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In the last article we'd learned, that after Jacob had received a report from his sons, a report that revealed, that his son Joseph was still alive -- know that it was hard for him to accept what he was hearing at first. For we must remember, that a little over twenty years ago, Jacob's sons had convinced him, that his favorite son Joseph was dead. And because of this, Jacob had accepted their lie as truth, for those past twenty years.
Nonetheless, after he had heard their report -- Jacob at first, seemed to be stunned?
"They told him, 'Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.' Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them." -- Genesis 45:26
I mean after all, when it came to Joseph, and with him being thought to have died so long ago -- Jacob just knew that he would never see his son again.
But nevertheless, Jacob's attitude would slowly begin to change, after he'd seen all the Egyptian gifts that his sons had brought back from Egypt.
And actually, after seeing all of this, it was hard for Jacob to deny the possibility, that his son Joseph was indeed, still alive: "But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived." -- Genesis 45:27
Nonetheless, Jacob decides to act upon Joseph's invitation, when it came to staying in Egypt. For Jacob knew, that not only will he be able to reunite with his favorite son, that he'd lost so many years ago -- but the move will also be beneficial for the overall well-being of his household too, being that the move will afford Jacob the opportunity to be able to wait out the disastrous famine of seven years that was still wreaking havoc upon the known land.
However as we move forward...
The Sacred Record points out, that as Jacob and his family were headed towards Egypt -- they had came upon the place that was known as Beersheba. And it would be at that place, that Jacob would stop, in order to offer up sacrifices and offerings to the Most High God. For it would seem, that in the midst of Jacob's happiness -- his hast, he'd forgotten to consult God first, when it came to him leaving Canaan, for the land of Egypt:
"So Israel [Jacob] set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, 'Jacob! Jacob!' "Here I am," he replied. 'I am God, the God of your father,' he said. 'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.'" -- Genesis 46:1-3
Understand that consulting God first, is very important, when it comes to the things that we're compelled to do in life (especially in Jacob's particular situation), for we must remember, that Jacob's grandfather Abraham had also decided to go down into Egypt, after a great famine had ravaged the land of Canaan while he was there. And although Abraham was fortunate enough (thanks to Sarah) to come out of Egypt a very wealthy man -- he would later find himself, being afflicted by his overall action, while he was there.
Understand that Abraham's affliction, would be brought on by some of the negative baggage that he had accumulated in Egypt. And it's this "negative baggage" that would follow him back home to Canaan. Know that part of this baggage, dealt with the wealth that Abraham had acquired from within Egypt. And because of this wealth, friction and strife would eventually enter into Abraham's close relationship, with his nephew Lot.
For I want you to know, that they were both wealthy men, when they'd left Egypt. And because of their newly acquired wealth, their camps would need to have more land between them, in order to accommodate their increase between the two camps. And its for this reason, that the two family camps would have a falling out, so therefore, Abraham and Lot, ended up departing away from each other.
But Abraham's baggage would bring about more problems, for he would also run into a situation, when it came to his wife's handmaiden Hagar -- the handmaiden that he had acquired from Egypt. Know that she was given to him as a gift, from Pharaoh. Also keep in mind, that it was Hagar, who would eventually bore Abraham his first son, in which they named him Ishmael. And it would be this son, that would eventually become the founder of the great twelve Arabian tribes.
Now keep in mind, that these twelve Arabian tribes would become a permanent rival, and a constant thorn in the side of the legendary twelve tribes, that Israel would produce through Abraham's other son, Isaac.
Now I also want to point out, that Jacob's father Isaac, was also faced with the same type of faith test back in his day as well. For it would be during his day, that the land of Canaan would suffer through another great famine. But unlike Abraham, Isaac would obey God, by staying away from Egypt.
And it was because of the famine in Issac's day, that he had decided to head down towards Egypt, just like his father Abraham had done before him. But nonetheless, God would eventually intervene, after Isaac had made a quick stop along the way, for he would end up stopping at a place that was known as the district of Gerar -- the place in which he was born:
"Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." -- Genesis 26:2-5
And because of Isaac's obedience, he too would become a very wealthy man, while he dwelt in the midst of the great famine. But unlike Abraham, whose wealth came from a worldly power -- Issac would gain his wealth, from the direct hand of God: "[Issac] do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I [the God of your forefathers] tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you."
However that may have been, let's move forward...
For we now find, that from within our current journey, Jacob is now heading down to Egypt, while a famine ravages the land, just like his forefathers had done (and attempted to do) before him. And while he was en route -- Jacob comes across a place, that was known as Beersheba. For this was the place, that both his grandfather Abraham and his father Issac, had a special communion with the Lord at. And it would also be here, that during this time, God would speak to the great Israel: "Jacob! Jacob!"
And after Jacob had heard the Lord, he would reply: "Here I am." Then the Lord would then speak these Words: "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down into Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."
Now after this visitation had taken place by the Lord -- Jacob would now be reassured that God was still with him, as he'd entered into Egypt. For Jacob had been reminded of God's great promise covenant. So it didn't matter, what the situation may have looked like, while the nation of Israel (Jacob) dwelled from within the land of Egypt.
And this was important to Jacob -- for he knew, that he wouldn't have been with his sons for the entirety of their visit to Egypt to begin with. I mean after all, at this time, he was 130 years of age. So it only made sense, that Jacob would have other concerns as well? For starters, concerns that dealt with the Egyptian culture and their pagan ways -- for they were know to be, an idolatrous nation.
And because of this, Jacob wondered if the Egyptian's culture, would in time, have some kind of major influence upon his family? For it would be hard for one to not wonder, if the influence of the Egyptians, would eventually cause Israel, to perhaps, forget about returning to the land of Canaan? Or perhaps, to even forget their overall purpose, when it came to God's covenant?
This is why, we must not forget about the prophecy, that God had foretold to Jacob's grandfather Abraham: "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years." -- Genesis 15:13
So therefore, Jacob now knows, that God is still with him. And because of this, he could now enter Egypt in confidence, also knowing that he had made the right choice, while having the belief, that God would shield the nation of Israel, when it came to the concerns that he was having on his heart and mind at that time. For we must remember, that there is also a second part to that prophecy as well, that must not be overlooked:
"But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." -- Genesis 15:14
However that may have been, let's continue forward...
Now that Jacob knows, that the the Israel nation will be provided for, and protected by the Most High God. We now find, it would be during this time, that Jacob and his family would end up leaving from Beersheba. And after doing so, they'd continued their journey into the land of Egypt. Now it's at this point, that the Sacred Scriptures gives us the recorded genealogy of all, who went with Jacob at the time.
But I'd like to think, that it's important to note at this time: That when it came to Jacob's direct descendants (not counting their wives and children.) Know that the number that the Sacred Scriptures had recorded, would end up being sixty-six in all. And when you count Joseph and his two sons, and Jacob -- know that number jumps to seventy.
For it had been 215 years, since God had told Abraham that he would make
him into a great nation. And although it would be at this point from
within the Sacred Record, that Abraham's direct descendants would be
seventy in total (Solely in regards to Israel and not counting Ishmael
and his Arabian clans).
The foundation of what God had promised Abraham has now been poured and cured (so to speak). Now that building process, would continue forward, even though Israel would now find themselves dwelling from within a land that weren't their own, a land that was known as Egypt.
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108) Jacob Becomes Ill
115) The Tribe of Kings