Genesis Chapter 46

Jacob (Israel) has been told that his son, Joseph, is alive and the governor over the land of Egypt. Joseph has been the favored son of Jacob and believed to be dead for several years at this point. Pharaoh has offered Jacob’s family a place to live and be fed through the rest of the famine, because they are the family of his trusted assistant, Joseph. Their story continues as follows:

1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:
4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
5 And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him:
7 His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.

Israel left his home, with his family and belongings and began the journey to Egypt. He stopped first, to give thanks to God by the offering of sacrifices in the land of Beer-sheba. The name “beer” was the name of the place where the Lord had spoken to, and covenanted with both Abraham and Isaac. This was a sacred place of worship for Israel. God spoke to him in vision and told him not to worry about going to Egypt. I don’t think that Egypt was a land where the hebrews were generally treated well. It may not have been to the point of them all being slaves, but Egypt was a land where they believed in many gods and had the many false traditions of their fathers. I am sure it was not being easy for Israel to be taking his loved ones into that kind of setting. God promised that his seed would become a great nation there. God promised to be with him there and bring him out of Egypt again. I think when it is said that Joseph would put his hand upon his eyes, it meant that Joseph would give him a blessing. I also am not sure that God meant that he would literally bring Jacob out of Egypt, but that possibly this meant that eventually the family of Jacob would be brought out of the land of Egypt. Jacob faithfully went forward with his family and arrived in Egypt.

A Family Tree

The list of his grandchildren begins with his sons from Leah, his first wife. They are as follows:

8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.
9 And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.
10 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.
11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zerah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.
14 And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padan-aram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.

These are the grandchildren of Israel, through Leah’s handmaid, Zilpah, his second wife:

16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.
17 And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel.
18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.

These are the grandchildren of Israel, from his third wife, Rachel, who was the wife he loved and lost during childbirth:

19 The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife; Joseph, and Benjamin.
20 And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him.
21 And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.
22 These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.

These are the grandchildren of Israel, whom he had through his forth wife, Bilhah, the handmaid of Rachel:

23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim.
24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.
26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six;
27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

Jacob brought 66 grandchildren, eleven sons, 1 daughter and his 3 living wives, into the land of Egypt. There they were to meet up with Joseph and his two sons.

28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
30 And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.
31 And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
32 And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
34 That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

Judah is sent to go ahead and meet Joseph and they would all meet in the land of Goshen where Pharaoh had prepared land for the family of Israel. Joseph and Israel are finally reunited with tears. Joseph tells that that the Egyptians see shepherds as an abomination, so he would go and tell pharaoh that they were shepherds. I am sure this was to keep his family safe and able to continue the work they had always done.

Jacob had a knowledge of the Egyptians and their traditions, which had probably been taught to him by his father. Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, had been raised in the land near Egypt and knew of the traditions because his own family lived them. Jacob knew they were not living according to the ways of God. It seems as though a bunch of those traditions were to consider certain associations with the hebrews to be an abomination (i.e. not eating with them). Here we learn that being a shepherd was also considered an abomination. It seems that Jacob had a lot to be concerned about in taking his family there, but he was faithful and followed the commandment of God to dwell in the land of Egypt. There are times in my own life, when my own logic would tell me that something would not work for myself or my family, but I know that following the inspiration of God has to be better. If we believe that God loves us and knows all, we need to recognize that the things he inspires us to do will be of great benefit to us physically and/or spiritually. Jacob recognized that God knew what was best and he trusted that God would remain true to the promises he gave. I hope that I can live to be a woman of that kind of faith and trust in the Lord.

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