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46. Life Begins at 130 (Genesis 46:1-47:12)

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An elderly couple, each of whom had reached the ripe old age of 100, went to the divorce court to terminate their marriage of many years. The judge granted their petition, but he could not resist asking them why, after all these years, they had sought a divorce. “Oh, we would have done it long ago,” they replied, “but we were waiting for our children to die.”

No man has ever been so eager for death to come as Jacob. For years now he has spoken of it:

Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him (Genesis 37:35).

But Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow” (Genesis 42:38).

Then Israel said, “It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28).

He will speak of death yet again in our Scripture passage:

Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive” (Genesis 46:30).

Why would this patriarch be so eager to die? Jacob’s confession to Pharaoh provides us with a clue to his preoccupation with death:

So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning” (Genesis 47:9).

While Joseph’s brothers had come to repentance in chapter 44 and realized the forgiveness of Joseph in chapter 45, it is not until this time, late in the life of Jacob, that he comes to a significant turning point of his life. While he may well have been saved years before (cf. 28:10ff.), he has not come to grasp the fundamentals of the faith until now. For this reason I have chosen to entitle this message “Life Begins at 130,” for it is at this age that Jacob comes to grasp the essence of knowing God and serving Him. In our lesson we shall attempt to underscore the factors involved in this turnabout in Jacob’s life.

Divine Guidance

Fourteen years ago my wife, our first child, and I left the lush green vegetation of Washington state for Dallas, Texas, where I would attend seminary.

We had already moved a number of times, but never so far away from home. It was a traumatic experience. But can you even conceive of what this move to Egypt must have meant to Jacob?

When my family and I came to Dallas, I was not yet 30 years old. When Jacob arrived in Egypt, he was 130 years old (47:9). He could have been on Social Security for over 65 years. Older people especially are attached to their home and furnishings because it gives them a sense of security. Jacob had to leave all that was familiar to him to go to a foreign land, live among those with a different culture and language, and cope with an attitude that was hostile to Hebrews (43:32; 46:34).

So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.” Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7).

Jacob had hastily packed his belongings, gathered his family, and begun the long trek to Egypt, just as Joseph had urged (45:9). When he had gotten as far as Beersheba, Jacob seemed to feel the full impact of what he was setting out to do. Beersheba was a place rich in the history of his forefathers. Abraham had called upon the name of the Lord here (21:33) and had settled in this place after offering up Isaac on Mt. Moriah (22:19). Here at Beersheba Isaac had been visited by God, and the covenant made with Abraham was reiterated (26:23-25). It would seem that Jacob lived at Beersheba when he deceived his father and obtained his blessing (chapter 27), for it was from this place that he had fled from Esau and departed to Haran (28:10).

Beersheba was also at the southern extremity of the land of Canaan. Later the land of promise would be spoken of as “from Dan to Beersheba” (e.g., Judges 20:1), Dan being at the northern border and Beersheba at the south. Once Jacob left Beersheba, traveling south, he would be leaving the land of promise, which was the land that God had promised Abraham (12:1-3; 15:7,18-21), Isaac (26:2-4), and Jacob (28:13; 35:12). How could Jacob be assured of God’s blessing if he was leaving the land of promise?

More than this, Jacob was leaving Canaan to go to Egypt. Many years before, there had been a famine in Canaan, and Abram had gone to Egypt to survive. This had proven to be a very painful experience, one that seemed to be contrary to God’s word (cf. Genesis 12:10ff.). Later there was yet another famine, and Isaac considered going to Egypt, but God forbade him with these words:

Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham (Genesis 26:2-3).

How, then, could Jacob leave Canaan to enter Egypt without stepping outside the will of God? It is this matter which must have overwhelmed Jacob. I believe that he determined not to go one step further until his doubts were resolved. Consequently, it was at Beersheba that Jacob offered sacrifices to the God of his father (verse 1). The precise expression “offered sacrifices” is employed only once before in Genesis:

Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain (Genesis 31:54).

