46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan.7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.
8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.
9 The sons of Reuben:
Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi.
10 The sons of Simeon:
Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11 The sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
12 The sons of Judah:
Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan).
The sons of Perez:
Hezron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Issachar:
Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.
14 The sons of Zebulun:
Sered, Elon and Jahleel.
15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.
16 The sons of Gad:
Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.
17 The sons of Asher:
Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah.
Their sister was Serah.
The sons of Beriah:
Heber and Malkiel.
18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah—sixteen in all.
19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
21 The sons of Benjamin:
Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.
22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob—fourteen in all.
23 The son of Dan:
24 The sons of Naphtali:
Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.
25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven in all.
26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.
(Genesis 46:1-27 NIV)
As we finished Chapter 45, we saw Jacob’s sons return home and share the news that Joseph was still alive. Jacob did not believe his sons – how could this be? After so many years of living with the belief that Joseph was dead, this seemed like an impossibility.
But hearing all his son’s stories, and seeing the Egyptian carts that Pharaoh and Joseph had sent to bring them to Egypt, Jacob was convinced that their stories were true and he could see his son Joseph before he died.
As we begin Chapter 46, we see Jacob and all his family – his sons and their wives and children, all begin their migration from Canaan to Egypt.
In his younger days, Jacob had dreams from the Lord about the future; now as an old man, he has a direct encounter with God when he stops to worship the Lord on his way to Egypt. The Lord assures him that he will see his son Joseph before he dies, and instructs him to not fear going to Egypt. The Lord is going before him, and will one day bring him and his descendants back to the land that He had promised as their earthly home for all their generations to come.
Strengthened from the visit from the Lord, Jacob and all his family took one last look around their homeland and began their caravan to Egypt.
Moses then provides a genealogy of Jacob and his descendants that left Canaan and moved to Egypt. Verses 26 and 27 tell us that there were 66 direct descendants in the caravan, and 70 total (including Jacob, Joseph, and Joseph’s two sons) that moved to Egypt.
While that genealogy and count seems immaterial at this point, the Lord knew its importance far into the future. Four hundred plus years later, Jacob’s little tribe of 70 would grow into a mighty people that the Egyptians would fear because of their sheer numbers. God’s promise to Jacob to make his descendants into a might nation (v. 3) would, and did, come true.
May we learn to trust the Lord with the future of our family, especially for future generations that go far beyond our lifetime.
May we pray for the future of our family, that future generations would walk faithfully with the Lord, and that the Lord’s Divine Providence would go before them as He did for and through Jacob and Joseph.