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Sunday: Jacob Goes to Joseph — 18 Comments

  1. As the saga continues we come to a critical, juncture in the part of our study about the promise that God made to Father Abe, Isaac, and Jacob. It seems to me that the things that happened to one happen to all three patriarchs. Father Abe left the promised land and went to Egypt, blessed the king, and return to the promised land. This happened to Isaac and also Jacob.

    Because I'm a jovial person I found something that was so funny, the genealogy that was carefully inserted in the final chapters about Jacobs I noticed that Hebrew men could not keep their hands off the Canaanite Nubian black women. The main points though are, 1) that at the foot of the cross all are even. 2) whether Jews or Gentiles are black or white and the color shades that come between, they are a part of God's salvation plan.

    Notice how while Home boy Joseph, was alive he was not comfortable that after he does, his remains should remain in Egypt. Therefore he requested that when the family should return to the promised land they should take his bones. A request that was granted some 400 years plus. This tells me, folks, that we should be comfortable in this present world 🌎 but we are to look for a city whose builder and maker is God.

  2. Ephesians 4:8-10 (CSB)
    8 For it says: When he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people.
    9 But what does #“he ascended”# mean except that he also #descended# to the lower parts of the earth?
    10 The #one who descended# is also the one who #ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things.#

    Jesus like Joseph left the bosom of our Father to descend into Satan's deceived World on earth, to bring mankind out of sin, deception and darkness and into a kingdom of Sonship of his love.

    Shalom In Christ

  3. Jacob's sons are older than we think when they entered Egypt. Two of them are grandfathers: Judah and Asher. The youngest, Benjamin, has 10 sons! He is usually portrayed as a teenager who was pulled away from Jacob when he is taken to Joseph.

    • Thank you for your contribution. Where do you read that Benjamin had 10 sons when he came to Egypt?

      By my calculation that would be a bit difficult. Joseph was born just as Jacob was firs thinking of leaving Laban. That cannot have been sooner than after 14 years of serving Laban. After Jacob left Laban, he said that he had served Laban 20 years. So Joseph was 6 or younger when Jacob left Laban. After that Jacob met Esau and then stayed in Shechem for an undetermined length of time. After the terrible response to Dinah's violation, Jacob took his family to Bethel, from where he traveled towards Bethlehem. Rachel went into labor, bore Benjamin, and died during that time. We don't know how long Jacob stayed in Shechem and thus we do not know how much younger than Joseph Benjamin was. But it must have been more than 9 years, giving both time for weaning Joseph and for the events mentioned to take place.

      Since Joseph was 30 when Benjamin met him again in Egypt, Benjamin was most likely under 21 years old and could still have been in his teens. Having fathered 10 sons by that time seems a bit unlikely.
      I was wondering about the relative ages. So thanks for providing a reason to search this out. 😊

      • Actually Joseph would have been 39 when Benjamin met him in Egypt. Joesph was 30 years old when he became Prime Minister of Egypt (Gen 41:46), plus 7 years of plenty (verse 48) and then 2 years of the famine (Gen 45:11).

        Best possible case, Benjamin could be 38 years old. Still pushing the limits of being a grandparent.

          • Deut 10:22 ISV  Your ancestors went down to Egypt with seventy people, but the LORD your God has now made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

            I found it interesting that in Gen 10 we have the 70 descendants of Noah and now in Gen 46:6-7,26-27 we have 70 direct descendants of Jacob, all his seed.

            We discovered what seemed like a problem with Gen 46:21 saying Benjamin had 10 sons while 1Chron 7:6 says he only had 3 sons, so the rest must have been grandsons. Even so it is impossible for Benjamin to have so many descendants by the time Jacob moved down to Egypt.

            I believe that the 70 numbered in Gen 46 did not all move down with Jacob, many would have been born in Egypt, but they are listed as the nucleus of the children of Israel and all the rest "as numerous as the stars in the sky" could trace their heritage from the original 70.

