Genesis 46 - 47:10
Genesis 46:1-7 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba,he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.
Before Jacob went to Egypt he offered sacrifices to God. Back in Genesis 26:21 it was at Beersheba that God had forbidden Jacob’s father Isaac to go to Egypt. Jacob wanted to be sure he was in God’s will. And God answered Jacob in a vision. And His promise to Jacob was fourfold:
1. Israel’s family would become a great nation in Egypt.
2. God Himself would go with Jacob to Egypt.
3. God would bring Jacob-Israel back again to Canaan – this happened for Jacob after he died, they carried his bones back to Canaan and buried them. And for Israel the nation which was led out of Egypt 430 years later.
4. Joseph would close Jacob’s eye in death. And that came true too.
We need to take a minute here and review why it was important for Israel to go Egypt. Besides the famine. Israel needed the education, culture and civilization found within Egypt’s borders in order to take her place with the nations of the world and in order that they first five books of the Bible might be fittingly recorded in writing during the early days of Israel’s history. Like Joseph himself, the Israelites also learned to know God and to trust Him by the very things which they, too, suffered in Egypt.
There are 2 applications to take from this story.
1. We need to pray for guidance before making our decisions. Proverbs 3: 5-6 reminds us not to trust in our own understanding, but in all our ways to acknowledge God, asking Him for directions and seeking His principles in the Bible. When we do this He in turn promises to direct our ways.
2. God’s word is always fulfilled. Back in Genesis 15:13-14 God told Abraham that his descendants would reside in Egypt for 430 years. The words in the Old Testament are always fulfilled. Christ, Himself confirmed this in Matthew 5:15 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
And in Luke 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. And Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. And Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
There are also prophecies concerning our own future, which will be fulfilled: John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."
And John 14:2-3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. And 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are leftwill be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Genesis 46:8 – 25 is a list of all Jacob’s sons and grandchildren who went to Egypt. Then it picks up Genesis 46:26 – 47:10 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two son who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.
28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.
30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”
31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”
47 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.”2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.
3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”
“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.”4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”
5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability ,put them in charge of my own livestock.”
7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”
9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.
The size of Jacob’s family after they had settled in Egypt is given here because of the divine promise to multiply them into a great nation.
There’s a certain design in this list. In view of the future of Israel the nation, it was important to trace the roots of all tribes and families which in later history comprised the people of God. These records were always very carefully kept, for the special inheritance of the different tribes in the land of Canaan (Palestine) depended upon this legal registry. God commanded that each man’s inheritance of land should always return to him in the year of Jubilee whatever misfortune had caused him to lose it in the interim. When, after a long exile of seventy years (during Israel’s later history), they again returned to Palestine in the time of Ezra, we find a careful record and registration of every name among those who returned, as well as the tribe which they belonged.
Finally, when Jesus was born, His own genealogy was traced through these most ancient records preserved in the temple and given in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28. All such records after Christ have now been lost since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. They are no longer necessary.
God chose Goshen for the family. This area was probably at the eastern part of the Nile delta. It provided excellent pasture for grazing. But it was also an area of segregation. Shepherds were detestable to the Egyptians. Israel was transplanted from Canaan to escape being ruined spiritually by mingling with the peoples of the land or physically by primitive wars when they were too few in number to overcome their enemies.
They were also separated from the Egyptian heathenism by a double barrier – their foreign race and their reputation as a lower caste in Egyptian eyes. This area gave them lots of room for the amazing explosion of population that comes. Their proximity developed their mental powers (think Moses).
God separated them, hid them, and grew them.
Jacob is 130 years old when he meets Pharoah. And Pharoah greets him with the respect his age should receive.