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Genesis 47:27-30a

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    Gen 47:27-28 . . Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number. Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.

    Jacob immigrated to Egypt when he was 130 (Gen 47:9) so he spent as many years with Joseph at the last as he had at the first-- seventeen (cf. Gen 37:2). At this point, the famine had been done and over for 12 years, since it was during the second year of the seven-year famine that the people of Israel arrived (Gen 45:11).

    During those 12 years, and no doubt the other five too, Jacob's clan did very well for themselves; so that they eventually became a political element to be reckoned with (Ex 1:6-10). By the time of the Exodus, the Israelites numbered over 600,000 adults, not counting children. Israelites were accounted "children" until the age of 20 (Num 26:2). Here in America, we let children of 18 vote for Presidents. Now that's scary.

    It's interesting that another Pharaoh, in the future-- who would enslave them in the book of Exodus --wasn't worried about the Israelites increasing to the point of taking over his country, no, he was concerned they might up and leave it. What's that saying? It's saying, that as a people, Jacob's clan were excellent, productive citizens who accounted for a significant portion of Egypt's gross national product.

    The palace itself benefited from their ranching skills (Gen 47:5). No doubt Hebrew beef from the Nile delta became a highly sought commodity everywhere in Egypt. Jacob's people not only maintained a fishing industry, but they farmed too (Num 11:5). And among them were experts in the construction trades (Ex 1:11) and in every manner of skill and artifice (Ex 31:1-6, Ex 35:20-36:7).

    That all tells me that the Israelites weren't freeloaders by any means. They were hard workers who put their noses to the grindstone and contributed their fair share to Egypt's prosperity just like today's Hispanic immigrants contribute their own fair share to America's prosperity. In point of fact, if today's Hispanic work force should all up and return to their native lands, America's economy would really feel it. So is it really any wonder then why the US Government does all it can to accommodate Hispanic immigrants; even the illegal ones?

    Gen 47:29a . . And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph

    Normally, the patriarchs would convene with a natural firstborn son for serious family business, but that position was transferred to Joseph because of Reuben's tryst with his father's concubine. (1Chrn 5:1)


    NOTE: The reason genealogies aren't reckoned by birthright is because the status is conferrable upon a younger sibling; which of course would produce an inaccurate family chronology.

    Gen 47:29b . . and said unto him: If now I have found grace in thy sight,

    The phrase "found grace in they sight" seems to be a Genesis colloquialism for someone disposed to do you a favor; e.g. Gen 6:8 where God singled out Noah to survive the Flood.

    Gen 47:29c . . put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me.

    This is the second, and last, place in Genesis where a hand was placed under a patriarch's thigh during the making of a promise. The first was Gen 24:2-3, with Abraham.

    Gen 47:29d-30a . . Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.

    Jacob's statement underscores the fact that when people are gathered to their ancestors, it doesn't necessarily indicate burial because Jacob's remains would be stored in Egypt until such a time as he could be transported back to Canaan. So he would already be at rest with his ancestors prior to actually being buried with them later. (cf. Gen 49:33, Gen 50:3, and Gen 50:12-13)

    When you think about it, choosing the location of one's burial site has no practical advantages to speak of. Some people want to buried overlooking the sea or an orchard. But do they themselves really get much of a view? No, they're gone on to the netherworld; and their remains, being underground and quite without life or eyesight, have only the inky blackness of a subterranean pit to view, if that.

    So then, is there really any significance to Jacob's request? Yes, it means that Jacob believed the land of Canaan was on his own property; rather than just the land of his nativity. He wanted to be buried at home, rather than on foreign soil. God had promised Jacob deed and title to that land back in chapter 35; and although he never really possessed it in his own days, Jacob was confident that God was a man of integrity who would eventually make good on His promises. The patriarchs were amazingly patient. (Heb 11:13-16)
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