Bible Study

Exodus III: The return to Egypt

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I’m happy to finally return to the study of Exodus after the lapse in concentration due to severe headaches. Praise God for this period for despite the pain, I got to truly enjoy rest. To pick up where we’ve left off, let’s turn our Bibles to the fourth chapter. 

Aaron joins Moses

Scripture in focus: Exodus 4

4:1 > Even after the lengthy conversation/explanation that Moses had with God in 3:14-22, Moses is still doubtful. Although God promised that He’ll be with him, Moses panics over the people not believing him.

4:2-5 > Miracles are signs for those that didn’t believe, and God gives Moses the power to work miracles so that His people may believe starting with the rod that became a part of the many miracles pertaining to the delivery of God’s people. Here, we see it become a serpent that Moses runs away from, but when God commanded him to take it by the tail which is the most dangerous place to handle a snake, Moses had enough faith to do so and come away unharmed.

We might ask, where was this faith in the first place when God came to him? God was building it up. And why snakes? Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the Egyptians had a fascination with snakes… as I do.

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4:6-8 > Leprosy was a dreaded disease that was thought to be incurable. In these verses, we see Moses puts his hand into his bosom and when he takes it out, it’s leprous. Again, he places said hand in the same place, but this time when he takes it out, it’s back to normal. A thing or two I took away from this:

* Moses was never to work miracles by his own power or for his own praise. He was supposed to work them by the power of God and for His glory.

* By the power of God, Moses would bring diseases upon Egypt.

4:9 > If the two miracles were doubted, then the water would become blood. This foreshadowed the first plague. Since Egypt was dry land, water was of utmost importance to them, so much, that they worshiped the Nile.

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4:10-12 > After all of these things, Moses comes up with another excuse: “I can’t speak well.” What he means is that he is unable to articulate his thoughts in flowing speech, and I can relate for I write better than I speak. However, Moses was brought up in an Egyptian palace and was exposed to one of the best education systems in his time, and he was indeed mighty in words and deeds (Acts 7:22). He didn’t need a translator or a course in public speaking, all Moses needed to do was trust the Lord. If the Lord could’ve spoken to him through a burning bush, God could speak through him in front of Pharaoh.

God is not interested in our abilities for He’s the One Who gives them to us anyway. He’s not interested in our eloquent speeches, just our willingness.

4:13-16 > Moses tries to wriggle out one last time by saying that he’s up to the task if God insists, but it’ll be better if God sends someone else. God is rightly angry at Moses’ unwillingness, but He commissions Moses’ brother Aaron for the role of spokesperson. God already knew that Moses was going to throw the Book of Excuses at Him, so He already had Aaron on his way. 

4:17-18 > Despite Moses’ unwillingness, he had the “staff of God” and was given the power to perform the signs and miracles. Aaron was just the mouthpiece. Moses then seeks permission from his father-in-law to leave, so he could go and accomplish God’s purpose. 

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4:19-20 > There was no one waiting to kill Moses upon his return to Egypt for the ones that sought his life were all dead. Moses takes his wife, sons, and the “staff of God” to return to the dreaded Egypt.

4:21 > God tells Moses how events will unfold in Egypt. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart shows God’s direct involvement in the affairs of men so that His purpose will be accomplished. Pharaoh refuses to believe in the One True God, for he was a god himself, and so, God had to harden his heart – later on, Pharaoh will harden his own heart – to bring judgement upon a mortal masquerading as a god on earth and for resisting His will.

4:22-23 > The firstborn son was special and sacred to the ancient Egyptians and God considered the nation of Israel his firstborn son and the Pharaoh was not going to have it. Who was this God? Why is an entire nation special to Him? Pharaoh was considered the favored son of his false god Ra, but God was going to let the mortal ruler know that Israel was His covenant people, and He was going to reveal Himself through them. In order for Israel to truly serve God, they needed to leave the world (Egypt) behind.

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4:24-26 > God inflicts an illness upon Moses for he had neglected his duty by not circumcising his second son. Zipporah didn’t approve of this practice as we can see from these verses, but Moses is the head of the household, and he knew the importance of this rite, so he shouldn’t have listened to his wife. Zipporah eventually performed the rite swiftly for she understood the danger of her husband’s life albeit repulsed. She threw the skin at Moses’ feet showing her disapproval of him as a husband because of this blood covenant with God. God let Moses go, but Zipporah was in her feelings still expressing her dislike for the Hebrew practice.

4:27-28 > Aaron and Moses reunites on Mount Horeb and became brothers in ministry that very day. Moses told his brother everything concerning the mission from God and the signs he has been given. 

4:29-31 > The brothers met with the elders and everything functions smoothly: Aaron the effective mouthpiece, Moses the demonstrator. The people believe, and they humbled themselves before God and worships Him.

Related scripture reading:

^ John 14:11 > Believe in Jesus for the very works’ sake. Because of the many signs and wonders, the people who followed Jesus believed. 

Additional Notes

^ To expand a little on 4:2-5 where God uses the simple shepherd’s staff in Moses’ hand, God likes to use what’s in our hands to bring glory to Him. In John 6:9, God uses the five loaves and two fishes in a boy’s hand to feed many. He used the stone and sling in David’s hand to bring down Goliath (1 Samuel 17:49). There are a few other examples throughout the Bible.

^ The book of Exodus attributes the hardening process ten times to God (verse 21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17), and nine times to the Pharaoh himself (7:13-14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35). The first two references (verses 21 and 7:3), state that God “will harden” the Pharaoh’s heart without specifying when that will be. The next ten references (the only exception is in 9:12), indicate that the Pharaoh hardened his own heart (via bible-studys.org).

Reference/Aids

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Bible Study

Exodus II: Moses

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The book of Exodus begins with enslaved Israelites in Egypt. Joseph was no more and his good deeds for Egypt was a thing of distant memory. The Pharaoh decided to oppress the Israelites and ordered the midwives to kill the male children. Later, the Pharaoh became even crueler in wanting to kill the male children. God’s people felt deserted and in need of a leader.