There Jacob offered a sacrifice as a part of a non-aggression pact between himself and Laban. It was an agreement made with God as their witness. If either failed to live up to his commitment, God would serve as his judge.

The expression is used very frequently later on in the Pentateuch for sacrifices of various kinds.89 Only the context clearly indicates the precise nature of the sacrifice. In our passage (46:1) it would seem most natural for Jacob to be seeking divine guidance concerning his journey down to Egypt. God’s response in verses 2-4 supports this conclusion.

By means of a vision which must have come in his sleep (cf. 15:12ff.) God assured Jacob that it was His will for him to depart from Canaan to dwell in Egypt. Three assurances were revealed to confirm God’s approval of the move to Egypt. First, the God of Isaac (and, of course, Abraham, 26:24) promised Jacob that He would go with him to Egypt and in that pagan land would make of him a great nation. Many years before, God had assured Jacob at Bethel that He would be with him as he journeyed north to Haran (28:15). Now He would be with him as he traveled south to Egypt. Strangely, it would be in Egypt, not Canaan, that his offspring would multiply into a great nation (verse 3).

Second, God would bring Jacob back to Canaan, the land of promise. I do not think that Jacob felt he would bodily and personally return to Canaan so quickly, for he knew his death must be imminent. Furthermore, God told Jacob that Joseph would close his eyes, and it was unlikely that Joseph would be leaving Egypt for some time, if ever. It was necessary for the nation of Israel to return to the land of promise, for there all of God’s promises would be fulfilled concerning the land:

And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you And I will give the land to your descendants after you (Genesis 35:12).

Third, God would give Jacob comfort in his time of death. After the report of Joseph’s brothers, Jacob drew the conclusion that his favorite son had been killed by a wild beast, just as they had hoped (37:20,31-33). He believed that the loss of Joseph would bring about his premature and painful death:

Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him (Genesis 37:35).

Jacob would, in fact, live nearly forty years longer, and instead of dying without his son to comfort him, Joseph would be there to close his eyes at the moment of his death. God would go with Jacob to Egypt and greatly multiply him there. He would comfort him in his moment of death through the presence of Joseph. And He would bring Israel back to Canaan as a mighty nation. With this, Jacob could enthusiastically proceed to Egypt. The entire family now made their way to Egypt with Jacob the patriarch.

The Genealogy of Jacob

Several observations seem necessary to understand the purpose for including the genealogy of Jacob at this point in the book of Genesis. First, in later genealogical lists slight differences appear, but this is only to be expected and does not in any way affect the reliability of the accounts.90 Second, by-and-large, women are not included in this list. This is not because they are unimportant, but because it does not fit the purpose of the listing. Third, the expression “the sons of Israel” (verse 8) must be taken in the broader sense of “the descendants of Israel,” for more than his sons are named,91 and thus some of those named may not have been born at the time Jacob and his descendants went down to Egypt.92 Fourth, all those named in Numbers 26 as heads of tribes or families are found in this listing of descendants in Genesis 46.93

The explanation for all of these observations is rather simple: Moses here intended not to name every person who went into Egypt, but every leader of family or clan who would come forth from Egypt.94 It was vitally important for those who came forth from Egypt to know their “roots” since the land would be divided according to tribes. In addition to this, tasks were assigned and the nation was administrated by tribal and family divisions. The purpose of Moses in this genealogy, therefore, is selective. It does not intend to name every person coming out of Canaan,95 but to name those who will become tribe and family heads. Thus there is a genealogical continuity throughout the entire sojourn in Egypt.96

Joseph Greets Jacob

More years have been lived away from Joseph than with him. Now, after a separation of nearly 22 years, father and son meet once again in happy reunion:

Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. And Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive” (Genesis 46:28-30).

