The End of the Beginning

July 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Genesis | 4 Comments
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Jacob was 130 when he met Pharaoh. He lived to be 147. He had his beloved son, Joseph, living with him for the first 17 years of Joseph’s life, and for the last 17 years of his own life.

Jacob’s father, Isaac, lived to be 180. Abraham lived to be 175. Jacob “only” lived to be 147!

And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Genesis 47:13-16

Joseph saved Egypt, but his administrative plan took away the people’s possessions. He centralized the Egyptian government and made the people slaves to Pharaoh.

And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

Genesis 47:24-25

By the end of the famine Pharaoh owned all the possessions (livestock), land, and people. This helps to explain how the Jewish people ultimately became slaves in Egypt.

Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as his own sons.

The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

Genesis 48:16, emphasis added

Jacob had experienced much evil, but he recognized that he was on his way home. “The Angel” may be a reference to Jesus Christ.

And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.

Genesis 48:17

This is another reversal of the birth order, which is something God had done a number of times before in showing favor to the younger over the elder: Abel over Cain; Isaac over Ishmael; Jacob over Esau; Joseph over Reuben; Rachel over Leah; Zarah and Pharez (Judah’s sons by Tamar).

And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

Genesis 48:18

The life story of Joseph is a big part of the Book of Genesis, and it speaks volumes about the character of Joseph that this may be the only instance recorded in sacred Scripture of Joseph being displeased with anyone.

In Genesis Chapter 49 Jacob blesses his sons and prophesies over them and the future of their tribes.

Reuben, the firstborn, lost the blessings of being the firstborn.

Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

Genesis 49:4

How is water unstable? (1) It takes the shape of its surroundings. (2) It is affected by the temperature. Reuben had been to bed with his father’s wife.

Simeon and Levi lost a large part of their blessings because of the incident with the circumcision and slaughter of the Shechemites.

Joseph’s inheritance (and the inheritance of his sons who were now Jacob’s sons) is listed in Verses 22-26. The word “bless” or “blessings” is used six times in these Verses:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Genesis 49:22-26

In Genesis Chapter 50 there are three burials.

Jacob’s burial:

For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

Genesis 50:13

Joseph’s burial:

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.

Genesis 50:22

So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Genesis 50:26

The burial of the past:

So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Genesis 50:17-21


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