GENESIS ch. 45 – 50

45:1 Joseph could no longer control himself in the presence of all his attendants, so he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” Thus no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 But his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace. 3 “I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still in good health?” But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him. 4

“Come closer to me,” he told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. 5 But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you. 6 For two years now the famine has been in the land, and for five more years tillage will yield no harvest. 7 God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. 8 So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made of me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. 9

“Hurry back, then, to my father and tell him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come to me without delay. 10 You will settle in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me– you and your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything that you own. 11 Since five years of famine still lie ahead, I will provide for you there, so that you and your family and all that are yours may not suffer want.’ 12 Surely, you can see for yourselves, and Benjamin can see for himself, that it is I, Joseph, who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father all about my high position in Egypt and what you have seen. But hurry and bring my father down here.” 14

Thereupon he flung himself on the neck of his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept in his arms. 15 Joseph then kissed all his brothers, crying over each of them; and only then were his brothers able to talk with him. 16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and his courtiers were pleased. 17 So Pharaoh told Joseph: “Say to your brothers: ‘This is what you shall do: Load up your animals and go without delay to the land of Canaan. 18 There get your father and your families, and then come back here to me; I will assign you the best land in Egypt, where you will live off the fat of the land.’ 19 Instruct them further: ‘Do this. Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your children and your wives and to transport your father on your way back here. 20 Do not be concerned about your belongings, for the best in the whole land of Egypt shall be yours.'” 21

The sons of Israel acted accordingly. Joseph gave them the wagons, as Pharaoh had ordered, and he supplied them with provisions for the journey. 22 He also gave to each of them fresh clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of garments. 23 Moreover, what he sent to his father was ten jackasses loaded with the finest products of Egypt and ten jennies loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 As he sent his brothers on their way, he told them, “Let there be no recriminations on the way.” 25 So they left Egypt and made their way to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26

When they told him, “Joseph is still alive– in fact, it is he who is ruler of all the land of Egypt,” he was dumbfounded; he could not believe them. 27 But when they recounted to him all that Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent for his transport, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 “It is enough,” said Israel. “My son Joseph is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.”

46:1 Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he answered. 3 Then he said: “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. 4 Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.” 5 So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba, and the sons of Israel put their father and their wives and children on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport. 6 They took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan.

Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt. 7 His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters– all his descendants– he took with him to Egypt. 8 These are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his descendants, who migrated to Egypt. Reuben, Jacob’s first-born, 9 and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah– but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan; and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These were the sons whom Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, along with his daughter Dinah– thirty-three persons in all, male and female. 16 The sons of Gad: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arod, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, with their sister Serah; and the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These were the descendants of Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah; these she bore to Jacob– sixteen persons in all. 19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In the land of Egypt Joseph became the father of Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis, bore to him. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ahiram, Shupham, Hupham, and Ard. 22 These were the sons whom Rachel bore to Jacob– fourteen persons in all. 23 The sons of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel; these she bore to Jacob– seven persons in all. 26 Jacob’s people who migrated to Egypt– his direct descendants, not counting the wives of Jacob’s sons– numbered sixty-six persons in all. 27 Together with Joseph’s sons who were born to him in Egypt– two persons– all the people comprising Jacob’s family who had come to Egypt amounted to seventy persons in all. 28

Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that he might meet him in Goshen. On his arrival in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he saw him, he flung himself on his neck and wept a long time in his arms. 30 And Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.” 31 Joseph then said to his brothers and his father’s household: “I will go and inform Pharaoh, telling him: ‘My brothers and my father’s household, whose home is in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds, having long been keepers of livestock; and they have brought with them their flocks and herds, as well as everything else they own.’ 33 So when Pharaoh summons you and asks what your occupation is, 34 you must answer, ‘We your servants, like our ancestors, have been keepers of livestock from the beginning until now,’ in order that you may stay in the region of Goshen, since all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

