Skip to main content

Genesis 47:23-24 meaning...

This passage is part of the narrative in the book of Genesis where Joseph, the son of Jacob, rises to a position of power in Egypt and plays a crucial role during a famine. 

  • Joseph's Administration During Famine

The context of these verses is the severe famine that struck the land, leading the people to Joseph seeking food and assistance. Joseph, having risen to prominence in Egypt, implements a plan to address the famine's impact on the people:

Land Purchase: Joseph informs the people that he has bought both them and their land on behalf of Pharaoh. This reflects a strategic intervention to address the economic challenges posed by the famine.

Seed Distribution: Joseph provides seed to the people, instructing them to sow the land. The distribution of seed is a practical measure to ensure future harvests and agricultural productivity.

  • The Fifth for Pharaoh

A distinctive feature of Joseph's plan is the arrangement for a fifth of the harvest to be given to Pharaoh:

Harvest Contribution: The people are instructed that, at the time of harvests, they are to give a fifth of their produce to Pharaoh. This can be seen as a form of taxation or tribute to the ruling authority.

Four Parts for the People: The remaining four parts of the harvest are designated for the people's use. This includes provisions for seed, food for their households, and sustenance for their little ones.

  • Economic Stewardship and Provision

Joseph's actions in Genesis 47:23-24 reveal elements of economic stewardship and provision during a time of crisis:

Governmental Intervention: Joseph, as a high-ranking official in Egypt, takes decisive action to address the economic challenges caused by the famine. His role involves not only ensuring the well-being of the people but also managing resources on behalf of Pharaoh.

Fair Distribution: The allocation of a fifth for Pharaoh may be seen as a fair distribution strategy, ensuring both the needs of the ruling authority and the welfare of the people are considered.

Relevance for Contemporary Consideration

While the context of Genesis 47:23-24 is specific to the historical narrative, certain principles hold relevance for contemporary consideration:

Governmental Responsibility: The passage highlights the responsibility of governmental authorities to manage resources and address economic challenges, especially during times of crisis.

Fair Taxation: The concept of giving a portion for the ruling authority prompts reflection on principles of taxation and fairness in resource distribution.


Romans 13:1-7: In the New Testament, Paul discusses the role of governing authorities and the concept of rendering to them what is due, including taxes.

Proverbs 22:7: "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." This proverb speaks to the dynamics of economic relationships and the impact of authority on individuals.

Conclusion: Genesis 47:23-24 captures a moment in Joseph's administration in Egypt, demonstrating economic stewardship and provision during a time of famine. The arrangement of giving a fifth to Pharaoh while ensuring the well-being of the people reflects principles of resource management and fair distribution.

As readers engage with this passage, it prompts contemplation on the role of authorities in managing resources, the principles of taxation, and the responsibilities of governance in addressing economic challenges.

Genesis 47:23-24. Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. Behold, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. It will happen at the harvests, that you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four parts will be your own, for seed of the field, for your food, for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.”


Chat    Topics     Index     WorldWideWitness