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BIble 101 Lesson 9C

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Jim Parker

Bible 101 Lesson 9C

Chapter 46

Gen 46:1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

Jacob (Israel) began his journey into Egypt with all his possessions and all his family. But first, he made a stop at Beersheba to pray. He was not going to make such a big change without first checking with God.

And God confirms that he is doing the right thing.

Gen 46:2-4 Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!” And he said, “Here I am.” So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”

God confirms that His covenant with Abraham and Isaac will continue with Jacob.

God also states that He will “go down with you to Egypt”. This is an important statement.

In the pagan, ancient world, gods were commonly considered to be territorial. Their power was limited to the territory of the people who served them. When the people moved into a new territory, they took their gods (carved or “graven” images) with them to make sure that their gods could operate in the new territory. If they conquered the new territory then they would conclude that their god was stronger then the local gods of the people they conquered.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of heaven and earth. He doesn’t need to move with Jacob in order to support Jacob. God is already everywhere. BUT, God assured Jacob (Israel) that He would be with him in Egypt and that the promises to his fathers would be fulfilled.

Gen 46:5-7 Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his sons’ sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

Jacob believed God and continued his journey into Egypt.

Gen 46:8-27 is a genealogy that introduces the next section of the Jew’s “Story of Us.”

Notice that it concludes with the statement: “All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.” Why seventy?

In chapter 10 of Genesis, we find the genealogy of Noah. It provides the names of all the “nations” (clans, tribes) of the earth who were descendant from the three sons of Noah. There are seventy of them in this “nations table.”

So what is the connection between there being 70 nations and 70 members of the children of Jacob?

The connection is found at Exodus 19:6 when God spoke to the Israelites who had left Egypt on their way back to the Promised Land. God said: … you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” God’s original plan for Israel was for them to be a nation of priests who would represent God to the rest of the world and intercede before God on behalf of the Gentiles. But Israel was not faithful to their covenant and God made a new Covenant with those who believe in Jesus to be His royal priesthood.

1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

So the responsibility to represent God to the lost and to intercede for the lost to God has been given to the Church. But, don’t get a big head. As God took that office from Israel, He can take it from us and give it to someone who will do His will and not make His Church a family business masquerading as His Church. There are plenty of humble believers who don’t need their own private jets and TV shows to spread the Gospel.

(Getting off the soapbox and back to the story now….)

Joseph went out to meet his father and the rest of the family. And before he introduced his father to Pharaoh, he told him that, when Pharaoh asked his profession, tell him you are a herdsman. This has historical significance.

So, a little history:

Sometime before the Israelites went into Egypt, another nation (tribe, clan) went down into Egypt and asked to be allowed to stay. There were the Hyksos people and were Semitic herdsmen. These people gradually became commercially and politically powerful and were able to take over Lower Egypt. (The part nearest the Mediterranean Sea.)

The Egyptians eventually recovered from their decline which had given the Hyksos People a power advantage, and were able to regain control of all of Egypt. This is why we read at Exodus 1:8; “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

Not only did he “not know” Joseph (or his vastly multiplied descendants) but he did not like or trust Joseph. The Israelites were another Semitic tribe of herdsmen like the Hyksos people who had driven the Egyptians out of their kingdom some time earlier. This king (pharaoh) was not going to let that happen again. He was determined to make sure that they did not prosper or gain any political or military power. He used harsh forced labor as slaves to insure they were kept “in their place.”