Genesis Finale: What Man Intended for Harm, God Intended for Good

Joseph had an interesting, yet happy reunion with his brothers, but there is still a famine in all the land including Canaan where Jacob/Israel is with all of the brothers’ wives and children. Joseph, with Pharaoh’s approval, invites Jacob and clan to move to Egypt until the famine is over. He gives them the land of Goshen which is in the Nile river delta — a very fertile area — which is great for grazing their flocks. The end of Genesis is the lead-in to Exodus, the next of the Books of Moses. I’ll focus on the highlights, however, I encourage you to read it all for yourself. Let’s dig in….

Genesis 46

So Jacob (Israel) set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.

“Here I am,” Jacob replied.

“I AM God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”

So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.

Genesis 46:1-7 NLT

The 12 Sons of Jacob — the 12 Tribes of Israel

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Issachar
  6. Zebulun
  7. Gad
  8. Asher
  9. Joseph
  10. Benjamin
  11. Dan
  12. Naphtali

26 The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. 27 In addition, Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.

Genesis 46:26-27 NLT

God assures Jacob to not be afraid to relocate to Egypt. He also promises him that He’ll make all of Israel into a great nation.

Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen

28 As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”

31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”

33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Genesis 46:28-34 NLT

Settled in Egypt

Joseph presented 5 of his brothers to Pharaoh and when Pharaoh asked them what they did for a living, they told him they were shepherds. They asked permission to live in the land of Goshen. In addition, he told them that they could take care of his livestock. It seems that Joseph’s good reputation is automatically passed onto his family. Then again, seeing as there was no pasture land left in Canaan, the Hebrews had no choice but to relocate.

Genesis 47 also tells of the continued famine in Egypt. There came a point when the situation was so severe that people were starving in Egypt! Joseph sold grain to everyone until all their money was spent. So, Joseph made a deal with the people for them to bring all their livestock in exchange for food. (Which makes me wonder why didn’t they eat their livestock.) Then Joseph takes their land. Finally, Joseph gives them seed to farm, but with a 20% tax on the crops. Seems like the government got rich on the backs of the people. Hmmm.

27 Meanwhile, the people of Israel settled in the region of Goshen in Egypt. There they acquired property, and they were fruitful, and their population grew rapidly. 28 Jacob lived for seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, so he lived 147 years in all.

Genesis 47:27-28 NLT

Jacob was dying and asked Joseph not to bury him in Egypt, but to take him to Canaan and bury him with his ancestors.

Genesis 48 – Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons

One day not long after this, word came to Joseph, “Your father is failing rapidly.” So Joseph went to visit his father, and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

When Joseph arrived, Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” So Jacob/Israel gathered his strength and sat up in his bed.

Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful, and I will multiply your descendants. I will make you a multitude of nations. And I will give this land of Canaan to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’

“Now I am claiming as my own sons these two boys of yours, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born here in the land of Egypt before I arrived. They will be my sons, just as Reuben and Simeon are. But any children born to you in the future will be your own, and they will inherit land within the territories of their brothers Ephraim and Manasseh.

“Long ago, as I was returning from Paddan-aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, some distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.”

Then Jacob looked over at the two boys. “Are these your sons?” he asked.

“Yes,” Joseph told him, “these are the sons God has given me here in Egypt.”

And Jacob said, “Bring them closer to me, so I can bless them.”

10 Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them. 11 Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!”

12 Joseph moved the boys, who were at their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face to the ground. 13 Then he positioned the boys in front of Jacob. With his right hand he directed Ephraim toward Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. 14 But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham
    and my father, Isaac, walked—
the God who has been my shepherd
    all my life, to this very day,
16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
    may he bless these boys.
May they preserve my name
    and the names of Abraham and Isaac.
And may their descendants multiply greatly
    throughout the earth.”

17 But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 “No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”

19 But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”

20 So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21 Then Jacob said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to Canaan, the land of your ancestors. 22 And beyond what I have given your brothers, I am giving you an extra portion of the land that I took from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

Genesis 48 NLT

Jacob reassures Joseph that God will be with them and take them back to Canaan, the Promised Land. Joseph’s two sons will become two more tribes of Israel. Wait! That’s 14! Well, there will always be 12 tribes, although the names change. (Those stories are coming up.)

Genesis 49 – Jacob’s Blessing

This is the future layout of the 12 Tribes of Israel as Joshua assigns.

Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what will happen to each of you in the days to come.

