Why didn't Joseph's brothers follow Joseph's advice in avoiding to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds (Genesis 46:31-34; 47:1-3)? Genesis 46:31-34 31Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, 'My brothers and my father's household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.' 33When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, 'What is your occupation?' 34you 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." Genesis 47:1-3 1Joseph went and told Pharaoh, "My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen." 2He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh. 3Pharaoh asked the brothers, "What is your occupation?" "Your servants are shepherds," they replied to Pharaoh, "just as our fathers were."
Genesis 46:1 - 47:31
ESV - 1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here am I.
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In Genesis 47:1 (before Joseph's brothers had appeared before Pharaoh), Joseph himself told Pharaoh that his father and brothers had come to the land of Goshen with all their flocks (of sheep) and herds (of cattle), which implies to me that Joseph wanted to be the first to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds (as Joseph had indicated in Genesis 46:32), rather than have his brothers say it, so that the favor with which Pharaoh regarded Joseph would be transferred to his brothers, despite the fact that they were shepherds (as Joseph's brothers themselves subsequently admitted to Pharaoh in Genesis 47:3). As a result of their association with Joseph, Pharaoh allowed them to settle in the land of Goshen (as they had requested), which (as I interpret it) would mean that they would not be in the very midst of the Egyptian population, so that their activities as shepherds would not offend the Egyptians.
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