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And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

47:26 the fifth part. In effect, the people became Pharaoh’s “servants” merely in the sense that Joseph established a “flat tax” of twenty percent of their income that would go to the government. Otherwise, they still had full control over their individual property. The government provided seed for their use, and presumably all the standard government services. Furthermore, these governmental regulations as established by Joseph had literally “saved their lives” (Genesis 47:25). Their enforced savings during the seven years of prosperity had not only enabled them to survive the seven years of famine but also to help other nations as well. “Saving for a rainy day” has always been good policy, for individuals and for nations.

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