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Verses 1-34



Nothing is said of the great amount of preparation they must make for their journey, but Jacob is said to take the journey with all that he had, which of course included all his family. On his way he stopped at Beersheba (the well of the oath), which indicates his remembrance of the promise of God on which he was dependent. It is good to see him offering sacrifices there.

That night God spoke to him in a vision, a reminder of the dream God gave him at Bethel when he was going toward Haran (ch.28:10-15). But how different are the circumstances! His journey now is away from the land, and it might have been with some trepidation that Jacob was leaving the land of promise. However, He told him, "I am God, the God of your father," and gave him the encouragement of knowing that God approved of his trip to Egypt at this time (vs.2-3). In fact, He tells him that He will make of Jacob a great nation there in Egypt. This confirms God's word to Abram in Genesis 15:13, that Abram's seed would be stranger in a foreign land, where, as servants, they would be afflicted 400 years.

God promises his own presence with Jacob, and that He would surely bring him back again. This return of course referred to Jacob's posterity, the nation Israel. For as to Jacob himself, Joseph would close his eyes, that is, in death, though he was buried in the land of Canaan. He would not personally experience the sufferings his children would.

From Beersheba therefore they all journey in the confidence of the promise of God. Wives and little ones and livestock and other property are all included in this large company travelling to change their dwelling place (vs.5-7)

We are told now the names of all the household of Jacob, who came with him, indicating that our great God is interested in individuals, not only in nations of great companies. The total was 66 persons (v.26), plus Joseph and his two sons. Jacob himself is the seventieth.



Jacob sent Judah before him to direct the way to Goshen, and the family arrived there in due time. Then Joseph came by chariot to meet his father, whom he embraced, weeping for a long time. Israel's words to Joseph are wonderfully significant, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive" (v.30). Israel may die, for Joseph lives! this is the same principle of which John the Baptist speaks in John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease." When the Lord Jesus is given His place of supreme honor, Israel the nation will be content to be reduced to nothing. How good for us if we personally learn this lesson well, glad to see the flesh put in the place of death in order that Christ may be exalted.

Joseph then prepares his brothers and their households for their being presented before Pharaoh, telling them he will announce their coming to Pharaoh (v.31) and will tell him they are shepherds, having brought their flocks and herds with them, so that Pharaoh would be prepared to grant them land that would not encroach on the lands of the Egyptians who had accustomed themselves to loathe shepherds. Joseph tells them to let Pharaoh know that they had been shepherds from their youth and of course desired to continue this in spite of the attitude of Egyptians toward shepherds (vs.31-34) There is a spiritual lesson in this also. God expects His own people to have hearts as shepherds, to care for the needs of souls. The world (Egypt) not only ignores such shepherd care, but resents others who engage in it. In fact, too frequently even believers do not appreciate the pastoral care and concern that a godly saint seeks to show for them. For this reason we sadly neglect to engage in true shepherd work.

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