Israel in Egypt

I. Jacob assembles his family and journeys to Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7).

A. Jacob, now called Israel, exercises great faith with this decision.

1. Prior important moves were preceded by God’s direct affirmation.

a. The exile to Haran (Genesis 28:13-15)
1)   God spoke to him at Bethel.
2)   God gave the vision of the “Ladder”.
b. The return to Canaan
1)   God told him to leave Laban (Genesis 31:3).
2)   God told him to leave Shechem (Genesis 35:1).
3)   God changed his name to Israel (Genesis 35:10-14).

2. Circumstances are exceptionally difficult.

a. Logistics of relocation are enormous.
1)   There are seventy direct family members.
2)   There are hundreds of employees.
3)   There are thousands of animals.
b. Internal pressures of family and business
1)   Must sell or abandon much to relocate
2)   Must disrupt settled lives and contacts
c. Unknown future
1)   There is no preceding affirmation from God.
2)   There is only the promise of Joseph.
3)   There is the certain knowledge that this is permanent.
4) God told Abraham of 400 years of “affliction” (Genesis 15:13).
5)   Jacob must surely have known and been concerned.

B. Jacob, once on the move, receives confirmation from God (Genesis 46:2-4).

1. God often waits for a “demonstration” of faith (James 2:18-26).

a. Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans.
b. Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed.
c. Israel required to kill the Passover Lamb and prepare to leave
d. Joshua and the Priests must enter the Jordan River in flood
e. Israel must march around Jericho seven days.

2. God affirms His direction with Israel and promises His care.

a. Jacob has responded to the leading of God by events.
b. Jacob stops at Beersheba to worship God.
c. Jacob has his fears and misgivings relieved by God (46:3-4).
1)   God “will there make of thee a great nation”.
2)   God “will go down with thee into Egypt”.
3)   God “will also surely bring thee up again”.
4)   God promises that “Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes”.

C. Jacob could expect national separation and identity preservation in Egypt.

1. There was little danger of assimilation in Egypt.

a. Canaanites were closely related and encouraged intermarriage.
b. Egyptians thought themselves superior and practiced segregation.

2. The Israelites would be forced to dwell apart and remain distinct.

II. Scripture records the list of Jacob’s initial descendants (Genesis 46:8-27).

A. The family of Leah appears first (Genesis 46:8-15).

1. Reuben has four sons:

a. Hanoch and Phallu
b. Hezron and Carmi

2. Simeon has six sons.

a. Jemuel, Jamin and Ohad
b. Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul

3. Levi has three sons.

a. Gershon, Kohath, and Merari
b. Kohath is Moses’ ancestor

4. Judah has five sons.

a. Er and Onan (who died in Canaan).
b. Shelah, Pharez and Zarah
c. Two sons of Pharez are also listed (46:12).
1)   Hezron and Hamul
2)   Evidently meant to take the place of Er and Onan

5. Issachar has four sons.

a. Tola and Phuvah
b. Job and Shimron

6. Zebulun has three sons.

a. Sered, Elon and Jahleel

7. Leah’s family brings thirty-three descendants into Egypt (46:15).

a. The names total 31 – Er and Onan died in Canaan.
b. The 29 remaining sons & grandsons require 4 more unnamed daughters or granddaughters – Dinah being one.

B. The family of Zilpah, Leah’s maid, is listed next (46:16-18).

1. Gad has seven sons.

a. Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon
b. Eri, Arodi and Areli

2. Asher has four sons.

a. Jimnah and Ishuah
b. Isui and Beriah

3. Zilpah’s family totals sixteen descendants (46:18).

a. Serah, a daughter of Asher is listed.
b. Heber and Malchiel, two sons of Beriah, are listed.

C. Rachel’s family is listed next (Genesis 46:19-22).

1. Joseph has only two sons.

a. Manasseh and Ephraim
b. These two sons become two separate tribes of Israel.

2. Benjamin has ten sons.

a. Belah, Becher, Ashbel and Gera
b. Naaman, Ehi and Rosh
c. Muppim, Huppim and Ard

3. Rachel’s family totals fourteen descendants (46:22).

a. Two sons, Joseph and Benjamin
b. Twelve grandsons

D. The family of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, is listed last (Genesis 46:23-25).

1. Dan has only one son, Hushim.

2. Naphtali has four sons.

a. Jahzeel and Guni
b. Jezer and Shillem

3. Bilhah’s family totals seven descendants (46:25).

E. The four families are the 70 descendants that now comprise Israel.

1. The wives of the sons are not included (46:26).

2. The husbands of the daughters are not included.

3. Only 66 came with Jacob – Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim were already in Egypt.

4. These 70 original Israelites are the founders of the nation.

a. Jacob and his twelve sons
b. Fifty-one grandsons
c. Two great-grandsons
d. One daughter (Dinah) and one granddaughter (Serah)
e. One unnamed daughter and one unnamed granddaughter of Leah

F. The number seventy seems to have significance with Israel.

1. Seventy is tied to the 70 other nations first established by God (Deuteronomy 32:8; Genesis 10).

2. Seventy elders led Israel (Numbers 11:16).

3. Seventy years of captivity punished Israel (2 Chronicles 36:21).

4. Seventy “weeks” were determined on Israel to finish the transgression (Daniel 9:24).

5. Seventy members of the Sanhedrin and seventy “witnesses” to Israel in the days of Christ (Luke 10:1)

III. Joseph meets the family and settles them in Goshen (Genesis 46:28 - 47:12).

A. Judah is sent ahead to notify Joseph in Egypt (46:28).

1. The family travels on to Goshen.

2. The land has not yet been “officially” given to Israel.

B. Joseph travels to Goshen and meets the family (46:29-34).

1. He “presented’ himself to Jacob (implies honor).

2. He “wept on his neck a good while”.

3. He instructs them about the coming meeting with Pharaoh.

a. Joseph will prepare the way and introduce them.
b. Jacob and the brothers are to stress their occupation as shepherds.
c. Shepherds (cattle raising) was considered a “lowly” occupation.

C. Joseph arranges a formal meeting with Pharaoh (47:1-10).

1. Pharaoh asks about their occupation.

a. Cattle raising was necessary but beneath the dignity of the
“pure” Egyptians.
b. Cattle required large amounts of range land.

2. Pharaoh grants permission for Israel to settle in Goshen.

a. He grants “the best of the land” to the family.
b. He asks for “men of activity” among the family.

3. Pharaoh meets with Jacob.

a. Jacob tells Pharaoh of his age and background.
b. Jacob gives Pharaoh a blessing.

D. Joseph now settles his family in Goshen (47:11-12).

1. He gives the family a “possession” (ownership).

2. He cites this as “the best of the land”.

3. He calls this the “land of Rameses”.

4. He “nourished his brethren” until he died in Egypt.

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