The following passage is from Genesis 47.
The situation is that there has been a famine throughout the entire region. Joseph has been made a magistrate in Egypt, second in command to Pharaoh. It was his job to prepare the country for the famine, which he successfully did. He prepared so well that Egypt had food to spare and was able to sell to those from neighboring areas.
What we find in Genesis 47 is that the famine in so severe on the people of Egypt that they come to Joseph and willingly sell themselves into slavery in exchange for food.
Joseph takes the deal on behalf of Pharaoh. Pharaoh owns all the land and all the human flesh in Egypt (except, at this point, for the Hebrews).
Everyone is owned. Every Egyptian is the property of Pharaoh.
Pharaoh allows the people whom he owns to work the land which he owns. And what must they pay him in return? What is the tax on these slaves?
The burden of slavery was so severe on the Egyptians, Pharaoh was such a greedy slave master, that he took from the people twice the tithe.
I make the above observations as an American, by the grace of God. Every red-blooded American knows that our country is the land of the free and the home of the brave. America is where freedom never knocks, but always rings. America is the land of liberty.
But is it?
How much are you taxed by the government? Add all the property, income, sales, and any other taxes together, and what percentage of your annual wealth is that?
Get that number in your head. Then read this passage from Genesis.
And then honestly ask yourself, “How free is the land of the free?”
Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” 16Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19“Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”
20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. 24“At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” 25So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.