GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Genesis 46-47
FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS FOR TODAY’S READING! Might wanna take a deep breath and grab a glass of water, too, because we’re making history!
Note, from here on out I will go back and forth between using the name Jacob and the name Israel. I tend to prefer Israel because YHWH named him that, but most of my bibles say Jacob so it depends on what I am pulling my notes together from. You’ve been warned.
I feel a great sense of peace in our readings today. Seeing all of these things unfold, knowing that the people were scared and uncertain but at every turn YHWH had a plan to save them and they just had to get to an individual point of submission before learning the next provision of his plan.
Of course, long term plans are being set into motion here as well, other situations in which God will deliver His people.
This is such a reminder to us to have a step-by-step faith. We may not know where the next step leads, but He is already there.
Genesis 46:1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had…
Israel trusted fully. He did not leave anything behind, he wasn’t planning on going back.
He took his journey with all that he had. We are to do the same. With all that we have. Don’t plan on turning back. Turn fully, wholeheartedly to the Father and set your mind and heart to follow His ways and live according to His wisdom. It is only in this submission, this placing of faith in Him that we will find Him Lord over our lives.
The Father promises us:
“You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with your WHOLE heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Genesis 46:2 After Israel departed on that journey and was already well in the process of getting there, he stopped at Beersheba and offered sacrifices to YHWH. He had already stepped out in faith but now we see that he harbored some deep concern and fear about either the trip itself or the outcome because the Father, in His constant Grace towards us, appeared to Jacob in a vision. He spoke words of comfort, hope, and the future to Israel. Reading this verse always gives me goose bumps!
Genesis 46 Throughout chapter 46 we are given an accounting of the exact people who journeyed with Israel to Egypt. I took a red pen and drew a box around the name of each of Israel’s sons. Remember, there are twelve.
We are also told Israel’s wives, and we can probably assume that list is somewhat complete but we have no real way of knowing. However, we are told in Genesis 46:26 that the number was 66 and that did not include the wives of the sons of Israel. Now “sons of Israel” refers collectively to sons and grandsons, etc. We also see that the only descendants mentioned are sons. It is absolutely safe to assume that there were many daughters among these tribes as well. This is a pattern of behavior in Biblical history wherein numbering a civilization only meant counting the men. This is important to know going forward because whenever we are given numbers of a tribe or group of people, we can almost always (unless told differently in the text) assume that number is at least doubled, but tripled is a more feasible starting point.
All told, he says, the number of persons with them who came into Egypt is 70, but I’m confident that number, as well, did not include the daughters and wives.
In fact, 70 is a symbolic number in Hebrew that we will see repeated throughout the Bible. Generally, whenever you see the number 70 that is a symbolic number that means a wholeness or the complete number. Now hear me, please, in telling you this, I am only trying to help convey cultural customs of the time. I am not in any way telling you that special numbers have powers or anything like that. I would caution you not to be led into any type of mysticism that involves numbers or stars or any of the sort.
Just as, in our time, if someone does a great job and we use that 100 symbol, to mean perfect, great job! So the number 70 is being used in this sense to tell us that Israel brought his entire family with him, the whole family, it’s like saying “Well he brought 66 of his sons and grandsons but in addition to that, he brought the whole crew as well!”
We see this passage telling us there were 66 men who came. Now, as we just discussed, out of those 66 men many of them were grown and had wives. There is no telling how many daughters but it could easily have been a daughter per male and a wife per male! So this further tells us that the number 70 is symbolic and the context tells us that the whole of Israel’s family journeyed with him. He had no intention of returning and so no one was left behind.
Genesis 47:7 Jacob blesses Pharaoh
Jacob blessing the Pharoah might seem a little out of place but there was great regard for elders in this time and Jacob was likely one of the oldest people the Pharaoh had ever met.
Historical records of the time show that Hebrews outlived Egyptians by vast margins. Estimated lifespans of Egyptians was just a little over 30 years. We see further evidence of this when Pharaoh asks Israel how old he is. It would likely be appropriate to read a bit of wonder into Pharaoh’s tone when he asks that question.
Genesis 47:9 I love Israel’s answer when asked about his age “The days and years of my sojourning are 130 years.”
Sojourning. We are sojourners in more ways than one.
The more I learn about the sojourners in YHWH’s Word the more I identify with them, the more I appreciate those who would allow our spiritual ancestors to sojourn with them, and the more I understand the proper placement of our world today in relationship to the kingdom of YHWH.
How many are the days of your sojourning? I made a little note asking and answering that question on this page in my Bible.
Pack your bags, sojourner. We’ve a wonderful journey ahead of us!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good. ~1 Thess 5:21