And then a baby was born.

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Moses kills the Egyptian within him

Scripture in focus: Exodus 2

2:1-2 > Moses is born. He is healthy and utterly beautiful. His parents’ names are listed later in Exodus 6:20 as Amram and Jochebed. Moses was hidden for three months as an act of faith (Hebrews 11:23). The 3 months that he was hidden reminds me of Christ’s 3 days in the tomb.

2:3-4 > The ark was a vessel of divine deliverance and when Moses is placed in an ark of bulrushes (a floating basket), we see God’s hand in every detail. God sealed Noah in the ark for safety; Moses is placed in an ark of safety. It was placed where the Egyptian women of the palace came to dip as part of their religious ritual so it was no accident that she placed her son there and had big sister Miriam to guard it from afar off.

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2:5-6 > Pharaoh’s daughter eventually comes along, sees the basket and have one of her maidens fetch it. Upon opening it, the princess realizes that it was a Hebrew baby. But then that baby wept and it melted her heart. She accepts this baby as if it was a gift from Hapi, god of the Nile. The flags mentioned were weeds that grew near the bank in the water.

2:7-9 > Moses’ mother trusted God in hiding him for 3 months, and she trusted Him again in setting her baby out on the river. God rewarded her faith wonderfully! Jochebed gets to train him in the early years and get paid for it, no background check needed.

2:10 > After the child is fully weaned, he is adopted by the princess and is called Moses because he was drawn out of the water. A fitting name for later, he’ll draw God’s people out of Egypt.

2:11-12 > Moses is 40 (Acts 7:23-25) when he witnesses an Egyptian slave driver beating a Hebrew slave and something just snaps in him. He feels the need to avenge his brethren and so, he kills the slave driver and buries the body in the hot, unforgiving sand. This was a hasty act upon Moses’ part.

That day, Moses kills the Egyptian inside him and buried it in the sand, but he was yet to find his identity as a Hebrew. He went from being a prince to a fugitive in that very moment.

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2:13-14 > When Moses tries to intervene in a violent dispute between two Hebrew men, he is put in place: “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” First, he is a murderer and then a meddler? Moses was in fact a great prince and judge for Israel, but they did not want him. Here, we see Moses being rejected by his own people as a type of Christ for when Jesus came into the world, He was rejected by His very own people despite His royal background. Just as Jesus had to come out of the Palace and into a humble place before delivering mankind, Moses had to come out of the glorious palace and into a humble place.

Moses had intended for no one to see him kill the Egyptian, but as the saying goes, “be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

2:15 > When the Pharaoh learned that Moses killed an Egyptian, his heart changed rather quickly. Moses might’ve been adopted by the princess and given an Egyptian upbringing, but he was not born an Egyptian. He flees to Midian (meaning “brawling” or “contention”) which becomes a place of refuge for him.

2:16-17 > Coming to Midian, Moses meets the daughters (7) of a priest in Midian. Moses helped them water their flocks. This is a BIG change from the life Moses enjoyed as one of the royal family and being waited on hand and foot. The desert was his working years. It was in the desert that he learned humility; how to serve.

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2:18-20 > The priest of Midian was Reuel (meaning “friend of God”) also known as Jethro (a title meaning his excellence), a worshiper of the true God. Since Moses still had his Egyptian clothes on (after all, he fled Egypt with the clothes on his back, and he was a well-educated Egyptian), the women assumed that he was Egyptian.

2:21-22 > Moses becomes part of Jethro’s family by marrying Zipporah (“sparrow”) and having a son Gershom (“refugee”). He settled in Midian and now had a family. He was a shepherd, an utmost humbling occupation.

2:23-25 > God hears the cries of the Israelites and remembers them. After all, He is the One Who hears, remembers, and sees. 400 years of misery comes to a climax after Thutmose III (1483-1450 B.C.) dies. Why do we wait until things get badly out of hand to cry out to God?

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God calls Moses to lead His people

Scripture in focus: Exodus 3

3:1 > For 40 years, Moses lived as a shepherd in the desert. Even at this point in his life, he doesn’t even have a flock to call his own. He is now 80 and God has a special task for him.

3:2-3 > The Angel of the LORD appears in the burning bush. This messenger is the Lord Himself taking to Moses (Acts 7:30). This fire was not consumable and it was probably the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:11). The sight was so unusual that Moses had to investigate why the burning bush was not… burning.

3:4 > Our Lord is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)! 🙌 Notice that God did not speak to Moses until He had his full attention. Sometimes, His Word doesn’t touch our heart as it should for we neglect to give it full attention; I can testify to this. Also, note that the first words God spoke to Moses were his very own name reminding him that although he might’ve been forgotten by men, he was important to God. God remembered him even after all of these years. The double call (Moses, Moses) implies a sense of urgency, just as when God called Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41) and Saul (Acts 9:4)

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While Moses was tending to his father-in-law’s flock of sheep in the mountains of Midian, God spoke to Him via a burning bush. A few years later, Moses recieved the 10 Commandments there.

3:5 > Wherever the presence of God is, it is considered holy. The area near the bush was God’s house and it had to be treated with great respect. Moses was coming even closer to inspect this burning phenomenal when God told him to do two things:

1. Don’t come any nearer: God is holy and there’ll always be a distance between God and mortals. No matter how beautiful, rich, or perfect we might be, we’ll never be equal to God.

2. Remove your sandals: In Afro-Asia culture, people do not wear shoes inside a home. Moses was in God’s house, and he had to show respect by the removal of his shoes. 

3:6 > The great I AM! God’s opening words take us back to 2:24 showing that He has remembered His people. Moses hides his face in reverent fear.

3:7-10 > God explains His plans to Moses and what Moses’ place in the plan will be. God is compassionate and He cares for His people. I love where He says “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians” (v. 8), for it points to a future  incarnation of Jesus coming to deliver us from worldy bondage to salvation (John 1:14). Here, God is going to deliver His people through Moses who’ll be an instrument. 