47:1 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers have come from the land of Canaan, with their flocks and herds and everything else they own; and they are now in the region of Goshen.” 2 He then presented to Pharaoh five of his brothers whom he had selected from their full number. 3 When Pharaoh asked them what their occupation was, they answered, “We, your servants, like our ancestors, are shepherds. 4 We have come,” they continued, “in order to stay in this country, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks in the land of Canaan, so severe has the famine been there. Please, therefore, let your servants settle in the region of Goshen.” 5

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “They may settle in the region of Goshen; and if you know any of them to be qualified, you may put them in charge of my own livestock.” Thus, when Jacob and his sons came to Joseph in Egypt, and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, heard about it, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have come to you, 6 the land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and brothers in the pick of the land.” 7

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh. After Jacob had paid his respects to Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How many years have you lived?” 9 Jacob replied: “The years I have lived as a wayfarer amount to a hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been these years of my life, and they do not compare with the years that my ancestors lived as wayfarers.” 10 Then Jacob bade Pharaoh farewell and withdrew from his presence. 11

As Pharaoh had ordered, Joseph settled his father and brothers and gave them holdings in Egypt on the pick of the land, in the region of Rameses. 12 And Joseph sustained his father and brothers and his father’s whole household, down to the youngest, with food. 13 Since there was no food in any country because of the extreme severity of the famine, and the lands of Egypt and Canaan were languishing from hunger, 14 Joseph gathered in, as payment for the rations that were being dispensed, all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan, and he put it in Pharaoh’s palace. 15

When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, pleading, “Give us food or we shall perish under your eyes; for our money is gone.” 16 “Since your money is gone,” replied Joseph, “give me your livestock, and I will sell you bread in return for your livestock.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he sold them food in return for their horses, their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and their donkeys. Thus he got them through that year with bread in exchange for all their livestock. 18

When that year ended, they came to him in the following one and said: “We cannot hide from my lord that, with our money spent and our livestock made over to my lord, there is nothing left to put at my lord’s disposal except our bodies and our farm land. 19 Why should we and our land perish before your very eyes? Take us and our land in exchange for food, and we will become Pharaoh’s slaves and our land his property; only give us seed, that we may survive and not perish, and that our land may not turn into a waste.” 20 Thus Joseph acquired all the farm land of Egypt for Pharaoh, since with the famine too much for them to bear, every Egyptian sold his field; so the land passed over to Pharaoh, 21 and the people were reduced to slavery, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22 Only the priests’ lands Joseph did not take over. Since the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived off the allowance Pharaoh had granted them, they did not have to sell their land. 23

Joseph told the people: “Now that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh, here is your seed for sowing the land. 24 But when the harvest is in, you must give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, while you keep four-fifths as seed for your fields and as food for yourselves and your families (and as food for your children).” 25 “You have saved our lives!” they answered. “We are grateful to my lord that we can be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26 Thus Joseph made it a law for the land in Egypt, which is still in force, that a fifth of its produce should go to Pharaoh. Only the land of the priests did not pass over to Pharaoh. 27

Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. There they acquired property, were fertile, and increased greatly. 28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; the span of his life came to a hundred and forty-seven years. 29 When the time approached for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him: “If you really wish to please me, put your hand under my thigh as a sign of your constant loyalty to me; do not let me be buried in Egypt. 30 When I lie down with my ancestors, have me taken out of Egypt and buried in their burial place.” 31 “I will do as you say,” he replied. But his father demanded, “Swear it to me!” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.

48:1 Some time afterward, Joseph was informed, “Your father is failing.” So he took along with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” he rallied his strength and sat up in bed. 3 Jacob then said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessing me, 4 he said, ‘I will make you fertile and numerous and raise you into an assembly of tribes, and I will give this land to your descendants after you as a permanent possession.’ 5 Your two sons, therefore, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I joined you here, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as much as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6 Progeny born to you after them shall remain yours; but their heritage shall be recorded in the names of their two brothers. 7 I do this because, when I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel died, to my sorrow, during the journey in Canaan, while we were still a short distance from Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” 8

