The Pentateuch: Israel and Joseph reunite, Genesis 46-50
Joseph sent his brothers back home with all the best of Egypt. They were to bring their father, Israel, to Egypt for Joseph to care for him and all of the household. Pharaoh blessed the reunion and gave Joseph’s family the land of Goshen to dwell in, tend their flocks, and even recruited Joseph to choose a family member to tend Pharaoh’s own flocks. This was an incredible honor. God used Joseph to save Israel and his descendants from the famine, preserving the chosen people of God.
Israel is comforted by God
Genesis 46 opens up with Israel, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, making a special sacrifice to God, and God speaking to him to comfort and reassure Israel. God tells Israel not to be afraid to go to Egypt. This is an important reminder to us that God will give us peace, comfort, and reassurance with His plan. Is He is leading and calling us to something, or somewhere, He will provide all we need – including peace. This is how the Lord makes things clear to me; He gives me peace in my spirit to reassure me of His plan, His will, and His instruction. This is what we see here for Israel when God tells him not to be afraid to leave the land of Canaan – the promised land.
2 Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
3 So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph [a]will put his hand on your eyes.”
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
8 The Lord is indeed going before you—he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go [a]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.
Israel came into the land of Egypt to settle in Goshen with all of the members of his household. His sons had married and had children, and now he would get to meet Joseph’s sons as well adding two more to his long list of grandchildren. Before Israel died, he blessed his children, as well as the sons of Joseph, and told his 12 sons what would “happen to [them] in the days to come.”
Reuben had dishonored his father by sleeping with Bilhah, which would have been an attempt to assert his position as firstborn son. This actually ended up getting him bypassed as head of the family and inheritance of the firstborn son. Reuben’s (and Gad’s) descendants eventually ended up settling outside of the promised land, across the Jordan River. Mount Nebo, within their territory, was where Moses viewed the promised land from. (Numbers 32:1-5)
- Kohath (Aaron and Moses came from this line)
Simeon was behind the plot to kill Joseph, and Simeon and Levi together led the slaughter of Shechem. Because of their wickedness and wrathful hearts, they were also bypassed in the succession and the next brother, Judah would take on headship of the family instead. They also were dispersed among the other tribes rather than given their own lands independently. Eventually, Levi’s descendants would become the priestly line, from which Moses and Aaron came from (Numbers 18), and be scattered throughout all of the other tribes. Simeon’s descendants would be given an inheritance within the lands of Judah (Joshua 19:1).
- Perez (from Tamar)
- Hezron (Jesus came from this line)
- Zerah (from Tamar)
Judah ended up inheriting the portion of the firstborn son, and later became head of the family rather that his 3 older brothers whose wicked deeds cost them this inheritance. Judah also became the Kingly line from which Jesus Christ was eventually born. Jesus came through the line of Hezron, son of Perez, who was one of the twins born of Tamar and Judah, Judah’s daughter in law (Genesis 38).
- Jashub (Job?)
The tribe of Issachar became very politically involved, and eventually played a role in the conflict between King Saul and David (1 Chronicles 12:32). The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali eventually helped defeat Sisera (Judges 4:6-10).
The tribe of Gad eventually suffered greatly because of attacks by the Ammonites, Moabites, and Amalekites (1 Samuel 10:26-27. Gadites would also be rewarded for their valor and carrying out the Lord’s righteous will and judgements (Numbers 32). Asher eventually settled near Mount Carmel and dwelled with the Canaanites rather than driving them out (Judges 1:31-32).
Joseph becomes a leader of his brothers. He is blessed to be fruitful and strong. His descendants eventually become leaders within the other tribes, but later fall into idolatry (2 Chronicles 25:5-8; Hosea 4:17). The tribe of Benjamin was almost completely wiped out in a civil war in the time of the judges (Judges 20). King Saul as well as the Apostle Paul, previously Pharisee Saul, eventually came from the tribe of Benjamin.
Dan’s tribe was later called out by Deborah for not helping in the war (Judges 5:17), and for being defeated by the Philistines. Samson would later come from the tribe of Dan, and Dan would later fall into idolatry (Judges 16-18). Naphtali eventually settled in the mountains and, like several of the other tribes, took tribute from the Canaanites rather than drive them out of the land or kill them (Judges 20:7).
Israel dies and is brought back home with honor
After Israel spoke over all of his children and passed on the covenant inheritance, he later died at the age of 147. He was blessed with a 17 year reunion with Joseph before he died, after only having had 17 years with him before Joseph was sold into slavery and missing the 20-or-so years in between. Joseph was so loved in Egypt that his father was honored with an incredible funeral procession and Egyptian embalming to transport him back to Canaan where his sons had promised to bury him with Leah, his parents, and his grandparents.
Joseph then shows us an incredible example of what true forgiveness looks like. Their dad is dead and buried, and his brothers now fear Joseph will lash out at them – but Joseph extends mercy and grace, committing to care and provide for them. This is love. This is forgiveness. This is the love and forgiveness the Lord shows us and likewise commands us to show to others – no matter the wrongs done to us. What was meant for evil by people, God uses for good. Rejoice in being an instrument of the Lord.
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke [a]kindly to them.
Joseph died, but not before likewise making his brother promise that when – not if – when the Lord comes to their aid and brings them back to the promised land they must bring his bones back, too. Later on, Moses would take from Egypt the body of Joseph, who would later be buried in Shechem by Joshua (Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32).
You must log in to post a comment.