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3:11-12 > Moses’ answer is a question, and we immediately see that he has some doubts about taking on the task that God has set before him. All God wants is a willing vessel, and He’ll do the rest, so when/if He comes to us with a task, remember that with Him, ANYTHING is possible and reply, “Here I am, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). We need to be willing to be used by God; humble and willing in His presence, and He’ll do the rest. God didn’t answer Moses’ “Who am I?” question, instead, He takes Moses’ focus off himself and places it where it should be – on Him. When Moses questions his ability, God promises to be with him. He was very patient with Moses. 

3:13-14 > Moses wonders what he’ll tell the Israelites about Who has sent him. There are 3 primary names of God:

1. Elohim (God) – This name emphasizes His strength and creative power and it occurs 31 times in Genesis 1

2. Jehovah/Yahweh – Often translated as Lord in the KJV, this Name is used to express God’s self-existence.

3. Adonai (Lord) – Simply “master”.

Moses did not understand enough about God’s authority, but that is soon solved when God reveals Himself as “I AM” (Yahweh). This name shows that God simply is, and points to His self-existence. He is unchanging, uncreated, and eternal. “I AM” speaks of absolute presence, breathes of His timelessness, and cements His existence. With a statement so powerful as “I AM”, how then, can we gloss over His existence as we LITERALLY see His intimate woven detail throughout His wonderful works of Creation. He is! (Hebrews 11:6)

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3:15 > “The LORD God of your fathers”This ain’t no new god. This is the God that placed Noah in an ark to keep him safe, that walked with Abraham, the One that kept His promise to Hagar, and Who was with Joseph in Egypt. He is everlasting and eternal. He’ll never die for He is the same throughout (Hebrews 13:8). In times of despair, “I AM” becomes what we lack: when we’re hungry, He says, “I AM the bread of life”. When we’re in the dark, He says, “I AM the light”. “I AM” announces His presence and invites the interested to get to know Him (Revelation 3:20), to taste and see that He is good.

Life in Him is eternal (John 8:24).

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3:16-17 > God instructs Moses what to tell the elders of Israelites. His plan is to deliver His children from bondage so they could worship Him and be established as His chosen people. If we want to start a new life in Christ, we must believe that there is a Promised Land and be willing to leave the world (Egypt) behind. We cannot serve God while we’re caught up in the world (Egypt); we must leave worldliness behind if we truly want to worship God.

3:18 > God instructs Moses what to tell Pharaoh.

3:19-20 > God warns Moses that Pharaoh will not listen, but he’ll let the people go after God performs His miracles. God already knew that Pharaoh wouldn’t let His people go easily, so He’ll bring great judgment against Egypt to persuade him. He shows Moses that it’s going to be a battle. The great symbolism here shows that we, Christians (Israelites) too, are in a spiritual warfare fighting against principalities (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is fighting with all his might to keep us in the world, but we can overcome the world through Christ and follow God. Pharaoh (symbolic of Satan) would fight to keep the Hebrews under subjection to him.

3:21-22 > God tells Moses how the Israelites will plunder the Egyptians; they were not going to leave empty-handed (Genesis 15:14; Deuteronomy 15:12-14). After all, the Hebrews’ fight was not with the Egyptian people, but against the cruel rulership which made them slaves. Most likely, they would’ve come into favor with some of the Egyptians. Since the Hebrews were slaves and without resources, the silver and gold were definitely necessary to finance the building of the tabernacle.

Related scripture reading:

^ Acts 7:22 > Moses was educated in all things Egyptian given that he was raised as a prince.

^ Hebrews 11:24 > When he becomes of age, Moses is refused to be called “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”.

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Additional Notes

^ Moses in Egyptian most likely meant “to give birth to/born”; the Hebrew equivalent means “to be drawn out”.

^ The Midianites, who were descendants of Abraham and Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4), settle in the Arabian Peninsula along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqabah.

^ In 3:1, we see Moses leading the flock of sheep to Mount “Horeb” (Sinai). This is also the place where God gave Israel His gift of the Law.

^ The Israelites must be willing to be delivered. They have to want Moses to deliver them before he could deal with the Pharaoh. We must be willing to give up the world (Egypt) before Jesus can deliver us. Just as Jesus had to deal with Satan to defeat and deliver us from our sinful bondage, Moses had to deal with the Pharaoh (Satan) to deliver the Israelites.

^ God had planned for the deliverance of both Moses and for the Israelites. The details in His plan was flawlessly executed. God did this.

Reference/Aids

* Prayer

* The Holy Spirit

* The Holy Bible

* Historical research

* The ever trusted bible-studys.org

Thank You

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Bible Study

Exodus I: The Israelites in Egypt

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The story of Exodus begins where Genesis ends. The book begins with the words of Genesis 46:8 and from Exodus 1:1 – 12:36 recounts Israel’s final years in Egypt before the Exodus. I’ve always found Ancient Egypt to be fascinating, and although the Biblical Pharaohs may require additional research on my part, I’ve read that during the Second Intermediate Period (1786-1550), Egypt was overrun by the Hyksos (a people of diverse origins possibly from Western Asia).

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They were said to have introduced the horse and chariot to Egypt. By 1550 B.C., the Hyksos were expelled by Ahmose, who ushered in the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom Period (1550-1070 B.C.). It is from this period that a new king arose who did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt and viewed the Israelites mightier than his people (Exodus 1:8-10). Thutmose III was ruler over Egypt while Moses was in exile in Midian, but when he finally returned to Egypt, Amenhotep II was on the throne, and he was the Pharaoh of Exodus.

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Israel’s affliction in Egypt.

Scripture in focus: Exodus 1

1:1-6 > In these opening verses, we have a recital of Israel coming into Egypt via the 12 patriarchs, Joseph’s death, and the passing away of that generation. 

1:7 > Here, we see that the seed of Abraham was now a nation. Gen. 35:11-12 had been fulfilled in Egypt. To think that this family started with 5 people (Jacob, Rachel, Leah, Zilphah, and Bilhah) back in Haran!

