BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
JACOB’S JOURNEY TO EGYPT
And so at the ripe old age of 130 years, Jacob set out for Egypt with his entire family, and all of his possessions. When he passed through Beersheba, he stopped and offered sacrifices there to the LORD. That night GOD spoke to Jacob in a vision and said, “I AM GOD, the GOD of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will see to it that you become a great nation there. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring your descendants back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph at your side” (Vs.3-4) (NLT).
This vision would serve, over the years, as a source of encouragement and inspiration once the Israelites became deeply embedded in chattel slavery there in Egypt, about a hundred years later. The promise of GOD to Jacob that HE would bring them safely back to “the Promised Land” would be to them, as the “Christian Hope” is to us in this day and age. They looked forward with earnest expectation for GOD’s return to release them from the pains of the world that they lived in, and we look forward to JESUS’ return, in this day and age, for the same reason.
Included in this chapter of Genesis (Vs.8-27) is an account of the “horizontal genealogy” of Jacob’s family that came with him to Egypt, and of course, the family of Joseph that was already there, 70 members in all. It is from these 70 people that the nation of Israel was established, and would grow into a powerhouse during the time of the “United Kingdom” under David and Solomon.
Before leaving Beersheba, Jacob sent his son Judah on ahead to Egypt to meet Joseph and get the directions to Goshen from him. When they all arrived at Goshen, Joseph boarded one of his chariots and made his way to Goshen to see his father. When he arrived he ran and embraced Jacob, and he wept on his shoulder for a long time.
And so finally, after 22 years, Jacob was able to hold his “favorite son” in his arms, and when he did, he uttered a statement reminiscent of the one that Simeon would make, when he first laid eyes on baby Jesus, many centuries later in the temple at Jerusalem (Luke 2:29-32 – now known as “the Nunc Dimittis” which means “now, let depart” - from the Latin), here he declares, “Now let me die, for I have seen you with my own eyes and know you are still alive”.
Then Joseph, the consummate diplomat, who was always careful not to upset Egyptian customs, advised his family to stress to the Pharaoh their prowess at being generational shepherds and livestock breeders. Joseph said that when you tell him this he will allow them all to live in Goshen, an ideal area to ply their trade.
For the Pharaoh was very fond of Joseph and genuinely wanted to supply the very best for his family. And besides, the Egyptians despised everything about shepherds, and really didn’t wish to interact closely with them on a daily basis anyway. And so, placing them in this fertile delta area of Egypt was a win-win situation for all concerned. This advice by Joseph really demonstrates the GODly wisdom that he possessed, and he knew exactly how to apply that wisdom in the world in which he lived.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander