The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
So Joseph approached Pharao with the news that his father and his brethren had brought their sheep and cattle and all they possessed away from Chanaan, and were there in the land of Gessen.
He also presented his five youngest brethren to the king,
and these, when the king asked what their employment was, answered, Thy servants are shepherds, as their fathers were before them.
We have come to seek hospitality in this land of thine, my lord, because the drought lies heavy on Chanaan, and there is no pasture for our flocks; our plea is, that thou wouldst grant thy servants a home in the country of Gessen.
So the king told Joseph, Now that thy father and thy brethren have come here to bear thee company,
the whole land of Egypt is at thy disposal; bid them dwell where they are best able to dwell, occupying the country of Gessen. And if thou knowest any of their number to be skilful at their craft, give them charge of my own herds.
Afterwards, Joseph brought his father in, and presented him to the king, to whom he gave his blessing.
And when the king asked him, what was his age?
I have lived a wanderer’s life, said he, these hundred and thirty years; no long life, and no happy one, compared with the years my fathers spent, roaming the world before me.
So he gave the king his blessing, and left him.
Joseph obeyed Pharao’s bidding, and gave his father and his brethren lands in the most favoured part of Egypt, at Ramesses;
and there he maintained them, with all his father’s kindred, giving an allowance of food to each.
All the world over, bread was still scarce, and the drought bore hardest on Egypt and on Chanaan,
till at last Joseph had amassed all the money either land possessed in the royal treasury, through his sales of wheat.
So, when they had nothing left to buy with, the Egyptians all came to Joseph asking to have bread given them for nothing; Wilt thou watch us starve, they asked, now that we have no more money left?
If you cannot pay, he answered, bring your cattle here, and you shall have food in return for these.
So they brought them and he bartered corn for horses and sheep and cattle and asses, feeding them the whole of that year and taking their beasts as the price.
By the next year, they came to him and said, My lord, we must needs be open with thee; we have come to the end of our cattle, as well as our money; thou canst see for thyself that nothing is left us except our lives and our lands.
Do not watch us starve; thou shalt have the disposal of our lands and of ourselves, making both of these the king’s property, and giving us seed-corn in return; if not, the land will become a wilderness for want of tillage.
So Joseph bought the whole land of Egypt, one and all selling their possessions to him because the famine was so grievous; and he made it Pharao’s property,
with all the inhabitants of it from one end of Egypt to the other;
except the land which the king had assigned to the priests. These had a fixed allowance of food made to them from the royal store-houses, and there was no occasion for them to sell their lands.
Joseph said to the people, You can see for yourselves now that Pharao is lord of your lives and lands; you shall have seed-corn to sow your fields with,
and when harvest-time comes you shall give up a fifth of your crops to the king; the other four-fifths I will grant you for the next sowing, and to feed your households and your children.
Our lives are in thy hand, they said; as long as we enjoy my lord’s favour, we will gladly be the king’s servants.
All over Egypt, from that day to this, the payment of the fifth is a custom which has the force of law, except in the priests’ lands, which are bound by no such conditions.
Thus Israel began to find a home in Egypt, that is, in the land of Gessen, took possession of it, and flourished, and grew great.
Jacob himself lived on seventeen years there, so that he reached altogether the age of a hundred and forty-seven.
And when he saw the day of his death approaching, he sent for his son Joseph; Do me this favour, he said, put thy hand under my thigh, and swear, in love and loyalty, that thou wilt not bury me here in Egypt.
I would sleep where my fathers sleep; take me far away from this land and bury me in the burial-place of my kindred. I will do thy bidding, answered Joseph;
but Jacob would have him bind himself by an oath. So he gave his oath; and then Israel turned his eyes towards the top of his bed,✻ and gave praise to God.
The Holy Bible