Genesis 46:1-47:31 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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God Brings Israel To Egypt
Comments for Study 26

Genesis 46:1-47:31
Memory Verse 46:3-4


I. Jacob! Jacob! (46:1-27)

>1. Why do you think Israel offered sacrifices? (1) What did God call to Israel? How did God introduce himself? What did he tell Israel? (3-4) How was this part of God's plan all along? (15:12-16)

Genesis 46:1 "So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac."

* "Israel" -This is Jacob's new God given name. Whenever this name is used it can be concluded that he is completely in God's will and favor, and living righteously. Jesus will give each of his people a new name when he takes us to be with him and stand before him to give an account for the life we lead. (Rev. 2:17)

* "all that was his" -The Lord had blessed him with a lot. He had what was his father's (Isaac) and his grandfather's (Abraham).

* "Beersheba" -Over fifty miles (75km) east of the edge of the promised land. The edge of the promised land is either the Brook of Egypt or the delta of the Nile. (Gen. 15:18) However, Beersheba was very important to Jacob's father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. Abraham was the one who gave the name to the area (21:31), called on the LORD there (21:32), and stayed there for a long time (21:33 and 22:19). The LORD confirmed his covenant to Isaac there (26:23-25). Isaac was living there when Jacob left for Haran to get a wife. (28:10)

* "he offered sacrifices" -Israel did not want to leave the promised land. His grandfather did and suffered for it. (12:10-20) The LORD told his father to not go to Egypt. (26:2) Israel wanted to be sure he was in the will of the LORD. Offering sacrifices in the middle of a severe drought took faith in God's personal love and protection.

* "to the God of his father Isaac" -Israel remembered his father's faith in this area which Israel probably considered his parent's home.

Genesis 46:2 "And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied."

* "God spoke to Israel" -God does speak to his people to this very day. He has given us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit communicates with us. Do we listen?

* "in a vision at night" -This was not a dream, though since this was at night I'm not sure what the difference is. God does speak through dreams and visions. Yet we should be careful because God is not the only source of dreams and visions. Many have been deceived by Satan who can appear as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) A dream and a vision should always be compared to the written word of God, especially the New Testament.

* "Jacob! Jacob!" -Jesus calls his own by name. (John 10:3)

* "Here am I" -God's people know his voice and follow it. (John 10:4-5)

Genesis 46:3-4 "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. 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."

* "I am God" -This is "El" in Hebrew. Used often to refer to God. It is a base for other names of God too. (i.e. Elohim, El-Shaddai, etc)

* "God of your father" -This is "Elohim ab" in Hebrew. "ab" is father.

* "Do not be afraid" -Israel had the fear of God.

* "I will make you a great nation there" -Israel could not become a great nation if they stayed in the Promised Land. Earlier in his life, because of his sons actions, the Canaanites already began to despised him. (34:30) Egypt would provide protection for them until they were large enough to overcome the Canaanites. How many was that? Numbers 1:45-46 states, "All the Israelites (men only) twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel's army were counted according to their families. The total number was 603,550."

* "I will go down with you" -God is with his people always even if we do not see him. Four generations later Moses wondered why the LORD had not heard his people's prayers. He told him he had. (Exodus 3:7) He was always with them. Sometimes when we follow God's leading hard times come. It is then as in the good times, that we can be assured that the LORD is with us and knows what is happening to us. Many of God's people learned and understood this. (Hebrews 11)

* "And I will surely bring you back" -Jacob's bones came back to the promised land and he was buried with his ancestors. (49:29-34, 50:12-14)

* "Joseph" -The Lord promised him that Israel would see his favorite son.

>2. What did Jacob (Israel) do? (5-7) Why is his old and new name recorded here?

Genesis 46:5-7 "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. They also took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan, and Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt. He took with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters--all his offspring."

* Prophetic in the fact that during the current age all of God's people, his kingdom is scattered amongst the kingdoms of the world. While scattered Jesus' kingdom has been slowly growing in numbers as the parable of the mustard seed has taught us. Soon Jesus will come and lead us to the promised land; that is, the promised physical rule on this earth. This topic should be covered in a study of Exodus and Joshua.

>3. Study the genealogy recorded in verses 8 to 27. What are some things you notice in this passage that had not been recorded before.

Genesis 46:8-25

* The list of those who went into Egypt; not very many. Four generations later the number was in the millions as noted above.

* Simeon's and Judah's choice of a Canaanite wife shows their compromising spirit. Their father was not told to marry them because of their repulsive lifestyle. (27:46, 28:1) A previous chapter showed that Tamar, Judah's daughter in law, through her faith lead Judah to repentance.

* Exodus 1:1 has the same list without the sons names. Numbers chapter 1 and 26 also has a list of names.

* "thirty-three" -Verse 15 states there were thirty-three in the list. However, the list contains thirty-four names. Comparing this list with Numbers 26:12-13 and 1 Ch. 4:24 shows the addition of Ohad in this list. Ohad in Hebrew looks very much like that of the nearby "Zohar" (Ex. 6:15).

* For Joseph's wife see 41:45.

>4. Where is Goshen and how is it described? (46:28; 47:6, 11) Describe the meeting of father and son. What did Jacob say? Why do you think he often talked about dying? (37:5, 42:38, 44:29, 44:31)

Genesis 46:26-30 "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 sons 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."

* "sixty-six" - The total of 33 + 16 + 14 + 7 = 70. To get 66 subtract Er and Onan (died in Canaan) and Joseph's two sons who were already in Egypt.

