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Scripture reading – Genesis 46-47

Today’s devotion will come in two parts. This devotion is part 1 and a brief review, followed by a study of Genesis 46. The bonus devotion that follows will focus on Genesis 47.

Review (Genesis 43-45)

Jacob had charted an astonishing journey in life. His spiritual walk was so evidenced in his daily life that God changed his name from Jacob (“trickster”) to Israel (“God wrestles,” 32:28), for he was a man who had power with God.

Though blessed by the LORD, Jacob’s life had not been without disappointments and sorrows that invariably afflict us all. Years passed and we find Jacob now in his twilight years, shadowed by the grief and deaths of his wives and the loss of two sons (he believed a wild beast had killed Joseph, and Simeon was a prisoner in Egypt). Famine forced Jacob to send his sons, including his youngest son Benjamin, to Egypt. Meanwhile, he resigned himself to the worst outcome (43:14).

One day, as Jacob waited to hear from his sons, he saw a caravan in the distance. His sons greeted him, bringing news from Egypt that caused the old man’s heart to nearly stop: Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt” (45:26-27).

Though old and frail, the news that Joseph was alive revived his spirit (45:27). While the journey to Egypt would be challenging, the anticipation of being reunited with Joseph stirred Jacob’s heart. He looked forward to death with the contentment of a man whose life had been satisfied (45:28).

Genesis 46:1-7 – Journey from Beersheba

Beersheba was located at the southernmost point of Canaan before one crossed into the Arabian Peninsula, and it held a significant place in Jacob’s life. Israel (Jacob) began his journey to Egypt, but not before going to Beersheba, where he “offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac” (46:1; 21:30; 22:19; 26:23, 32-33). There God appeared to him and quieted his fears saying, “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: 4I 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” (46:3-4). So, knowing the LORD’s leading, Jacob and all his family made their way from Beersheba and arrived in Egypt (46:5-7).

Genesis 46:8-27 – Jacob’s Family Roster: The Twelve Sons of Jacob

Altogether, sixty-six men were identified among those who traveled to Egypt (46:8-26). Including Jacob, Joseph, and his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim; Jacob’s lineage numbered seventy souls (46:27).

Genesis 46:28-34 – Jacob’s Reunion with Joseph

Traveling with a large family, including livestock and belongings, made for a slow, arduous journey. When they arrived in Egypt, Jacob sent Judah, his fourth-born son, to Joseph, who “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” (46:29).

Imagine the moment Joseph embraced his father and the tears of joy that coursed down their cheeks as twenty-two years of separation were bridged by the love of a father and son. Then, “Israel (Jacob) said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive” (46:30). The son he had believed was dead was not only alive, he was the second ruler of Egypt!

We also learn that the Egyptians looked upon shepherds with loathing (46:34). Therefore, Joseph wisely prepared his family for their interview with Pharaoh (46:31). Knowing his brothers had also tended cattle, Joseph counseled them to answer questions concerning their trade, saying: “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” (46:32-34).

Joseph’s love and care for his father were commendable, as they should have been. Though he was a ruler of Egypt, there was no greater privilege than to be the son of Israel, a man who had power with God!

Questions to consider:

  1. What did Jacob (Israel) do before he entered Egypt with his family? (Genesis 46:1)
  1. Perhaps Jacob feared what the future might hold for him and his family. What assurance did God give to comfort Jacob as he departed Canaan? (Genesis 46:2-4).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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