Bible Study

Genesis XXVIII: the deaths of Jacob and Joseph

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

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Jacob blesses his sons

Scripture in focus: Genesis 49

49:1-2 > Jacob calls his sons together to pronounce a blessing upon each one. Israel was about to speak to his sons, and he did not want them to only listen, but to take heed of what he was about to say.

49:3-4 > Being the firstborn, Reuben had claims to the inheritance rights of the firstborn, but he defiled it through pride and immorality by laying with Bilhah, the mother of his brothers Dan and Naphtali (35:22). “Thou shall not excel”: The birthright and the double portion was given to Joseph; Reuben had one. He did not excel in honor, wealth, riches, or in numbers (Deuteronomy 33:6) all because his eyes were set on temporal fleshy pleasures rather than on God. His tribe never did excel and no important person (judge, king, or prophet) came from the tribe of Reuben. 

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49:5-7 > The second-born son Simeon and the third-born Levi are also harshly reprimanded for their evil deeds. They used circumcision (their covenant with God) to cruelly kill and avenge the rape of their sister Dinah. This only brought shame and disgrace to the house of Israel. The tribe of Simeon became the smallest in the second census of Moses (Numbers 26:14), were left out from the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:8) and shared territory with Judah later on (Joshua 19:1-9). As for the tribe of Levi, they were scattered throughout Israel and because of their loyalty to God and by His grace (Exodus 32:26), they became a priestly tribe and the Lord was their inheritance.

49:8-12 > Judah’s name signifies praise. David and Solomon were of this tribe as well as the Messiah Who is referred to as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” in Revelation 5:5. Jesus is referred to as Shiloh, the name meaning, “He whose right it is”. This tribe prospered greatly and had the largest population in Moses’ census (Numbers 1:27; 26:22). Judah was greatly blessed in material abundance and their land was a wine-growing country (Song of Solomon 1:14). We can see Christ through the everlasting blessings of Judah!

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49:13 > The tribe of Zebulun was situated by the seashore (between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee) and benefited greatly from the trade route, the Via Maris.

49:14-15 > The tribe of Issachar is compared to an ass for its strength and for also their use in farming. They were strong, yes, but they would enjoy the good of the land and not strive for it, hence why they were mostly always put into servitude.

49:16-18 > Dan signifies “to judge” and one such notable judge that came from this tribe was Samson. Dan shall be a serpent by the way: This was certainly a troublesome tribe for they introduced idolatry into Israel (Judges 18:30). In 1 Kings 12:26-30, Jeroboam set up an idolatrous golden calf in Dan and later on, Dan, unfortunately, became a center of idol worship (Amos 8:14). Dan was left out of the listing of tribes regarding the 144,000 in Revelation 7:5-8; however, it is the first tribe listed in the millennial roll call of the tribes in Ezekiel 48. “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”: The salvation of Samson was a temporary one whereas the salvation of the Messiah is an everlasting one. Jacob was ready to rest in Jesus. 

49:19: The tribe of Dan was a warlike one and this tribe supplied many troops for David (1 Chronicles 12:14).

49:20 > The tribe of Asher (which signifies happy or blessed) occupied great land from Zidon to Carmel of the sea; from the great sea to Asor, and even to Naason. They were fruitful in oil, wine, and wheat.

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49:21 > Naphtali certainly give beautiful or goodly words for their land was in the key portion near the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus did much of his teaching and ministry (Matthew 4:12-16).

49:22-26 > Joseph was a type of Christ. Although he was shot at (The archers have bitterly grieved him), he was still a prosperous and fruitful bough. His strength came not of himself, but from God. Jacob listed 5 wonderful titles for God while pouring out his blessing over Joseph: The Shepherd; the Stone of Israel; the Almighty; the mighty God of Jacob and the God of your father

49:27 > The tribe of Benjamin was a warlike tribe. Examples can be found through Ehud in Judges 3:15-23; Saul (1 Samuel 9:1; 14:47-52) and Paul (Acts 8:1-3) who was a ravenous prosecutor. Mordecai and Esther were also from this tribe.

49:28 > Jacob concludes the blessings of his sons aka the 12 tribes of Israel.

49:29-32 > Jacob’s dying instructions are carried out later in 50:12-14. He was the last of the great patriarchs (of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) although God rose up other great men to use after them. Bible scholars put Jacob’s death at ca. 1858 B.C.

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Joseph dies

Scripture in focus: Genesis 50

50:1-3 > Jacob is embalmed and mourned for 70 days among the nation of Egypt.  Embalming is not a Hebrew custom, but rather an Egyptian one. The Hebrews do not embalm but bury their dead. In this case, it was necessary to embalm Jacob in order for his corpse to be carried and buried in the land of Canaan.

50:4-6 > After the mourning period, Joseph seeks the Pharaoh’s approval to go up to Canaan to bury his father. 

