Genesis 46

 

וַיִּסַּע יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לֹו וַיָּבֹא בְּאֵרָה שָּׁבַע וַיִּזְבַּח זְבָחִים לֵאלֹהֵי אָבִיו יִצְחָק  46:1

Gene. 46:1  And Israel journeyed with all that was his and came to Beer-sheba and offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.

Here we see more of the reluctance of Jacob.  Why does he stop over in Beer-sheba?  Notice that in the next three verses he is encouraged by God to continue his journey.  That would not have been necessary if his eagerness to see his long lost son was wholly genuine.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמַרְאֹת הַלַּיְלָה וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב יַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי  46:2

Gene. 46:2  And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night.  And He said, “Jacob, Jacob.”  And he said, “Here I am.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי הָאֵל אֱלֹהֵי אָבִיךָ אַל־תִּירָא מֵרְדָה מִצְרַיְמָה כִּי־לְגֹוי גָּדֹול אֲשִׂימְךָ שָׁם  46:3

Gene. 46:3  And He said, “I am God, the God of your father.  You need not be afraid with going down to Egypt, for I will make a great nation of you there.”

אָנֹכִי אֵרֵד עִמְּךָ מִצְרַיְמָה וְאָנֹכִי אַעַלְךָ גַם־עָלֹה וְיֹוסֵף יָשִׁית יָדֹו עַל־עֵינֶיךָ  46:4

Gene. 46:4  “I will go down with you to Egypt and I will bring you up, also coming up, and Joseph shall put his hand upon your eyes.”

I suspect the last part of the prophecy refers to when Jacob will have died, although it’s also – more remotely, however – possible that it refers to Joseph watching out for Jacob’s welfare.  In the latter case, the phrase would have to be translated as “… Joseph shall set his strength for your eyes.”  If the correct translation is as I have it, then God is telling Jacob that Joseph, and He, will be with him at the end.

וַיָּקָם יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיִּשְׂאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם וְאֶת־טַפָּם וְאֶת־נְשֵׁיהֶם בָּעֲגָלֹות  46:5

אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַח פַּרְעֹה לָשֵׂאת אֹתֹו

Gene. 46:5  And Jacob arose from Beer-sheba and the sons of Israel took Jacob, their father, and their children and their wives, in the wagons that Pharoah had sent to carry him.

וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־מִקְנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־רְכוּשָׁם אֲשֶׁר רָכְשׁוּ בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן וַיָּבֹאוּ מִצְרָיְמָה יַעֲקֹב וְכָל־זַרְעֹו אִתֹּו  46:6

Gene. 46:6  And they took their cattle and their goods that they had amassed in the land of Canaan and they came in to Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him,

בָּנָיו וּבְנֵי בָנָיו אִתֹּו בְּנֹתָיו וּבְנֹות בָּנָיו וְכָל־זַרְעֹו הֵבִיא אִתֹּו מִצְרָיְמָה  46:7

Gene. 46:7  his sons and the sons of his sons with him, his daughters and the daughters of his sons.  So he brought all his seed with him to Egypt.

וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרַיְמָה יַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו בְּכֹר יַעֲקֹב רְאוּבֵן  46:8

Gene. 46:8  And these are the names of the children of Israel coming in to Egypt, Jacob and his sons:  The first-born of Jacob, Reuben.

The Hebrew of this verse makes it appear that Jacob himself is included among the children of Israel.  Thus the children of Israel would be referring to the nation, not to Jacob’s children.

וּבְנֵי רְאוּבֵן חֲנֹוךְ וּפַלּוּא וְחֶצְרֹון וְכַרְמִי  46:9

Gene. 46:9  And the sons of Reuben were Hanoch and Pallu and Hezron and Carmi.

                                                                                                                                         [Return to 1Chr. 2:7]

וּבְנֵי שִׁמְעֹון יְמוּאֵל וְיָמִין וְאֹהַד וְיָכִין וְצֹחַר וְשָׁאוּל בֶּן־הַכְּנַעֲנִית  46:10

Gene. 46:10   And the sons of Simeon were Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar, and Saul, son of a Canaanite woman.