Judah had been sent ahead by his father to get directions to Goshen. Israel proceeded ahead, guided by Judah, until their party arrived in Goshen. Joseph traveled there by chariot and met his father. Years of fears, regrets, and bitterness must have flowed from the soul of the patriarch as the tears flooded from his eyes. Much that could have been said of this reunion was not recorded, for it was an intimacy not to be invaded by curious eyes. Jacob, satisfied at the sight of his son, was now ready to die in peace (verse 30), but God still had 17 years of blessing in store for him (47:28).

Getting Goshen

Joseph is known to be a capable and efficient administrator. He is not about to become careless when it comes to settling his family in Egypt. The utmost care is given to seeing that the family is located in the land of Goshen. The meticulous details of Joseph’s instructions are followed exactly by his brothers.

And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ And it shall come about when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.” Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” And he took five men from among his brothers, and presented them to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” And they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock” (Genesis 46:31-47:6).

Pharaoh had already promised Joseph’s family the best of Egypt (45:18), but Joseph was careful to see to it that this became reality. His family was sent to Goshen even before he greeted them or they were presented before Pharaoh. Possession may have been nine points of the law in those days also. When Joseph reported the arrival of his family, he knew that Pharaoh would want an interview with them. They were told to stress the fact that they were shepherds and that this was their sole occupation, as it had been for generations. This would assure that they would be given the land of Goshen, not only because it would provide pasture for their flocks, but because it would keep the Hebrews somewhat removed from the Egyptians, who despised shepherds (46:34).

The conversation went as Joseph expected, and the result was that Pharaoh gave Joseph’s family the land of Goshen to dwell in. Furthermore, since Pharaoh owned herds also, some of Joseph’s family could be employed in caring for his livestock (verse 6). I doubt that this was the kind of job many of the Egyptians were willing to accept, disliking shepherds as they did.

But why was getting Goshen such an important objective that so many verses were devoted to the details of its acquisition, while such an emotional moment as the reunion of Jacob and Joseph was so sketchily described? Let me suggest several reasons, beginning with those least important. First, Goshen must have been some of the best land in Egypt. That is what Pharaoh promised (45:18) and what he professed to give (47:6). Second, it was located near enough to Joseph that he could see his family frequently:

And you shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have (Genesis 45:10).

By far the most important reason for settling in the land of Goshen was in order to keep his family isolated and insulated from the culture and religion of Egypt. Joseph was strong enough to survive life in the city and in the palace, but he had already been given an Egyptian wife, the daughter of a priest, and an Egyptian name (41:45). What would become of the nation Israel if they were brought into the city and integrated into Egyptian life? That is why Joseph ordered his brothers to say that their only occupation was that of a shepherd. Joseph saw the disdain for shepherds as a blessing in that it would keep the two cultures from merging. To have lived and worked in the city with the Egyptians would have been disastrous. Joseph, I believe, clearly saw this, and thus he was diligent to have his family settled in Goshen.97

A Patriarch Blesses a Pharaoh

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. So Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. And Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones (Genesis 47:7-12).

The time came for Joseph to present his father to Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s graciousness to Jacob no doubt reveals his respect for this aged man as well as his regard for Joseph. How strange it seems to read that Jacob blessed Pharaoh (47:7,10). While it is possible that this was little more than a greeting,98 I take it in the stronger (and much more common) sense of blessing, such as that in the next chapter (48:15,20). After all, the Abrahamic Covenant contained the promise that Abraham and his offspring would be a blessing to all those who blessed them:

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Is this not what we see taking place in chapter 47? Pharaoh had greatly exalted Joseph and blessed him. Now he is extending that blessing to all of Joseph’s family. Jacob responds by pronouncing a blessing upon Pharaoh. And indeed, Pharaoh was blessed by Israel. Joseph had virtually saved his kingdom, and in the next section he will obtain possession of almost all of Egypt’s wealth, including the people themselves (47:13-26). The presence of Israel in Egypt was a blessing to this emerging nation, but it also greatly blessed the Egyptians. The Abrahamic Covenant is finding partial fulfillment in this sojourn.