“Come and listen, you sons of Jacob;
    listen to Israel, your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength,
    the child of my vigorous youth.
    You are first in rank and first in power.
But you are as unruly as a flood,
    and you will be first no longer.
For you went to bed with my wife;
    you defiled my marriage couch.

“Simeon and Levi are two of a kind;
    their weapons are instruments of violence.
May I never join in their meetings;
    may I never be a party to their plans.
For in their anger they murdered men,
    and they crippled oxen just for sport.
A curse on their anger, for it is fierce;
    a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob;
    I will disperse them throughout Israel.

“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
    You will grasp your enemies by the neck.
    All your relatives will bow before you.
Judah, my son, is a young lion
    that has finished eating its prey.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down;
    like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,
    the one whom all nations will honor.
11 He ties his foal to a grapevine,
    the colt of his donkey to a choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine,
    his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth are whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun will settle by the seashore
    and will be a harbor for ships;
    his borders will extend to Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a sturdy donkey,
    resting between two saddlepacks.
15 When he sees how good the countryside is
    and how pleasant the land,
he will bend his shoulder to the load
    and submit himself to hard labor.

16 “Dan will govern his people,
    like any other tribe in Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake beside the road,
    a poisonous viper along the path
that bites the horse’s hooves
    so its rider is thrown off.
18 I trust in you for salvation, O Lord!

19 “Gad will be attacked by marauding bands,
    but he will attack them when they retreat.

20 “Asher will dine on rich foods
    and produce food fit for kings.

21 “Naphtali is a doe set free
    that bears beautiful fawns.

22 “Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey,
    the foal of a wild donkey at a spring—
    one of the wild donkeys on the ridge.
23 Archers attacked him savagely;
    they shot at him and harassed him.
24 But his bow remained taut,
    and his arms were strengthened
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25 May the God of your father help you;
    may the Almighty bless you
with the blessings of the heavens above,
    and blessings of the watery depths below,
    and blessings of the breasts and womb.
26 May my fatherly blessings on you
    surpass the blessings of my ancestors,
    reaching to the heights of the eternal hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
    who is a prince among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
    devouring his enemies in the morning
    and dividing his plunder in the evening.”

28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message.

Genesis 49 NLT

Jacob dies and the Egyptians mourn and accompany Joseph and his brothers to Canaan to bury Jacob in the land of his ancestors.

For deeper study, check out the free Bible app, ThroughTheWord.org.

Now that Jacob was gone, Joe’s brothers were concerned that Joseph would finally take out his wrath for what they did to him. What Joseph says is important. Pay attention…

16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.

19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Genesis 50:16-21 NLT (red emphasis mine)

Joseph’s brothers were repentant — finally! Then Joseph reassure them that he would take care of them and their children.

Jesus forgives when we repent. We need to come to Him with a repentant heart.

Joseph dies, but before he does, he reassures them that God will come to take them back to the Promised Land. He also asks that his bones be taken with them to be buried with the ancestors.

A Foretaste of Jesus

How can we not see the Gospel in this? 

People sought to harm Jesus by imprisoning him, forcing him through an illegitimate trial, whipping him though he was innocent, and murdering him on a cross. 

They intended harm. God intended good. 

Through harming Jesus in this way, God has accomplished his ultimate purpose – the saving of many lives (Acts 2:23). 

Jesus is the promised seed of Adam and Eve that crushes the head of the serpent. 

Jesus is the descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who blesses all nations. 

Jesus is the one who will bring us out of this current Egypt we are in, and take us to the promised land of his presence forever. 

From “Jesus in all of Genesis – a video devotional” from the free YouVersion Bible app by
https://www.spokengospel.com/

Here is another take from one of the Bible Studies on Jesus in Genesis…

As Genesis ends, we are reassured that God’s mission to restore all creation is well underway, but many questions remain unanswered. Who will give creation rest from the curse? Where is the one who will crush the serpent? Who is the royal offspring of Abraham and Judah that will establish an eternal kingdom over and for the sake of the nations? Genesis queues the questions, so that we long for a savior. Jesus is the king who defeated the serpentine powers of darkness, inaugurated the eternal reign of God, and poured out his blessings onto people from every nation. How remarkable is it that the authors of this book, who never knew Jesus, could prepare our hearts so well for his arrival?

YouVersion plan ‘God’s Story Is Our Story: From Genesis To Jesus’. Check it out here:
https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/4578

Is YOUR Heart Ready to Accept Jesus?

You must…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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