Pharaoh told Joseph: Return to Canaan
and Bring Your Father and Families Back to Me

45: 16-20

It didn’t take very long for the news of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers to reach the ears of Pharaoh. Yosef was respected by all of Egypt. He had saved them from starvation and they were grateful. When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Yosef’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased (45:16). As much as Joseph was respected, for any Pharaoh of Egypt to be pleased to see a family of Semitic herdsmen from Canaan was unusual to say the least.

Pharaoh had such a high regard for Yosef that he said to him, “Tell your brothers to load their animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt where you can enjoy the fat of the land” (45:17-18). This is an expression denoting the best products of the land, including oil, corn, wine and wheat. The famine would not last forever, and when it was over the fat of the land would be theirs. This was a very generous offer by Pharaoh.

Such an invitation coming from an Egyptian Pharaoh for Semites was only possible during the Hyksos rule. Normally, an Egyptian Pharaoh, who was truly Egyptian, would never, and I mean never, allow this to take place. However, the Hyksos, being the Semitic conquerors of Egypt, made it possible for another Semitic family to be honored in this way.

You are also directed to tell them, to take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and then come back to live here (45:19). This would make the journey easier for them because then they would not have to walk, and would have been especially helpful to the children. These carts normally had two wooden wheels, and were drawn by oxen or horses. They were unique to Egypt and could be used even where there were no roads. Pharaoh continued to show his concern: Never mind about your bulky household belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours (45:20). Again, this would absolutely never happen with a truly Egyptian Pharaoh. Taking all their bulky household belongings would obviously slow them down, and Pharaoh wanted them to come without delay. This highlights the seriousness of the famine at that time, and it demonstrates Pharaoh’s genuine affection for Joseph.

 

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