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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 46

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-27

Jacob Journeys to Egypt - Genesis 46:1-27 records the event of Jacob and his children make the journey into Egypt. Exodus 12:41 says they left Egypt the “selfsame” day, four hundred and thirty (430) years after entering. Thus, the day they came into Egypt as seventy souls was the day of the Passover.

Exodus 12:41, “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 46:13 Comments - We are told that the Lord killed Er and Onan in the land of Canaan. Judah then went into Tamar and she bore twin sons, Pharez and Zerah.

Genesis 46:20 Comments - Asenath, Joseph’s wife, is omitted in the count of seventy souls that entered Egypt.

Genesis 46:26 Comments - Sixty-seven (67) souls from Canaan plus Joseph and his two sons equal seventy (70) souls. Jacob is not counted because the phrase “with Jacob” means the Jacob was not counted. Joseph and his family account for three souls.

Genesis 46:27 Comments - We also have a complete list of the names of these seventy souls in The Book of Jubilees (44.11-34).

Verses 1-34

The Genealogy of Jacob The genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have a common structure in that they open with God speaking to a patriarch and giving him a commission and a promise in which to believe. In each of these genealogies, the patriarch’s calling is to believe God’s promise, while this passage of Scripture serves as a witness to God’s faithfulness in fulfilling each promise. Only then does the genealogy come to a close.

Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26 gives the account of the genealogy of Jacob, Isaac’s son. Hebrews 11:21-22 reveals the central message in this genealogy that stirs our faith in God when Jacob and Joseph gave redemptive prophecies, saying, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.” As Abraham’s genealogy begins with a divine commission when God told him to leave Ur and to go Canaan (Genesis 12:1), and Isaac’s genealogy begin with a divine commission predicting him as the father of two nations (Genesis 25:23), so does Jacob’s genealogy begin with a divine encounter in the form of his son Joseph’s two dreams. These dreams make it clear that Jacob’s divine commission was to bring his clan of seventy souls into Egypt through Joseph for four hundred years while the people multiply into the nation of Israel. This genealogy closes with the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “prince of God,” because his destiny was to father a multitude of godly seed. He fathered the twelve sons, or “princes,” who multiplied into the twelve tribes of Israel. His ability to father twelve righteous seeds earned him his name as a prince of God, as a man who ruled over a multitude of godly seed. The Scriptures testify to Jacob’s faith in God’s promise that Joseph would rule over his brethren by the fact that he followed his son into Egypt (Genesis 49:22-26), and he blessed the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh (Hebrews 11:21-22). The fact that Jacob died in a ripe old age testifies that he fulfilled his destiny as did his fathers, Abraham and Isaac.

The Story of Joseph The last story in the origin of the nation of Israel that is recorded in the book of Genesis is the story of Joseph. Perhaps there is no other Old Testament story so moving as when he reveals himself to his brothers. There are many truths that are taught to us in this great Bible story. We learn that if we will serve the Lord amidst persecutions, God will always bring someone into our lives to bless us. Joseph had the favour and blessings of his father as a young man in the midst of his brothers’ persecutions. He then had the blessings of Potipher as a young man in Egypt. He found the favour of Pharaoh as an adult.

God gave Jeremiah some friends who stood by him and blessed him during the most difficult times in his ministry. God gave Daniel three friends in his Babylonian captivity. God gave to Paul men like Timothy and Luke to stand by him during times of persecution and even imprisonment. But for Joseph, he often stood alone, totally trusting in God.

The Chronology of the Life of Joseph - Jacob was one hundred thirty (130) years old when he went to Egypt.

Genesis 47:9, “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.”

Jacob died at the age of 147.

Genesis 47:28, “And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.”

Joseph became ruler in Egypt at the age of 30.

Genesis 41:46, “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Joseph had two sons by the age of 37.

Genesis 41:50, “And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.”

Joseph was 39 when his family comes to Egypt.

Genesis 45:11, “And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.”

Therefore, Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born.

Also, Joseph died at the age of 110 (Genesis 50:22; Genesis 50:26)

Genesis 50:22, “And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.”

Genesis 50:26, “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

Joseph as a Type and Figure of Christ Jesus In many ways we can see Joseph as a type and figure of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note some comparisons:

1. Joseph was Jacob’s beloved son, just as Jesus was the Heavenly Father’s beloved son.

Matthew 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

2. Joseph was given a coat of many colours, which was similar to the seamless robe worn by Jesus Christ, of which the Roman soldiers cast lots (John 19:23-24).

John 19:23-24, “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.”

3. Joseph took bread to his brothers, just like Jesus was sent as the bread of life to His people.

Matthew 15:24-26, “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

4. Joseph was rejected by his brothers like Jesus was rejected by His people, the Jews.

5. Joseph was thrown in the pit in Genesis 37:24. This is like Jesus’ death on the cross (Psalms 16:10)

Genesis 37:24, “And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.”

Psalms 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

6. When Joseph was betrayed by his brethren and sold as a servant. Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot for thirty pieces of sliver.

7. Joseph became a servant in the house of Potiphar, just like Jesus Christ took form of a servant (Philippians 2:7) and (Psalms 105:17).

Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.”

Genesis 39:1, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.”

Psalms 105:17, “He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:”

Philippians 2:7, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

8. Joseph was sent to Egypt to deliver the house of Jacob (Israel) (Genesis 45:7-8) like Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to deliver them.