50:7-11 > It was a grand and honorable funeral procession fit for a king. The Egyptians did this because of their love and respect for Joseph. There was a seven-day mourning period for Jacob at the threshing floor of “Atad”. Seven means spiritually complete. Abel-mizraim or “Mourning of Egypt” was so named by the locals perhaps due to seeing so many Egyptians, they thought it was an Egyptian who died.

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50:12-14 > Jacob is buried in the cave of the field of Machpelah by his sons and everyone returns to Egypt. 

50:15 > Seeing that Jacob was now dead and buried, Joseph’s brothers yet again developed another fear through guilt. They thought that Joseph hated them and he pretended to get along with them for the sake of their father and now that Jacob was dead, a new hatred was going to take root. In the following chapters, we’ll see how this is further from the truth.

50:16-18 > Joseph’s brothers concocted a story through fear and their guilty conscience. Their action causes Joseph to weep for they thought lowly of him. He had already forgiven them and put the past behind. In the 18th verse, the brothers decided to go for themselves and humbly fall before Joseph (37:9).

50:19-21 > “Fear not: for am I in the place of God?”: Here, Joseph reminds his brothers that he would not arrogate himself with the power and vengeance that belongs to the Almighty. Given his status in Egypt as a high-ranking official, his word would’ve been good as gold, but Joseph knew that he was not God. Besides, whatever evil man may bring against us, God uses it for good (Romans 8:28).

Joseph comforts his brothers through his word and showed compassion. He loved them, forgave them, and provided for them. He is a beautiful shining example of how we should live with our family, enemies, and neighbors. 

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50:22-24 > Every time I read these closing chapters of Joseph’s life, I tend to get a little teary-eyed. Joseph was basically the first person I admired greatly when I was younger and was first introduced to Bible stories in primary school. Had none of those events occurred in his young life, then the Messiah couldn’t have come forth (see additional notes below). So, Joseph lived to be 110 years old and saw his great grandchildren’s children. In his last days on this earth, Joseph was content and happy. 

50:25-26 > Joseph died as he lived: firmly trusting in God to carry out His promises. It was by faith that he trusted in things not yet seen. According to Hebrews 11:22, Joseph was never buried in Egypt, but he was put in a coffin for 400 or so years until it was taken back to Canaan by Moses (Exodus 13:19) and buried by Joshua at Shechem (Joshua 24:32).

Bible scholars put the death of this remarkable man at ca. 1804 B.C. 

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And this is where the Book of Beginnings ends. 

Up next: A look back…

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Reuben is a great example of how the first can be last (Matthew 19:30).

^ Even when forgiven, the sins of our past can come back to hurt/haunt us for they may carry dreadful consequences that we have to face for a lifetime as we saw with Reuben and Simeon and Levi.

^ Dan shall be a serpent by the way: Because it was the tribe of Dan that introduced idol worship to Israel, some Bible scholars think that “serpent by the way” suggests that the Antichrist comes from this tribe based on Daniel 11:37 and Jeremiah 8:16.

^ Joseph lived a remarkable life because he trusted firmly in God. Had his brothers never sold him, he would’ve never gone to Egypt. Had he not gone to Egypt, he never would’ve been sold to Potiphar. Had he not been sold to Potiphar, he never would’ve been accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife. Had she never falsely accused him, he never would’ve been put in prison where he meets the baker and the butler. Had he never met them, he never interprets their dreams, never gets to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams, is never made Prime Minister, will never consult and save lives during the severe famine. Had he never gone to Egypt to go through what made him who he was because of God, then his family would’ve surely died from the famine in Canaan. Had this family ceased to exist because of death by famine, then the Messiah can’t come forth and Jesus never came. Now, take a moment and imagine, what if Jesus never came?

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Heavenly Father, we bless and thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to give us hope. We also thank You for Joseph and the role he played in allowing the Messiah to come forth through his faithful actions in Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

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Bible Study

Genesis XXVI: Jacob learns that Joseph is alive.

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

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Joseph makes himself known

Scripture in focus: Genesis 45 

45:1-3 > Emotionally charged, Joseph breaks down in front of everyone. He orders the Egyptians away from his presence and reveals to his brothers who he truly was. His brethren were sent into a state of shock that they were not able to say anything for a while. They were terrified for he was supposed to be dead years ago! They were probably anticipating the punishment to come thinking Joseph was after revenge. 

45:4-8 > Joseph gives his testimony about God’s divine intervention in his life. He did not hold a grudge or seek revenge for overtime (all the years he spent in Egypt) he realized that he was part of God’s plan to get the children of Israel into Egypt (via the famine) for 400 years. This was the fulfillment of that prophecy. v. 5, 7 & 8: “And God sent me” Joseph acknowledges that God was in control of his life and every situation and because of this, all things worked together for good.

