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Daily Reading for May 13: 2 Chronicles 1 - 5; Proverbs 13

Study Verse: Genesis 45 and 46

Joseph Provides for His Brothers and Family

45 Then Joseph could not pcontrol himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, "Make everyone go out from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, q"I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." And they came near. And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, rwhom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, sfor God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are tyet five years in which there will be neither uplowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and vruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. 10 wYou shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 xThere I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.' 12 And now your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is ymy mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and zbring my father down here." 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

16 When the report was heard in Pharaoh's house, "Joseph's brothers have come," it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go back to the land of Canaan, 18 and take your father and your households, and come to me, and aI will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.' 19 And you, Joseph, are commanded to say, ‘Do this: take bwagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Have no concern for1 your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.' "

21 The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them bwagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each and all of them he gave ca change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels2 of silver and dfive changes of clothes. 23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, e"Do not quarrel on the way."

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, "Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw fthe wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, "It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

46 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to gBeersheba, and offered sacrifices hto the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel iin visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "I am God, jthe God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will kmake you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also lbring you up again, and mJoseph's hand shall close your eyes."

Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons nthat Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and ocame into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

pNow qthese are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons. rReuben, Jacob's firstborn, and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of sLevi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of tJudah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but uEr and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of vPerez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 wThe sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, xwhom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 yThe sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, with Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 zThese are the sons of Zilpah, awhom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob-sixteen persons.

19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And bto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of cOn, bore to him. 21 And dthe sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob-fourteen persons in all.

23 The son1 of Dan: Hushim. 24 eThe sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 fThese are the sons of Bilhah, gwhom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob-seven persons in all.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, not including Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. hAll the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Jacob and Joseph Reunited

28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came iinto the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and jfell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, k"Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive." 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, l"I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father's household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 mAnd the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.' 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, m‘What is your occupation?' 34 you shall say, m‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock nfrom our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,' in order that you may dwell oin the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is pan abomination to the Egyptians." [1]

 

Commentary:

Chapter 45

It is a pity that this chapter and the foregoing should be parted, and read asunder. There we had Judah's intercession for Benjamin, with which, we may suppose, the rest of his brethren signified their concurrence; Joseph let him go on without interruption, heard all he had to say, and then answered it all in one word, "I am Joseph." Now he found his brethren humbled for their sins, mindful of himself (for Judah had mentioned him twice in his speech), respectful to their father, and very tender of their brother Benjamin; now they were ripe for the comfort he designed them, by making himself known to them, the story of which we have in this chapter. It was to Joseph's brethren as clear shining after rain, nay, it was to them as life from the dead. Here is, I. Joseph's discovery of himself to his brethren, and his discourse with them upon that occasion (v. 1-15). II. The orders Pharaoh, hereupon, gave to fetch Jacob and his family down to Egypt, and Joseph's despatch of his brethren, accordingly, back to his father with those orders (v. 16-24). III. The joyful tidings of this brought to Jacob (v. 25, etc.).

Verses 1-15

Judah and his brethren were waiting for an answer, and could not but be amazed to discover, instead of the gravity of a judge, the natural affection of a father or brother.

I. Joseph ordered all his attendants to withdraw, v. 1. The private conversations of friends are the most free. When Joseph would put on love he puts off state, and it was not fit his servants should be witnesses of this. Thus Christ graciously manifests himself and his loving-kindness to his people, out of the sight and hearing of the world.

II. Tears were the preface or introduction to his discourse, v. 2. He had dammed up this stream a great while, and with much ado: but now it swelled so high that he could no longer contain, but he wept aloud, so that those whom he had forbidden to see him could not but hear him. These were tears of tenderness and strong affection, and with these he threw off that austerity with which he had hitherto carried himself towards his brethren; for he could bear it no longer. This represents the divine compassion towards returning penitents, as much as that of the father of the prodigal, Lu. 15:20; Hos. 14:8, 9.

