had saved their lives and were willing to be Pharaoh’s servants in exchange for grain. The people of Egypt actually became serfs and their land became the property of Pharaoh. Joseph was the food administrator, and when the famine grew worse the people came to him for help. When their money ran out, they traded their livestock. Finally, they had to pledge their land and their own bodies to Pharaoh in order to secure more food. All the lands, except that of the priests, passed into the hands of the state. Joseph’s brilliant, God-given plan of administration resulted in the saving of many lives. Stop and think about this…what has God equipped you to do in order to help others?