Genesis 46
Genesis 46 Kingcomments Bible Studies

Jacob Leaves for Egypt

To meet Joseph, Jacob must leave behind everything he is familiar with and dear to him. We too must forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead: Christ (Phil 3:13-14). On the way to Joseph, Jacob offers sacrifices to God on the border of the country, near Beersheba. Beersheba means ‘well of the oath’. It reminds us of God’s promises.

Before leaving the land, he wants to honor God. It is as if he does not want to continue now without the conviction that God is going with him. The answer comes. God reminds Jacob of His promise to make him a great people.

God is called here the God of his father Isaac. This reminds us that God is the God of the resurrection. It reminds us of the Lord Jesus as the One Who passed through death and rose again. Jacob finds himself on the basis of the resurrection, the ground of new life. All blessing is connected with Christ as the risen One.

With Jacob to Egypt

These are the names of those with whom Jacob goes to Egypt. In Gen 46:26, the number sixty-six is mentioned. Six is the number of man. Man always falls short and never reaches the perfection of which the number seven speaks. In Gen 46:27 it is a total of seventy souls. That number includes Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. The imperfection of man (sixty-six) is removed and changes in perfection (seventy) when Joseph (picture of the Lord Jesus) is added.

In Acts 7 we read about seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14). Both numbers are correct. Stephen – or Luke as the author of Acts – bases himself on the Septuagint or LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Septuagint counts seventy-five by mentioning in Gen 46:20 another son and grandson of Manasseh and two sons and a grandson of Ephraim.

Jacob Sees Joseph Again

Jacob yearns to see Joseph again, but Joseph also yearns to see his father again. He goes up to meet him. As we are on our way to meet the Lord, we will see that He is on His way to meet us. What Jacob says (Gen 46:30) reminds us of what Simeon says when he takes the Child Jesus into his arms (Lk 2:25-30).

We see in Joseph’s whole behavior how he, as a son, honors his father. It is the duty of the children to honor their parents (Eph 6:1-3). This obligation remains, even when the children are in a better social position than their parents. Joseph’s love for his father has not diminished over the years. For Jacob, seeing Joseph again is the fulfillment of his greatest desire. He is satisfied and may die. However, he would live another seventeen years (Gen 47:28).

Joseph wants to introduce his family to Pharaoh. He tells them what to say when Pharaoh asks about their profession. It seems to be a usual question of Pharaoh to those who come to him. Joseph prepares them for this. The answer must be that they have always been keepers of livestock.

God, of whom Pharaoh is a picture here, also asks us: “What are you doing?” Can we then also answer: ”With taking care for the livestock, with taking care for what has been entrusted to us, with making sure that everything we do is to Your honor” (Col 3:17)?

The word for “occupation” is the same word that is translated with “verses” in Psalm 45: “I address my verses to the King” (Psa 45:1b). In the answer Joseph puts in the mouth of the brothers, the brothers say that their occupation are verses about the King, about His glory, which is further described in Psalm 45. This is also what the Lord Jesus wants to bring about in our lives, what He wants to put in our mouths, as it were. He wants our life to be the verses of a song in which the glory of God is sung.

It is not surprising that it says: “For every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians” (Gen 46:34). Therefore the family of Jacob is assigned a separate part of the land of Egypt so it will prevent that they will connect with the Egyptians. By mixing with the Egyptians, they will lose their identity, which is not the case now. They remain separated from the Egyptians and thus retain their national and religious independence.

There is also a spiritual application of the loathsomeness of the Egyptians of the shepherd. The Egyptians are a picture of the world. To someone of the world the life of a Christian living for the glory of God is loathsome.

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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