The most surprising feature of Jacob’s interview with Pharaoh is Jacob’s appraisal of his life to this point in time:

So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning” (Genesis 47:9).

This does not fit the contemporary concept of a good testimony. In essence, Jacob has told Pharaoh that his life has been short and sour. That isn’t a very good case for Christianity is it? The thrust of much evangelism today is that trusting Christ and following God makes your life happy, joyful, and free from trials and tribulation. If it hadn’t been for the testimony of Joseph, Pharaoh would have thought very poorly of the God of Israel.

And yet what Jacob said was true. His earthly beginnings were prophetic of his life. He struggled with his brother in the womb (25:21-26). He lived in a home where the parents were divided in their affection for their children (25:28). He gained the blessing of his father by deception and then was alienated from his family because of the hatred of Esau (chapter 27). He spent years in exile, serving his deceitful uncle Laban. He sought one wife and ended up with four (29:18ff.), and the outcome of this was continual competition and strife (29:30ff.). He finally fled from his uncle and eventually had to make a non-aggression pact with him lest further conflict arise (chapter 31). He suffered the loss of the purity of his daughter Dinah at Shechem and feared the reprisal of Canaanite kinsmen when his sons killed the men of the city and took the women, children, and cattle as booty (chapter 34). Rachel, his most beloved wife, died prematurely along the way to Bethlehem (35:16-19). His oldest son lay with one of his concubines (35:22), and his favorite son was tragically lost and presumed dead. Finally, there was the famine which threatened the existence of his family, and the second in command to Pharaoh appeared to be taking even his youngest son away. Jacob, you see, was correct in his evaluation of his life.

There was a significant difference between the suffering which Jacob alluded to and that which Joseph endured. Joseph’s suffering was undeserved; Jacob’s was not. Jacob suffered virtually every painful experience because of his willfulness and foolish choices. He deceived his brother. He chose to live near Shechem rather than to go up to Bethel. He unwisely showed preference for Joseph. The suffering which Jacob experienced was due almost entirely to his sinful decisions and responses.

Jacob did not see the hand of God in his adversity, but Joseph did. Jacob became more fearful and protective, while Joseph was forgiving and eager to serve others, even at his own expense. In his adversity Joseph grew closer to God, while Jacob seemed to drift farther and farther away. In this interview with Pharaoh all of these bitter experiences may have begun to come into focus. He was wrong when he had concluded that “all these things are against me” (42:36). His fears did not conform to the facts.

So Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. And Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones (Genesis 47:11-12).


I see this as the great turning point in Jacob’s life. Just as his sons had to come to the place where they acknowledged their sins and turned from their wicked ways, so Jacob seems to do here. I believe that he saw all of his sorrow as the result of his sin, but now he was beginning to see God in an entirely different light. The things which Jacob tried to withhold and protect (Rachel, Joseph, Benjamin) were the very things that were taken from him. It was only by giving up Benjamin that he gained him. And in giving up Benjamin he preserved not only Benjamin’s life, but that of the entire nation.

I see Jacob’s path of suffering and sorrow as the result of an entirely wrong concept of Christianity (if you prefer, we will call it a relationship with God). In chapter 28 God first outlined his promises to Jacob as the heir of the covenant with Abraham:

And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

This was an unconditional covenant, and the benefits were assured, regardless of Jacob’s actions. (Indeed, we must agree that all of the blessings Jacob has experienced thus far were in spite of his actions rather than because of them.) God’s promise was one of pure grace, but Jacob’s concept was one of works. He thought that God would bless him as he produced and gave God a piece of the action:

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house; and of all that Thou dost give me I will surely give a tenth to Thee” (Genesis 28:20-22).

