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Joseph escorted five of his brothers to visit Pharaoh in his court. And Pharaoh asked them their occupation. They answered that they were all shepherds, they and their fathers before them. And they asked to stay in the land of Egypt, because the famine had struck Canaan, and there was no fodder to raise animals there. But shepherds were anathema to the people of the major cities along the Nile. So Pharaoh gave them leave to range over all the land of Goshen, on the easternmost fork of the Nile delta.

Then Joseph brought forth his father Jacob to meet Pharaoh, who asked his age. Jacob answered, “The years of my pilgrimage in this world are a hundred and thirty, yet too short and too hard has my life been, and I have not come close to attaining the years of my father Isaac and his father Abraham.” And he blessed Pharaoh and departed from him.

As the famine continued, all the money that existed in the land of Egypt had been brought into the house of Pharaoh from the sale of grain. When the citizens had no more money, Joseph took their lifestock in payment for more grain, just enough for the people to eat. When he had their animals, he fed them from his stores of grain. And the next year the people came for more grain, but they had no money and no livestock, so they sold Pharaoh all their land, except the priests who were allowed to keep their land.

And Joseph organized the people into a state-owned agricultural workforce, and set them to work on land they did not own, using state-provided seed corn, and 20% of their increase was a tax to Pharaoh.

Jacob lived on Goshen another seventeen years, and when the time grew near for him to die, at age one hundred forty seven, he made Joseph swear an oath not to bury him in Egypt but carry him to the tomb of his fathers in Hebron.

The Old Testament is very specific about how long the Israelites were in Egypt: 430 years after the arrival of Jacob at age 130 (Exodus 12:30). And it is very specific about when the temple construction began: 480 years after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt on Passover, in the fourth year of King Solomon. Those two numbers allow a geneaology to link the table of Patriarchs with the table of Kings. So we gave 880 years.

Subtract four years for when Solomon was crowned king. That’s 876 years.

According to the book of Ruth, there are ten ancestors who lived between Judah and Solomon.

1. Perez

2. Hezron

3. Ram

4. Amminadab

5. Nashon

6. Salmon

7. Boaz

8. Obed

9. Jesse

10. David

That means, on average, each man was 87.6 years old when he begat the next son in line. This is not an intractable problem, but bear in mind that David only lived to be seventy years old.

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