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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 46

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Genesis 46:2. In the visions of the night. It was a practice of the ancient Romans to undertake nothing of importance without consulting the gods, a practice derived no doubt from the holy patriarchs. Jacob had offered sacrifice, but God did not choose to speak to him till the silence of night had closed the eyes of men.

Genesis 46:8. These are the names. This chronology, like most of the others, has its difficulties, when compared with Numbers 26:0. and 1 Chronicles. The orthography is slightly varied.

Genesis 46:10. Ohad. He is omitted in the other chronologies, having died without sons.

Genesis 46:27. Three score and ten. Jacob and Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, not being here named, make the seventy souls. The Septuagint has an addition of five sons of Joseph, by a Syrian concubine; viz. Machir, and Machir begat Gilead. The sons of Ephraim, Manasseh’s brother; Sutalaam and Taam, and the sons of Sutalaam and Edom. This is allowed to be an interpolation; yet it is cited by Stephen, Acts 7:0., which makes the number of the males seventy five. The sons of Joseph were not born when Jacob went into Egypt. In these seventy males, the increase of Jacob, in about seventy years, we see a rising pledge of the Divine fidelity to the promises made to Abraham, and renewed to Jacob at Bethel, when he fled from Esau with only a staff in his hand.

Genesis 46:29. To Goshen; that is, to Heriopolis, in the land Rameses, which seems to be the Greek name for Goshen.

Genesis 46:34. Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians, as noted in Genesis 43:32.


Israel having received the strange and reviving news of Joseph being yet alive, and exalted in Egypt, says, in the spirit, I will go down and see him before I die. But mark, he would not follow the impulse of the moment without going first and consulting God at Beersheba, the ancient family altar. Being once commanded of God to leave Mesopotamia, and return to Canaan, he did not dare to leave the promised land without the divine permission. God accepted his devotion, and adapted the promises of the covenant to his situation. Families may hence learn, if providence have placed them in a situation in which they can live, that they are not to leave it, without such reasons as shall satisfy the mind in a providential view. In general, it is best for families to remain in the same house, planted like an oak, that they may prosper. But when like Jacob, pressed with want, and invited by advantages, they may indeed change their abode or trade; yet in all cases God’s counsel is to be sought by prayer; for he alone sees futurity, and he alone is able to direct their steps.

In all our journeys and removals we should be reminded, that life itself is but a pilgrimage, shortly drawing to a close. Although a man’s situation be a sort of paradise, and inviting as the land of Goshen, yet will it shortly prove a land of sorrows and afflictions: he must never suffer his heart to rest in any abode short of heaven.

In Joseph, who went to meet and embrace his father, young people, who may happen to be elevated in life, have a fine model of filial affection and respect. A father is still a father, and a son is still a son, whatever may be the distinction of rank and fortune. These are duties which the Father of heaven requires of youth to pay, and with due respect: and if one brother should providentially be elevated in life, he has a pattern in Joseph of the good he should seek to do his family, according as providence and circumstances shall suggest.

In Jacob also, who on embracing Joseph said, Let me die, since I have seen thy face, and because thou art yet alive, aged men have a devout and paternal example. What more can a man desire, on seeing his children established and happy, than to die, and enter heaven! And if God has granted that man, after a life of toils, release from business and care, in how divine a manner should he spend the remains of life! It is in searching the sacred writings, in tracing the wonders and mercies of his past life, and in diligent attendance if possible on God’s house, that he should now chiefly employ his time. He should, by the most fervent devotion, daily join his soul anew to God, and to those blessed companions of his pilgrimage who are gone before. He should every day more and more disengage his mind from the recollection of the world, and begin on earth the exercises of heaven, longing and waiting for the Lord to appear. But alas, unless these dispositions are acquired in early life, they can seldom be attained in old age. The world, once deeply rooted in the heart, generally engrosses a man’s thoughts and conversation in his last moments, which renders him a deplorable object to his family; and perhaps, a victim of divine vengeance, that others may seek salvation in early life.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 46". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/genesis-46.html. 1835.
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