GENESIS 46 – 50
Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
The Family in Egypt
Seeing God’s bigger purpose in our lives enables us to accept the difficult times and the moments of weakness or wrongdoing as means God can use to implement His purpose and to bless us and bless the world through us. God’s purposes stay on track in the ups and downs of Joseph’s journey and the journey of his family. God’s purposes continue to stay on track in our journeys.
Jacob and the family move to Egypt (46:1-34)
o In the journey to Egypt, why does Jacob seem to hesitate at Beersheba? What helps him resume the journey?
o Which brother is leading the way?
o Does the reunion of Jacob and Joseph go as you would have imagined?
o Where does the family settle in Egypt? What does Joseph need to do to allow the family to use that land?
Consequences of the Famine (47:1-27)
o How does the meeting with the Pharaoh go for Joseph and his brothers?
o What takes place in the meeting between Pharaoh and Jacob? In what way does this fulfill a promise God has made?
o Jacob would seem to have gotten everything he wanted in life: the birthright, the blessing, the woman he loved, a full family with 12 sons, tremendous wealth, and even a reunion with his favorite child whom he thought was dead. But how does Jacob describe his life to the Pharaoh?
o What are the consequences of the famine? What does Joseph achieve by the conclusion of those 7 years of crisis?
Jacob’s Final Blessings (47:28-48:22)
o What is the promise Jacob insists on from Joseph as his life nears its end?
o Why does Jacob adopt Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own at the end of his life?
o Manasseh is actually the older of the two boys, so why does Jacob name the younger son first and then cross his hands in the blessing to have his right hand on the younger boy?
It is not surprising that Jacob should put the younger ahead of the elder because as Isaac’s younger son he had maneuvered his way ahead of the elder brother. And God was once again willing to go along because it resisted the conventions of power and importance that society affirms. John Goldingay
o Later, Jews adopted the practice of using Jacob’s statement in verse 20 as a way of invoking a blessing on someone: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh. How is that blessing fulfilled for us as Christians?
Prophetic Words for the Brothers (49:1-28)
o Jacob’s blessings are more than just predictions of that will happen to each son in the future, they are also assessments of their character based on what they have done in the past. Are there any blessings that particularly catch your attention?
• Who might Jacob be alluding to in verse 10?
• Which sons receive the longest and best blessings?
…the importance of “fairness” in Western thinking may make Jacob’s differentiated blessings troubling to us, as it has raised questions at other points in Genesis. Why aren’t all the brothers given equal (even if different) blessings? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that Jacob’s blessings correspond to the way human life always works. Different people have more brain power or more physical skills, or live in more favorable climates or more peaceful times. For the brothers and for us, the question is what we do with what we have. John Goldingay
Burials – Bodies and Grudges (49:29-50:26)
o What is Joseph’s reaction to his father’s death?
o How do Joseph’s brothers react to their father’s death? What is their main concern?
o What affect does their message to Joseph have on him? Why?
o Have you ever been unsure of someone’s forgiveness? How did that feel?
o Think of a time when you struggled to forgive someone. Why was it difficult?
o How does Joseph respond to his brothers? What does his response teach us about God?
There are many parallels between Joseph’s life and Jesus’ life. Below are some; can you think of more?
• Beloved son
• Vision of being worshipped by all of Israel
• Sold for pieces of silver (by Judah, whose name in Greek would be Judas!)
• Escaped to Egypt to save his life
• Fights temptation
• Falsely accused, unjustly sentenced
• Together with 2 criminals – one that is saved and one that goes to his death
• Emerges from prison/pit to be exalted to the right hand of the ruler
• Feeds the nations
• Brings reconciliation, offers forgiveness
• “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Gen.50:20
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997