Jacob’s Family Moves to Egypt, Genesis 46:5-34; 47:1-27

So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”    -1 Corinthians 2:5

After Jacob sought God’s direction and heard directly from Him to “not be afraid” he travels with his family from Beersheba to Egypt (46:5-7). In 46:28-30, Jacob and Judah appear to have reconciled their past as Jacob chooses Judah to be their guide. Rising above his past failures, Judah proves himself trustworthy. His descendants are eventually gifted as the royal tribe (49:8-12) and the Messiah would come from his line.

Finding Joseph alive and well gives Jacob’s tormented heart some much-needed peace. As his family’s knotted past finally untangles, he is able to see God’s sovereign hand at work.

You may read Genesis 46:5-34; 47:1-27 here: Bible Gateway.

Israel’s Heritage

The names listed in Genesis 46:8-27 list every tribe that would eventually form the nation of Israel. This would have been especially important to Genesis’ first readers. For they were not only reminded that God chose them for a special purpose, but duties and allotments were also given according to tribe: the parceling of land, the division of labor, the army’s organization.

Joseph’s Family Meets Pharaoh

Before Joseph’s family meets Pharaoh, Joseph encourages them to be honest when asked about their work as shepherds. He hopes Pharaoh will allow them to live in Goshen. Layman’s Bible Commentary notes: “Goshen had some of the best pastureland in all of Egypt. It would be a place to keep the Hebrews isolated and insulated from the culture and religion of Egypt, since the Egyptians considered sheep unclean and Hebrews detestable (43:32).”

After Joseph introduces five of his brothers to Pharaoh and explains his family needs, Pharaoh grants the brothers’ request to live in Goshen. As an added bonus he also offers any capable brothers the job of tending his own livestock.

Next, Joseph introduces his father, Jacob, to Pharaoh. After Jacob blesses him, Pharaoh asks his age. Jacob responds, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers,” (47:9).

Joseph’s Family Settles in Goshen

So Joseph settles his father and brothers in the district of Rameses. Not only have they acquired the best part of the land, but Joseph also provides the entire clan with plenty of food.

Over the next 400 years in Egypt, the Israelite population would explode from seventy to over two million!

Joseph and the Famine d66cf8ce067e05b7e3d08433f2e1661f

In 47:13-26 we not only see God using Joseph to save Egypt and its surrounding neighbors from starvation, but also the fulfillment of Jacob’s blessing to Pharaoh. Because Pharaoh blessed the Israelites with Egypt’s best, God blesses him in return.


Joseph’s faithfulness not only affected his entire family, but also Egypt and the surrounding people. Joseph had plenty of opportunities to wonder about his future: being thrown into a pit; sold into slavery; falsely accused; imprisoned. But in the midst of his trying circumstances, he chose to do what is right and yielded to God’s plan.

We may not see the exciting results of faithfulness as Joseph did, but we can be sure that God will honor our faithfulness. What area(s) is God calling you to be faithful in?

Enjoy your weekend!

3 thoughts on “Jacob’s Family Moves to Egypt, Genesis 46:5-34; 47:1-27

  1. Pingback: Jacob’s Family Moves to Egypt, Genesis 46:5-34; 47:1-27 – Truth in Palmyra

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