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these?” 9 “They are my sons,” Joseph answered his father, “whom God has given me here.” “Bring them to me,” said his father, “that I may bless them.” 10 (Now Israel’s eyes were dim from age, and he could not see well.) When Joseph brought his sons close to him, he kissed and embraced them. 11 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your descendants as well!” 12 Joseph removed them from his father’s knees and bowed down before him with his face to the ground. 13 Then Joseph took the two, Ephraim with his right hand, to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand, to Israel’s right, and led them to him. 14 But Israel, crossing his hands, put out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, although he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, although he was the first-born. 15

Then he blessed them with these words: “May the God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day, 16 The Angel who has delivered me from all harm, bless these boys That in them my name be recalled, and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, And they may become teeming multitudes upon the earth!” 17 When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, this seemed wrong to him; so he took hold of his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s, 18 saying, “That is not right, father; the other one is the first-born; lay your right hand on his head!” 19 But his father resisted. “I know it, son,” he said, “I know. That one too shall become a tribe, and he too shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall surpass him, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” 20

So when he blessed them that day and said, “By you shall the people of Israel pronounce blessings; may they say, ‘God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh,'” he placed Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph: “I am about to die. But God will be with you and will restore you to the land of your fathers. 22 As for me, I give to you, as to the one above his brothers, Shechem, which I captured from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

49:1 Jacob called his sons and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what is to happen to you in days to come. 2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father. 3 “You, Reuben, my first-born, my strength and the first fruit of my manhood, excelling in rank and excelling in power! 4 Unruly as water, you shall no longer excel, for you climbed into your father’s bed and defiled my couch to my sorrow. 5 “Simeon and Levi, brothers indeed, weapons of violence are their knives. 6 Let not my soul enter their council, or my spirit be joined with their company; For in their fury they slew men, in their willfulness they maimed oxen. 7 Cursed be their fury so fierce, and their rage so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob, disperse them throughout Israel. 8

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise– your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. 9 Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts– who would dare rouse him? 10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage. 11 He tethers his donkey to the vine, his purebred ass to the choicest stem. In wine he washes his garments his robe in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk. 13 “Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore (This means a shore for ships), and his flank shall be based on Sidon. 14

“Issachar is a rawboned ass, crouching between the saddlebags. 15 When he saw how good a settled life was, and how pleasant the country, He bent his shoulder to the burden and became a toiling serf. 16 “Dan shall achieve justice for his kindred like any other tribe of Israel. 17 Let Dan be a serpent by the roadside, a horned viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heel, so that the rider tumbles backward. 18 “(I long for your deliverance, O LORD!) 19 “Gad shall be raided by raiders, but he shall raid at their heels. 20 “Asher’s produce is rich, and he shall furnish dainties for kings. 21 “Naphtali is a hind let loose which brings forth lovely fawns. 22

“Joseph is a wild colt, a wild colt by a spring, a wild ass on a hillside. 23 Harrying and attacking, the archers opposed him; 24 But each one’s bow remained stiff, as their arms were unsteady, By the power of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 The God of your father, who helps you, God Almighty, who blesses you, With the blessings of the heavens above, the blessings of the abyss that crouches below, The blessings of breasts and womb, 26 the blessings of fresh grain and blossoms, The blessings of the everlasting mountains, the delights of the eternal hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. 27

“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; mornings he devours the prey, and evenings he distributes the spoils.” 28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said about them, as he bade them farewell and gave to each of them an appropriate message. 29 Then he gave them this charge: “Since I am about to be taken to my kindred, bury me with my fathers in the cave that lies in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, facing on Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial ground. 31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there, too, I buried Leah– 32 the field and the cave in it that had been purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was taken to his kindred.