1:8-10 > When Joseph was alive, he was loved for all the good that he did for Egypt, now that he was dead, he was soon forgotten and all of his influences were wiped clean from the new councils. Solomon puts this well in Eccl. 9:5; 15. If we work to please man, our works will die with us, but if we work to please and serve God, they will follow us (Rev. 14:13).

This new king did not care for Joseph’s heroics for he did not live during the famine, did not know him, and thus, felt no obligation to the mass of foreigners living in his land. He only cared that they were too many and some sort of control over them had to take place for he feared they were mightier than the locals. 

Also, this “new king” is said to be most likely a Hykso for the Amorites were one of the main elements of the Hyksos people, and they might as well have a reason to loathe the descendants of Jacob because of the Shechem incident (Gen. 34) and Jacob’s later conflict with the Amorites (Gen. 48:22). 

1:11 > The Hebrews are put to work to build treasure cities for the Egyptians. Work also took the Hebrews’ minds off war: at that time, the Egyptians feared invasion from the Hittites of the north, and had the Hebrews choose to join their enemies, then it would’ve shaken their security.

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1:12-14 > Despite their bondage, the Hebrews continues to prosper and grow. Egypt was like a mother’s womb for Israel to multiple into the nation that it was destined to become so when it was time for them to finally leave Egypt, it was like leaving the nest.

1:15-17 > Pharaoh Amenhotep I (1545-1525 B.C.) commanded the midwives to commit infanticide; he is succeeded by Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.) who commanded the Hebrew boys to be thrown into the Nile in verse 22. These Pharaohs were agents of Satan for the attempted destruction of the Seed of the woman, but God preserved the Messiah’s line. The midwives refuse to partake in the killing of the young ones for they feared God. And rightly so, for we should not break God’s law to obey Government.

1:18-21 > Because they obeyed God before man, the midwives were blessed by God.

1:22 > The Pharaoh is relentless in pursuing his drive to get rid of the newborn baby boys, that he goes even further: he gave public orders to drown all the male children of the Hebrews. The Nile river was worshiped by the Egyptians, and they believed in many gods so this was like human sacrifice. However, they’ll rue the day that they followed their Pharaoh’s orders for the 10th plague would kill their firstborn.

Related scripture reading:

^ Psalms 105 and 106: these psalms look at Israel’s history from God’s perspective, their faithfulness, God’s mercy in spite of Israel’s sinfulness, and the Lord’s justice. 

^ Acts 7:8

^ For Exodus 1:7 cross-reference the multiplication promises in Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 12:2; 17:2; 26:4; 28:14 and 48:4.

Additional Notes

^ The book of Exodus reflects how we Christians were in bondage to the slave of sin before our Savior comes to deliver us. The cruel Pharaoh (Satan) afflicts Israel (God’s children) until the gift of salvation through the Deliverer. This is our story, too.

Reference/Aids

* Prayer

* The Holy Spirit

* The Holy Bible

* Historical research

* The ever trusted bible-studys.org

Thank You

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Genesis XXVII: Israel dwells in Goshen

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Joseph presents his brothers 

Scripture in focus: Genesis 47

47:1-4 > After his family arrives in Goshen, Joseph introduced five of his brothers to Pharaoh so the King can ask them what questions he sees fit.

47:5-6 > Pharaoh gives them the best of the land. Also from his statement about wanting able-bodied rulers over his livestock, we can see that the Pharaoh had flocks, herds, and perhaps shepherds. Foreign shepherds who lived on plunder and up to no good were perhaps, an abomination to the Egyptians.

47:7 > After the introduction of his brothers and the granting of Goshen, Joseph presents his father Jacob who then blessed the Pharaoh. 

47:8-10 > Pharaoh enquires of Jacob’s age to which the reply was 130 years old. He also acknowledged that he was on pilgrimage for this world was not his real home. He then blessed the Pharaoh – perhaps wishing him happiness and thanks – and left the King’s presence.

47:11-12 > Joseph became his family’s only source of provision and supply after settling them down in Goshen (also referred to as the Land of Rameses in verse 11 although the first Rameses dynasty didn’t reign until 1319 B.C. Before the city was called Rameses, it was known as Tanis and before that, Avaris. In Psalm 78:12, 43, the region is referred to as Zoan).

47:13-14 > The famine was severe and the inhabitants of both Egypt and Canaan didn’t know what to do. During the earlier years of the famine, money was poured into the treasury of Egypt given that it was the only place to purchase food. Joseph took the money to Pharaoh for it belonged to him. It was with Pharaoh’s money, storehouses were built, corn was brought and men were employed to look after the corn and sell them.

47:15-17 > Due to the severity of the famine, Egypt and Canaan were bankrupted. With no more money to purchase provisions, the Egyptians approach Joseph for bread. A barter system was put in place: animals for grain.

47:18-20 > In time of national crisis, the government benefits the most. In what appears to be the 7th and final year of the famine, the people came yet again to Joseph, this time offering their land and bodies (as servants to the Pharaoh) in order to eat. Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh making him the sole proprietor. Now that the land belonged to the Pharaoh, the people would now pay rent as directed by law.

47:21 > Those that probably dwelled in towns and villages were moved to cities and those that dwelled in cities, Joseph moved them to provinces. The Egyptians were strangers in their own land. They were alive, yes, but they did not own anything in their name for everything now belonged to the wealthier Pharaoh.

47:22 > Priests in Egypt are sacred. They had to be pure in order to serve the gods and the King always provided their needs including food and land, so the priests did not have to sell their land.

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In Egypt, the Pharaoh was believed to be the mediator between the gods and mankind. And since he couldn’t perform ceremonies at all the temples, he appointed priests to carry out the rituals at each temple. 

47:23-24 > Joseph addresses the Egyptians concerning the land. A generous proposal was made in which the Pharaoh receives 20% from the produce of the land annually. This is the first record in Scripture of a national income tax.

47:25-26 > The Egyptians are grateful to Joseph and they agree with the new law regarding the land. Only the priests did not have to worry about paying anything since the Pharaoh assigns land (the first parts) to them so they were free of tax and tribute.

