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Genesis 46 - So Israel set out with all he had.

Genesis 46

This is a bible study that I do with for my Tuesday afternoon group.
Osmer Harris

Prelude: The brothers, many of them now into their sixties, have returned from Egypt once again. Judah, for whatever reason, may be the spokesman, and they have worked hard at convincing Jacob, their father, that Joseph is alive and is offering them salvation in Egypt.
Do not lose sight of the fact that the sons had maintained the lie before their father, that Joseph was killed, although they did not know exactly how FOR 29 YEARS. Now, you tell me he is alive, how can this be. One of these two stories has to be a lie.
Joseph's plan worked, and they had to own what they did. The thing that convinced Jacob that the Egypt story was not some farce were the wagons. I suspect these were much more elaborate than the donkey carts Jacob may have owned. And so he orders everyone to pack up because we are going to Egypt.
Keep this in mind as you go. Israel is not a nation. It is merely Jacob at this point.

Genesis 46:1 NASB So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.
Two things stand out immediately:
  • The play on the title, Israel.
    Israel, at this point, is merely Jacob – An old man that has been lied to for twenty-nine years. And yet, this already looks to the entire entourage being referred to as Israel. How interesting, for God always seems to be looking ahead.
  • The second thing I see, is Jacob, offering sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.
    What am I to make of that? Is this implying that Jacob has yet to associate himself with this God? Or, is this merely a term of respect?
Genesis 46:2 NASB God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am."
Having had one of those visions, I can tell you that it was very vivid, and I struggle to determine if I was awake or asleep. What brings me to reality is the fact that I awoke in the morning.
When you think about how God presented himself to man throughout the Old Testament; burning bushes; donkeys; dreams, and they even relied on pulling stones out the pocket of the priests Ephod. However, all went silent one day. Dr. J. Vernon McGee explained it this way:
it is almost essential to know something about this period of approximately four hundred years. This is the time span between the days of Nehemiah and Malachi and the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. You see, after Malachi had spoken, heaven went silent. Station G O D went off the air, and there was no broadcasting for four hundred years.”
It seems as if Jacob had made his decision based on wagons, but now this piece of information comes up. "God spoke to him in the night and said,"
Genesis 46:3-4 NASB He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4) "I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again, and Joseph will close your eyes."
God, He said,
  • I am God, the God of your father;
    The immediate reference would be to Isaac, but as time progresses, the list goes like this: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Perhaps God is showing some understanding, knowing the issues a man of his age might have, such as memory loss. But we see no indication of that.
  • do not be afraid to go down to Egypt,”
    Perhaps it was not the wagons after all.
  • “ for I will make you a great nation there.”
    Now the concept of a nation comes into play. However, time is a factor and Jacob will not see it.
  • “ I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.”
    How does a man of his health and age interpret this statement? It may be comforting to know that God himself is giving you the assurance that you will not be left in a place that is not the promised land.
    This may come across as morbid, but I watched it happen when the girlfriend's mom died. The nurse informed us that she was gone, and she physically closed mom's eyes, repeatedly.
    No one enjoys or thinks much about the possibility of dying, especially when you are young. But the reality is, short of Jesus return, there is no avoiding that. I cannot imagine Jacob giving it any more thought than the next guy, but to know that the son he had longed for all these years will be there, in the end, should bring great comfort.
Genesis 46:5-7 NASB Then Jacob arose from Beersheba, and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6) They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: 7) his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.
I want you to think about something: “ Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.” Ah, but Reuben, feeling his oats, took advantage of one of his father's concubine, and, in a sense, paid for it all his life. What we don't have is his age.
Because Jacob had others he deemed his wife as well, he may have had multiple babies popping out at the same time. So, some of these sons could be months apart in age. When you add in the daughters that were born and Josephs age when they “sold” him off, Jacob may easily have had grandchildren being born already. The grandchildren could be in their late forties by now and have children of their own.
Genesis 46:8-27 NASB Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
9) The sons of Reuben: Hanoch and Pallu and Hezron and Carmi.
10) The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11) The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12) The sons of Judah: Er and Onan and Shelah and Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13) The sons of Issachar: Tola and Puvvah and Iob and Shimron.
14) The sons of Zebulun: Sered and Elon and Jahleel.
15) These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

Note the break and how it is separated. Why is this important?

Sadly, Leah was not the desirable wife, and here, does not get the decency of being designated as a wife.
16) The sons of Gad: Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli.
17) The sons of 
Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and their sister Serah. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel.
18)
 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and she bore to Jacob these sixteen persons.

Again, a segregation.
19) The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
20) Now to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.
21) The sons of Benjamin: Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard.
22) These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob; there were fourteen persons in all.

 23) The sons of Dan: Hushim.
24) The sons of 
Naphtali: Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem.
25) These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and she bore these to Jacob; there were seven persons in all. 

26) All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob's sons, were sixty-six persons in all,
27) and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt were two; 
all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy.
This last statement does not exclude servants and slaves who might have come with them. It is possible that there may have been well over one hundred people or more.
Genesis 46:28 NASB Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
This evokes some questions: Do any of them understand where Goshen is, because it seems that they are going straight there?
What is it that Judah needs to tell Joseph, for the implications are that they telling Joseph to come and meet their father there?
Watch what happens next.
Genesis 46:29 NASB Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time.
Based upon Judah's conversation Joseph prepares his chariot (and entourage) and goes to see his father.
as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time.”
"As soon as Joseph appeared before his father." Once again, watch what happens.
Genesis 46:30 NASB Then Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive."
Things to take note of:
  • “ that you are still alive.”
     You hold out hope as long as you can. Clinging to the seemingly impossible can tear you apart mentally.
  • “ Now let me die, since I have seen your face,”
     Overwhelming joy knowing your son is still alive.

     The phrase takes on a familiar ring as Simeon, the righteous man, encounters the baby Jesus, the Messiah in the temple as they brought Jesus in for circumcision.

    Luke 2:25-30 NASB And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26) And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27) And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28) then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29) "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30) For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Genesis 46:31-32 NASB Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, 'My brothers and my father's household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; 32) and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.'
It seems he is going to Pharaoh to prepare him for his family. As far as Pharaoh is concerned, they are shepherds.
Genesis 46:33-34 NASB "When Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?' 34) you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,' that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians."
  • "When Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation? You are to say, and Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,”
    Yes, sheep fall under the category of livestock, so they are not lying. Unfortunately, obscuring their true occupations from Pharaoh is necessary to live in Goshen. The reality is, they would not have been allowed to live anywhere in Egypt.
    Question? Some occupations could be easy to obscure because the product you produce does not make sheep noises and take up so much random space as they graze. How is it possible that they kept their occupation a secret from Pharaoh?
  • for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.”
     John MacArthur has an interesting perspective on this, “The social stigma regarding the Hebrews, who were shepherds also, played a crucial role in protecting Israel from intermingling and losing their identity in Egypt.”

    Is that the case; did they keep Egypt out of their thinking and habits? Hardly; why do you think God had to put such restrictions on them in the desert, because they were effectively Egyptians. It is blatantly evident that many maintained their identities, but what was that? All they had were a handful of men, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who had had rather vivid dreams about God. Aside from that, there was no law, although they practiced circumcision, a sign of their commitment to this God they did not know Him that well.


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