Jacob’s vow was a bargain with God. His obedience and faithfulness to God were conditional. He would serve God only IF God protected him, prospered him, and brought him back to Canaan safely. In this case, Jacob would serve God and would give a tenth to Him. God never took Jacob up on this proposition. Never was the tithe given, nor was it asked for. Jacob was, in our words, a “wheeler-dealer,” and he could not be allowed to bargain with God.

You see, God does not work with men on the basis of works. His grace is not conditioned by our faithfulness, but guaranteed by His. He does not want or need our contributions; He desires only our trust and our worship. Of course there are commands to obey and standards to be kept, but these are not what merit God’s blessings. Instead, these are the proper response to grace. Indeed, these are the evidence of grace working in and through the believer.

As Jacob stood before Pharaoh, he recognized that all of his striving had been for naught. The land which he wrested from the hand of Esau was left behind. So far as I can tell he never enjoyed the fruits of his deceptive labors. The blessings which he did experience were not the result of his activity (such as peeling those poles, 30:31ff.), but of divine grace, sovereignly wrought (32:11-13). Now Jacob was old, and in the face of famine he was helpless and hopeless. As he entered Egypt, he could not rely on his former devices to provide for and protect him and his family. In short, Jacob had to trust in God and not himself.

This was the beginning of a whole new life. It was only 17 years, but it was life lived in the blessings which only grace can give. Those 17 years were the happiest, most fulfilling years of Jacob’s life. He did not live in Canaan, but he had entered into “Canaan rest,” that rest which is obtained only by faith, and it is forfeited by unbelief (cf. Hebrews 3-4).

Many Christians, like Jacob, spend the vast majority of their lives, as the song describes it, “Workin’ like the Devil, Servin’ the Lord.” Foolishly, they think that God’s blessing is obtained as we struggle to get ahead, even at the expense of others and of biblical standards of conduct. Perhaps your life, like Jacob’s, has been largely a disaster. It is not too late. Life for Jacob began at 130. Life for you can begin right now as you learn to rest in Him and to rely upon His promises. There will be striving, but it will be striving to do what is right, not striving to protect your rights.

The life of rest is not the life of ease or of freedom from pain and sorrow. Joseph, like Jacob, suffered much hardship, but Joseph suffered innocently and in a godly way. God does not offer you a life of ease, but a life of learning to rely upon Him, of looking for Him to exalt you in the proper time, rather than your getting ahead at the expense of others.

I find it noteworthy to observe that while the book of Genesis covers a period of thousands of years, almost half of the book is devoted to the life and times of Jacob. Abraham, the great man of faith, spans chapters 11-24; Isaac, chapters 21-35; Joseph, chapters 30-50; but Jacob outspans them all, from chapter 25 through chapter 50. Why is it that Joseph was such a great and godly man, and yet he had no tribe named after him? Why did he not have a son whose heir would be the priestly line? Why did Messiah not come forth from Joseph rather than Judah? I do not know, other than the fact that God chooses to accomplish His purposes through men like Jacob and Judah, and you and me. If Joseph is a type of Christ, then surely Jacob is a type of most Christians. One reason why so much time and space is allotted to Jacob (in my opinion) is that it took this long for him to grasp the matters of salvation and sanctification.

The primary lesson I have learned from the life of Jacob is the greatness of the grace of God. Surely it was nothing else, nothing less than grace which saved and sanctified Jacob. And so it is for you and me. We cannot bargain with God, for we have nothing to offer. We cannot get ahead by striving in our own strength, but only by resting in Him. We must labor to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:1), but by His strength, not ours. That is the lesson which Jacob learned. And this is the truth which made the last chapter of Jacob’s life the best. I do not know what chapter your life is in. Perhaps you are in one of the early chapters, perhaps the last. But this one thing I know: every chapter of our life can be a blessing if it is marked by humble dependence and grateful obedience.

Perhaps you have not yet come to know God as Jacob did. For you the message of the gospel is clear, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Recognize that your striving has only led to struggle and suffering. Believe that God’s offer is one of free grace, that it is only He who can give you peace, rest, and the assurance of blessing and salvation. That lesson is a prerequisite for walking with God. May you learn it today.

