The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 46

Gen 46:1

WHEN HE REACHED BEERSHEBA: Beersheba was a place of worship for Abraham (Gen 21:33) and the place where both he and Isaac dwelt after the events of Gen 22 (see Gen 22:19). Also Isaac and, for a time, Jacob stayed there (Gen 26:23,32-33; 28:10). Had a sanctuary there stayed intact since the days of Abraham?

WITH ALL THAT WAS HIS: Typ Jacob, despite the assurances of Gen 45:20.

Gen 46:2

Apparently Jacob prayed to God, asking if he should go down into Egypt.

HERE I AM: "The phrase 'Here am I' seems to carry with it more than simply telling another of your physical presence. It is used 16 times and each time it is in the context of a person giving his service to another -- here to God. It suggests an absolute willingness -- a characteristic we do well to develop!: Gen 22:7,11; 31:1; 37:13, AV; Exo 3:4; 1Sa 3:4-8; Isa 6:8" (PC).

Gen 46:3

"Jacob must have shuddered at the thought of leaving the land of his father's sojourning, and dwelling among heathen strangers. It was a new scene, and likely to be a trying one: who shall venture among courtiers of a foreign monarch without anxiety? Yet the way was evidently appointed for him, and therefore he resolved to go. This is frequently the position of believers now -- they are called to perils and temptations altogether untried: at such seasons let them imitate Jacob's example by offering sacrifices of prayer unto God, and seeking His direction" (CHS).

Gen 46:4

I WILL GO DOWN TO EGYPT WITH YOU, AND I WILL SURELY BRING YOU BACK AGAIN: What a wonderful comfort the hope of the resurrection is for all God's people. It is true that Jacob's bones were finally interred in the land promised to him and his fathers -- but the laying of his bones to rest in the dust of the earth is not what is here referred to. "I will surely bring you back again" refers to that resurrection to glory that every child of God is comforted with, when he, with the fathers of old, shall inherit the land of promise.

CLOSE YOUR EYES: That is, in death (Gen 50:1).

Gen 46:27

SEVENTY IN ALL: Note recurrence of number 70. Stephen mentions 75, including (as does LXX) Joseph's 5 grandsons (1Ch 7:14,19,20-22). See Num 26:28-37; cp Exo 1:5.

Gen 46:30

NOW I AM READY TO DIE: Joseph's Egyptian title was "Savior of the World"! Jacob, having laid his eyes once more on the son of his love, the one who was named by him 'Increaser', who was sent before his face to preserve life in Egypt (the 'world': John 3:16) is now content to go to his grave in God's good time.

Was Simeon, many years later, thinking of this incident recorded here in Jacob's life as he took the infant Jesus into his arms? "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation" (Luk 2:29,30). The old man Simeon -- like the old man Jacob -- had seen the "Savior of the World", truly! His life of waiting was complete!

Gen 46:34

ALL SHEPHERDS ARE DETESTABLE TO THE EGYPTIANS: Apparently at this time Egypt was ruled by the "Shepherd kings" who had come in from adjoining Eastern countries and imposed their rule on Egypt. So the native Egyptians would not look highly upon shepherds, since they did not like being ruled over by non-Egyptians with the same occupation. This very fact (that they were shepherds) would help to keep Jacob's descendants a separate people while in Egypt.

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