III. He very abruptly (as one uneasy till it was out) tells them who he was: I am Joseph. They knew him only by his Egyptian name, Zaphnath-paaneah, his Hebrew name being lost and forgotten in Egypt; but now he teaches them to call him by that: I am Joseph; nay, that they might not suspect it was another of the same name, he explains himself (v. 4): I am Joseph, your brother. This would both humble them yet more for their sin in selling him, and would encourage them to hope for kind treatment. Thus when Christ would convince Paul he said, I am Jesus; and when he would comfort his disciples he said, It is I, be not afraid. This word, at first, startled Joseph's brethren; they started back through fear, or at least stood still astonished; but Joseph called kindly and familiarly to them: Come near, I pray you. Thus when Christ manifests himself to his people he encourages them to draw near to him with a true heart. Perhaps, being about to speak of their selling him, he would not speak aloud, lest the Egyptians should overhear, and it should make the Hebrews to be yet more an abomination to them; therefore he would have them come near, that he might whisper with them, which, now that the tide of his passion was a little over, he was able to do, whereas at first he could not but cry out.

IV. He endeavours to assuage their grief for the injuries they had done him, by showing them that whatever they designed God meant it for good, and had brought much good out of it (v. 5): Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves. Sinners must grieve, and be angry with themselves, for their sins; yea, though God by his power brings good out of them, for no thanks are due to the sinner for this: but true penitents should be greatly affected when they see God thus bringing good out of evil, meat out of the eater. Though we must not with this consideration extenuate our own sins and so take off the edge of our repentance, yet it may be well thus to extenuate the sins of others and so take off the edge of our angry resentments. Thus Joseph does here; his brethren needed not to fear that he would avenge upon them an injury which God's providence had made to turn so much to his advantage and that of his family. Now he tells them how long the famine was likely to last-five years; yet (v. 6) what a capacity he was in of being kind to his relations and friends, which is the greatest satisfaction that wealth and power can give to a good man, v. 8. See what a favourable colour he puts upon the injury they had done him: God sent me before you, v. 5, 7. Note, 1. God's Israel is the particular care of God's providence. Joseph reckoned that his advancement was not so much designed to save a whole kingdom of Egyptians as to preserve a small family of Israelites: for the Lord's portion is his people; whatever becomes of theirs, they shall be secured. 2. Providence looks a great way forward, and has a long reach. Even long before the years of plenty, Providence was preparing for the supply of Jacob's house in the years of famine. The psalmist praises God for this (Ps. 105:17): He sent a man before them, even Joseph. God sees his work from the beginning to the end, but we do not, Eccl. 3:11. How admirable are the projects of providence! How remote its tendencies! What wheels are there within wheels, and yet all directed by the eyes in the wheels, and the spirit of the living creature! Let us therefore judge nothing before the time. 3. God often works by contraries. The envy and contention of brethren threaten the ruin of families, yet, in this instance, they prove the occasion of preserving Jacob's family. Joseph could never have been the shepherd and stone of Israel if his brethren had not shot at him, and hated him; even those that had wickedly sold Joseph into Egypt yet themselves reaped the benefit of the good God brought out of it; as those that put Christ to death were many of them saved by his death. 4. God must have all the glory of the seasonable preservations of his people, by what way soever they are effected. It was not you that sent me hither, but God, v. 8. As, on the one hand, they must not fret at it, because it ended so well, so on the other hand they must not be proud of it, because it was God's doing, and not theirs. They designed, by selling him into Egypt, to defeat his dreams, but God thereby designed to accomplish them. Isa. 10:7, Howbeit he meaneth not so.

V. He promises to take care of his father and all the family during the rest of the years of famine. 1. He desires that his father may speedily be made glad with the tidings of his life and dignity. His brethren must hasten to Canaan, and must inform Jacob that his son Joseph was lord of all Egypt; (v. 9): they must tell him of all his glory there, v. 13. He knew it would be a refreshing oil to his hoary head and a sovereign cordial to his spirits. If any thing would make him young again, this would. He desires them to give themselves, and take with them to their father, all possible satisfaction of the truth of these surprising tidings: Your eyes see that it is my mouth, v. 12. If they would recollect themselves, they might remember something of his features, speech, etc., and be satisfied. 2. He is very earnest that his father and all his family should come to him to Egypt: Come down unto me, tarry not, v. 9. He allots his dwelling in Goshen, that part of Egypt which lay towards Canaan, that they might be mindful of the country from which they were to come out, v. 10. He promises to provide for him: I will nourish thee, v. 11. Note, It is the duty of children, if the necessity of their parents do at any time require it, to support and supply them to the utmost of their ability; and Corban will never excuse them, Mk. 7:11. This is showing piety at home, 1 Tim. 5:4. Our Lord Jesus being, like Joseph, exalted to the highest honours and powers of the upper world, it is his will that all that are his should be with him where he is, Jn. 17:24. This is his commandment, that we be with him now in faith and hope, and a heavenly conversation; and this is his promise, that we shall be for ever with him.

VI. Endearments were interchanged between him and his brethren. He began with the youngest, his own brother Benjamin, who was but about a year old when Joseph was separated from his brethren; they wept on each other's neck (v. 14), perhaps to think of their mother Rachel, who died in travail of Benjamin. Rachel, in her husband, Jacob, had been lately weeping for her children, because, in his apprehension, they were not-Joseph gone, and Benjamin going; and now they were weeping for her, because she was not. After he had embraced Benjamin, he, in like manner, caressed them all (v. 15); and then his brethren talked with him freely and familiarly of all the affairs of their father's house. After the tokens of true reconciliation follow the instances of a sweet communion.

Verses 16-24

Here is, 1. The kindness of Pharaoh to Joseph, and to his relations for his sake: he bade his brethren welcome (v. 16), though it was a time of scarcity, and they were likely to be a charge to him. Nay, because it pleased Pharaoh, it pleased his servants too, at least they pretended to be pleased because Pharaoh was. He engaged Joseph to send for his father down to Egypt, and promised to furnish them with all conveniences both for his removal thither and his settlement there. If the good of all the land of Egypt (as it was not better stocked than any other land, thanks to Joseph, under God) would suffice him, he was welcome to it all, it was all his own, even the fat of the land (v. 18), so that they need not regard their stuff, v. 20. What they had in Canaan he reckoned but stuff, in comparison with what he had for them in Egypt; and therefore if they should be constrained to leave some of that behind them, let them not be discontented; Egypt would afford them enough to make up the losses of their removal. Thus those for whom Christ intends shares in his heavenly glory ought not to regard the stuff of this world: The best of its enjoyments are but stuff, but lumber; we cannot make sure of it while we are here, much less can we carry it away with us; let us not therefore be solicitous about it, nor set our eyes or hearts upon it. There are better things reserved for us in that blessed land whither our Joseph has gone to prepare a place.

II. The kindness of Joseph to his father and brethren. Pharaoh was respectful to Joseph, in gratitude, because he had been an instrument of much good to him and his kingdom, not only preserving it from the common calamity, but helping to make it considerable among the nations; for all their neighbours would say, "Surely the Egyptians are a wise and an understanding people, that are so well stocked in a time of scarcity." For this reason Pharaoh never thought any thing too much that he could do for Joseph. Note, There is a gratitude owing even to inferiors; and when any have shown us kindness we should study to requite it, not only to them, but to their relations. And Joseph likewise was respectful to his father and brethren in duty, because they were his near relations, though his brethren had been his enemies, and his father long a stranger. 1. He furnished them for necessity, v. 21. He gave them wagons and provisions for the way, both going and coming; for we never find that Jacob was very rich, and, at this time, when the famine prevailed, we may suppose he was rather poor. 2. He furnished them for ornament and delight. To his brethren he gave two suits a piece of good clothes, to Benjamin five suits, and money besides in his pocket, v. 22. To his father he sent a very handsome present of the varieties of Egypt, v. 23. Note, Those that are wealthy should be generous, and devise liberal things; what is an abundance good for, but to do good with it? 3. He dismissed them with a seasonable caution: See that you fall not out by the way, v. 24. He knew they were but too apt to be quarrelsome; and what had lately passed, which revived the remembrance of what they had done formerly against their brother, might give them occasion to quarrel. Joseph had observed them to contend about it, ch. 42:22. To one they would say, "It was you that first upbraided him with his dreams;" to another, "It was you that stripped him of his fine coat;" to another, "It was you that threw him into the pit," etc. Now Joseph, having forgiven them all, lays this obligation upon them, not to upbraid one another. This charge our Lord Jesus has given to us, that we love one another, that we live in peace, that whatever occurs, or whatever former occurrences are remembered, we fall not out. For, (1.) We are brethren, we have all one Father. (2.) We are his brethren, and we shame our relation to him who is our peace, if we fall out. (3.) We are guilty, verily guilty, and, instead of quarrelling with one another, have a great deal of reason to fall out with ourselves. (4.) We are, or hope to be, forgiven of God whom we have all offended, and therefore should be ready to forgive one another. (5.) We are by the way, a way that lies through the land of Egypt, where we have many eyes upon us, that seek occasion and advantage against us, a way that leads to Canaan, where we hope to be for ever in perfect peace.

Verses 25-28

We have here the good news brought to Jacob. 1. The relation of it, at first, sunk his spirits. When, without any preamble, his sons came in, crying, Joseph is yet alive, each striving which should first proclaim it, perhaps he thought they bantered him, and the affront grieved him; or the very mention of Joseph's name revived his sorrow, so that his heart fainted, v. 26. It was a good while before he came to himself. He was in such care and fear about the rest of them that at this time it would have been joy enough to him to hear that Simeon was released, and that Benjamin had come safely home (for he had been ready to despair concerning both these); but to hear that Joseph is alive is too good news to be true; he faints, for he believes it not. Note, We faint, because we do not believe; David himself had fainted if he had not believed, Ps. 27:13. 2. The confirmation of it, by degrees, revived his spirit. Jacob had easily believed his sons formerly when they told him, Joseph is dead; but he can hardly believe them now that they tell him, Joseph is alive. Weak and tender spirits are influenced more by fear than hope, and are more apt to receive impressions that are discouraging than those that are encouraging. But at length Jacob is convinced of the truth of the story, especially when he sees the wagons which were sent to carry him (for seeing is believing), then his spirit revived. Death is as the wagons which are sent to fetch us to Christ: the very sight of it approaching should revive us. Now Jacob is called Israel (v. 28), for he begins to recover his wonted vigour. (1.) It pleases him to think that Joseph is alive. He says nothing of Joseph's glory, of which they told him; it was enough to him that Joseph was alive. Note, Those that would be content with less degrees of comfort are best prepared for greater. (2.) It pleases him to think of going to see him. Though he was old, and the journey long, yet he would go to see Joseph, because Joseph's business would not permit him to come to see him. Observe, He says, "I will go and see him," not, "I will go and live with him;" Jacob was old, and did not expect to live long; "But I will go and see him before I die, and then let me depart in peace; let my eyes be refreshed with this sight before they are closed, and then it is enough, I need no more to make me happy in this world." Note, It is good for us all to make death familiar to us, and to speak of it as near, that we may think how little we have to do before we die, that we may do it with all our might, and may enjoy our comforts as those that must quickly die, and leave them.

Chapter 46

Jacob is here removing to Egypt in his old age, forced thither by a famine, and invited thither by a son. Here, I. God sends him thither (v. 1-4). II. All his family goes with him (v. 5-27). III. Joseph bids him welcome (v. 28-34).

Verses 1-4

The divine precept is, In all thy ways acknowledge God; and the promise annexed to it is, He shall direct thy paths. Jacob has here a very great concern before him, not only a journey, but a removal, to settle in another country, a change which was very surprising to him (for he never had any other thoughts than to live and die in Canaan), and which would be of great consequence to his family for a long time to come. Now here we are told,

I. How he acknowledged God in this way. He came to Beersheba, from Hebron, where he now dwelt; and there he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac, v. 1. He chose that place, in remembrance of the communion which his father and grandfather had with God in that place. Abraham called on God there (ch. 21:33), so did Isaac (ch. 26:25), and therefore Jacob made it the place of his devotion, the rather because it lay in his way. In his devotion, 1. He had an eye to God as the God of his father Isaac, that is, a God in covenant with him; for by Isaac the covenant was entailed upon him. God had forbidden Isaac to go down to Egypt when there was a famine in Canaan (ch. 26:2), which perhaps Jacob calls to mind when he consults God as the God of his father Isaac, with this thought, "Lord, though I am very desirous to see Joseph, yet if thou forbid me to go down to Egypt, as thou didst my father Isaac, I will submit, and very contentedly stay where I am." 2. He offered sacrifices, extraordinary sacrifices, besides those at his stated times; these sacrifices were offered, (1.) By way of thanksgiving for the late blessed change of the face of his family, for the good news he had received concerning Joseph, and for the hopes he had of seeing him. Note, We should give God thanks for the beginnings of mercy, though they are not yet perfected; and this is a decent way of begging further mercy. (2.) By way of petition for the presence of God with him in his intended journey; he desired by these sacrifices to make his peace with God, to obtain the forgiveness of sin, that he might take no guilt along with him in this journey, for that is a bad companion. By Christ, the great sacrifice, we must reconcile ourselves to God, and offer up our requests to him. (3.) By way of consultation. The heathen consulted their oracles by sacrifice. Jacob would not go till he had asked God's leave: "Shall I go down to Egypt, or back to Hebron?" Such must be our enquiries in doubtful cases; and, though we cannot expect immediate answers from heaven, yet, if we diligently attend to the directions of the word, conscience, and providence, we shall find it is not in vain to ask counsel of God.

