Genesis 46

1. To give Jacob reassurance that it was OK to go into Egypt to reunite with his son Joseph, the Lord spoke to Israel giving him that reassurance. This is interesting because in 26:2, the Lord told Isaac not to go into Egypt, and it is likely that Isaac left this word with both his sons. If there was any trepidation of Jacob’s part we gain no sense of it unless one is to interpret the words of 46:3 along these lines. Jacob, reassured now, takes his family and his belongings and heads into Egypt (46:5-7).

2. In 46:8-27, we are told that seventy people went into Egypt. The point of the number is not that only seventy went into Egypt (for the wives and the daughters are not mentioned, 46:26), but “70 is understood here to be a typological rather than literal number. It is here used, as elsewhere in biblical literature, to express the idea of totality” (Wenham, WBC, vol. 2, p. 444).

3. Before arrival Judah goes on ahead and seeks guidance from his younger brother, Joseph, as to where the family is to go. Joseph, knowing they are nearby goes to greet his father that he has not seen for over two decades. Jacob is comforted in the reunion (46:3). In 45:20, the king of Egypt told Jacob to be concerned about nothing, for all of Egypt is before them; however, when Jacob arrives all his property and livestock are with them (46:32). A question might arise as to why? “Joseph also knew that by stressing their occupation as shepherds, there would be eliminated the possibility that Pharaoh might seek an amalgamation of the people with the Egyptians by settling them in the cities” (Coffman, p. 541).

4. Application: Jacob was a great patriarch, and when called upon to move from his present location to a “home” he had never been to before, it was nothing insignificant. There was much to be done, not the least of which was tending to livestock in route. As he starts out, note what the Scripture says: he came to Beersheba and offered up his worship to the Lord (46:1). There is a good lesson in this for us also. When we start out on a journey, do we start out in prayer to the Lord? When we take a journey, do we make it a point to worship with the saints?

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