JACOB IN EGYPT

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    [Genesis:45:16-28]; [Genesis:46:1-7], [Genesis:46:28-34]; [Genesis:47:1-12].

    Lesson No.: 
    39
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    “He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”  (Psalm 126:6).

    Cross References: 

    I Pharaoh's Respectful Consideration of Joseph's Family
    1. Pharaoh hears about Joseph's brothers and the happy reconciliation and is greatly pleased, [Genesis:45:16].
    2. Pharaoh commands Joseph to send for his father, [Genesis:45:17-20].
    3. Joseph's brethren return to Canaan for their families, [Genesis:45:21-25].

    II The Journey to Egypt and Joseph's Meeting with His Father
    1. Jacob could not believe when told that Joseph was alive, [Genesis:45:25-26].
    2. The story of the reconciliation with Joseph, and Pharaoh's provision for Jacob's journey, convince Jacob of the fact of Joseph's present existence, [Genesis:45:27-28]; [Psalms:126:1-6].
    3. Jacob's going to Egypt is significant preceded by a sacrifice to God, [Genesis:46:1-7]; [Genesis:28:16-22]; [Genesis:31:54]; [Genesis:32:9-11]; [Genesis:35:1-3]; [Hebrews:13:15]; [Psalms:51:17-19].
    4 Joseph meets his father after a 22-year separation, [Genesis:46:28-30]; [Proverbs:15:20]; [Exodus:20:12].

    III The Presentation Before Pharaoh
    1. Joseph instructs his brothers before they meet Pharaoh, [Genesis:46:31-34].
    2. Five of the brothers are presented to Pharaoh, who engages them as supervisors, [Genesis:47:1-6].
    3. Jacob is presented to Pharaoh and blesses him, [Genesis:47:7-10]; [Psalms:90:15].
    4. The family finds rest and plenty in the land of Egypt, [Genesis:47:11-12]; [Psalms:105:8-23].

    Notes: 

    When Joseph made himself known to his brothers it was an occasion of great joy for the entire 12 of Jacob's sons. We read that the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard the noise of their rejoicing and that Pharaoh was greatly pleased that his faithful steward and ruler was reunited with his brothers.

    Pharaoh and the Egyptians owed a great deal to Joseph. Through his foresight and wisdom, and because of the presence of God with him, he had instituted the plan whereby their lives were being saved in the trying years of famine they were now enduring. We might say they all felt that nothing was too good for the man who had done so much for them. This was Pharaoh's attitude, at least, when he called Joseph and told him to take the best of the land of Egypt for his father and brothers ([Genesis:12:3]).

    But the glad news was too much for the aged Jacob, who had mourned the loss of Joseph for many years. He suffered some kind of shock when the brothers attempted to tell him. He would not believe it until he saw the caravan that Pharaoh had sent to carry him and his sons' wives and children to the land of Egypt for, as they supposed, the duration of the famine.

    This movement of the chosen family to the land of Egypt was a part of God's great plan for the world. They were to become a great nation in the process of time, according to the promise that had been given them. During that time of growth they must be protected from the attacks of the larger enemy tribes and nations of Canaan, who naturally would have a very hostile feeling toward a group of people who said they were someday going to take the land and drive out all its inhabitants. The children of Israel would become the object of their hostility and assaults. To protect them, stabilize them as a nation, and educate them in industry, arts, and sciences, as well to nourish them during the famine, God ordained that they should go down to Egypt. From there He planned to bring them back to Canaan when they were strong enough to take and hold the Promised Land.

    The group that went into Egypt was a vastly different one from the great army of hundreds of thousands that came out, under the leadership of Moses. They went in, a little group of famine- stricken people whose sustenance had been given them from the rich stores of Egypt. They came out, a tremendous army enriched with all the wealth of that heathen land, conquering through the might of the God of their fathers -- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ([Exodus:12:35-37]).