89 BDB says the Hebrew noun zebach “. . . seems not only to be used for all these special forms but also to include other festal sacrifices not defined in the codes of law. The ritual was the same for the entire class. They were all sacrifices for feasts in which the flesh of the victim was eaten by the offerers, except so far as the officiating priests had certain choice pieces and the blood and fat pieces went to the altar for God.” Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1966), p. 257.

90 “Now at least two parallel lists are available--disregarding the partial list of Exod. 6:14ff.--namely Num. 26 and I Chron. 4-6. A comparison with these indicates that certain of the names found above were in circulation also in another form, usually pretty much like the ones above, sometimes radically different as to form but similar in meaning.” H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1942), II, p. 1111.

91 “Beney Jisra’el (v. 8) cannot be translated ‘sons of Israel,’ for all that follows indicates that the broader term ‘descendants’ or ‘children of Israel’ is meant.” Ibid.

92 “However, from Numbers 26:38-40 and I Chronicles 7:6ff.; 8:1ff. it appears that some of these names are of grandsons, presumably included by anticipation (cf. Heb. 7:10).” Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1967), p. 209.

93 “In the account of the families of Israel at the time of Moses, which is given there, we find, with slight deviations, all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob whose names occur in this chapter, mentioned as the founders of the families, into which the twelve tribes of Israel were subdivided in Moses’ days.” C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968), I, p. 371.

94 “From all this it necessarily follows, that in the list before us grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob are named who were born afterwards in Egypt, and who, therefore, according to a view which we frequently meet with in the Old Testament, though strange to our modes of thought, came into Egypt in lumbis patrum. That the list is really intended to be so understood, is undoubtedly evident from a comparison of the ‘sons of Israel’ (ver. 8), whose names it gives, with the description given in Num. xxvi. of the whole community of the sons of Israel according to their fathers’ houses, or their tribes and families.” Ibid.

95 “But the text speaks of those who came out of Jacob (v. 26), while many more than these went down to Egypt, forming the nucleus of the ‘Israel people.’ The total of wives is a maximum of fourteen, Joseph’s wife being already in Egypt. A computable minimum of persons who went down to Egypt thus is 1 (Jacob) + 70 + 14 wives = 85. Yet remember that the women and children of Shechem were absorbed into the clan (34:29), some of whom no doubt became wives. Remember also that of the servants or slaves of Isaac’s house some, if not all, came to Jacob, swelling the number of those he already possessed (30:48), so that there may have been 300 or more persons attached to Jacob’s tent.” Harold G. Stigers, A Commentary on Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), p. 319.

96 “The rule by which the nation descending from the sons of Jacob was divided into tribes and families (mishpachoth) according to the order of birth was this, that as the twelve sons founded the twelve tribes, so their sons, i.e. Jacob’s grandsons, were the founders of the families into which the tribes were subdivided, unless these grandsons died without leaving children, or did not leave a sufficient number of male descendants to form independent families, or the natural rule for the formation of tribes and families was set aside by other events or causes.” Keil and Delitzsch, I, p. 372.

97 “Joseph saw the importance of emphasizing this, to ensure that Pharaoh’s goodwill would be to the family’s real benefit, not to their detriment by drawing them into an alien way of life at the capital.” Kidner, Genesis, p. 210.

98 “In vv. 7 and 10 the word ‘blessed’ does not fit this context; it is doubtful that Jacob would bless Pharaoh. However, there is another sense of barak which makes it more understandable. Since this is an audience, greetings, not blessings, are in order. This word is used, as in 28:1, for the appearance of anyone before another. It may well include the thought of peace as is the custom in Middle East territories, but not blessing in the sense of benediction. In v. 10 the sense would be ‘take one’s leave,’ that is, speak peace again at parting.” Stigers, Genesis, p. 319.

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