        • Thanks for noting that Joseph would have been about 39, since this was 2 years or so after the years of plenty. But, according to when and where Joseph was born and Benjamin was born, they were at least 6 years apart, probably more. We don't know because we don't know how long Jacob and his family stayed in Shechem.
          So Benjamin would not have been older than 33.
          It seems that the list of people who "entered Egypt" was partly a typical genealogy that listed descendants. In this case, it listed descendants not yet born - possible since the genealogy was written hundreds of years later.
          I like Shirley's explanation.

          • Benjamin had 10 sons when Jacob traveled to Egypt and they were counted as part of the 70 (Genesis 46:8 NLT; Genesis 46:21 NLT; Genesis 46:26-27 NLT).

            I looked into this during last week's lesson and came to the conclusion that when Jacob traveled to Egypt, Joseph was 39, Benjamin was between 29 - 32.

    • I noticed that also in Gen. 46:20-21 and was shocked at my own perception that Benjamin was a teenager when it seems he had 10 children!

  4. I also have a question. In Genesis 42:37, Reuben says “Kill my TWO sons ...” but in Genesis 46:9 it lists FOUR sons of Reuben who went to Egypt. So how many sons did Reuben really have?

    • Hi Mikal,
      The SDA commentary, vol 1, p 468 says, “Of the four sons of Reuben, the last two mentioned must have been mere babes in the arms of their mother, since Reuben had had only two sons at the time of his first return from Egypt (ch. 42:37).”

  5. I think it is important that we do not loose sight of what happens parallel to the events the lesson is focused on and has been laid out in the passages chosen for the study.
    What has come to my attention is the ongoing development of the spiritual relationship between Jacob and God, the children of Jacob and their Father’s God, and their reliance on his God due to the unfolding events – Joseph’s sale to become a slave in Egypt, Joseph's elevation to prominence and trust, the famine occurring which brings the whole family to dwell safely in Egypt, and the extended blessings and death of Jacob and his return to 'rest in the promised land' – all part and parcel of the developing relationship between God and those who would become His People – Israel, and in extension all who believe.

    I see at the core of the development of this relationship the highlighting of the importance to learn to trust and rely on God, and the development of a good character; Joseph’s disposition to be peaceful and amicable and trusting in his father’s God stands way above that of his brothers. God chose him and blessed him to in turn for him to become a blessing to his extended family. Even Jacob seems to not have had this full-trust relationship with his God.

    For me, the most important aspect of this lesson is the development of the spiritual trust-relationship between man and his Creator – God; everything else is just describing the background for this to develop in.
    When we take a personal look at our salvation, we probably can trace back the steps from when we hear the call and start our journey when leaving 'Ur' and heading toward the promised land; developing our relationship with our Creator Father as we face challenges, and learning to live by faith in His Word and that which we believe to be His promises; that they will guide and teach the righteous, living Way of God to the pilgrims of this world on their way to the Promised Land.

  6. We see more of Joseph’s character trend to look after his brothers, and more of his brothers’ newfound humility and trust in Joseph’s guidance, in Genesis 46:33-34.

    First thing (after the super emotional reunion with his father), Joseph told his brothers that he wanted to introduce the whole family to Pharaoh. And he instructed his brothers that they should tell Pharaoh, if asked, that their occupation was that of shepherds.

    Were they, like their brother Joseph, qualified for court life? Pharaoh certainly seemed excited for their permanent move to Egypt (Gen. 45:16-20).

    If they were still proud and self-seeking men, they (or one or some of them) might have thought, “What?! Shepherds are detestable to Egyptians; it’s time to change careers! We might be able to get positions in Egyptian court life too! Joseph is merely holding us back so he can get all the glory!”

    But that’s not what happened. We know that Joseph was all too aware of the temptations of Egyptian court life and the loose morals that could be found there (think Potiphar’s wife). And he knew the weak characters of his brothers (at least in the past). He didn’t want them to lose the vision of their future part in God‘s plan. It was in love that Joseph removed this possibility and made sure the “children of Israel” stayed separate. And it seems as though his brothers accepted his advice with no question (Gen. 47:3-4).

    • Your point about Joseph trying to protect his brothers from Egypt's influences caused me to think how the Lord wants us to be separate from the world's influences. It's out of love He requires this but so many of us (sadly myself included) are to prideful and self seeking to do it and thus play with fire. I pray for the Lord to change the sinful desires of my heart.

