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Chapter 46

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Jacob Goes To Egypt (ch. 46:1 - 34)  


In verse 1, out of thanksgiving, Israel offers a sacrifice to God at Beersheba.  


Beersheba came into existence as a place where Abraham dug a well, and made and oath with Abimelech.  This place became important for Jews because of that.  Isaac made and oath here and worshipped here, as Jacob does now. God spoke to Hagar here, and others as well. 


In verses 3 to 5 we see that God speaks to Jacob in a night vision here at Beersheba.  God tells Jacob not to be afraid to go down to Egypt.   He then repeats part of the Abrahamic Covenant to Jacob.  He says in verse 3, "I will make you into a great nation there."   This was one of the eternal promises that God spoke to Abraham, first in Genesis 12:2 and 3, and then in other places.  He confirmed this promise with Isaac, and is now confirming it with Jacob.  Israel was not yet a great nation.  They did become a great nation in the time of King David, but will be the greatest nation on earth when Jesus returns and sets up His earthly kingdom on earth.


All that being said, we need to note exactly what the text says here, for it's a bit different than what was stated in the Abrahamic Covenant.  God told Jacob that He would "make them into a great nation there."   Notice the word "there".  It would be in Egypt that Israel would begin the process of being a great nation.  But even beyond the futuristic view of the word "there", the phrase simply means, that Israel , while In Egypt would be a great nation, a great community of people.  And that is what they were, all because of Joseph.    


I think there is some prophetic significance here.  Egypt is seen as a symbol of the world, or worldly kingdoms.  In the midst of the world, God would have His people, and they would eventually be great, as it will be with Israel at the end of this age.


Jacob was one hundred and thirty years old when he left for Egypt as you will see in chapter 47:9.  


In verse 4 we note that Israel 's stay in Egypt would be temporary.  God would lead them, and look after them while in Egypt, but He would also cause them to return to the land of Canaan, where Israel was meant to be.  This was prophetic.  Through Moses, God did lead Israel out of Egypt.  But again, I see more far reaching prophetic significance here.  I see the returning to the land of Canaan as prophetic of God giving the land back to Israel when Jesus returns to earth. 


Because of Joseph, Israel was now in Egypt, the world, but that would not be forever.  Israel has been in the world since 70 AD, that is, scattered throughout the world.  They're now in the beginning stages of returning to Canaan.


Verse 4 also says that "Joseph's own hands will close your eyes."  I believe that is in reference to the fact that Joseph would burry his father at some future dates.  The idea of closing one's eyes at death suggests that a person has finally found his peace.  You often hear at funerals, "he looks so peaceful." 


I won't comment on verses 5 through 27.  These verses list the twelve sons of Jacob and their sons. 


In verses 28 and 29 we note that Jacob sent Judah back to Joseph to get directions to Goshen.  We also note that Joseph left his place of residence, wherever that was, to go to Goshen.  It is thus clear that Joseph did not live in Goshen, but was relatively close to Goshen.


In verse 29 we see Joseph and Jacob meet for the first time in a couple of decades.  They hugged and cried for a long time.  We can't imagine what kind of reunion this was.  Jacob finally sees the son he loved the most, the one he thought was dead.


In verse 30 Jacob says that he is now ready to die since he finally saw Joseph.  Remember, Jacob had been in a great depression all of these years.  He was expecting to go to his grave in great sorrow and bereavement, but now all that was gone.  He could now die in peace. 


In verses 31 to the end of this chapter Joseph gives instruction to what they should say to the Pharaoh when they meet with him.  The Pharaoh will ask what they do for an occupation.  They are to answer that they are shepherds, and that's what they have been from one generation to another.  The Pharaoh will accept this, even though the Egyptians view shepherding as being detestable.  Egyptians were obviously more of a high class group of people.  The Pharaoh would gladly accept Jacob and his family because they are family to Joseph, otherwise that would not be the case.


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