Genesis 46 Commentary

The migration to Egypt (46:1-47:12)

As they were leaving Canaan for Egypt, Jacob and his family stopped to worship God at Beersheba, the last town in Canaan. Here God told Jacob that, though he would die in Egypt, his descendants would

 

one day return and possess the land (46:1-4). Jacob’s family, at the time of the move to Egypt, numbered about seventy people (5-27).

Knowing that Egyptians did not like to live alongside people who kept sheep or cattle, Joseph told his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they were keepers of both sheep and cattle and that they had brought their flocks and herds with them. This would ensure that Pharaoh gave them a territory separate from the Egyptians, where they could live together and multiply without their culture and religion being too easily corrupted by the Egyptians (28-34). Joseph’s plan again succeeded, and the family settled in the fertile land of Goshen near the mouth of the river Nile (47:1-12).

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