47:27 > The family of Israel grows rich and numerous.

47:28-31 > Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt and was now 147 years old. He saw the fulfillment of God’s promise of the Israel nation multiplying and now, the time of his death was at hand. He sends for Joseph and made him promise that he’ll be buried in Canaan and not Egypt. After Joseph promises to adhere to his wishes, Jacob bowed on the bed head to give God thanks. 

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Joseph brings his sons to Jacob

Scripture in focus: Genesis 48

48:1-2 > Sometime after Joseph conversed with his father and promised to bury him in Canaan, he gets word that Jacob is sick. Joseph takes his two sons to see their grandfather to hear his dying words and to also receive his blessing. When Jacob got word that his favorite son was coming to visit, his spirits revived and he sat upon the bed with the help of his staff (Hebrews 11:21). 

48:3-4 > Luz is another name for Beth-el. God had done MANY things for Jacob where it concerns both spiritual and temporal worldly blessings.

48:5-6 > Jacob adopts Joseph’s two sons as his. They were his despite having Egyptian blood. In a way, they were replacements for Reuben and Simeon, who lost the right to leadership and any form of status in Israel’s family because of their sin (34:25; 35:22). Ephraim and Manasseh would be two tribes for they would receive Rueben and Simeon’s birthright.

48:7 > Here, Jacob concludes his testimony.

48:8-10 > Jacob then turns his attention to his grandsons. He could not see plainly. He saw Joseph’s sons, but he couldn’t discern who they were clearly. He brought them nearer to him so he could have a better sight of them and bless them.

48:11-12 > Jacob had never hoped to see Joseph again – given that he thought his beloved son was dead – much less his beloved son’s offsprings. After reuniting with Joseph, he lived 17 more years. We’ll be with God for eternity!

48:13-14 > Given that Manasseh was the eldest by birthright, Joseph was placing him in front of Jacob’s right hand to receive the preferential blessing. Ephraim, being younger, was to receive the lesser blessing of the left hand. However, Jacob intentionally crossed his hands giving the preferential blessing to the younger for Ephraim would become a substitute name for Israel. Both tribes were blessed, but Ephraim was greater as a tribe and in Isaiah 7:8, 7:17, and Hosea 4:17, Ephraim became equal to the name Israel.

48:15-16 > Jacob then blessed Joseph. In v. 16, we get the first mention of God as Redeemer/Deliverer/Savior (“the Angel which redeemed me”). Also in v. 15, we get the first mention in the Bible of God as a shepherd to His people: “the God who had fed me” is literally “the God who has shepherded me” (blueletterbible.org).

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48:17-20 > It displeased Joseph to see the youngest receiving the superior blessing, but Jacob knew what he was doing because of the spirit of prophecy. Sometimes, the last shall be first and the first last (Matthew 20:16).

48:21-22 > The passing of the torch from Jacob to Joseph. I love how strong the recognition of God in Jacob’s life was: God was with him (28:15), He expected young Jacob to trust Him no matter the situation (31:3) and Jacob was able to give a beautiful testimony of God’s presence in his life (31:5). Now, Jacob was able to encourage others with the promise of God’s presence (48:21). 

Up next: The death of Jacob and Joseph

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Chapter 47 reminds me that we were bought with a prize. Thank You, Jesus! 💙

^ The right hand has always been the favored position in the Bible. The right hand signifies strength and skill. The right hand of God is a place of salvation and protection (Psalm 16:8) and God’s strength (Exodus 15:6). The bride of a King sat at his right hand (Psalm 45:9). Jesus Christ is always described as sitting at the right hand of God (Mark 14:62; 16:19). He sits at God’s right hand where He intercedes as a Priest for believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:1).

^ In 48:13-16, we see another example of the firstborn’s blessings given to the younger brother instead of the eldest. However, in this instance, there is no scheming or bitterness (Proverbs 10:22), as we read of in chapter 27.

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

Thank You

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

Bible Study

Genesis part XXIII: Pharaoh promotes Joseph

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

God never forgets us, but yet, we tend to forget all about Him until that minute of need arises and we remember Him. Never start your day without God. The first thing you must do when you first open your eyes on mornings is to thank Him and engage in prayer with Him, for He must be the first Person we communicate with each day.

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Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and is promoted

Scripture in focus: Genesis 41 

41:1-7 > Two years after the chief butler is taken out of prison, the Pharaoh has two disturbing dreams startling him out of sleep both times. The river, he is standing by in the dream is the Nile. The Egyptians’ life revolved around this river and they worshipped it (of course!). Cows (kine) were also worshipped, so it’s no wonder the Pharaoh dreamt of cows. As for ‘corn’, the term is a generic term for any grain and the Egyptians used the cows to trample the ‘ears’ of the grain which would’ve looked something like this barley here:

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The Nile is the longest river in the world and it flows through 11 countries. Without this river, Egyptian civilization wouldn’t have existed due to the arid climate.

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41:8 > The next morning, Pharaoh sends for all the impressive magicians and wise men, but they, too, were astounded and couldn’t interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Oh, the sorcery of those so-called dream experts! They’ve just set the stage for Joseph to enter into Egyptian history.

41:9-13 > The chief butler suddenly remembers Joseph and relates his dream account and experience to Pharoah.

41:14 > The timing of God is perfect. A few years passed, and Joseph must’ve been feeling neglected, for he was an innocent man imprisoned in a strange land. See, during the times that we may feel isolated from God or we’re continuously praying and seeing no results, these are the times God is working in/through us to develop our character, to transforming it into that of the image of Jesus Christ. During the time Joseph was in prison, God was doing just that for him and that’s why when it was time for Joseph to get out of prison, it was done quickly, for it was done in God’s timing (also see Psalm 81:5-7).

When we look back at a younger Joseph, he shared his dreams with his brothers in a self-glorifying way and standing before Pharaoh in the following chapters, we see how humbled he has become, and even wiser. 

