Why, after purchasing all the land on behalf of Pharaoh, did Yosef keep moving the people from one town to another (from town to outlying area and from outlying area to town [Targum Yonasan])?


Rashi: To remind them that they were serfs to Pharaoh and that they did not own the land. His underlying motive however, was to prevent the Egyptians from referring to his brothers as strangers and treating them as such. 1


Rashbam: To prevent them from making a Chazakah on the land. 2


Seforno: He did not move them permanently, only so that they should ask him to acquire them together with their land on behalf of Pharaoh, with the consent of their neighbors.


Moshav Zekenim asks, this was before the brothers descended! Tzidkiyah the doctor answered that he knew through Ru'ach ha'Kodesh that they would descend.


Like Sancheriv, who moved all the people whose lands he captured from one country to another (See Melachim 2, 18:32 [Rashbam]).


רש"י: מעיר לעיר: מה הוסיף רש"י?


גור אריה: אפשר לפרש 'העביר לערים' שהוא פיזר אותם בערי מצרים ולכן הדגיש רש"י שהוא העביר אותם מעיר לעיר.


רש"י: כן עשה לכל הערים וכו': מה כוונת רש"י?


גור אריה: אפשר להבין שרק את העם שבקצוות הוא העביר מקצה לקצה, ולכן הדגיש רש"י שהוא עשה זאת לכולם.

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