Let Pharaoh do [this]
Appoint such a person; who as a sovereign prince could do it of himself: and let him appoint officers over the land;
not Pharaoh, but the wise and discreet governor he should set over the land, who should have a power of appointing officers or overseers under him to manage things according to his direction: and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous
not the officers appointed, but the appointer of them, the chief governor under Pharaoh, for the word is singular; it is proposed that he should, in Pharaoh's name, and by his order, take a fifth part of all the corn in the land of Egypt during seven years of plenty; not by force, which so good a man as Joseph would never advise to, whatever power Pharaoh might have, and could exercise if he pleased; but by making a purchase of it, which in such time of plenty would be bought cheap, and which so great a prince as Pharaoh was capable of. It is commonly asked, why an half part was not ordered to be took up, since there were to be as many years of famine as of plenty? and to this it is usually replied, that besides this fifth part taken up, as there might be an old stock of former years, so there would be something considerable remain of these seven years of plenty, which men of substance would lay up, as Pharaoh did; and besides, a fifth part might be equal to the crop of an ordinary year, or near it: to which may be added, that in times of famine men live more sparingly, as they are obliged, and therefore such a quantity would go the further; as well as it may be considered, that notwithstanding the barrenness of the land in general, yet in some places, especially on the banks of the Nile, some corn might be produced; so that upon the whole a fifth part might be judged sufficient to answer the extremity of the seven years of famine, and even to allow a distribution to other countries.