וּבְנֵי לֵוִי גֵּרְשֹׁון קְהָת וּמְרָרִי  46:11

Gene. 46:11   And the sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

וּבְנֵי יְהוּדָה עֵר וְאֹוןָן וְשֵׁלָה וָפֶרֶץ וָזָרַח וַיָּמָת עֵר וְאֹוןָן בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי־פֶרֶץ חֶצְרֹון וְחָמוּל  46:12

Gene. 46:12   And the sons of Judah were Er and Onan and Shelah and Perez and Zerah, but Er died and Onan was in the land of Canaan.  And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

It seems that Judah brought only three of his sons and two grandsons to Egypt.

וּבְנֵי יִשָׂשכָר תֹּולָע וּפֻוָּה וְיֹוב וְשִׁמְרֹון  46:13

Gene. 46:13   And the sons of Issachar were Tola and Puah and Job and Shimron.

וּבְנֵי זְבוּלֻן סֶרֶד וְאֵלֹון וְיַחְלְאֵל  46:14

Gene. 46:14   And the sons of Zebulun were Sered and Elon and Jahleel.

אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי לֵאָה אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְיַעֲקֹב בְּפַדַּן אֲרָם וְאֵת דִּינָה בִתֹּו כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ בָּנָיו וּבְנֹותָיו שְׁלֹשִׁים   46:15

וְשָׁלֹשׁ

Gene. 46:15   These are the sons of Leah whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram with Dinah, his daughter, all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.

Because Er had died and Onan remained behind (v. 46:12), only 31 of Leah’s children came to Egypt.

וּבְנֵי גָד צִפְיֹון וְחַגִּי שׁוּנִי וְאֶצְבֹּן עֵרִי וַאֲרֹודִי וְאַרְאֵלִי  46:16

Gene. 46:16   And the sons of Gad were Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli.

וּבְנֵי אָשֵׁר יִמְנָה וְיִשְׁוָה וְיִשְׁוִי וּבְרִיעָה וְשֶׂרַח אֲחֹתָם וּבְנֵי בְרִיעָה חֶבֶר וּמַלְכִּיאֵל  46:17

Gene. 46:17   And the children of Asher were Jimnah and Ishuai and Ishui and Beriah, and Serah, their sister.  And the sons of Beriah were Heber and Malchiel.

אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן לָבָן לְלֵאָה בִתֹּו וַתֵּלֶד אֶת־אֵלֶּה לְיַעֲקֹב שֵׁשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה נָפֶשׁ  46:18

Gene. 46:18   These are the children of Zilpah, who was given by Laban to Leah, his daughter, and she bore these for Jacob, sixteen souls.

נֵי רָחֵל אֵשֶׁת יַעֲקֹב יֹוסֵף וּבִנְיָמִן  46:19

Gene. 46:19   The sons of Rachel, the wife of Jacob, were Joseph and Benjamin.

וַיִּוָּלֵד לְיֹוסֵף בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה־לֹּו אָסְנַת בַּת־פֹּוטִי פֶרַע כֹּהֵן אֹן אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶת־אֶפְרָיִם  46:20

Gene. 46:20   And born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-phera, a priest of On, bore for him, were Menasseh and Ephraim.

There appears to be a minor error in the Hebrew in this verse.  The names Menasseh and Ephraim are designated as direct objects, but they have no verb as their antecedent (see the ets before their names).  The only way to make their names direct objects is to remove the rv,a] (whom). Then the verse would read “And born to Joseph in the land of Egypt:  Asenath, the daughter of Poti-phera, a priest of On, bore Menasseh and Ephraim for him.”  Then bore becomes the verb taking the two direct object names.  Does this apparent error indicate that the original scribe got distracted as he was recording this?  Or did he have something else in mind that he was trying to tell us?  Could he have considered the boys to be sons of Joseph and meant to ignore their foreign mother?  After all, as far as we know, none of the other children born to the patriarchs (who are counted as Jews) had a foreign-born mother, except Saul son of Simeon -- see v. 46:10.  The only ones in doubt are Zilpah and Bilhah, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel.  But it seems safe to assume that they were natives of Paddan-aram (as were Rachel and Leah).

