Israel and his camp move from Hebron to Egypt. From Genesis 46:1-34 commented by ASV and questions

שלום חברי   אל שדי  רוח הקודש

In the arms of God

Israel knew in his heart that what happened was no accident, God had his fingers in everything going on, Israel loved his God and made his great caravan on the way to Egypt, stop at Beersheba where he worshiped YaHaWaH, his faithful and mighty God. Israel looked forward to meeting his favorite son, Joseph, however most of all, he relaxed in the arms of his God.

“God moved from Hebron to Egypt”

At Beersheba in the sleep Israel saw God, met him, and God talked to him, He told him not to be afraid of traveling to Egypt. Obviously, Israel didn’t feel good about going to Egypt and stay there. Therefore, God assured him of being in the middle of His plan going with Israel to Egypt and staying there with him. In the mind of Israel, God now moved from Hebron area in Canaan over to Egypt to protect him there making him a great people. God also assured him of the prophesy of giving him the Promised Land, “and I will also surely bring you up again

How many?

How many went down to Egypt? Moses tells us about 66 or 70; this is from a patriarchal society point of view. Israel’s family was patriarchal, meaning that the men decided everything, and among the descendants only the male were counted, however in verse 6 and 7 we see that Israel had daughters and granddaughters too, “Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt

About a 1000 or more

With the daughters and granddaughters, we can at least triple the amount from 70 to more than 200. However, the great caravan included more than that. In Shechem Simeon and Levi killed all the men and took all the women and children captive, they probably became servants (slaves). In addition, they had many servants before the Shechem incident. The number of people going to Egypt could well be about 1000 or more in number.

The official genealogy

Here in chapter 46, Moses names the sons of Israel according to his four wives, not ranked according to their age, and first is the six sons of Leah, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. Then the two sons of Zilpah Leah’s maid, Gad and Asher. Then Moses names the sons of Rachel and her maid Bilhah. Rachel had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin; Rachel died when giving birth to Benjamin. Then Moses names Bilhah’s two sons, Dan and Naphtali. This was the official genealogy.


However, if we record what happened by the timeline, we get these events, In Paddan-aram in the city of Haran when working for Laban Israel had 11 sons, first four sons with Leah, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Then Rachel gives her maid Bilhah to Israel who gives birth to two sons, Dan and Naphtali. Then Leah gives her maid Zilpah to Israel and she bears him two sons, Gad and Asher. Then Leah has two more sons, Issachar, and Zebulun. After that, Rachel has her first son, Joseph and then when she dies, she gives birth to Benjamin the twelfth and last son of Jacob.

The twelve sons of Israel by age

The twelve sons of Jacob ranked by their age, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin.

Judah is appointed leader

During the time when the 11 sons of Israel met Joseph, Judah took the leading role and talked to Joseph, representing the other ten, and now when traveling to Egypt, Israel sent Judah ahead of the huge caravan to meet Joseph, the prime minister of Egypt, preparing for the arrival and settling down in Goshen, where they were to stay.

Another 17 years

After losing Rachel, his favorite wife, and Joseph, believing he was dead, Israel just waited to die, he was in depression and mental pain. In Egypt he met his favorite son Joseph, and what a relief it was for both, they wept and talked together for a long time. Israel now said that he could well die having his loving son “back from the dead.” However, Israel mentally revived and lived in Goshen for another 17 years.

Nice to friend and foe

When we live our lives in this physical world, we will experience up and downs and our hopes go up and down as well. When the hope is down, we lose the will and power of living, being more open for sicknesses and depression. To stay alive, we need to activate our heavenly hope, which does not fluctuate. Jesus makes our hope relate to our faith in God. To build up that kind of faith depend on our daily walk with Jesus in his word, the Bible. The faith is the fuel and the hope are our engine to go through life with a smile being nice to friend and foe.

As one nation

God in Egypt made the Israelites stay together as one nation not mingling with the Egyptians in marriage. In the last three verses in this chapter, Joseph tells his father and brothers to meet Pharaoh and say that they are keepers of livestock, that they were shepherds. In the eyes of the Egyptians, every shepherd was repulsive to them, thus being shepherds kept the Israelites separated from the Egyptians as one nation.

Questions to consider

  1. Why do we have to give thanks to God?
  2. Do we need information directly from God?
  3. Is the context vital to understanding the Bible?
  4. What is the hope in your life, and what does it mean to you?
  5. What gives you power to go on living?
  6. What does money mean to you?
  7. Do you know God’s will for your life?

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