    The first leg of their journey terminated at Beer-sheba, not only because it was a convenient stopping place between Hebron and Egypt, but because it was also a consecrated place. Jacob, like Abraham and Isaac, felt the need and realised the value of receiving God's blessing on every move that he made. He stopped to offer sacrifices to God. He knew well the value of taking God with him on the journey. An old adage that applies strongly to a case of this kind informs us, "Prayers and provender never hinder any man's journey." We would be wise if we heeded the example of these godly men and never failed to consult a loving God on every occasion.
    If Joseph found it difficult to contain his joy when he made himself known to his brothers, how much harder it must have been for him to await the arrival of his father and the rest of the family. He finally set out to meet the caravan as it approached the land of Goshen. It must have been a touching scene to see the long-separated father and son as they met and embraced each other. The Bible tells us that Joseph wept a good while. It was a happy climax to Jacob's long and troubled life and to Joseph's isolation from the people of God. Perhaps the old father felt that there could be no happier ending to all his sorrow and distress than the moment of meeting his son, Joseph, for he said: "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive."

    The presentation at the court of Pharaoh was in two stages. The sons were strong, used to travelling, and were perhaps ready before the aged father was, who would naturally prefer to rest a while longer. Five of the sons were selected to represent the group, and they appeared before the ruler to receive his blessing and the bestowal of his hospitality and bounty. Pharaoh ruled that the best of the land of Egypt was to be given to them and that they might find occupation as rulers over his cattle and livestock, which promised to be an increasing responsibility, since the people of the land were trading their cattle to the government for food ([Genesis:47:17]).

    The final stage of the presentation took place when Jacob was introduced to Pharaoh. Extreme friendliness was manifested by that great ruler for the father of the man who meant so much to Egypt at this time. "How old art thou?" was the question that he asked to break down the existing barriers and promote a good feeling between them. Jacob's answer, in a few words, summed up a life history of trouble, grief, and sorrow. As Jacob looked back over the 130 years of his life he, no doubt, remembered when he deceived his father and stole the blessing from Esau. He perhaps, in retrospection, saw the time when he had to run from the wrath of that brother and seek refuge in a distant land among people whom he had never seen. No doubt, the years he spent in Haran came before him as a panorama -- years of labour, disappointment, and suffering the results of his uncle's deception.

    His memory might have shown him again the ten sons as they returned from Dothan with a familiar coat of many colours, bloodstained and bearing mute evidence, he thought, of a struggle between his beloved son and some wild beast. It is entirely possible that he re-lived, in this fleeting moment before Pharaoh, the grief and disappointments he endured these many years. But now all these passing visions left him and he realised that at last his family was united in filial love and devotion, enabling him to spend the last days of his life in security and peace.

    It would have been a difficult thing at this time to persuade Jacob that the hasty, deceitful acts of his youth, which had brought all this suffering upon his own head, were anything but wrong. He could fully realise now what an evil harvest he had reaped because he was not willing to let God work out His plan in His own time and way! We do not gain by running ahead of the Lord, or by attempting to open doors that He has not opened for us. It is far better to await God's time and will, even though it seems to impede our progress when we do so. We are ahead, in the long run, by waiting. We have the unimpeachable testimony of many men and women in Scripture to substantiate that fact, as for example, Abraham, Jacob's grandfather; and we perhaps have, in a small measure, experienced it ourselves, or have seen it demonstrated in the lives of our friends.

    Let us be still and know that He is God! Let us be sure we are in God's will before we move! Let us allow the hand of the Almighty to work for us! This precaution will pay rich dividends of happiness and contentment, in this life and in the end an eternal reward, that for magnitude and glory cannot now be imagined, or conceived by us.

    Questions: 

    1. What attitude did Pharaoh take when he heard of the reunion of the 12 brothers?
    2. What was the reason for this attitude?
    3. Describe the home-coming of the 11 brothers.
    4. What finally persuaded Jacob to go to Egypt?
    5. What did Jacob do before he arrived in Egypt?
    6. Who else had stopped for similar purpose at Beer-sheba?
    7. Describe the meeting of Joseph and his father.
    8. What occupation did the brothers of Joseph take up in Egypt?
    9. What did Jacob say when he was presented to Pharaoh?
    10. To what was Jacob referring when he said: "Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been"?