וּבְנֵי בִנְיָמִן בֶּלַע וָבֶכֶר וְאַשְׁבֵּל גֵּרָא וְנַעֲמָן אֵחִי וָרֹאשׁ מֻפִּים וְחֻפִּים וָאָרְדְּ  46:21

Gene. 46:21   And the sons of Benjamin were Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard.

One minute here!  According to my calculation, Benjamin was still only about sixteen when Jacob came to Egypt.  Where did all these 10 children of his come from?  This must be a clue as to the chronology of the narrative in Chapters 45, 46, and 47.  We will encounter further curiosities relating to elapsed time later.  We must not conclude, however, that Jacob waited a long time (up to 30 or more years?) before coming down to Egypt.  It would have been at least that long for Benjamin to have had 10 sons.  But such a conclusion would be ludicrous, as the famine was still raging when Jacob came to Egypt.  A real puzzle!

אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי רָחֵל אֲשֶׁר יֻלַּד לְיַעֲקֹב כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר  46:22

Gene. 46:22   These are the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob.  All the souls were fourteen.

וּבְנֵי־דָן חֻשִׁים  46:23

Gene. 46:23   And of sons of Dan was Hushim.

We cannot tell with certainty from this verse whether Dan had other sons.  No one else is mentioned.  But the Hebrew has no more reasonable and accurate translation than the above.  A literal translation would be “And sons of Dan [was/were] Hushim.”  .We shall see in v. 46:25 that neither translation seems completely accurate, because one son fits with the number seven. so the conclusion may be that the verse contains an error.  Perhaps the word for sons should be in the singular, and the verse would then read “And the son of Dan was Hushiim.”  However, other possibilities exist.  For one, it may be that Dan had at least one other son, but he died, and this fact was not mentioned by the scribe.  For another, the verse might refer to the sons of Hushim as well, who would have been born in Egypt.

וּבְנֵי נַפְתָּלִי יַחְצְאֵל וְגוּנִי וְיֵצֶר וְשִׁלֵּם  46:24

Gene. 46:24   And the sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem.

אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי בִלְהָה אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן לָבָן לְרָחֵל בִּתֹּו וַתֵּלֶד אֶת־אֵלֶּה לְיַעֲקֹב כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ שִׁבְעָה  46:25

Gene. 46:25   These are the sons of Bilhah whom Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter, and she bore these for Jacob.  All the souls were seven.

כָּל־הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַבָּאָה לְיַעֲקֹב מִצְרַיְמָה יֹצְאֵי יְרֵכֹו מִלְּבַד נְשֵׁי בְנֵי־יַעֲקֹב כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ שִׁשִּׁים וָשֵׁשׁ  46:26

Gene. 46:26   All the souls of Jacob's coming out of his loins that came in to Egypt, besides the wives of the sons of Jacob -- every soul -- were sixty-six.

Can the number 66 be correct?  I count 31 from Leah, 16 from Zilpah, 12 from Rachel (omitting two from the fourteen mentioned in v. 46:22 -- Ephraim and Menasseh -- who were born in Egypt), and seven from Bilhah.  That’s 66, all right, but the number still includes Joseph, who didn’t come to Egypt with Jacob.  However, while Joseph did not come down with Jacob, he did come down (nineteen years earlier).  So 66 would then be correct.

וּבְנֵי יֹוסֵף אֲשֶׁר־יֻלַּד־לֹו בְמִצְרַיִם נֶפֶשׁ שְׁנָיִם כָּל־הַנֶּפֶשׁ לְבֵית־יַעֲקֹב הַבָּאָה מִצְרַיְמָה שִׁבְעִים  46:27

Gene. 46:27   And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt, two souls.  All the souls of the house of Jacob who came in to Egypt were seventy.