50:1 Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him as he kissed him. 2 Then he ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father. When they embalmed Israel, 3 they spent forty days at it, for that is the full period of embalming; and the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days. 4 When that period of mourning was over, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s courtiers. “Please do me this favor,” he said, “and convey to Pharaoh this request of mine. 5 Since my father, at the point of death, made me promise on oath to bury him in the tomb that he had prepared for himself in the land of Canaan, may I go up there to bury my father and then come back?” 6 Pharaoh replied, “Go and bury your father, as he made you promise on oath.” 7

So Joseph left to bury his father; and with him went all of Pharaoh’s officials who were senior members of his court and all the other dignitaries of Egypt, 8 as well as Joseph’s whole household, his brothers, and his father’s household; only their children and their flocks and herds were left in the region of Goshen. 9 Chariots, too, and charioteers went up with him; it was a very large retinue. 10 When they arrived at Goren-ha-atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and solemn memorial service; and Joseph observed seven days of mourning for his father. 11

When the Canaanites who inhabited the land saw the mourning at Goren-ha-atad, they said, “This is a solemn funeral the Egyptians are having.” That is why the place was named Abel-mizraim. It is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus Jacob’s sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, facing on Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought for a burial ground from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After Joseph had buried his father he returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all who had gone up with him for the burial of his father. 15

Now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful and thought, “Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!” 16 So they approached Joseph and said: “Before your father died, he gave us these instructions: 17 ‘You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers, who treated you so cruelly.’ Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we, the servants of your father’s God, committed.” When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears. 18 Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him and said, “Let us be your slaves!” 19 But Joseph replied to them: “Have no fear. Can I take the place of God? 20 Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end, the survival of many people. 21 Therefore have no fear. I will provide for you and for your children.”

By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them. 22 Joseph remained in Egypt, together with his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years. 23 He saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation, and the children of Manasseh’s son Machir were also born on Joseph’s knees. 24 Joseph said to his brothers: “I am about to die. God will surely take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 Then, putting the sons of Israel under oath, he continued, “When God thus takes care of you, you must bring my bones up with you from this place.” 26 Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. He was embalmed and laid to rest in a coffin in Egypt.





This talk is by Catherine Upchurch.

Good story-telling in the Joseph narrative.  In Chapter 45 we have the climax.  Joseph offers: truth; the providence of God; and healing.

  • “I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers.”  Gen. 45:3
  • “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.”  Gen. 45:4  He named the sin, the cause of the pain.
  • “Do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me here.  It was really for the sake of savings lives that God sent me here ahead of you … God … sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance.”  Gen. 45:5, 7  Hence: God has been at work all along.
  • “Do not fear.  …  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people.”  Gen 50:19,20
  • “Neither the freedom of the creature nor the gracious sovereignty of God is canceled.  They are not in conflict, nor are they to be equated.  God’s will makes use of all human action but is domesticated or limited by no human choice.”  Walter Brueggemann
  • God acts within human history, within human decisions, within human freedom.  God’s purposes found their way in biblical times and today.
  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways – oracle of the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9
  • God acts in ways large and small.  Exodus from Egypt is an epic way.  In the Joseph story is behind the scenes.
  • “Hurry back then …. Hurry and bring my father down here.”  Gen 45:9, 13   Urgency to seize the moment of healing and reconciliation to begin moving forward

Chapter 46 is a bridge from the story of Joseph to the larger story of the whole people

“I am God, the God of your father.  Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation.  I will go down to Egypt with you and I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.”  Gen. 46:3-4



The Storytellers of Genesis use:

  • Genealogies to show the breadth of generosity
  • Tales from Pharaoh’s court
  • Details about land policy to show family becomes aligned with royal power and strength.
  • Jacob’s illness and final blessing to testify to the later tribal configurations

Chapter 49:24, 25

By the power of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 The God of your father, who helps you, God Almighty, who blesses you.


Rely on Jesus to pull you through, IF you can survive the pull.


MIGHTY ONE OF JACOB: Our faith is not a guarantee that we will not suffer or die, it is the assurance that through good and bad times God walks with us

SHEPHERD: Psalm 23, prophets, NT / Jesus  finding water in the desert.  Protection from predators

ROCK OF ISRAEL: most popular image for God in the Bible.

