Genesis 47:2
And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Even five men.—As the number “five” appears again and again in this narrative (Genesis 43:34; Genesis 45:22), it may have had some special importance among the Egyptians, like the number seven among the Jews.

Genesis 47:2. He took some of his brethren — The original words here, literally translated, are, He took from the end, extremity, or tail of his brethren, five men — And some have thought the sense is, He took five of the meanest of them, as to their persons and appearance, as the word קצהis used, 1 Kings 12:31, lest, if he had presented the goodliest of them, Pharaoh should have required their attendance upon him either at court or in the camp.

47:1-6 Though Joseph was a great man, especially in Egypt, yet he owned his brethren. Let the rich and great in the world not overlook or despise poor relations. Our Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren. In answer to Pharaoh's inquiry, What is your calling? they told him that they were shepherds, adding that they were come to sojourn in the land for a time, while the famine prevailed in Canaan. Pharaoh offered to employ them as shepherds, provided they were active men. Whatever our business or employment is, we should aim to excel in it, and to prove ourselves clever and industrious.Joseph announces to Pharaoh the arrival of his kindred. "Of the whole of his brethren," more exactly from the end of his brethren. Five men, a favorite number in Egypt. Shepherds, owners and feeders of sheep and other cattle. "Pasture." Hence, it appears that the drought had made the grazing extremely scanty. Men of ability, competent to take the oversight of others. "Jacob his father," he presents before Pharaoh, after he has disposed of all business matters. "Jacob blessed Pharaoh." This is the patriarch's grateful return for Pharaoh's great kindness and generosity toward him and his house. He is conscious of even a higher dignity than that of Pharaoh, as he is a prince of God; and as such he bestows his precious benediction. Pharaoh was struck with his venerable appearance, and inquired what was his age. "Pilgrimage" - sojourning, wandering without any constant abode or fixed holding.

Such was the life of the patriarchs in the land of promise Hebrews 11:13. "Few and evil." Jacob's years at this time were far short of those of Abraham and Isaac, not to speak of more ancient men. Much bitterness also had been mingled in his cup from the time that he beguiled his brother of the birthright and the blessing, which would have come to him in a lawful way if he had only waited in patience. Obliged to flee for his life from his father's house, serving seven years for a beloved wife, and balked in his expected recompense by a deceitful father-in-law, serving seven long years more for the object of his affections, having his wages changed ten times during the six years of his further toil for a maintenance, afflicted by the dishonor of his only daughter, the reckless revenge taken by Simon and Levi, the death of his beloved wife in childbed, the disgraceful incest of Reuben, the loss of Joseph himself for twenty-two years, and the present famine with all its anxieties - Jacob, it must be confessed, has become acquainted with no small share of the ills of life. "Blessed Pharaoh." It is possible that this blessing is the same as that already mentioned, now reiterated in its proper place in the narrative. "According to the little ones." This means either in proportion to the number in each household, or with all the tenderness with which a parent provides for his infant offspring.

2. he took some of his brethren—probably the five eldest brothers: seniority being the least invidious principle of selection. Some of his brethren, or part, as this Hebrew word is used, Daniel 1:2; or the extremity, or end, or tail of them, i.e. the meanest of them for person and presence, as the word is taken 1 Kings 12:31, lest if he, had presented the goodliest of them, Pharaoh might have required their attendance upon him, either at court or camp. And for the same reason for which he did industriously represent them to Pharaoh as contemptible in their employment, he might also present those to him who were so in their persons.

And he took some of his brethren,.... Along with him, when he left his father in Goshen; the word for "some" signifies the extremity of a thing: hence some have fancied that he took some of the meanest and most abject, so Jarchi, lest if they had appeared to Pharaoh strong and robust, he should have made soldiers of them; others on the contrary think he took those that excelled most in strength of body, and endowments of mind, to make the better figure; others, that he took of both sorts, or some at both ends, the first and last, elder and younger; but it may be, he made no choice at all, but took some that offered next:

even five men: whom the Targum of Jonathan names as follow, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher; but Jarchi will have them to be Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Issachar and Benjamin; but on these accounts no dependence is to be had:

and presented them, unto Pharaoh; introduced them into his presence, that he might converse with them, and ask them what questions he thought fit.

And he took some of his brethren, even {a} five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.

(a) That the king might be assured that they had come, and to see what type of people they were.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. five men] How the five were selected we are not told. On the number “5” in connexion with Egypt, see note on Genesis 43:34. Cf. Genesis 47:24, Genesis 41:34, Genesis 43:34, Genesis 45:22; Isaiah 19:18.

Verse 2. - And he took some of his brethren, even five men, - literally, from the end, or extremity, of his brethren; not from the weakest, lest the king should select them for courtiers or soldiers (the Rabbis, Oleaster, Pererius, and others); or the strongest and most handsome, that the Egyptian monarch and his nobles might behold the dignity of Joseph s kindred (Lyre, Thostatus, and others); or the youngest and oldest, that the ages of the rest might be therefrom inferred (Calvin); but from the whole body of his brethren (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, et alii) he took five teen - and presented them unto Pharaoh (cf. Acts 7:13). Genesis 47:2When Joseph had announced to Pharaoh the arrival of his relations in Goshen, he presented five out of the whole number of his brethren (אחיו מקצה; on קצה see Genesis 19:4) to the king.
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