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Genesis 46: What Happens in Egypt Won't Stay in Egypt

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Genesis 46: What Happens in Egypt Won't Stay in Egypt

Journey through the Book of Genesis with me.  The plan is simple. Read ONE chapter a day. Blog or journal 5* things you learned that you previously didn't know and ask 5* questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week. Let's go!

** You'll probably learn way more than 5 things and have more than 5 questions about each chapter. That's totally fine. The more the merrier! 

GENESIS 46:1-34


QUESTION 1: In Genesis 32:28 and 35:10, God renamed Jacob, “Israel”, so, why is He still referring to him as “Jacob, Jacob” in verse 2?

QUESTION 2: God encouraging Joseph to “…not be afraid to go down to Egypt” suggests that Jacob was hesitant about the relocation. Why would Jacob have been afraid to go to Egpypt?

QUESTION 3: How is it that the Israelites ended up becoming slaves in a place that God permitted Jacob to relocate to?  

QUESTION 4: How did Joseph balance his devotion to God in a culture of idol worship, especially considering that he married Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On?

QUESTION 5: Why was it necessary for Joseph to craft the narrative about his brothers and father being shepherds? Why this particular line of work?


INSIGHT 1: Beersheba was a spiritually significant location for Isaac. Both his father (Isaac – genesis 26:24-25) and grandfather (Abraham – genesis 21:33) had encountered God in this location at turning points in their life. Jacob’s about to transition from the home he’s always known to a new territory, since Beersheba was the southernmost outpost of Canaan on the way to Egypt, Jacob paused to honor God. 

INSIGHT 2: Packing up and heading into Egypt was almost always a bad choice for the Patriarchs (Genesis 26:2). Abraham goes there in Genesis 12 it and it backfires when his wife is temporarily taken from him. Jacob, though eager to reunite with his son, may have been hesitant to go. It’s probably for this reason that God shows up in a vision to reassure him that He would go with him (v.3-4) just as he had many years earlier in Genesis 28:12-17. 

INSIGHT 3: In Genesis 13:13-16, God tells Abraham that his descendants (Jacob’s children’s offspring) would become slaves in a distant land (Egypt) for 400 years, but would be delivered. That prophecy is what is starting to unfold in Genesis 46:1 when Jacob packs his entire household to relocate to Egypt. 

INSIGHT 4: Of all the 12 sons, Dan (v.23) is the only person with just one child, Hushim. 

INSIGHT 5: Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, the oldest child from his favored wife, Rachel. His heart was ripped to pieces in Genesis 37:33-35 when he got word that Joseph had been killed. This moment in verse 29 is what Jacob had hoped for for the last 20 years, “He [Joseph] presented himself to him [Jacob] and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.”

INSIGHT 6: Judah once again demonstrates the leadership role he would assume over the family by being the one sent ahead of Jacob’s entourage. This anticipates the blessing Jacob would pronounce on him and the future Messiah who would come from his bloodline. 

INSIGHT 7: It’s possible that Jacob’s huge caravan and large entourage might have been perceived as spies or threats to national security by the Egyptians, hence why Joseph was specific in helping them craft the “we-are-simple-shepherds” narrative? 

INSIGHT 8: God is never in a rush to bring to fruition His promises, but when it does arrive, it shows up like a juggernaut. For example: The disciples of Jesus are dwindled to a few dozen after Jesus’ arrest. On the morning of the day of Pentecost, they are numbering 120. By the end of the day of Pentecost, there are 3000 Christians. By the end of that year, the author of Acts doesn’t even bother to count anymore, but simply states that more and more were being added to the Church. A similar scenario plays out in God’s promise to make Abraham into a great nation. 

  • It takes at least 25 years before Abraham had Isaac.
  • It took another 60 years for Isaac to have Jacob.
  • It took 50-60 years for Jacob to have 12 sons and one daughter.
  • But then, in the 400 years Jacob’s household lived in Egypt, they grew around 2.4 million.