GOD OF YOUR FATHER: claim identity, focus on the connections that cross time and space

GOD ALMIGHTY: power of the creator tied to a particular people


God’s promises sustain us and are being fulfilled through us





Chapter 45

Brueggemann p. 343: “The narrative has held off this pivotal disclosure until the last possible instant.  Those who have entered into the pathos of this family, a family driven by a dream to conflict and fear, are now prepared for the turn.  In a single artistic moment, the entire plot is made visible.  In this scene, the plot is larger than every player, including Joseph.”

Brueggemann p. 343,344  A gospel message: the dead one is alive!  The abandoned one has returned in power.  The dream came true!

Brueggemann p. 346: “The guilt of the brothers, the grief of the father, and the revenge of Joseph are all used as means for this disclosure of the hidden call of God  None of that matters now, for the whole family is now brought to a new moment.  The purposes of God have been at work ‘in, with, and under’ these sordid human actions.”

Scherman (Torah) p. 311.  Is it irony or closure that at the end of the audience with Pharaoh he gives them clothing, with more to Benjamin????

Brueggemann p. 346 ff

  1. God’s purpose in the world is ultimately sovereign.  It will not be defeated.  It can make use of our good and our evil actions.
  2. God’s purpose creates something new.
  3. God’s purpose is grace-filled, a gift to creation.
  4. God’s purpose is hidden and mysterious.  Story is appropriate, it is not found or understood by analysis.  Our best response is wonder, joy, worship
  5. God’s purpose is worked out in history, in our everyday lives and events, by real people


Chapter 46 & Chapter 47

Brueggemann p. 352: “These chapters contain a collection of diverse materials reflecting on the two themes, Joseph and his family and Joseph and the empire.  The materials have a miscellaneous quality about them.  There does not seem to be any artistic effort at coherence.  The power of sustained narrative is largely exhausted by the end of chapter 45.

Bruegemann p. 3554: “The text offers a dramatic meeting between the Lord of Egypt and the father of promise.  The two have only Joseph in common.  …  At the end, it is Jacob who blesses Pharaoh.  Israel blesses Egypt.”

Schermann (Torah) p. 322:  “The construction of the statement indicates that the provision of seed is contingent upon the barter of the peasants’ land for food.  The state-controlled land is cultivated by the former landowners, who pay a tax of 20 percent of the harvest in return for the privilege and for the seed allotments.  Such an interest rate was not considered excessive in the ancient Near East.”

Pharaoh has land, Jacob has none.  Pharaoh has vast power, Jacob has only the LORD.  Pharaoh is settled, Jacob is a sojourner.

Goshen is given to Joseph and brothers – but it is not home, it is not forever.  The land promised is in Canaan.  It is not the end of the story.

Scherman Torah p. 162 on ‘put your hand under my thigh’: The unusual nature of the present act leaves any explanation uncertain.  Interpreters are unanimous that the “thigh” refers to the genital organ.  This may be a reference to circumcision: Holding the circumcised membrum, called the ‘sign of the covenant’ in 17:11 may invoke the presence and power of God as the guarantor of the oath.”

Chapter 48

The blessing of heirs elevates Ephraim.  Harkens back to Jacob’s own blessing.  Scherman Torah p. 329: “Ephraim becoming the more powerful and more influential of the two tribes, even to the extent that its name eventually became synonymous with the kingdom of Israel.  This phenomenon is traced to Jacob’s blessing.  Following his adoption of Joseph’s two sons, Jacob now exercises his prerogative to set aside chronological priority and to grant Ephraim preferential status.”


Chapter 49 & Chapter 50

Brueggemann p. 358:  Before the focus was on new life – Jacob is found; the family is fed.  Now it is death time.  This section also contains diverse materials.  But they are all narratives about Jacob and his family facing death.”

Brueggemann p. 361: “Egypt is accustomed to grasping land and having it quickly.  But when one waits for the land as Israel does, there is no way to force the issue.  One must only wait.  Blessings are for waiting.  Laying on of hands is for hoping.  The grandsons cannot receive more than that.  The grandfather cannot give more than that.  And it does not matter if the empire cannot understand.”


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