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41:15-16 > Now, 30 years of age, Joseph stands before Pharaoh. He is given an opportunity to glorify himself, but he’ll have none of it, instead choosing to glorify God. A sharp contrast to the so-call Christian actors and singers we have lately who, when given the opportunity, shine the light on ‘self’. 

41:17-24 > Pharaoh tells Joseph his dream and we’re given additional details. In 41:4, we see the ill-favored and lean-fleshed cows eat up the fat and healthy cows and in 41:21, we see that despite eating the fat cows, the skinny cows remained the same instead of becoming fat.

41:25-32 > Joseph interprets the dreams telling the Pharaoh that the dreams are one and was repeated twice (in one night) for God was going to bring it to pass (v. 32). He reveals that the dream is a warning of severe famine, after seven years of good harvests.

41:33-36 > Joseph offers advice to the Pharaoh.

41:37-38 > Pharaoh approves the proposed advice and his servants were also in agreement. The Egyptians might not have understood the “Spirit of God” (the first mention of the Holy Spirit coming upon a man in the Bible) fully, but they knew that God had assisted Joseph.

41:39-44 > Joseph is promoted to a position of great authority. He is now the number two man in Egypt; the Vizier (Prime Minister) to the Pharaoh.

41:45 > “And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah” Various proposals have been given for the meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, the top two being “The Salvation of the World” and “God Speaks and He Lives”. Joseph is also given Asenath as wife; she was the daughter of the priest of On.

The Egyptians were sun worshippers and in Joseph’s time, the centre of sun worship in Lower Egypt was the temple of Atum (see notes below about this deity) at On (later called Heliopolis by the Greeks). Two obelisks were originally erected at On by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (c.1504 – 1450BC); they were called Cleopatra’s Needle and had nothing to do with Cleopatra. Today, those obelisks can be seen in Central Park, New York and on the Embankment in London.

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The Obelisk of On (Heliopolis) via Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

41:46-49 > The seven years of plenty came to pass. It’s important to note, that, like Jesus, Joseph begins the Lord’s work at 30 years old, both on orders from God.

41:50-52 > Sons are born to Joseph, before the first year of the famine. The firstborn, he called Manasseh meaning “One Who Causes Me to Forget” for God made Joseph forget all his previous pain and trial. Ephraim means “Fruitful” for God made him fruitful in Egypt. His sons were given Hebrew names for although Joseph forgot his pain, he did not forget the faith of his fathers.

41:53-56 > The 7 years of the famine begins and it not only affected Egypt, but also in surrounding countries such as Arabia, Syria, Palestine, etc.

41:57 > All the neighboring nations came to Egypt to buy corn.

Fun Fact: Egypt was once known as the breadbasket of the world because of the Nile.

Up next: Joseph’s family comes to Egypt and his dreams of teenage years come to pass.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The probable kings during Joseph’s period in Egypt – enslavement and rise to power – were said to be Khakheperre Senusret II/Sesostris II (ca. 1897-1878 BC) and Khakheperre Senusret III/Sesostris III (1878-1843 BC) which would’ve been the 12 Dynasty. I’ll love to do further research into this Dynasty! I’ll publish my findings at a later time.

^ Atum or Atem or Tem was also known as the great he-she was a creator god. He was the first and most important god to be worshipped in Iunu (Heliopolis, Lower Egypt) for the ancient Egyptians believed that Atum (the setting sun) rose from the waters of chaos (Nun) and created all the gods. Later, Ra (the rising sun) would become the main god. 

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XXII: Joseph interprets dreams

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

Let us continue to praise the holy name of our Lord. Let us sing hallelujah until He comes again. Let us lift up our voices to the sky and magnify our King! Jesus Christ is coming back again; never be afraid to let the world know.

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Joseph resists temptation; ends up in prison

Scripture in focus: Genesis 39

39:1 > So, the Ishmaelites brought Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh and captain of the guard (meaning that Potiphar was a highly trusted official in the Egyptian government).

39:2-3 > God was with Joseph. Even while he was a servant in Potiphar’s house, God blessed him tremendously. Although Potiphar might not have known Jehovah for he was a sun worshipper (Ra), he knew where the blessings came from. And just by seeing Joseph work honestly and diligently, Potiphar knew that Jehovah was real.

39:4-6 > Joseph now had favor with both God and man. Potiphar liked and trusted him so much that he made Joseph the head servant or steward of his house committing all his business to Joseph’s care. Remember, when Joseph first came to Egypt, it was foreign to him. He didn’t know any of the customs, the culture, or the language, so he had to rise early and stay up late to do his job and to also learn the ways of the Egyptian.  

All of this was setting the wheels in motion for something much bigger in Joseph’s future despite being a slave.

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39:7 > Joseph was said to be handsome in form and in appearance, so it was not long when he caught the roving eyes of Potiphar’s wife. “Lie with me,” said the predator to the prey. She tries to seduce Joseph into adultery, a sin God loathes. Some suggested that Potiphar was most likely a eunuch and the marriage was that of a ceremonial arrangement. But whether he was a eunuch or not, Egyptian women (in the ancient world) did not care for any code of morality. Even if they were married, they’ll seduce and sleep with whoever the eye desires.

39:8-9 > Joseph refuses her advances and tries to reason with her. He calls adultery a “great wickedness” and “a sin against God”. He told her that Potiphar has been nothing but good to him and he refused to partake in this wicked thing. He lets her know that although it might be alright with Potiphar, it wouldn’t be all right with God for a man should never share his wife.

We like to call sin by another enticing name, but Joseph calls it what it is: sin. 

39:10 > Potiphar’s wife persisted, though. Joseph’s reasoning went into her right ear and out her left. And as the days went by, she continues to make advances against him. But Joseph resisted the temptation. He had to tell her no EVERY DAY! proving that he was faithful to God in his actions. He knew that if he sinned, he would’ve sinned not only against Potiphar but also against God (Psalm 51:4). He also made sure to never be caught in her company alone as evidenced in the following verse.

