Jacob’s Family’s Move to Egypt (Genesis 45:16-47:12)
Joseph and Pharaoh lavishly gave Joseph’s brothers “the best of all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:20) and supplied them for their return to Canaan and transportation of the family. This apparently happy ending, however, has a dark side. God had promised Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan, not Egypt. Long after Joseph passed from the scene, Egypt’s relationship with Israel turned from hospitality to hostility. Seen this way, how does Joseph’s benevolence to the family fit with his role as mediator of God’s blessing to all families of the earth (Gen. 12:3)? Joseph was a man of insight who planned for the future, and he did bring about the portion of God’s blessing assigned to him. But God did not reveal to him the future rise of a “new king…who did not know Joseph” (Exod. 1:8). Each generation needs to remain faithful to God and receive God’s blessings in their own time. Regrettably, Joseph’s descendants forgot God’s promises and drifted into faithlessness. Yet God did not forget his promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants. Among their descendants God would raise up new men and women to impart God’s promised blessings.