Summary: God saves Israel from the famine and begins to make a distinction between them and Egypt.
In our last study Joseph reveled himself to his brothers and told them that God had sent him ahead of them to save their lives. They were instructed to return to Canaan to get the rest of the family and return to Egypt to live out the rest of the famine. At first Jacob didn’t believe that Joseph was really alive, but then he was convinced and decided to go to Egypt to see him. But you have to remember what it means for him to leave this place. This is the land God promised his grandfather Abraham. Jacob left it when he was running from Esau, but he’s afraid to do it again.
Chapters 46 and 47 show us that God provided for Israel even when they moved to Egypt. This lesson will come in handy for the Israelites years later who go into the wilderness. It will come in handy again when they’re exiled in Babylon. And, of course, it comes in handy for us, His people today because we know we’re not yet in the good Promised Land. This passage gives assurance that will comfort us and provide all we need until the last day of His plan:
And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
There were a lot of sacrifices offered at Beersheba, and Jacob stops off here once again. From the next verse it’s apparent that he’s afraid and maybe even a little worried about what will become of the promise to inherit all this land. What will happen to them now? Where will they settle? When will they be back? Will they be back at all?
2And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. 3And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: 4I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
When Jacob offers the sacrifice God speaks to him in the night. He assures Jacob that He’s still God and He’s still in control. The promise isn’t in jeopardy at all, and one day God will bring Israelites out and lead them back home. Of course, we know the rest of the story so we know He’s talking about Moses and the exodus. But that’s a long way off and Jacob won’t be around to see it. He’s going to Egypt to die and Joseph will be the one to close his eyes.
This has to be a comfort for Jacob because he’s reminded that God is still with him, and he doesn’t have to die with any doubt. He knows it won’t happen in his lifetime, so he’s free to go to Egypt and enjoy the time he has left.
5And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: 7His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.
One more thing before we move on: all of Israel is now in Egypt. If you’ll remember back to 15:13-16 God predicted to Abraham that his descendants would go down to Egypt for 400 years and be oppressed until God delivered them. This event is the beginning of that time.
Now, this next part is a list of all the people who went down to Egypt from Canaan. Above all it shows that there wasn’t any of Jacob’s sons left behind. Israel went as a family:
8And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. 9And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. 10And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. 11And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul. 13And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron. 14And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. 15These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three. 16And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli. 17And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel. 18These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls. 19The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife; Joseph, and Benjamin. 20And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 21And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard. 22These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen. 23And the sons of Dan; Hushim. 24And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. 25These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven. 26All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; 27And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.