Bible Study Notes – Genesis 46 & 47.

Joseph’s reconciliation with his father & the family settle in Egypt,

  • The Lord will remain faithful to his promises & plans for our lives.
  1. Introduction & setting the context.
  • Last week we reflected on Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers.
  • We now continue the story reflecting on,
    • Joseph’s reunion with his father Jacob & the Lords provision in settling the family in Egypt.
    • How this account of our sovereign Lords faithfulness, promises & provision can be an encouragement in our individual lives.
    • The impact we can have on people we come into daily contact with. 
  • Firstly, let us identify in Genesis the Lords individual promises to Abraham & his descendants – some of the key ones I would highlight are,
    • A 3-fold promise to Abraham to provide land, descendants & blessing – Genesis 12:1-3.
    • Gods Covenant with Abraham – Genesis 15:1-6.
    • The covenant promise to Israel & its offspring – Genesis 17:7 & 8. 
    • Removal of Sarah’s bareness & birth of Isaac – Genesis 17:15-17.
    • Promise to Abraham regarding Hagar & Ishmael – Genesis 21:13.
    • The promise to Isaac of land & descendants – Genesis 26:2-5.
    • Confirmed to Jacob in a dream at Beersheba – Genesis 28:13-15.
    • Assurance to Jacob as he departs to Egypt – Genesis 46:3 & 4.
    • Abrahams patience is noted in awaiting & obtaining the Lords promises – Hebrews 6:13 & 14.
  1. The Lords reassurance to Jacob – read Genesis 46:1-4.
  • What promises & reassurance did the Lord gave to Jacob (Israel) at Beersheba as he journeyed with his family to Egypt.
    • Beersheba had an important place in Jacob’s life – scene of the original dream – he stopped there to honour God in sacrifice.
    • Perhaps Jacob was remembering the Lords promise the last time (40 yrs. before) at Beersheba – Genesis 28:15 – to never leave or forsake him until he brought him back & done all he had promised,
    • On this occasion – God called Jacob by name & reassured him,
      • Not be afraid to go to Egypt (v4).
      • There, they will grow to be a great nation (v4).
      • Of his presence with him in Egypt (v5).
      • It will not be permanent. God will bring him out of Egypt (v5).
      • Joseph will be present at his death (v5).

Application: Does this promise particularly apply to you at this time as you move thru a life changing moment in your life?

  • Recall the Lords promise to Joshua as he was about to enter the land after the death of Moses “I will not leave you or forsake you” – Joshua 1:5 (repeated in Hebrews 13:5).
  • Like Jacob & Joshua we may not know what the future holds but that it is in the Lords hand – Ecclesiastics 7:14. 
  1. The family departs for Egypt: all 70 of them – read Genesis 46:5-27.
  • What was the significance of Judah & his son Perez (v12) in the Lords sovereignty and the genealogy of Jesus – refer to Luke 3:33.
    • Recognised as being part of our Lords earthly family tree.
    • From this group of people a nation (Israel) grew thru whom the Lord would progressively accomplish his redemptive plan.
    • From this group the nation grew to 603,550 men of fighting age leaving Egypt in the census as recorded in Numbers 1:46.
  1. Jacob & Joseph are reunited – read Genesis 46:28-34.
  • How had Judah changed with the responsibility & position Jacob now gave him (v28)?
    • As with the brothers encounter with Joseph (Gen 44:16) Judah is nominated as his family representative – endorsed by Jacob who may be building on Judah’s relationship with Joseph.
    • Some commentators say it was fitting for Judah, of the Messianic line, to escort Israel into Goshen, the land of abundance

Application: as an example of how the Lord can use changed lives.

  • As with any father-son reunion it was one of emotion (v29 & 30)
  • Note the significance of shepherds to the Egyptians & the wisdom of Joseph in providing a region for the family to settle (v32 – 34).
    • To Pharaoh they should declare they were a heritage of shepherds.
    • Joseph knew shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians.
    • Seeking to have them live in Goshen – northeast section of the Egyptian Delta – was an ideal location for their livestock.

Application: The Lord provides us with an earthly wisdom which we should use to his glory – guided by his spirit – have you any current individual examples?

  1. Joseph, with Pharaoh’s blessing provides for the family, 

– read Genesis 47:1-12.

  • What was Pharaoh’s blessing and provision to the family & Jacob’s response?
    • Should settle in best of the land – Goshen – (v6).
    • Able men put in charge of his livestock – (v6).
    • Pharaoh – Senusert III – had honoured his father’s commitments.
    • Jacob pronounced a blessing on Pharaoh for his generosity & provision of a safe place for his family (v7 & 10).
    • Pharaoh, although recognised by his people as a god, acknowledged Jacob as a man of God & accepted his blessing.

Application: an example of how we should, in the Lords name honour our earthly leaders.

  1. Joseph continues to manage the famine – read Genesis 47:13-26.
  • What were the key actions Joseph was taking in managing the famine with the impact on Pharaoh’s prosperity?
    • Generated revenue from Egypt & Canaan by selling grain (v14).
    • No ‘free lunches’ – exchanged food for livestock (v15 – 17).
    • The 3rd year acquired their land assets (v19 – 21).
    • Encouraged them to help themselves by sowing seeds & producing future harvests (v23).
    • In return they should give 20% tax of the produce to Pharaoh (v24).
    • Even in slavery to Pharaoh earned the respect of the Egyptian people whose lives he had saved (v25). 


  • What a witness Joseph had established to the Lord in using earthly wisdom which was recognised by the people.
  • An example to us as we live our lives in our families, jobs & the community. 
  1. Jacob’s burial request to Joseph – read Genesis 47:27-31.
  • Why would Jacob request not to be buried in Egypt?
    • Jacob having lived 17 yrs. in Egypt was now147 (28).
    • He no doubt recalled Gods promise concerning Joseph’s hand closing his eyes – Genesis 46:4.
    • Recognised Joseph had the power & authority to accomplish this.
    • God’s promise to bring him out of Egypt, if not alive then his body,
    • He requested be laid to rest in family burial ground at Hebron (v30),
      • Field of Ephron, Machpelah, east of Mamre – Genesis 23:17.
      • With grandfather (Abraham), grandmother (Sarah), father (Isaac), mother (Rebekah) & wife (Leah) – Gen. 49:29 – 32.
    • Note Jacob was not buried with his beloved Rachel who was buried at Bethlehem – Genesis 35:14.

Reflect on any personal applications & takeaways you may have from reading chapters 46 &47.

  • As we read the story we observe how God used Joseph to provide for his family and we can reflect on,
    • The Lords faithfulness in maintaining his provision & promises.
    • Personal encouragement this can have for each of us individually.
    • From this group of people a nation (Israel) grew thru whom the Lord would progressively accomplish his redemptive plan in Jesus.
    • Like Joseph we can have an impact on the lives of people we come into contact with on a daily basis.
    • The Lord has a plan for our lives & although things may appear difficult at present this will be revealed as we remain faithful.
    • We can rest on the promise of God to Joshua to “not leave us or forsake us”.