Genesis 47:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Pharaoh asked the brothers, "What is your occupation?" "Your servants are shepherds," they replied to Pharaoh, "just as our fathers were."

King James Bible
And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.

Darby Bible Translation
And Pharaoh said to his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said to Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.

World English Bible
Pharaoh said to his brothers, "What is your occupation?" They said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers."

Young's Literal Translation
and Pharaoh saith unto his brethren, 'What are your works?' and they say unto Pharaoh, 'Thy servants are feeders of a flock, both we and our fathers;'

Genesis 47:3 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

He took some of his brethren - There is something very strange in the original; literally translated it signifies "from the end or extremity (מקצה miktseh) of his brethren he took five men." This has been understood six different ways. 1. Joseph took five of his brethren that came first to hand - at random, without design or choice. 2. Joseph took five of the meanest-looking of his brethren to present before Pharaoh, fearing if he had taken the sightliest that Pharaoh would detain them for his service, whereby their religion and morals might be corrupted. 3. Joseph took five of the best made and finest-looking of his brethren, and presented them before Pharaoh, wishing to impress his mind with a favorable opinion of the family which he had just now brought into Egypt, and to do himself honor. 4. Joseph took five of the youngest of his brethren. 5. He took five of the eldest of his brethren. 6. He took five from the extremity or end of his brethren, i. e., some of the eldest and some of the youngest, viz., Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Benjamin - Rab. Solomon. It is certain that in Judges 18:2, the word may be understood as implying dignity, valor, excellence, and pre-eminence: And the children of Dan sent of their family Five men מקצותם miktsotham, not from their coasts, but of the most eminent or excellent they had; and it is probable they might have had their eye on what Joseph did here when they made their choice, choosing the same number, five, and of their principal men, as did Joseph, because the mission was important, to go and search out the land. But the word may be understood simply as signifying some; out of the whole of his brethren he took only five men, etc.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

What is.

Genesis 46:33,34 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation...

Amos 7:14,15 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdsman...

Jonah 1:8 Then said they to him, Tell us, we pray you, for whose cause this evil is on us; What is your occupation? and from where come you?...

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.


Genesis 4:2 And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Two Retrospects of one Life
'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'--GENESIS xlvii. 9. 'The God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.' --GENESIS xlviii. 15,16. These are two strangely different estimates of the same life to be taken by the same man. In the latter Jacob categorically contradicts everything that he had said in the former. 'Few and evil,' he said before Pharaoh. 'All my life long,' 'the Angel which redeemed me from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Shortness and Misery of Life.
1 Our days, alas! our mortal days Are short and wretched too; "Evil and few," the patriarch says, [1] And well the patriarch knew. 2 'Tis but at best a narrow bound That heaven allows to men, And pains and sins run thro' the round Of threescore years and ten. 3 Well, if ye must be sad and few, Run on, my days, in haste; Moments of sin, and months of woe, Ye cannot fly too fast. 4 Let heavenly love prepare my soul, And call her to the skies, Where years of long salvation roll, And glory never dies.
Isaac Watts—Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Cross References
Genesis 4:2
Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.

Genesis 46:33
When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, 'What is your occupation?'

Genesis 46:34
you should answer, 'Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.' Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians."

Jonah 1:8
So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"

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