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What should be great news, though, is tinged with the promise of suffering - given to Jacobís grandfather, Abraham.
Genesis 15:13-14 Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
Surely this must have been passed down to Jacob - who in the back of his mind must have been thinking about this prophecy as he packed his wagons and headed for Egypt.
Verses 1 - 4
It was a big thing for Jacob to leave Canaan and bring his family to Egypt - especially since God had promised to Jacob that he would inherit Canaan as his own - was this tantamount to abandoning his post - his land? No God says.
Beersheba was a significant place. Abraham had planted a tamarisk tree there (Gen 21) and called on the name of the Lord. It was a place where treaties were made (Gen 21, 26), and where Isaacís servants found water (Gen 26). So it was a place of worship, a place of peace, and a place of refreshing. It is often in places like this that the Lord speaks to us - when we have worshiped Him, found peace in our souls with Him, and been refreshed in His Word.
This answers a little detail that God revealed to Abraham way back in Chapter 15 - that they would be in a land not theirs for 400 years and that they would be enslaved and mistreated. This was written to a people who had just come out of Egypt after being enslaved and mistreated - but God wants them to know that this was a part of His plan. The most important thing: "I will go down with you and I will bring you back up."
Verses 5 - 7
So this is the entire clan and all their belongings. This is different than just going down to get supplies to keep them alive during the drought - this was wholesale moving.
Verses 8 - 27
This is not an actual counting but a charter of sorts. Er and Onan are dead (v 12), and Ephraim and Manasseh didnít go down to Egypt (v 20) - they are already there. Donít think of this as a passenger manifest, but as a document of a nationís beginning. Each family has its place to keep.
Verses 28 - 30
They didnít have AAA or a roadmap they could pick up at a gas station. Judah is sent on ahead - showing more his leadership in the tribe - which will continue in the blessings of chapter 49, the Davidic line, and eventually the Messiah.
Goshen is probably the delta region of the lower Nile (ie, northern Egypt). It would have been a perfect place to raise sheep and goats - good grass and well watered.
Of course - Jacob didnít die for sometime (17 years we see at the end of Chapter
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