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Genesis 47:8

And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old are you?
Read Chapter 47

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Since he saw the old man was in extreme old age, he asked his age. “Jacob replied, ‘The years of my sojourn on earth.’ “ See how all good people have the same attitude to this life as if living in a foreign land. I mean, hear what David also says later: “I am a sojourner upon earth, sojourning in a strange place”; while Jacob says, “The years of my sojourn on earth.” Hence Paul too said about these good people that “they recognized they were strangers and sojourners on earth.” “The years of my sojourn on earth,” he says, “a hundred and thirty of them, have been few and harsh; they do not compare with the lifespan of my forebears.” Here Jacob is referring to the years of servitude he endured under Laban in consequence of the flight made on account of his brother, and as well, following his return from there, the grief he suffered for so long on account of Joseph’s death and all the misfortunes in the meantime. After all, how great do you think was the fear he had when in retribution for their sister the company of Simeon and Levi in one fell swoop wiped out a city and took captive everyone in Shechem? He said at that time, too, remember, to show the anguish with which he was stricken, “You have made me so hated as to be an enemy to the inhabitants of the land. I for my part am few in number, and if they assemble against me they will strike me and I shall be exterminated along with my house.” Hence Jacob says, “Few and harsh have been the days of the years of my life.”

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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