II. How God directed his paths: In the visions of the night (probably the very next night after he had offered his sacrifices, as 2 Chr. 1:7) God spoke unto him, v. 2. Note, Those who desire to keep up communion with God shall find that it never fails on his side. If we speak to him as we ought, he will not fail to speak to us. God called him by name, by his old name, Jacob, Jacob, to remind him of his low estate; his present fears did scarcely become an Israel. Jacob, like one well acquainted with the visions of the Almighty, and ready to obey them, answers, "Here I am, ready to receive orders:" and what has God to say to him?

1. He renews the covenant with him: I am God, the God of thy father (v. 3); that is, "I am what thou ownest me to be: thou shalt find me a God, a divine wisdom and power engaged for thee; and thou shalt find me the God of thy father, true to the covenant made with him."

2. He encourages him to make this removal of his family: Fear not to go down into Egypt. It seems, though Jacob, upon the first intelligence of Joseph's life and glory in Egypt, resolved, without any hesitation, I will go and see him; yet, upon second thoughts, he saw some difficulties in it, which he knew not well how to get over. Note, Even those changes that seem to have in them the greatest joys and hopes, yet have an alloy of cares and fears, Nulla est sincera voluptas-There is no unmingled pleasure. We must always rejoice with trembling. Jacob had many careful thoughts about this journey, which God took notice of. (1.) He was old, 130 years old; and it is mentioned as one of the infirmities of old people that they are afraid of that which is high, and fears are in the way, Eccl. 12:5. It was a long journey, and Jacob was unfit for travel, and perhaps remembered that his beloved Rachel died in a journey. (2.) He feared lest his sons should be tainted with the idolatry of Egypt, and forget the God of their fathers, or enamoured with the pleasures of Egypt, and forget the land of promise. (3.) Probably he thought of what God had said to Abraham concerning the bondage and affliction of his seed (ch. 15:13), and was apprehensive that his removal to Egypt would issue in that. Present satisfactions should not take us off from the consideration and prospect of future inconveniences, which possibly may arise from what now appears most promising. (4.) He could not think of laying his bones in Egypt. But, whatever his discouragements were, this was enough to answer them all, Fear not to go down into Egypt.

3. He promises him comfort in the removal. (1.) That he should multiply in Egypt: "I will there, where thou fearest that thy family will sink and be lost, make it a great nation. That is the place Infinite Wisdom has chosen for the accomplishment of that promise." (2.) That he should have God's presence with him: I will go down with thee into Egypt. Note, Those that go whither God sends them shall certainly have God with them, and that is enough to secure them wherever they are and to silence their fears; we may safely venture even into Egypt if God go down with us. (3.) That neither he nor his should be lost in Egypt: I will surely bring thee up again. Though Jacob died in Egypt, yet this promise was fulfilled, [1.] In the bringing up of his body, to be buried in Canaan, about which, it appears, he was very solicitous, ch. 49:29, 32. [2.] In the bringing up of his seed to be settled in Canaan. Whatever low or darksome valley we are called into at any time, we may be confident, if God go down with us into it, that he will surely bring us up again. If he go with us down to death, he will surely bring us up again to glory. (4.) That living and dying, his beloved Joseph should be a comfort to him: Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. This is a promise that Joseph should live as long as he lived, that he should be with him at his death, and close his eyes with all possible tenderness and respect, as the dearest relations used to do. Probably Jacob, in the multitude of this thought within him, had been wishing that Joseph might do this last office of love for him: Ille meos oculos comprimat-Let him close my eyes; and God thus answered him in the letter of his desire. Thus God sometimes gratifies the innocent wishes of his people, and makes not only their death happy, but the very circumstances of it agreeable.

