When Pharaoh hears that Joseph’s brothers have come to Egypt, he is pleased and says to Joseph, “Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.” So the brothers return to Canaan to retrieve their families. When they tell Jacob that Joseph is alive, “the spirit of Jacob their father revived. Then Israel said, ‘It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’”
On the journey to Egypt, Jacob stops at Beersheba to offer sacrifices to the Lord. God speaks to Jacob saying, “do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.” The Lord is going to hold true to this promise, but it isn’t going to be a quick and easy process. So Jacob’s entire family, a total of seventy direct descendants not counting their wives who were with them, move to Egypt.
Joseph instructs his brothers to tell Pharaoh that they are shepherds “that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” The brothers do as told, and Pharaoh gives them the fertile land in Goshen. However, this is not the promised land. Paul Benware explains in the “Survey of the Old Testament” that the land of Canaan was the womb where the Israelites were born, and Egypt was their incubator that protected them physically from attacks by other kings and morally from the perverse Canaanite people. Benware also noted that Egypt protected the Israelites’ racial purity as the Egyptians would not intermarry with them because of their occupation as shepherds. So we can see that God is still behind the scenes working His plan to build a great nation from Abraham’s descendants.
We end the reading with Joseph’s family settling in Goshen, “and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.” Will the Israelites growth threaten the Egyptians? Keep reading to find out. (Genesis 45:16-47:27)