Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Genesis Post 65 - Moving Day! (Chapter 46)

Chapter 46 opens with Israel eagerly heading out from Hebron, stopping in Beersheva to make a sacrifice to the LORD.

Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”
And he said, “Here I am.” 
So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”

By the way, this is the seventh time that the LORD has met with Jacob.

Jacob is reassured:  do not fear to go down to Egypt: This indicates that perhaps Israel is afraid to go to Egypt. Jacob may have remembered that Abraham had gone to Egypt in a time of famine once before in Genesis 12, and he also may have remembered God told his father Isaac not to go down to Egypt, in Genesis 26.

Also, Jacob knows God told Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years(Genesis 15). As Jacob leads his family into this foreign land, he does not know what the future holds. At the same time, he knows that the future is in God’s hands.  The LORD reminds Jacob of several promises in this section.

I will make of you a great nation there: God tells Israel what His purpose is in bringing this large  clan down to Egypt. Because of the exclusive, segregated nature of Egyptian life, Israel’s descendants could grow as a large, distinct nation there. Egypt is to be like a mother’s womb to Israel as a nation, where they would grow to full size.

I will also surely bring you up again: The great reason Jacob need not fear the journey to Egypt is that God promises to bring him back to the Promised Land. This would be fulfilled after Jacob’s death, but it would be fulfilled — Egypt would not be the permanent home for Israel and his offspring.

And Joseph will put his hand on your eyes: The final assurance is that God Himself tells Jacob that Joseph lives and would care for him until his dying day. This is sweet assurance for Jacob.

So with great faith, Israel brings his entire family down to Egypt. No one is left behind to continue a presence in Canaan. Jacob knows they will be back someday.

Verses 8-27 then list the company of Israel's family who head down to Egypt.  There are 70 persons  reckoned in the journey to Egypt.  Even Judah's sons who had died - Er and Onan - are mentioned.  They are included for the sake of completeness, but are not counted in the 70.  

Chuck Missler' account of the seventy
This large family would become a nation of perhaps more than two million over the next 400 years.  Like many great works of God, Israel had a slow beginning.
  • From the time God called Abraham, it took at least 25 years to add one son – Isaac
  • It took Isaac 60 years to add another son of Israel – Jacob
  • It took 50 or 60 years for Jacob to add 12 sons and one daughter
  • But in 430 years, Israel would leave Egypt with 600,000 men
  • It took this family 215 years to grow from one to 70, but in another 430 years they grew to two million.

In verse 28, we see Judah being sent ahead to Joseph, to learn the way to the area of Goshen that Pharaoh promises to the Israelites.  (This was necessary because Google Maps was still so far into the future).

In verse 29, we see the whole family in Goshen, and Joseph and Jacob are reunited.  The tears of joy go on for awhile.  Jacob declares that he can now die happy - he has seen his most favored son.  Can you imagine the mindset of Jacob?  This son, whom he imagined dead for over 20 years, is now an important ruler of the known world.

At long last, Jacob and Joseph are reunited

By the way, Goshen was the best of all the land.  It is located in the eastern part of rich Nile Delta.  It is a perfect spot for shepherds because of all the rich grazing land.  It is also a great place for the Israelites to dwell separately from the Egyptians. The word Goshen means drawing near. The Israelites draw near to the Egyptians but remain set apart from them.

This chapter wraps up with Joseph giving his brothers directions on exactly how to officially acquire this good land from Pharaoh - he tells them  exactly what to say to Pharaoh when asked:  Guys, tell the big boss that you are shepherds.  Joseph knows that Egyptians consider shepherds to be an abomination - in other words, disgusting and unclean.

Thus when the family of Israel will dwell in Goshen, the Hebrew culture will remain separate from the Egyptian culture.  This is part of the LORD's plan to forge the children of Israel into a set-apart nation.

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