In Genesis 47:2 (NASB)
And he took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.
Why would Joseph take five men?
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
For some inexplicable reason, the number "five" is a recurring theme in the story of Joseph. Here is a sample:
These instances of "five" also fall into a kind of Chiastic structure as listed above:
Note that in Genesis, the number five appears seven times as listed above as well, corresponding to the number of years of famine. The Cambridge Commentary simply observes this fact and then suggests that it MIGHT be either connected to the five planets (ie, what we now call Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn), OR, to the five fingers of the the human hand. However, no real explanation is available.
The same Joseph also did the following 5's.
When portions were served to them from Joseph's table, Benjamin's portion was five times as much as anyone else's. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes.
Muslims have five pillars of faith and pray five times a day.
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
(2) Even five men.--As the number "five" appears again and again in this narrative (Genesis 43:34; Genesis 45:22), it may have had some special importance among the Egyptians, like the number seven among the Jews.
Verse 2. - And he took some of his brethren, even five men, - literally, from the end, or extremity, of his brethren; not from the weakest, lest the king should select them for courtiers or soldiers (the Rabbis, Oleaster, Pererius, and others); or the strongest and most handsome, that the Egyptian monarch and his nobles might behold the dignity of Joseph's kindred (Lyre, Thostatus, and others); or the youngest and oldest, that the ages of the rest might be therefrom inferred (Calvin); but from the whole body of his brethren (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, et alii) he took five teen - and presented them unto Pharaoh (cf. Acts 7:13).
Even today, we have the high five.