Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.
It is the death of Israel and Joseph that brings a close to the book of Genesis. Rising to power in Egypt after being betrayed by his brothers 22 years earlier, Joseph sends for his father to bring his whole family to Egypt so that they may be preserved in the midst of a famine.
Genesis 46:1-4. YHWH gives His blessing for Israel to take his descendants to Egypt, with the time there serving as an incubator moving the name “Israel” from a man to a nation. Both Abraham and Isaac had ventured into Egypt but it was never by the blessing of YHWH. This time things were different. In v.4, God promises to be with Israel, but also to bring them up again, a promise that surely encouraged Moses as he led the people back to Canaan.
Genesis 46:31-47:6. The move to Egypt may seem strange, but God has good reasons. With this move, the famine is avoided and Israel can grow into a nation. The land of Goshen provided incredible agricultural resources (“best of the land” -47:6) and was segmented from the rest of Egypt to aid in avoiding idolatrous influences. In addition, we are told in 46:34 that shepherds are “loathsome” (an abomination- “detestable”) to the Egyptians. This kept the bloodline pure whereas intermarriage may have eventually taken place in the land of Canaan, as it did later.
God’s provision for Israel is amazing! The famine had consumed Canaan and Egypt and the Egyptians gave their money (47:14), livestock (47:16), and land, along with themselves for servitude, in order to avoid starvation (47:19). In 47:14, Joseph gathered all of the money in Egypt and Canaan for Pharaoh. Yet, Israel dwelled safely in the land of Goshen.
Genesis 48:1-6. Hearing of Israel’s illness, Joseph brings his two sons to be blessed by Israel before his passing (48:1). In speaking to Joseph, Israel recounts his 2nd meeting with YHWH in Luz (Gen 35:9-12, also “Bethel”). Isaac had spoken with Israel about “El Shaddai” in 28:3 before sending him away to find a wife and Israel hears this from YHWH Himself in 35:11 when the promises of the covenant are reiterated to him. It is clear in Israel’s conversation with Joseph that he understood the “everlasting” nature of the Abrahamic Covenant (48:4).
Reuben and Simeon are mentioned in 48:5 for two reasons. First, the adoption of Ephraim and Manessah would bring them fully into the fold as tribes of Israel just as the natural born of Jacob would be (Ephraim and Manessah would fill the slots of Levi, who is the priestly line, and Joseph). Second, both Reuben and Simeon were involved in heinous acts that disqualified them from their inheritance. Reuben slept with Israel’s concubine (Bilhah) in Gen 34:25-26 and Simeon, along with Levi, deceived the Hivites and killed all of the men because of their prince’s rape of their sister Dinah.
1 Chronicles 5:1-2 tells us that Reuben’s act disqualified him as the firstborn, allowing for Jacob to designate whomever he saw fit. While Judah carries the line of promise, Joseph’s line becomes the firstborn, having two tribes = a double portion. Disobedience can lead to disqualification, so much so that in Revelation 7:4-8, the twelve tribes are listed with Judah being first, Levi being included, and Dan being absent, most likely due to the incident recorded in Judges 18:1-31, of which Dan became synonymous with idolatry.
Genesis 48:14-20. Israel adopts Joseph’s sons as his own, with Ephraim (Joseph’s youngest) being blessed by Israel with the rights of the firstborn, and Manessah (Joseph’s eldest) being next in line (48:14).
Genesis 49:8-12. Before his passing, Israel gives a final blessing to each of his sons. Judah is pronounced as the royal line with regal descriptions ascribed to his eventual offspring, the Lord Jesus Christ!
What we have gathered about the promised Deliverer thus far:
1. He will be the offspring of a woman (Gen 3:15).
2. He will be a male (Gen 3:15).
3. Descended from Abraham (Gen 12:1-3).
4. Descended from Isaac (Gen 21:1-3).
5. Descended from Israel/Jacob (Gen 35:9-11).
6. From the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:8-12).
7. He will be a ruler (Gen 49:10).