Verses 5-27

Old Jacob is here flitting. Little did he think of ever leaving Canaan; he expected, no doubt, to die in his nest, and to leave his seed in actual possession of the promised land: but Providence orders it otherwise. Note, Those that think themselves well settled may yet be unsettled in a little time. Even old people, who think of no other removal than that to the grave (which Jacob had much upon his heart, ch. 37:35; 42:38), sometimes live to see great changes in their family. It is good to be ready, not only for the grave, but for whatever may happen betwixt us and the grave. Observe, 1. How Jacob was conveyed; not in a chariot, though chariots were then used, but in a wagon, v. 5. Jacob had the character of a plain man, who did not affect any thing stately or magnificent; his son rode in a chariot (ch. 41:43), but a wagon would serve him. 2. The removal of what he had with him. (1.) His effects (v. 6), cattle and goods; these he took with him that he might not wholly be beholden to Pharaoh for a livelihood, and that it might not afterwards be said of them, "that they came beggars to Egypt." (2.) His family, all his seed, v. 7. It is probable that they had continued to live together in common with their father; and therefore when he went they all went, which perhaps they were the more willing to do, because, though they had heard that the land of Canaan was promised them, yet, to this day, they had none of it in possession. We have here a particular account of the names of Jacob's family, his sons' sons, most of whom are afterwards mentioned as heads of houses in the several tribes. See Num. 26:5, etc. Bishop Patrick observes that Issachar called his eldest son Tola, which signifies a worm, probably because when he was born he was a very little weak child, a worm, and no man, not likely to live; and yet there sprang from him a very numerous offspring, 1 Chr. 7:2. Note, Living and dying do not go by probability. The whole number that went down into Egypt was sixty-six (v. 26), to which add Joseph and his two sons, who were there before, and Jacob himself, the head of the family, and you have the number of seventy, v. 27. The Septuagint makes them seventy-five, and Stephen follows them (Acts 7:14), the reason of which we leave to the conjecture of the critics; but let us observe, [1.] Masters of families ought to take care of all under their charge, and to provide for those of their own house food convenient both for body and soul. When Jacob himself removed to a land of plenty, he would not leave any of his children behind him to starve in a barren land. [2.] Though the accomplishment of promises is always sure, yet it is often slow. It was now 215 years since God had promised Abraham to make of him a great nation (ch. 12:2); and yet that branch of his seed on which the promise was entailed had increased only to seventy, of which this particular account is kept, that the power of God in multiplying these seventy to so vast a multitude, even in Egypt, may appear the more illustrious. When God pleases, a little one shall become a thousand, Isa. 60:22.

Verses 28-34

We have here, I. The joyful meeting between Jacob and his son Joseph, in which observe,

1. Jacob's prudence in sending Judah before him to Joseph, to give him notice of his arrival in Goshen. This was a piece of respect owing to the government, under the protection of which these strangers had come to put themselves, v. 28. We should be very careful not to give offence to any, especially not to the higher powers.

2. Joseph's filial respect to him. He went in his chariot to met him, and, in the interview, showed, (1.) How much he honoured him: He presented himself unto him. Note, It is the duty of children to reverence their parents, yea, though Providence, as to outward condition, has advanced them above their parents. (2.) How much he loved him. Time did not wear out the sense of his obligations, but his tears which he shed abundantly upon his father's neck, for joy to see him, were real indications of the sincere and strong affection he had for him. See how near sorrow and joy are to each other in this world, when tears serve for the expression of both. In the other world weeping will be restrained to sorrow only; in heaven there is perfect joy, but no tears of joy: all tears, even those, shall there be wiped away, because the joys there are, as no joys are here, without any alloy. When Joseph embraced Benjamin he wept upon his neck, but when he embraced his father he wept upon his neck a good while; his brother Benjamin was dear, but his father Jacob must be dearer.

3. Jacob's great satisfaction in this meeting: Now let me die, v. 30. Not but that it was further desirable to live with Joseph, and to see his honour and usefulness; but he had so much pleasure and satisfaction in this first meeting that he thought it too much to desire or expect any more in this world, where our comforts must always be imperfect. Jacob wished to die immediately, and lived seventeen years longer, which, as our lives go now, is a considerable part of a man's age. Note, Death will not always come just when we call for it, whether in a passion of sorrow or in a passion of joy. Our times are in God's hand, and not in our own; we must die just when God pleases, and not either just when we are surfeited with the pleasures of life or just when we are overwhelmed with its griefs.

