Genesis 46: Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” 5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

-God confirms to Israel that this is part of His plan and also tells him “Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” which means Joseph will be with him at the moment of his death. These sacrifices Israel made could have been out of fear, asking God for discernment as to whether he was doing the right thing since they were all moving to Egypt, away from the promised land. Israel has gained a great wisdom and finally learned not to rely on his own cleverness but to give everything to God. He gives the decision to God and God confirms this course for him in a direct way. This is how we much approach every major decision in life. As a servant, we must also act within our master’s will. That does not mean we are robots that literally can’t even take a step to walk forward without the programming to do so. But big decisions, like Israel moving the entire household away from the promised land, that counts. The reason we should not wait for God to answer before we take literally every step is because we’ve already been given that programing. We have been told to be fruitful and multiply since the garden and we have been told not to sin. We do of course sin because we can’t help it but those are the rules of life if no other specific command is given. We are to do what we want and work towards our own goals but not sin. And if we sin, we seek repentance and try to change our ways. God will help us if our own goals and ideas for our life we not be fulfilling to us and will guide us where we can be more fulfilled. By moving to Egypt, Israel’s household will be well taken care of and live in abundance more so than had they not gone. God does not ask us to do His will because He wants us to suffer, it is always for our good as well even if we don’t realize it.

8 Now these are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9 and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

-It says Shaul, Simeon’s son listed last so possible the youngest, was the son of a Canaaite woman. This implies Simeon either had a second wife who was a Canaanite or had an affair.

11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

-Perez’ sons were listen probably to later confirm the genealogy of Jesus. The human body of Jesus descended from Hezron as stated in Mathew 1. No other son of Jacob’s sons’ children are listed. Perez is the only one who’s offspring are listed. This is yet another way Jesus is hidden in plain site in the new testament. Why else include Perez’s sons?

13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

-It can be very confusing when we read this genealogy and see that number 33. But if we were to simply count all the names other than Jacob regardless of son, grandson, or great grandson, we come up with 33. The confusion comes when it says “altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three”. The Hebrew word for “son” is “ben” which could also mean “children” and include daughters. The same is true in Spanish from the word “hijos”. “hijo” means son and “hijos” means sons but could also mean sons and daughters together or “children”. But even then, that is not the case because there is one more name we can count that would make the total 34 and that’s Dinah. There seems to be only two options to consider that fit all the facts: 1) Even though the passage says “sons and daughters”, that 33 number is still only counting sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons and Er and Onan are included in this list even though they died before this time. 2) Sons and daughters are included but there are only a total of 2 girls of all Leah’s descendants. Er and Onan are not counted since they are diseased and that makes Dinah part of 32 names and there is one other unnamed daughter or granddaughter. This second option seems to be more quite probable until one considers verse 5 when it actually says “ his daughters, and his sons’ daughters” which implies at least two of each. It’s possible in the Hebrew it could be saying “his daughter and his son’s daughter” but that would seem awkward to say unless it said which son’s daughter it was like “his daughter and Levi’s daughter” for example. It also has a plural of daughters in Genesis 37:35 which would mean at least two direct daughters of Jacob. I tend to side with option 1 and even though Er and Onan are diseased, they are counted and Perez is the only grandson to already have children and none of the others did. That doesn’t seem likely unless Judah and then Perez were very young when they started having children but its what seems to fit the best given all the facts.

16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, with Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons.

-If you count all the names except for Serah, you add up 16. This tells us that when the passage says “sixteen persons”, it means sons/grandsons/great-grandsons. It does not include daughters. This helps the case of option 1 listed above that daughters are not counted. But why is Serah listed here and who is she? There is only one other mention of this Serah in the bible in Numbers 26:46 which is another genealogy and it says “And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.” The wording here suggests that she was the only daughter. Maybe this is the reason for the mention because she was the only one and wouldn’t be worth listing all the other daughters by others because there are more than one. Or maybe she never married and had children so the line stopped at her. Whatever the case, this is another instance where I and anyone else honest has to throw there hands up and say “we don’t know”. But it is clear she is not counted or the number would have been 17.

19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, bore to him. 21 And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all.

-Once again if we count all the names we come up with 14 between sons and grandsons. Surely Benjamin, with 10 sons, must have had a least one daughter but if he did, she is not counted.

23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all.

-The total of these names is indeed 7.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, not including Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

-So the count comes to 33+16+14+7=70. So there is nothing wrong with the math it’s just confusing to tell what counts as a “persons of the house of Jacob” and who doesn’t. If we go with option 1 from Leah’s descendants above, only sons are counted and women are not. Even dead sons are counted when a woman is not. In this culture at this time, even a dead son that never had children is more of a person than a woman. But we must keep in mind that just because this culture who God has chosen did things this way does not mean God is declaring that this is a “good” thing and the model for all people. The one thing we do know about men and women that God declared is that when Eve was created, she was to be a helper for Adam, yes, but they are partners and the two become one. In terms of Spiritual value and value as a human being, they are equal as persons and the only thing that is different is the role. All the people in the bible except for Jesus are sinners and unless stated, we should never assume someone’s actions are good. When God points out goodness in man, it is always in regards to faith. Abraham was counted as righteous because he trusted God and had faith. Noah was considered righteous and had enough faith to build an ark with at least 2 of every kind of animal and wait 100 years for God to carry out His plan and survived for a year and a half inside that ark. The only goodness found in man is when they have faith in God. Only things God says are good should we ever count as good. The only other possibility is back with option two and of all Jacob’s children and children’s children, all were sons except 2 daughters from Leah and one daughter from Zilpah’s son Asher and those were all the girls total. But verse 26 does say “ were his own descendants, not including Jacob’s sons’ wives” so it is saying the son’s wives don’t count which would imply daughters do. But what is the likelihood 68 out of 71 descendants are boys? God does have a hand in these people so a miracle of this kind is possible. But then that still doesn’t explain the plural for “his son’s daughters” in verse 7 or why Serah is named but not counted among the 70. It’s quite the mystery and I love it!

Jacob and Joseph Reunited
28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.”

-In other words, Israel is saying, “Oh I can die a happy man now”. It makes sense Judah was sent ahead since this would not be his third trip.

31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

-We see too is part of God’s providence and protection. Shepherds are an abomination which means they will be kept separate and left alone. Perhaps this was the case initially or what Joseph had been thinking but instead, the Hebrews end up being slaves possibly because of the fact they were shepherds and considered abominations and beneath the Egyptians. We shall see in the next book.


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