Joseph was in the world (Egypt), but his faith and devotion in God helped him to stay on the right track and to kick temptation in the face.

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39:11-12 > “And it came to pass about this time” biblical scholars note that this could’ve been a year after the woman of the house began making her bold sexual advances towards Joseph. She made sure none of the men were in the house so she could trap Joseph when he came to do his business (inspect the accounts etc.). She ambushed Joseph, grabbing him by his garment, but he fled from the scene quickly leaving his garment behind. This is what we must do when faced with temptation: run as fast as we can away from the lust of the flesh! 

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When God provides a way of escape, take it. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

39:13-18 > Potiphar’s wife makes unjust sexual allegations against Joseph when she realized that Joseph had no intention in taking her up on her offer. Her lust turns to hatred and she eventually accuses Joseph of rape and Joseph has no way to defend himself for there wasn’t a witness present. This brings to mind Jesus’ silence before his accusers.

39:19-20 > Potiphar had no way of knowing that his wife was lying, but in his eyes, his wife was telling the truth for she had a piece of Joseph’s garment as “evidence”. He put Joseph in prison instead of killing him. Even throughout this “trial” God was protecting Joseph for he was innocent.

39:21-23 > Joseph prospers in prison because of God. He has been blessing Joseph throughout the trials he endured. The Lord was with him no matter what. As a slave in Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned the business side of things. While in prison, he gained insight into the administrative skills that would not only save his family one day but also the world. The work of the prisoners soon prospered because God was with Joseph.

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The butler and the baker

In this chapter, we see two dreams in one night by two men (the baker and the butler) while they’re in prison with Joseph who is 28 years at the time. But did you ever notice that dreams associated with Joseph came in pairs? Joseph dreamt 2 dreams, the butler and the baker’s dreams complemented each other and the Pharaoh had two dreams which also complemented each other.

Scripture in focus: Genesis 40

40:1-3 > Joseph meets the chief baker and the chief butler after they offended the Pharaoh. We’re not told what crimes they committed, but because of their occupations, we’ll have to go with food. And whether it was minor or major, the Pharaoh could care less. If he feels offended, he has the authority to throw anyone in prison.

40:4 > Although Joseph had a position of high ranking authority in prison he never misused his position, instead, using it to serve. Just as Jesus humbled Himself and served.

40:5-7 > Joseph was all about the people as we see from these verses. He was concerned about the baker and the butler instead of feeling sorry for himself. This paints a picture of how kind-hearted Joseph was.

40:8 > The men revealed that they’re sad because there was no one to interpret their dreams. Ancient Egyptians practiced the interpreting of dreams in order to foretell the future (oneiromancy) and they had their own dream interpreters, but Joseph let the men know that interpretations – and any foretelling of the future for that matter – belonged to God. Seeing that the men were disturbed by their dreams, Joseph invites them to relate their dreams to him for he was confident God knew what the dreams were about. 

40:9-11 > The butler gives an account of his dream. With keywords such as “vine” and “branches”, this brings to mind John 15:1-17. Also, the 3 branches represented 3 days in this dream and it also foretold Jesus’ 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40).

40:12-15 > Joseph interprets the butler’s dream and it’s good. He requests the butler’s kindness, but the butler won’t remember him until the time was right which was God’s perfect timing: two years later.

40:16-19 > The baker is delighted with the interpretation and decides to tell his dream to Joseph also. His joy is shortlived, though. Now, imagine had the baker told Joseph his dream first and the butler decided not to tell his because of fear of bad news, how would he have known to mention Joseph’s name to the Pharaoh two years later? All things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

40:20-23 > Three days later, the Pharaoh celebrates his birthday by restoring the butler to his position and hanging the baker thus fulfilling Joseph’s interpretations. Also, this is one of two instances where birthdays are mentioned specifically in the Bible, the other being King Herod. Both kings made a feast and in both cases, a man was killed. The baker was hung and John the Baptist was beheaded.

Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name. 

Up next: Joseph’s rise to greatness

Additional Notes/Recap

^ It certainly took Joseph a while (11 years) to reach to the top. When he was sold into slavery, he was only 17 years old (37:2). When he was promoted by the Pharaoh, he was 30 (41:46); before that, he was in prison for 2 years (41:1).

^ Butler literally means “cupbearer of the king” and he would’ve been the one to serve Pharaoh his drinks. 

^ Unless Joseph was moved to another facility, but reading chapter 40, we see that he was still imprisoned (40:3), the prison was called “the house of the captain of the guard” (40:3), “his lord’s house” (40:7), and a “dungeon” (40:15).

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part X: The promise of an heir and Ishmael is born

In case you missed it:

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Happy Sabbath and welcome back to Bible Study. I trust that your week was well spent and blessed. Did you learn anything new during your study of God’s Word? If it’s something that you’ll like to share, feel free to do so in the comment section below. Open up your Bibles to Genesis 15 and let’s get down to some study of our own.

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Abram yearns for an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 15

And after these things (Gen 14), the word (Christ) of the LORD visits Abram via a vision (15:1) to encourage him and to ease his fears after defeating a HUGE army. He might have feared an attack of retribution, but God promised that not only He is Abram’s shield, but also his reward. In response to God’s encouragement, Abram honestly opens up about being childless and thought of adopting his steward (his right-hand man) Eliezer of Damascus as his male heir (15:2). Although God has promised that he’ll be a father of many, Abram still had doubts for he was without an heir (15:3). God reminds Abram of the promise of the heir that would be his own flesh and blood and illustrates it by referencing the stars in the sky (15:4-5). 

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And Abram put his trust in God (15:6). This is a fine example showing that we’re justified by faith and not works. Also cross reference Romans 4:19-24 and Galatians 3:5-7.

Abram’s faith did not lean on believing in God but believing God. 

Yes, there’s a big difference!