II. Joseph's prudent care concerning his brethren's settlement. It was justice to Pharaoh to let him know that such a colony had come to settle in his dominions. Note, If others repose a confidence in us, we must not be so base and disingenuous as to abuse it by imposing upon them. If Jacob and his family should come to be a charge to the Egyptians, yet it should never be said that they came among them clandestinely and by stealth. Thus Joseph took care to pay his respects to Pharaoh, v. 31. But how shall he dispose of his brethren? Time was when they were contriving to get rid of him; now he is contriving to settle them to their satisfaction and advantage: This is rendering good for evil. Now, 1. He would have them to live by themselves, separate as much as might be from the Egyptians, in the land of Goshen, which lay nearest to Canaan, and which perhaps was more thinly peopled by the Egyptians, and well furnished with pastures for cattle. He desired they might live separately, that they might be in the less danger both of being infected by the vices of the Egyptians and of being insulted by the malice of the Egyptians. Shepherds, it seems, were an abomination to the Egyptians, that is, they looked upon them with contempt, and scorned to converse with them; and he would not send for his brethren to Egypt to be tramped upon. And yet, 2. He would have them to continue shepherds, and not to be ashamed to own that as their occupation before Pharaoh. He could have employed them under himself in the corn-trade, or perhaps, by his interest in the king, might have procured places for them at court or in the army, and some of them, at least, were deserving enough; but such preferments would have exposed them to the envy of the Egyptians, and would have tempted them to forget Canaan and the promise made unto their fathers; therefore he contrives to continue them in their old employment. Note, (1.) An honest calling is no disparagement, nor ought we to account it so either in ourselves or in our relations, but rather reckon it a shame to be idle, or to have nothing to do. (2.) It is generally best for people to abide in the callings that they have been bred to, and used to, 1 Cor. 7:24. Whatever employment or condition God, in his providence, has allotted for us, let us accommodate ourselves to it, and satisfy ourselves with it, and not mind high things. It is better to be the credit of a mean post than the shame of a high one.[2]



p ch. 43:31; [Esth. 5:10]

q Acts 7:13

r ch. 37:28

s ch. 50:20; Ps. 105:16, 17

t ch. 41:30

u Ex. 34:21; Deut. 21:4; 1 Sam. 8:12; [Isa. 30:24]

v ver. 26; ch. 41:43

w ch. 46:34; 47:1, 4, 6, 27; 50:8; Ex. 8:22; [ch. 47:11; Josh. 10:41]

x ch. 47:12; 50:21

y [ch. 42:23]

z Acts 7:14

a ch. 47:6

b ch. 46:5

1 Hebrew Let your eye not pity

b [See ver. 19 above]

c [2 Kgs. 5:5, 22, 23]

2 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

d [ch. 43:34]

e [ch. 42:22]

f ver. 19, 21; ch. 46:5

g ch. 21:31, 33; 26:33; 28:10

h ch. 26:24, 25; 28:13; 31:42

i ch. 15:1; Job 33:14, 15

j ch. 28:13

k ch. 35:11; [ch. 12:2; Ex. 1:7, 9; Deut. 26:5]

l ch. 15:16; 28:15; 48:21; 50:24; Ex. 3:8

m ch. 50:1

n ch. 45:19, 21, 27

o Josh. 24:4; Ps. 105:23; Isa. 52:4; Acts 7:14, 15

p For ver. 8-11, see Ex. 6:14-16

q Ex. 1:1-5

r Num. 26:5; 1 Chr. 5:1-3

s 1 Chr. 6:1

t 1 Chr. 2:3; 4:21

u ch. 38:3, 7, 10

v ch. 38:29; 1 Chr. 2:5

w 1 Chr. 7:1

x See ch. 29:32-35; 30:1-21

y 1 Chr. 7:30

z See ch. 30:10-13

a ch. 29:24

b ch. 41:50-52

c ch. 41:45

d See Num. 26:38-40; 1 Chr. 7:6-12; 8:1

1 Hebrew sons

e 1 Chr. 7:13

f See ch. 30:5-8

g ch. 29:29

h Ex. 1:5; Deut. 10:22; [Acts 7:14]

i See ch. 45:10

j [ch. 45:14]

k [Luke 2:29, 30]

l ch. 47:1

m ch. 47:3

m [See ver. 32 above]

m [See ver. 32 above]

n ch. 37:12

o ver. 28

p ch. 43:32; Ex. 8:26

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 45:1-46:34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 86-88). Peabody: Hendrickson.