  7. Esther, Thank you! I read Gen.45:20 over and over, thinking of Pharoah's assurance to Joseph's family. Jesus also asks us to "come", but are we too rich and increased in "goods" to want to accept His offer? Are the mansions that He is preparing not enough? We read 2 Peter 3:11-14 that our "goods" will be dissolved anyway! But He is preparing a place for US! Jesus is still knocking at the door of our hearts; there is still time to let Him come in!

  8. Genesis 47:7-10 are an unexpected Q+A between Jacob and Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks, “How old are you?” And Jacob gives not just a number, but also describes his life and how he feels about it. These four little verses are power-packed for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

    (I recently was blessed to hear a sermon on these verses and many of the following thoughts are shared from my notes …)

    The last two paragraphs of our lesson point out that the roles have been reversed here. From the world‘s point of view, there is no sign that Jacob is the father of a great nation. He is simply the head of a large Semitic family in Canaan. Pharaoh is the most powerful individual in the world at this time and everyone expects to defer to him. Here, Jacob begins and ends the conversation. Jacob blesses Pharaoh two times. Pharaoh doesn’t say anything at all except the one question. How is it that Jacob comes like he has authority? And why does Pharaoh assume a lowly position?

    Here are 3 possible answers which could all be true …

    (1) Pharaoh was struck by Jacob’s seniority and great age. Jacob looked old - did not look young for his age - and this ruler had respect to defer to elders. God urges us to respect old age (Lev. 19:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-2)

    (2) Pharaoh was conscious of his indebtedness to Joseph. He honored the good done to him by honoring Joseph’s family, like David honored Mephibosheth for his friend Jonathan’s sake (2 Sam 9:1, 7).

    (3) Pharaoh was struck by Jacob’s godliness and spiritual stature. Just as Melchizedek blessed Abraham,( the politically less powerful man, but the man representing Christ himself as a priestly king, blessing the politically greater man, see Heb. 7:7), Jacob blessed Pharaoh. The fear of God is in them BOTH. This pharaoh is open to the guidance and teachings of God since he has taken Joseph into his sphere of life. He even renamed Joseph to an Egyptian name meaning “God speaks and lives“. Just as Daniel facilitated the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar, this Pharaoh has found a place in Jacob’s prayers and also in Joseph’s prayers… He is privileged to have the blessing and mercy of righteous men.

    What do we learn about Jacob from his answer regarding his age? “Few and very difficult have been the days of my pilgrimage…” Is he wistful and maybe even regretful that his life could’ve been better? Does he mean that he had more difficulties in his life than Abraham and Isaac did?

    Notwithstanding God‘s Providence, the events of Jacob‘s life read like a tragedy. He lived in the shadow of a wicked twin brother; he was overlooked all through his youth by a misguided father blind to his virtues; he was exiled from home 21 years; he was exploited at work by his unscrupulous father-in-law, Laban; he was deceived into a marriage that he didn’t desire with all of the consequences that that brought into his life; he was severely troubled by his sons; he violently lost the only son with whom he was finding fellowship in the life of God; he mourned for Joseph for years like a man half-dead believing that his son was dead. Some people have more hardships and evils in their life than others and any one of these events in his life were enough to bring great stress. Like Job, Jacob had learned that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away and he had learned to have faith in God not only in fair weather.

    I think Jacob is saying, “If you think me old, yes, I wear my age, and I wear my age because of how hard my life has been.”

    Jacob describes his 130 years as “few”. This could mean: (1) I haven’t lived as long as Abraham or Isaac yet. (2) In retrospect, my life has been like nothing at all and time has gone by so fast! Where did my childhood go? My youth? My manhood? (3) In prospect looking forward, my years are only a few so far compared to living for eternity. Who cares how old I am when nothing else matters except for an eternity with my Lord. I am on a pilgrimage (Gen. 47:9 KJV), just someone passing through on a journey. I am soon going home to a better country and the place where I belong (2 Cor. 4:17-5:2).


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