Genesis 45:7-8, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Matthew 15:24, “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

9. Joseph was lifted up by Potiphar, then brought down into prison, then raised up by Pharaoh at his right hand. This is like Jesus being brought down to the grave, and then being raised to the right hand of the Father.

10. Joseph was exalted as ruler under Pharaoh, like Christians at the right hand of the Father in heaven today.

11. Some scholars suggest that Joseph’s marriage to the Egyptian is a type of Christ’s marriage to the church (especially to the Gentile church). He had two sons, which symbolizes the salvation of the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

12. Joseph’s brothers bowed down to Joseph during the famine (Genesis 42:6) like Israel will bow down to Jesus one day (Romans 11:26). Israel shall be saved through the Deliverer.

Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.”

Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”

13. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers on their third trip to Egypt. The ten brothers finally coming to Joseph and recognising him and receiving an inheritance is like Israel turning to and recognising Jesus and all being saved.

Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”

Jesus will reveal Himself to the Jews after the Church is raptured at His Second Return, thus, a third return.

14. All nations came and bowed down to Joseph, as all nations will someday come and bow down at the throne of the Lord Jesus.

15. Joseph was ruler over Egypt and the whole world, just as Jesus will reign in Zion as king of kings over the earth.

Verses 28-34

Genesis 46:28 Comments - According to Genesis 45:18, the land of Goshen was the best land in Egypt.

Genesis 45:18, “And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt , and ye shall eat the fat of the land.”

Genesis 46:34 “for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians” - Comments - The Egyptians were husbandmen, but not with sheep, as the Hebrews. Theirs were cattle, horses, asses, etc. A sheep tends to graze close to the ground and ruins a pasture so that cattle cannot graze on it. So cattle and sheep by their nature are not compatible.

Genesis 47:17, “And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.”

Genesis 47:7 “Jacob blessed Pharaoh” Comments - The fact that Jacob blessed Pharaoh was an indication that Jacob was a greater man than Pharaoh (note Hebrews 7:7).

Hebrews 7:7, “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”

Genesis 47:9 “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years” Comments - Scholars note that Jacob describes his life as a pilgrimage because he and his fathers were sojourners in the land of Canaan, living a nomadic life as shepherds.

Genesis 47:9 “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” Comments - Jacob describes his life as “few and evil.” Scholars note that “few” means he has lived a shorter life than his fathers, and “evil” means that he has suffered much affliction in comparison to Abraham and Isaac. [257]

[257] John Gill, Genesis, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Genesis 47:9.

Genesis 47:11 “in the land of Rameses” - Comments - This was the Egyptian name for the area called “Goshen” by the Hebrews.

Genesis 47:26 “unto this day” Comments - The phrase “unto this day” would probably refer to Moses' day if he is the author of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 47:28 Comments - Jacob was one hundred and thirty years old when he came into the land of Egypt.

Genesis 47:28 Comments - Note that Jacob died at a much earlier age than his father Isaac at 180 years old (Genesis 35:28) and his grandfather Abraham at 175 years old (Genesis 25:7). Perhaps Jacob died at an earlier age because he grieved for his son Joseph for so many years, and because his life was mixed with much affliction.

Genesis 47:31 “And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head” - Comments - Note how this phrase is quoted in the New Testament using the LXX translation:

Hebrews 11:21, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff .”

Brenton, “And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff.”

Genesis 48:4 “and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession” - Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Genesis 17:8, “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Acts 7:5, “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him , when as yet he had no child.”

Genesis 48:5 “are mine, as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” - Comments - Jacob called Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as belonging to Jacob, just as Jacob’s first and second born sons Reuben and Simeon were his.

Genesis 48:5 Comments - Manasseh and Ephraim became two of the twelve tribes of Israel, being named with the twelve sons of Jacob. This seems to be a double portion blessing upon Joseph, which only the firstborn received. This is seen in Genesis 48:22.

Genesis 48:22, “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

Thus, in this passage, Jacob gave the double blessing of the firstborn to Joseph instead of to Reuben.

Genesis 48:6 “and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance” - Comments - Jacob saw the twelve tribes of Israel as possessing the land of Canaan according to their divisions.

Genesis 48:6 Comments - The rest of Joseph’s sons after these first two shall be named as being in the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.

Genesis 48:5-6 Comments Joseph’s Double Portion - Jacob claimed the perpetuation of his own names and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, not through his son Joseph, but thru his two grandsons. Manasseh and Ephraim would father entire tribes in their own names, thus giving Joseph a double portion of the inheritance.

Genesis 48:9 Comments - Jacob would have normally blessed his son Joseph. However, since Joseph’s two sons were now to be numbered with the twelve, Jacob proceeded to bless them.

Genesis 48:9 Scripture References - Note a similar verse:

Hebrews 11:21, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”

Genesis 48:22 Comments - The giving of a special portion by Jacob to his favorite son Joseph was a reflection of the customs of his day. The Code of Hammurabi, believed by some scholars to have been written by a Babylonian king around 2100 B.C., impacted its culture for centuries. It is very likely that Jacob based this decision upon law 165 of this Code, which says, “If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a field, garden, and house, and a deed therefore: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the estate, then they shall first give him the present of his father, and he shall accept it; and the rest of the paternal property shall they divide.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 46". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-46.html. 2013.
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