Gen. 46:1-47:12, Migration to Egypt

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    And so Israel (Jacob) and all that are his and connected with his family migrate to Egypt. On the way the Lord reassures him that He is with Him then and will lead them back out again later. He also reassures Jacob that Joseph will be with him when he dies. Gen. 46:7 says that "He took with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters -- all his offspring." This indicates clearly that there were more daughters than Dinah born to him. It's just that Dinah was the one who caused so much trouble! Not counting the wives which married into the family, Jacob and his direct descendants numbered seventy on the Egyptian migration. And while the list of names means little or nothing to most readers now, keep in mind that genealogies were very important to them.

    It was also very important for family lines to stay as pure as possible, and so after Joseph meets his extended family in Goshen, he explains how he will be able to keep them separate and still give them such good land. The Egyptians were primarily farmers, depending on the Nile flooding every year for their extended crops. Shepherds were nomads and the very last thing the Egyptians needed during a famine were 1) more people in the land and 2) loose animals eating what little they were able to eke out of the land during this time! So the shepherds were for these reasons and others, detestable to the Egyptians. So Joseph will explain to Pharaoh that his people are shepherds, and that should take care of that! They would be left alone in the only good land left in Egypt!

    The family is then presented to Pharaoh. Joseph first selects a few of his brothers and the Pharaoh quizzes them about their professions. They reply that they are shepherds and ask to live quietly apart in Goshen where there is pasture for the flocks. The Pharaoh not only agrees, but asks Joseph if one of his brothers is especially skilled with animals, to have that brother look after the Pharaoh's own animals!

    Then Jacob, now a much older man, is presented to Pharaoh. Jacob tells him, "The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers."

    Note a couple of interesting things here: 130 years is considered few. And, secondly, Jacob is very aware that his 'fathers' meaning father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. had lived much longer lives. This must have been a little scary to the people of that time, seeing that the years kept shortening for lifespans!

    Here, again, we see in the text an editorial addition from much later, probably the time of Moses. Verse 11 states, "So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed." The great Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II did not reign for centuries after Jacob!

    It is from passages like this that it must be presumed that either Genesis was written much later in time and simply ascribed to earlier generations or that there was editorial work by Moses.

    This portion of the text closes with the note that Jacob's family all got grain in accordance with the number of children in each family. They did not have to pay for the grain as Joseph chose to provide for his own family.
     
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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