Genesis 47: A Proper Perspective of Poverty and Prosperity

*These notes come from Bob Deffinbaugh’s study on Genesis 47 at
  • Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, as the Egyptians sold it to him for food
    • Priests and Israelites were only ones to keep ownership
    • People were brought into the cities
  • Moses says conditions of owing Pharaoh 1/5 persisted while he was in the palace
  • Neither the grain nor gain belonged to Joseph, but to Pharaoh
  • The favor which Pharaoh bestowed on Joseph’s relatives was a matter of grace, which he determined to grant the Israelltes just as he did the priests
  • The slavery the Egyptians submitted to was not harsh and unfair like we know
  • Such slavery, even among the Israelites, was not condemned
  • We should not be distressed by the actions of Joseph when the Egyptians praised him and regarded him as their savior
  • Much of the dilema of the Egyptians was of their own making
  • Israel prospered while Egypt failed which paved the way for future persecution
  • Egypt’s Pharaoh prior to Joseph’s coming had been overthrown by the Hyskos slaves who had come to the area. The Hyskos appointed Pharaoh was favorable to the Israelites because both were Palestinian origin. Egypt’s later overthrow of the Hyskos Pharaoh resulted in the Egyptians disliking the Israelites for their prosperity in the Hyskos alliance
    • This prosperity repeated itself when Germany was failing but the Jews remained successful, but then became the blame for what the Germans had faced
  • Principles pertaining to prosperity and poverty
    • Freedom is a privilege not a right
    • prosperity is not a right, but a privilege and responsibility
    • poverty in the Bible is not viewed as an evil to be abolished
    • Problem of poverty cannot be solved simply
      • some who refuse to work should not be helped in order to force them to work
      • others should be given what is needed but expected to pay it back
      • others should be provided for with no repayment
      • charity should seek to preserve the dignity and promote the diligence of the needy
        • people are encouraged to provide for themselves
      • The accumulation of wealth is frequently the means of helping the poor
        • Christians often wrongly assume it is wrong to accumulate wealth but wealth can be used to help others
  • God’s provision for his people does not require times of National economic prosperity
    • God’s ability to provide for us does not depend on economics
  • Jacob showed his faith in requesting to be buried in Canaan not Egypt
  • We are obliged to protect the rights of the poor. Freedom and prosperity are not rights but life is
  • Egyptians represent unconditional surrender to Joseph like we must to Christ

*Link to study on the rest of the chapters in Genesis


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