God makes a statement reminding puny Abram who He was (15:7). Abram wants to know how he shall inherit the land (15:8). A ceremony soon follows to mark the covenant (15:9-21). God tells Abram what animals to gather (15:9) and most of those animals became a sin sacrifice in later ceremonies. Abram heeds and he knows exactly what to do with the animals (15:10). While Abram waits for God to walk through the animal carcasses to sign the covenant, vultures paid a visit and he quickly chases them off (15:11). The sun was about to set when God put Abram to sleep (15:12) and came to him via a dream giving Abram the rundown of the hardships that would befall his descendants (15:13). This prophecy took place some 300 years later when Israel sojourned in Egypt and served the Pharaoh for 400 years. But God would judge Egypt and bring His people out with great wealth (15:14).

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Abram will be buried after living a full life (15:15; 25:7).

God would give the Amorites a chance to repent before Abram’s descendants make their entrance to the land (15:16). Sadly, the Amorites did not repent. The presence of God represented by a smoking furnace and a burning lamp (God is a consuming fire!) pass through the animal pieces; God passed through by Himself (15:17) thus sealing the covenant He made with Abram (Note that Abram did not walk through the animal pieces for God signed the blood covenant for both of them. Abram cannot break a contract he did not sign and he could’ve held God accountable had He not kept His end of the bargain. He didn’t have to, though, for God can never lie).

God then quotes the specific lands Abram’s descendants will inherit (15:18-21).

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Abram and Sarai tries to help God with the promise of an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 16

Sarai is barren and childless and instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise, she proposes that Abram her husband of many years have a child through her Egyptian maid Hagar and Abram heeds the voice of his wife (16:1-2). This is a surrogate arrangement so the child would not be considered to be Hager’s but Sarai who lost faith and decided to help God out. Abram could’ve manned up and said no to his wife and poor Hagar gets caught in the middle of their heir scheme. How he’d think Adam messed up in the first place? He didn’t say no to Eve. Let’s go to court:

Defense: It’s been more than ten years since God made the promise regarding Abram’s descendants (16:3). The long wait discouraged them and they grew impatient. 

Verdict: Despite the lapse in time, God’s ways are not our ways and He fulfills promises in His timing, not ours. God cannot lie and if He promises you something, you don’t try to help Him no matter how gloomy things start looking. Take comfort in the promise and look ahead to the time when God would eventually bring it to pass. He always keeps His word. 

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Sarai gives Abram permission to marry Hagar (16:3) and when she conceives, she feels superior to Sarai (16:4). I blame Abram for this for he should’ve reminded his wife of God’s promise. Two women cannot share one man. Marriage was intended for two to become one (2:24). When Sarai saw that she was despised by her maid, she blames Abram and demands justice to right the wrong (16:5). What does Abram do? He gently tells Sarai to deal with Hagar as she sees fit (16:6) for despite both women being his wives, Hagar was still considered lower than Sarai for she was still the help. Besides, Abram didn’t seem like he was too happy with the arrangement he made with Hagar. However, as the man, instead of taking charge of the situation, he cowardly backs away and leaves the decision making to Sarai. She must have dealt harshly with Hagar for she caused the Egyptian to flee.

An Angel appears to Hagar as she attempts to make her way back home to Egypt reaching as far as Shur (16:7). The Angel here is said to be God, in the Person of Jesus given that He spoke in the first person (16:10-12) and Hagar recognized that in seeing this Being, she had seen God and called upon His Name (16:13). This is also the first time that the Angel of the Lord appears in the Old Testament. I’ve included a little note on Angels via bible-studys.org in the recap section below.

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The Angel calls Hagar by name and questions her although He already knew her predicament (16:8) and tells her to return to her mistress (16:9). God promises to multiply her descendants through her son (16:10) which He did for Ismael went on to become the father of all Arabic peoples. This also meant that Abram became the father of two groups of descendants: both Arabs and Jews are descended from Abram by two half-brothers: Ishmael and Issac. Had Abram and Sarai not tried to help God things would’ve turned out differently. 

Hagar is told to call her son Ishmael meaning “God hears” (16:11). Ishmael’s life wouldn’t be easy while dwelling in the presence of his brethren (16:12). Hagar realized that this Being was indeed God talking to her and calls Him “You Are the God Who Sees” (16:13). Hagar dedicates the well to God calling it Beer-lahai-roi (well of the living One). She goes back and bares Abram a son called Ishmael (16:15) and Abram was 80 (16:16). 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love that David was a man after God’s heart, but I’ll rather be Abram for a day so God can call me His friend as He did Abram. His friendship with God was beautiful, but it’s hardly talked about.

^ Some of us may look at Abram’s openness as complaining (15:3-4), but it’s better to be open with God, bearing all that is in our soul.

^ Concerning 15:9-21: In those days, contracts were made by the sacrificial cutting of animals, with the split carcasses of the animals lying on the ground. Then both parties to the covenant would walk through the animal parts together, repeating the terms of the covenant. (blueletterbible.org).

^ Even after all that Abram and Sarai did in trying to help God, it would still be more than 13 years when the promise was eventually fulfilled.

^ Fun Fact: Ishmael is the first man in the Bible to receive his name before he was born.

^ANGEL OF THE LORD (via bible-studys.org): The Angel of the Lord, who does not appear after the birth of Christ, is often identified as the pre-incarnate Christ (see note on Exodus 3:2). In the Old Testament, an angel identified as the “angel of the Lord”, the “angel of God” (21:17), the “angel of his presence” (Isa. 63:9), and the “messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1), appeared to individuals. 

A closer look at the context of His appearances reveals that He is more than another angel, He is God. The expression usually signifies a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ and is sometimes called a “Christophany,” meaning the visible and bodily manifestation of God the Son before His incarnation.

That He is not merely another angel is evident in those appearances where He is called God. This was recognized by Hagar (16:13), Abraham (22:14), Moses (Exodus 3:14), Gideon (Judges 6:22), and Manoah (Judges 13:18, 22). The expression is also used of men, but on such occasions, is translated “the Lord’s messenger” (Hag. 1:13). 

The Angel of the Lord no longer appears to men today, since God has commissioned Christians to be His messengers to the world.

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search