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45:9-15 > Joseph tells his brothers to go home and to bring their father to Egypt to seek protection from the famine. In v. 9, he attributes his worldly grandeur, power and wealth to God and not Pharaoh and rightly so. V. 10: the land of Goshen was suitable for cattle, but it was loathed by the Egyptians. It was an Egyptian region not far from the court at Memphis, around the Wadi Tumilat, a valley that was about 40 miles long.

45:16-24 > Pharaoh blessed the sons of Jacob for Joseph’s sake. He was delighted that Joseph’s brothers had come and it had made Joseph so happy. I guess it’s safe to say that the news made the Egyptians happy for they were grateful to Joseph for his plan to keep them alive during the famine. 

45:25 > The boys arrive home safely and I can imagine Jacob’s joy at seeing them.

45:26 > They relate everything to their father and Jacob was speechless at the good news of Joseph being alive for he had been declared dead 22 years ago!

45:27-28 > The band of brothers told Jacob of Joseph’s achievements in Egypt and when he saw the magnificent wagons sent to carry him and his household to Egypt, Jacob’s countenance became cheerful for the son he was depressed over for so long was yet alive and well.  

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Jacob and family journeys to Egypt

Scripture in focus: Genesis 46

46:1 > Jacob stopped at Beer-sheba to honor God with sacrifices. Both Abraham (21:33) and Isaac (26:25) had erected altars there.

46:2-3 > God spoke to Jacob regarding the journey to Egypt bringing him assurance through a dream just as He did when Jacob was about to leave the Promised Land (28:12-17). God promised to make a great nation of Jacob in Egypt. Also, Jacob knew about the prophecy given to Abraham telling of the Israelites’ 400 years servitude in Egypt (15:13).

46:4 > “I will go down with thee into Egypt” this promise was enough to silence any fears Jacob might have harbored. After all, God is not limited to one place, He is EVERYWHERE! “I will surely bring thee up again This will be fulfilled after Jacob’s death since God is referring to the nation of Israel and not a person (Jacob). Egypt was never meant to be a permanent home for Israel. “and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes” A promise of his beloved son caring for him until his dying day.

46:5 > Being encouraged by the beautiful promises of God, Jacob proceeds with his journey. 

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46:6-7 > They arrived in Egypt safe and well. Biblical historians put the date at ca. 1877 B.C.; the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 430 years until the Exodus in 1445 B.C.

46:8-27 > A genealogical register of Jacob’s lineage in Egypt. 70 people grew to be millions at the exodus. It only takes a little for God to work with. In Acts 7:14, it is recorded as 75 people entering Egypt. It is not wrong if you add 5 more sons or grandsons of Joseph born in Egypt according to Bible scholars.

46:28 > Judah, of the Messianic line, was sent ahead to inform Joseph of his father’s arrival and to direct him a meeting place in Goshen for Jacob needed directions to find the area.

46:29 > Father and son are emotionally reunited after over 20 years! Joseph held onto his father for a good while as he wept with joy.

46:30 > After seeing and touching the apple of his eyes, Jacob could now be content to die. But he lived after this emotional reunion 17 more years (47:28).

46:31-34 > Joseph informs his family about his plans to ask Pharaoh for the area of Goshen, a place separate from the mainstream of Egyptian society. Also, Joseph’s father and brethren are shepherds and he is not embarrassed by their occupation. Goshen was abandoned with good pasture. God has already provided the perfect place for His children to dwell in this foreign land. Goshen was also the nearest part of the land to Canaan and perhaps nearer to Joseph who might have dwelled at Heliopolis or On. 

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Up next: Joseph meets with Pharaoh and brings his sons to Jacob. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The famine lasted for 7 years. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in chapter 45, only 2 of the 7 years had come to pass thus far (45:11). These 7 years of famine is like the 7 years of tribulation about to come on earth, and like Joseph, we must be prepared.

^ Go back again to 45:18. Dwell on it. Can you see a type and shadow here in what Joseph was promising his brothers and what Jesus promises His own? Jesus is preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3) and He’ll see to our every need. There will be a river of crystal clear water and a tree that bears fruit every month of the year (Revelation 22:1-2). How can we not want this? Also, reread 45:20. When Joseph’s brethren were told not to use their material things as an excuse to stay in Canaan, I see this as God telling us to leave our earthly things behind if we want to begin a new (and eternal) life with Him. In 45:22, the change of clothes shadows that when we leave this earth, we will put on our white robes of righteousness (Revelation 19:7-8). In v. 24, Joseph warns his brothers to keep a strait path (cross-reference Matthew 7:14). In other words, do not make things of this temporal world cause you to stray.

^ Overall, Chapter 45 is a shadow of beautiful promising things to come!

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer