Genesis 46

GENESIS:  

“The Gospel According to Torah” 
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Thursday July 26: 

Genesis Chapter 46

The dramatic climax past, we get to the denoument, opening with a summary mix from Jahwist and Elohist traditions, then a good long set of toledot, and finally a Jahwist tale of arrival in Egypt.   

The Priestly voice is unmistakable, enumerating 70 persons, a perfect number, of Yaakov’s hour entering Egypt – and fiddles a bit with earlier traditions to reach that desired tally.  This matters if you are reading as a person who claims your first person identity as a member of one of the tribes.  Which are you? 

By now, perhaps, you can recognize the 12 sons, grouped by their mothers, and their children in turn.  Notice in particular Joseph’s 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, born in Egypt, each with a tribal patrimonial region in the centre of the promised land, rather than one area called ‘Joseph’ on your maps.   

Find Goshen on a map, too – and wonder why a story of deception was necessary to settle in the Delta with herd, rather than in the cities, as future slaves.  Both Jahwist agrarian and Elohist nomadic traditions represent legitimate heritage of the 12 tribes, who may in historical terms be a collection of peoples entering Palestine in varying groups.  There is in any event to distinguish ourselves from urbanized slaves of imperial powers, like Egyptians. 

Genesis Chapter 46 

NRSV 

 

When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 

2God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 

 3Then he said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s own hand shall close your eyes.’ 

5 Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6They also took their livestock and the goods that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and they came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt. 

8 Now these are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his offspring, who came to Egypt.  

Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9and the children of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.  

10The children of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 

11The children of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12The children of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the children of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 

 13The children of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron. 

 14The children of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel 15(these are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; in all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three). 

 16The children of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.  

17The children of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. The children of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel 18(these are the children of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons).  

19The children of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 

20To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.  

21The children of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard 22(these are the children of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all). 

 23The children of Dan: Hashum. 

24The children of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem 25(these are the children of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all). 

 26All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own offspring, not including the wives of his sons, were sixty-six persons in all. 

 27The children of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy. 

28 Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph to lead the way before him into Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, 29Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to him, fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.30Israel said to Joseph, ‘I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.’ 

 31Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, ‘I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, “My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.32The men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.” 

33When Pharaoh calls you, and says, “What is your occupation?” 34you shall say, “Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors”—in order that you may settle in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.’