Genesis 47:27-31




            Genesis 37:1 through Genesis 47:26 tells the story of Joseph and the journey of Israel into Egypt, but that story ends at Genesis 47:26.  Genesis 47:27 through Genesis 50:26 tells the story of Israel remaining in Egypt past the allotted time, and the subsequent judgment of God upon them.

            It must be noted that there are 430 years between the time Abraham receives the promise to the time Moses leads Israel out of Egypt.  It is 230 years from the promise given to Abraham until Jacob comes into Egypt.  This is a period of relatively peace and contentment.  It is also 230 years from the time Jacob came into Egypt until Moses, at the age of 80, leads them out of Egypt.  This second 230 years is a time of much trouble and strife.  The trouble Israel experiences begins shortly after Joseph and the Pharaoh that knows Joseph dies.  Israel is perceived as a threat to the security of Egypt, thus their bondage to the Egyptians begins.  That story is related in few words at the beginning of the book of Exodus.

            For a more detailed explanation of the 430 years see my notes on Genesis 15, page 7 and 8; and the accompanying charts at the end of my notes on chapter 15.


Joseph's Promise To His Dying Dad


Verse 27,  And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

I.    Should Israel have stayed in Egypt after the famine?

A.     This is a matter of some debate.

1.       God had not promised Israel any land in Egypt, but in Canaan.

2.       Those who serve God through the legal aspects of the promises would declare that Israel should have left Egypt and returned to Canaan as soon as possible.

3.       They would feel that God would honor his promises only in Canaan, and not in Egypt.

B.     Notice notice that God never said Israel would become a great nation in Canaan.

1.       Genesis 12:2 - God told Abram He would make a great nation of his seed, but He didn't tell him where this would take place.

2.       Genesis 12:6,7 - God told Abram he would give Canaan to his seed, not that his seed would become great in that land.

3.       Genesis 15 - There is no verse in this chapter that declares that God will make Israel a great nation in Canaan.

4.       Genesis 46:3,4 - God tells Jacob that in Egypt they will become a great nation, and that Jacob shall die in Egypt.

5.       See notes on Genesis 46:1-4, G.  If God had left Israel in Canaan, they would have lived in an increasingly wicked land, probably gone into sin like the inhabitants of that land, and eventually been judged by God.

C.     Therefore, we must conclude that Jacob and Israel are obeying God by remaining in Egypt.

1.       Jacob is obeying because God said he would die in Egypt, Genesis 46:4.

2.       Israel is obeying because God said they would become a great nation in Egypt, Genesis 46:3.

D.     The lesson for us is that we must be very careful in reading the scriptures to rightly divide them.

1.       We often read a scripture and interpret it according to what we think is right rather than what the Bible says is right.

2.       When we "jump to conclusions", using our logical thoughts instead of scripture, it is to our error.

3.       There is much confusion in religion today because of things just like that.


II.    Israel stayed in Goshen.

A.     This is the best of the land in Egypt that Israel moved into.

B.     Israel wasn't moved during the famine.

1.       Genesis 47:21 - Joseph moved the Egyptians from one end of Egypt to the other because the Egyptians had no money, they had no cattle, and they sold themselves and their lands to Pharaoh for food.

2.       Genesis 47:11,12 - Joseph gave Israel a daily allowance of food.


III.    God blessed Israel in Egypt.

A.     They had possessions, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

1.       Having possessions speaks of material wealth.

2.       Growing speaks of gaining an excellent reputation.

a.      They were shepherds, which was an abomination to the Egyptians, Genesis 46:34.

b.      God made the Egyptians not only forsake the belief that shepherds were an abomination, he made they embrace shepherds as a blessing.

3.       Multiplied exceedingly speaks of population growth.

B.     Everything God said would happen did happen.

C.     It is very interesting to note that Israel didn't leave Egypt with all the things they gained in Egypt.

1.       They lost the possessions they gained during the period of slavery.

2.       They lost their excellent reputation when another Pharaoh came to the throne.

3.       They kept their population for that speaks of eternal souls.

D.     God doesn't always work the way we think He ought to work.

1.       It seems logical to the human mind that since Israel now has great possessions and an excellent reputation and a large population that God has fulfilled His promise to Israel.

2.       Before God can really fulfill His promises, Israel must lose everything anybody except God has given them.

3.       This is the one of the purposes of Israel's slavery to Egypt.

4.       Another purpose is that the two distinct periods of the tribulation would be symbolized.

a.      The first 3« years of relative peace.

b.      The last 3« years of trouble.


Verse 28,  And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

I.    Jacob lives in Egypt for 17 years.

A.     Genesis 47:9 - Jacob is 130 years old when he comes before Pharaoh.

B.     Jacob lived a total of 147 years.


II.    It is interesting to note that Jacob took care of Joseph for the first 17 years of his life and Joseph took care of Jacob the last 17 years of his life!