* "Jacob sent Judah" -Once again Jacob shows that he does not trust his three oldest sons and thus goes to Judah, his fourth son for leadership. Jacob could trust Judah because he had proven himself. Jesus is testing us now to see how trustworthy we will be as leaders in the next age. We should always realize that we will be accountable.

* "to get directions" -He respected the fact that this was not his homeland. He respected whose homeland this was. He would only settle where they directed him. He obeyed the land's laws and respected their authority while he was outside of the promised land. Paul later instructed followers of Jesus to respect the legal authority of the land we are in. (Heb. 13:17)

* "wept for a long time" -Joseph must have believed that he would never see his father.

* "now I am ready to die" -Jacob often talked of dying. (37:5, 42:38, 44:29, 44:31) His life had been long and hard. He hoped for the eternal kingdom. Yet he would never take his own life. He knew that God is the keeper of life. He would stay wherever the LORD wanted him to be even though it was hard. He respected the assignment to live in this world a little longer while longing for paradise. God's people look forward to a bright future, a city whose builder and architect is God. (Heb. 11)

>5. How did Joseph provide for his family? Why this way? How did he teach them independence?

Genesis 46:31-34 "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."

* Being shepherds would protect them for awhile. The Egyptians would avoid them.

* The Bible often uses the shepherd to describe the Messiah and those who follow him. We are shepherds of God's people. This is a detestable thing to the people of the world. They do not like God's people and the life we live. They stay away from us while admiring the love we have for each other. Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples; that you love one another." (John 13:35)

II. Jacob and Pharaoh Meet (47:1-12)

>6. What did Joseph tell Pharaoh? How did the five brothers respond when Pharaoh asked them a question? What does this tell us about Joseph and his brothers?

Genesis 47:1-4 "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 awhile, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants' flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen."

* "he chose five of his brothers" -Perhaps the best or perhaps not all because it would overwhelm them and thus bring fear and panic of such a large group entering his land.

* "Your servants are..." -They followed Joseph's instructions.

* "live her awhile" -They intended to return which would please the Egyptians. They knew they belonged to the promised land.

* "please" -They asked even though it was already promised to them.

Genesis 47:5-6 "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."

* "to Joseph" -Pharaoh knew who made it possible for them to survive the famine. Joseph had interpreted the dreams and prepared well during the seven good years. Now Joseph was managing the saved grain well. All this benefited Pharaoh well, especially in public opinion. So on behalf of Joseph's good work he allowed his extended family to live in the land.

* "in the best part of the land" -Goshen was in the upper delta of the Nile, a well watered fertile land in non-drought years. In fact, the drought needs to be very bad for the water to stop flowing in the Nile.

>7. When asked what was Jacob's testimony about his life? How many times did Jacob bless Pharaoh? What does this tell us about Jacob?

>8. How else did Joseph help his family?

Genesis 47:7-12 "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. 11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their children."

* "Jacob blessed Pharaoh" -God honored this blessing. Egypt prospered the entire time that Israel lived in Egypt. The time frame is around 1870 B.C. considered Egypt's Middle Kingdom Period.

* "How old are you?" -Jacob's age was apparent in his features.

* "few and difficult" -As I mentioned above.

* "do not equal the years of..." -Abraham lived to be 175 (25:7) and Isaac lived 180 years (35:28).

* "pilgrimage" -Our life on this earth is a journey to the place where God dwells, the definition of pilgrimage. Psalms 84:5 states, "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage."

* Deuteronomy 26:5 states of the pilgrim life, "Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: "My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous."

* "Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out" -Jacob blessed him a second time. We should bless all those whom God brings in our path even our enemies. Jesus taught, "Bless those who curse you." (Luke 6:28)

* "district of Rameses" -The city of Rameses is also in Exodus 1:11, 12:37, and Num. 33:3-5.

* "Joseph provided" -Joseph held no grudge to his brothers for what they did. He acted correctly.

III. The Famine (47:13-31)

>9. How did Joseph carry out his mission as Pharaoh's steward over Egypt? What does this show about his character? His faith? What can we learn from him?

Genesis 47:13-22

* "money" -In the end money could not provide enough to live on. People can not eat money made of paper and metal. Money does not provide sustenance, God does. Throughout history people had relied on metal stamped into coins for safety. Throughout history when trouble comes it proves to be what it is, nothing we can eat. Many have falsely trusted in their wealth for security. Proverbs 11:4 states, "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." The wise man trusts in God. Money in itself is not bad. What is wrong is trusting in it.

* "brought it to Pharaoh" -What is interesting is that Pharaoh collected the grain from the people to store. Now he sells it back to them until all their money is gone. And yet he found even more ways to collect. This should never be done with God's people. We should give freely to those in need. Jesus taught, "As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." (Matt. 10:7-8)

* "so Joseph" -Joseph was faithful to his work under Pharaoh. He did not demand nor claim anything. He could have been proud. He was not.

>10. What did Jacob ask of Joseph before he died? Why?

>11. What did Jacob do as he leaned on his staff? What does this say about him? (Heb. 11:21)

Genesis 47:23-31

* "aquired land" -Egyptians lost land and Israel gained land. Later the tables would be turn.

* "seventeen years... one hundred forty-seven" -Jacob was one hundred and thirty when he left the promised land.

* "put your hand under my thigh" -a symbol of an unbreakable oath in that age and culture.

* "don't bury me in Egypt" -He remembered God's words about coming back.

* "worshiped" -Hebrews 11:21 stated, "By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff."