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Jacob’s blessing of Pharaoh (Genesis 47:7; Genesis 47:10) is unusual since it implies that in one sense (i.e., as one of God’s elect) Jacob was superior to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was a man of immense worldly power and influence. "The lesser is blessed by the greater" (Hebrews 7:7).

"The least and most faltering of God’s children has the superiority . . . in the presence of the most elevated men of the world." [Note: Darby, 1:78.]

Jacob seems to have described his life as a sojourn (Genesis 47:9) primarily because he had not come into final possession of the Promised Land. He had, of course, also lived in widely separated places during his lifetime: Paddan-aram, Canaan, and now Egypt. His years were fewer than his fathers: 130 compared with Abraham’s 175 and Isaac’s 180. This comparison also suggests that neither Abraham nor Isaac had experienced the difficulties and distresses that Jacob had during his lifetime.

"When we first encountered Jacob he was struggling inside his mother’s womb with his twin brother. As we come to the end of Jacob’s life, he is struggling for his life in a famine-devastated Canaan. In between these first and last moments of struggle have been many trying experiences for Jacob. His life has had more sorrow than joy." [Note: Hamilton, The Book . . . Chapters 18-50, p. 612.]

"These words [Genesis 47:9] appear to be the author’s attempt at a deliberate contrast to the later promise that one who honors his father and mother should ’live long and do well upon the land’ (Deuteronomy 5:15 [sic 16]). Jacob, who deceived his father and thereby gained the blessing, must not only die outside the Promised Land but also, we learn here, his years were few and difficult. From his own words, then, we can see a final recompense for Jacob’s actions earlier in the book." [Note: Sailhamer, The Pentateuch . . ., p. 227.]

The text describes the area where Jacob’s family settled "the land of Rameses" here rather than Goshen (Genesis 47:11). "The land of Rameses" could have been another name for Goshen, or a larger area encompassing Goshen, or a district within Goshen.

The use of the name "Rameses" here and elsewhere (Exodus 1:11; Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3; Numbers 33:5) has become a kind of "red herring" for many interpreters. It has led them to conclude that these events occurred after one of the Pharaohs named Rameses lived. Rameses I reigned about 1347-1320 B.C. However the biblical chronological references (1 Kings 6:1; Exodus 12:40; et al.) point to a date for Israel’s move to Egypt near 1876 B.C. How can we account for the use of the name Rameses here then?

It is possible that the name Rameses (also spelled Raamses) was in use when Jacob entered Egypt even though extra-biblical references have not confirmed this. [Note: Merrill, Kingdom of . . ., pp. 70-71; and Walter C. Kaiser Jr., A History of Israel, pp. 74-75.] "Raamses" simply means "Ra [the sun god] has created it." [Note: International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, 1939 ed., s.v. "Raamses," by C. R. Conder.] Second, Rameses may have been the name of this district later, in Moses’ day, when he wrote Genesis. He could have used the modern name when writing Genesis rather than an older one that was in use in Jacob’s day. A third possibility is that Rameses was the district name even later in history (e.g., after Pharaoh Rameses). A later scribe may have substituted "Rameses" for an older name that was in use when Moses wrote or when Jacob entered Egypt.

Other late names appear in Genesis. For example, the town of Dan (Genesis 14:14), formerly Laish (Judges 18:29), received the name "Dan" during the judges period (ca. 1350-1050 B.C.). Evidently someone after Moses’ day substituted the modern name "Dan" for the older name in Genesis 14:14. This may account for references to the Philistines in Genesis too.

"How different is Jacob’s descent to Egypt from his grandfather’s (ch. 12)! Both seek out the safety of Egypt because of famine. To save himself Abraham engages in deceit. To save his family Jacob engages in blessing. The Pharaoh at Abraham’s visit was only too happy to see Abraham return to his own country. The Pharaoh at Jacob’s visit insists that Jacob stay and settle on some choice land. Abraham retreats from Egypt. For Jacob Egypt is his new home. Abraham leaves Egypt alive (and happy to be so!). Jacob will leave Egypt dead." [Note: Hamilton, The Book . . . Chapters 18-50, p. 613.]

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