Genesis 47:27-50:26 May 25 2008
That Israel ”acquired property in Egypt and became fruitful
and very numerous”(Genesis 47:27) was the first reminder of God’s
faithfulness. The acquisition of land and the multiplication of
descendants verified God’s covenant blessing on Jacob and his family.
The second reminder of God’s faithfulness was Jacob’s
adoption of Manasseh and Ephraim , Joseph’s Egyptian sons.. When
Jacob took them as his own sons (Genesis 48:5). He guaranteed that
Joseph and his descendants would be a full part of God’s covenant
community in the generations ahead.
The third reminder of God’s faithfulness came toward the end
of Jacob’s life . Jacob made Josephs wear to to take him back to the
promised land and bury him with his ancestors (Genesis 47:29-30).
A fourth reminder of God’s faithfulness came in the form of
Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers. Fearing for their lives after Jacob’s
death, Joseph’s brothers sought forgiveness and offered to be his
slaves (Genesis 50:15-180. Joseph then revealed his understanding
that everything that had happened to him was part of God’s larger
plan (Genesis 50:20).
1. Refiect on God ‘s Promises (Gen. 48:3-6)
Gen. 48:3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to
me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 48:4
and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and will
increase your numbers. I will make you a community of
peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession
to your descendants after you.’ 48:5 “Now then, your two
sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be
reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as
Reuben and Simeon are mine. 48:6 Any children born to you
after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be
reckoned under the names of their brothers.
God Almighty. (Gen. 17:1). Luz. The older name for Bethel (Gen. 28:19).
Your two sons. . . Will be reckoned as mine. Jacob would adopt
them as his own. Ephraim and Manasseh. (Gen 48:1) for the
expected order, since Manasseh was Joseph’s firstborn (Gen.41:51).
Jacob mentions Ephraim first because he intends to give him the
primary blessing and thus “put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh” (
Gen.48 20). Mine , ,just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. Joseph’s
first two sons would enjoy equal status with Jacob’s first two sons
(Gen.35:23) and in fact would eventually supersede them. Because
of an earlier sinful act (Gen.35:22 ), Reuben would lose his
birthright to Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph (Gen.49:3-4; 1Ch 5:2), and
thus to Joseph’s sons (1Ch 5:1). Children born to you after them
will be yours . They would take the place of Ephraim and Manasseh,
whom Jacob had adopted. In the territory they inherit , They will be
reckoned under the name of their brothers . They would perpetuate
the names of Ephraim and Manasseh for purposes of inheritance
(for a similar provision (Gen.38:8; Dt 25:5-6). Joseph’s territory
would thus be divided between Ephraim and Manasseh, but Levi
(Jacob’s third son; Gen.35:23) would receive “no share of the land”
(Jos 14:4). The total number of tribal allotments would therefore
remain the same.
2. Serve with Confidence (Gen.49:8-10)
Gen. 49:8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will
be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down
to you. 49:9 You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the
prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, Like a lioness
—who dares to rouse him? 49:10 The scepter will not depart from
Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes
to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
(Gen.27:29,40; 37:7,9). Judah ,your brothers. . .
will bow down to you . (Gen. 43:3). As those who
would become the leading tribes of southern and northern Israel
respectively, Judah and Joseph were given the longest (Gen.49: 8-12
and Gen.49:22-26) of Jacob’s blessings. Judah was the fourth of Leah’s
sons and also the fourth son born to Jacob (Ge.29:35), but Reuben,
Simeon and Levi had forfeited their right of leadership. So Jacob
assigns leadership to Judah (a son of Leah) but a double portion
to Joseph (a son of Rachel). ( 1Ch 5:2). You are a lion’s cub.
A symbol of sovereignty, strength and courage. Judah (or Israel)
is often pictured as a lion in later times (Eze 19:1-7; Mic 5:8; and
especially Nu 24:9). Judah’s greatest descendant, Jesus Christ
(Gen. 43:3), is himself called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”
(Rev 5:5). Though difficult to translate the verse has been
traditionally understood as Messianic. It was initially fulfilled in
David, and ultimately in Christ. Scepter. ( Nu 24:17) . Until he
comes to whom it belongs. Repeated almost verbatim in
(Eze 21:27) in a section where Zedekiah, the last king of
Judah, is told to “remove the crown” (Eze 21:26) from his head
because dominion over Jerusalem will ultimately be given to the
one “to whom it rightfully belongs.”
3. Act with Compassion (Gen. 50:15-21)
Gen. 50:15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was
dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and
pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 50:16 So they
sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions
before he died: 50:17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I
ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they
committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins
of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message
came to him, Joseph wept. 50:18 His brothers then came and
threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they
said. 50:19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in
the place of God? 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God
intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the
saving of many lives. 50:21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will
provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them
and spoke kindly to them.
Holds a grudge. . . and pays us back. Similarly, Esau had once
planned to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died (Gen.27:41). Joseph
wept. (Gen. 43:30). Joseph may have been saddened by the
thought that his brothers might be falsely implicating their father
in their story. Or he may have regretted his failure to reassure
them sooner that he had already forgiven them. Threw themselves
down. A final fulfillment of Joseph’s earlier dreams
(Genesis 37:7; 37:9). We are your slaves. They had earlier
expressed a similar willingness, but under quite different
circumstances (Gen. 44:9,33). Am I in the place of God?
(Genesis 30:2). God intended it for good. Their act, out
of personal animosity toward a brother, had been used by God to
save life —the life of the Israelites, the Egyptians and all the
nations that came to Egypt to buy food in the face of a famine that
threatened the known world. At the same time, God showed by
these events that his purpose for the nations is life and that this
purpose would be effected through the descendants of Abraham.
Saw the third generation. Job’s experience (Job 42:16). Makir.
Manasseh’s firstborn son and the ancestor of the powerful Gileadites
(Jos 17:1). The name of Makir later became almost interchangeable
with that of Manasseh himself (Jdg 5:14). Placed at birth on Joseph’s
knees . Joseph probably adopted Makir’s children (Gen. 30:3).
Brothers. Perhaps used here in a broader sense than siblings. I am
about to die. (Gen. 48:21). God will . . . take you up out of this land.
Joseph did not forget God’s promises (Gen.15:16; 46:4; 48:21)
concerning “the exodus” (Heb 11:22). (Gen. 47:29-31)for a similar
request by Jacob. Carry my bones up from this place.. Centuries
later Moses did so to fulfill his ancestor’s oath (Ex 13:19). Joseph’s
bones were eventually “buried at Shechem in the tract of land that
Jacob bought. . . from the sons of Hamor” (Jos 24:32; Gen. 33:19).
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten . (Gen.50: 22. Ancient
Egyptian records indicate that 110 years was considered to be the
ideal life span; to the Egyptians this would have signified divine
blessing upon Joseph.
The closing chapters of Genesis focus on God’s faithfulness
in watching over His covenant people and in keeping His promises.
God’s faithfulness impacted the lives of Jacob and Joseph in dramatic
ways . Both men acknowledged God had blessed and wtched over
them. Though neither Jacob nor Joseph was perfect, both men
remained faithful to the Lord throughout their lives.
When they died , both men left a legacy of faith for all believers
to follow. However, their faithfulness to the Lord reflected the greater
faithfulness they had discovered in the Lord . The closing chapters of
Genesis provide several reminders of the Lord’s faithfulness.