Verse 29-31,  And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:  But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.  And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

I.    And the time drew nigh that Israel must die.

A.     There is no way to tell how much time goes by between Genesis 47:29 and Genesis 49:33, but verse 29 indicates there isn't much time between these verses.

B.     I think it is apparent from a comparison of:

1.       Genesis 47:29-31, (the approaching death of Jacob and Joseph's promise to him),

2.       Genesis 48:1-22 (Joseph and his two sons coming to Jacob's deathbed),

3.       Genesis 49:1,2 (Jacob's prophecies concerning his sons and the last days),

4.       that there is a short time between each of these events.


II.    Jacob calls Joseph for a special promise.

A.     Why does Jacob call Joseph and not some of the other children?

1.       Some might suggest that Joseph is Jacob's favorite.

2.       I believe it is because Jacob knows Joseph has the power to carry out his wishes.

B.     Grace in thy sight.

1.       By its very nature, grace always flows from a high place to a lower place.

a.      Grace flows from God (the highest position) to us (in the lower position).

b.      Grace flows from the king (the higher position) to his subjects (in the lower position).

c.      The person in the lower position (in this case, Jacob) always request grace from the one in the higher position (in this case, Joseph).

2.       Jacob here recognizes the position that his son, Joseph, holds is a higher position than he holds.

C.     Hand under thigh.

1.       Genesis 24:2 - Abraham made his servant put his hand under his thigh and promise to follow the leadership of the Lord in getting a wife for Isaac.

2.       This is a very personal promise and relates to a sacred vow unto the Lord.

D.     Deal kindly and truly with me.

1.       Deal kindly with me because of the promises of God to me, and my obligation to obey God, my master.

2.       Deal truly with me.

a.      Jacob is coming to death when he has no control over what happens to his body.

b.      Jacob must depend on the living to carry out his desires.


III.    The request to be buried in Canaan.

A.     This is not a trivial request to be buried in his homeland.

1.       Many people may look upon Jacob's desire as wanting to be buried in the "family burial plot".

2.       Many people are more concerned with there they are buried than where they will spend eternity.

3.       Joseph

B.     Joseph wants to be buried in Canaan to connect him with the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

1.       Genesis 50:13 - Jacob will be buried in the cave of Machpelah.

2.       Genesis 49:31 - Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah are buried there.

3.       Genesis 47:30 - "I will lie with my fathers".

a.      God gave the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in life.

b.      Jacob will remain in that promise even in death.

4.       Genesis 35:19 - Rachel buried at Bethlehem (House of food) and Sarah was buried in Hebron, Genesis 23:1, (House of God).

C.     Lie with my fathers.

1.       This could very well mean that Jacob will "go the way of all the earth" in death.

2.       It could also mean that when Joseph fulfills his promise to bury Jacob in Canaan, that he will lie in the place where his father and grandfather lie.

D.     Thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace.

1.       Jacob doesn't have anything against Egypt, but he knows that he must soon leave its comforts behind.

2.       We should be like Jacob, not having anything against this world, but knowing that we must soon leave its comforts (and heartaches) behind.

E.      I have known people who wanted to be buried beside their loved relatives.

1.       Their reason for having a family burying place is so all the family can be together in death.

2.       I don't suppose there is really anything wrong with that.

3.       It seems to me that they are interested in keeping the family together even in death.

4.       But it does seem to me that these same people are never really interested in serving the Living God.

F.      Joseph agrees.

1.       Joseph doesn't have any problem agreeing because he understands the promises his dad is talking about.

2.       Joseph does agree to this plan before he talks to Pharaoh about it.

3.       We find in Gen. 49:4,5 that before Joseph leaves to bury his father that he asks permission of Pharaoh.


IV.    Jacob makes Joseph sware.

A.     Define swearing.

1.       This is not swearing like someone who would curse.

2.       This is not swearing allegiance to a country or flag (There is nothing wrong with doing that, however.)

3.       This is Joseph making an oath before God that he will do as his father asks.

B.     Why did Jacob make Joseph swear?

1.       It is not because he didn't trust Joseph.

2.       Jacob wants his son to obligate himself before God, not man.

3.       A man might break an oath to another man, but a man such as Joseph would not break an oath to God.


V.    And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

A.     Hebrews 11:21 - "By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff."

B.     Now that this matter has been settled Jacob is free to worship.

1.       It is sometimes very good that death comes so slowly that we have time to prepare.

a.      Jacob will have time to settle the issue of his buryingplace.

b.      He will also be able to bless the children of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.

c.      He will also be able to tell his other sons what will happen to their descendants in the last days.

2.       This matter of a burying place is a matter of faith, and when this matter is settled, Jacob will be able to die in peace.