To this point in the narrative, Jacob’s surviving wives have not been counted, but they also came down to Egypt.  So we have to add three to the 66, which gives us 69.  And the seventieth soul is Jacob.  [Return to Numb. 29:34]

וְאֶת־יְהוּדָה שָׁלַח לְפָנָיו אֶל־יֹוסֵף לְהֹורֹת לְפָנָיו גֹּשְׁנָה וַיָּבֹאוּ אַרְצָה גֹּשֶׁן  46:28

Gene. 46:28   And he sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to direct his presence to Goshen, and they came in to the land of Goshen.                                             [Return to Gene. 47:11]

וַיֶּאְסֹר יֹוסֵף מֶרְכַּבְתֹּו וַיַּעַל לִקְרַאת־יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבִיו גֹּשְׁנָה וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו וַיִּפֹּל עַל־צַוָּארָיו וַיֵּבְךְּ עַל־  46:29

צַוָּארָיו עֹוד

Gene. 46:29   And Joseph harnessed his chariot and went up to meet Israel, his father, to Goshen, and he showed himself to him and fell on his shoulders, and he wept on his shoulders a good while.

Apparently Joseph did not have his sons or wife with him.  Is this significant?  We may find out later.

                                                                                                                                    [Return to Gene. 47:11]

וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יֹוסֵף אָמוּתָה הַפָּעַם אַחֲרֵי רְאֹותִי אֶת־פָּנֶיךָ כִּי עֹודְךָ חָי  46:30

Gene. 46:30   And Israel said to Joseph, “Now I will die one time, after I have seen your face, that you are yet alive.”

It’s difficult to understand the meaning of “Now I will die one time,…”  Possibly Jacob is contrasting (1) his having figuratively died when Joseph was lost to him and (2) his natural death in the future.

וַיֹּאמֶר יֹוסֵף אֶל־אֶחָיו וְאֶל־בֵּית אָבִיו אֶעֱלֶה וְאַגִּידָה לְפַרְעֹה וְאֹמְרָה אֵלָיו אַחַי וּבֵית־אָבִי אֲשֶׁר  46:31

בְּאֶרֶץ־כְּנַעַן בָּאוּ אֵלָי

Gene. 46:31   And Joseph said to his brothers and to the house of his father, “Let me go up and declare to Pharoah, and I will say to him, ‘My brothers and the house of my father who were in the land of Canaan have come to me.’”

וְהָאֲנָשִׁים רֹעֵי צֹאן כִּי־אַנְשֵׁי מִקְנֶה הָיוּ וְצֹאנָם וּבְקָרָם וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם הֵבִיאוּ  46:32

Gene. 46:32   “And the men were shepherds, for they are cattlemen, and they have brought their flock and their herd and all that is theirs.”

וְהָיָה כִּי־יִקְרָא לָכֶם פַּרְעֹה וְאָמַר מַה־מַּעֲשֵׂיכֶם  46:33

Gene. 46:33   “And it shall be when Pharoah calls for you and says, ‘What is your occupation,’

וַאֲמַרְתֶּם אַנְשֵׁי מִקְנֶה הָיוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ מִנְּעוּרֵינוּ וְעַד־עַתָּה גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ גַּם־אֲבֹתֵינוּ בַּעֲבוּר תֵּשְׁבוּ בְּאֶרֶץ  46:34

גֹּשֶׁן כִּי־תֹועֲבַת מִצְרַיִם כָּל־רֹעֵה צֹאן

Gene. 46:34   then you shall say, ‘Your servants have been cattlemen from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ so that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination of Egypt.”

Sheep were considered by the Egyptians to be impure unclean animals.  Not so the ram, however, of which some were worshipped as gods.  Nevertheless, sheep were kept by some Egyptians for their meat and their wool.  So this is something of an exaggeration on Joseph’s part.

                                                                [Return to Gene. 47:3]                    [Return to Gene. 47:11]

 

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