Chapter 46 lists a number of descendants from the twelve tribes. All together, 70 souls from the house of Israel came to Egypt (v. 27).
Verse 30 produces a beautiful moment when Jacob sees his son that he believed had been dead all these years. He says, “now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” This is a much more articulate way of saying “I can die happy now.”
I could not imagine the number of emotions pouring out from Jacob and Joseph upon their reuniting.
Joseph then tries to educate his family on some etiquette. He asks that they lie about their occupations because “for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians” (v. 34).
Remember here that Egypt is a type of the world. Jesus Christ is the “good shepherd” (John 10:11). The world rejects Christ. Jesus, and Christians by proxy (Matt 10:22; John 15:18), are abominations to the world.
Instead of claiming to be cattle ranchers, Joseph’s brothers immediately identify themselves as shepherds (Gen 47:3).
At least they were honest.
Interestingly, Pharaoh not only accepts these shepherds, but ends up putting them in charge of his cattle (v. 6).
The famine continues throughout this chapter to plague the Egyptians. They eventually sell their cattle (v. 16), their land, and their bodies (v. 19) in exchange for bread.
This is how tyrannical governments operate. When there is a food shortage or economic collapse, a people will give up their freedoms for a sense of security.
Think of how many freedoms were lost in the United States during the Great Depression. The “greatest generation” sold their economic freedom through heavy taxation and their bodies into slavery by going to war in order to eat bread.
The Egyptians did the same here. The Hebrews mixed cultures with the Egyptians through the years following the famine. Joseph and his Pharaoh were benevolent, but, as we know from Exodus 1:8, another king of Egypt would arise and keep the Hebrews enslaved.
Chapter 47 ends with the death of Israel. His dying request was to have his remains taken out of Egypt (v. 29-30). Jacob wanted to be buried with his father, Isaac.
We once again see that God’s chosen (then Israel, now Christians) are not to spend eternity in the world (Egypt). When we die, we will be taken out of this world to a better place, where we will spend eternity with our heavenly Father.
Do you know for sure that you will be with your Father in heaven when you die?