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This Week's Reading: Genesis 42-50
Come Follow Me Insight #1
(Picture caption: Joseph’s brothers would have expected the Midianite caravan to take their brother directly south to the Gulf of Aqab. However, the Midianites took him 280 miles west of that location to the capital of Egypt. ***Joseph’s hometwon Hebron is marked by the “Cave of the Patriarchs”. The capital of Egypt at the time of Joseph was Avaris, which is now known as Tell el-Daba.)
Joseph was about 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:2). When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt it had been 22 years since they had last seen him (Genesis 41:46 and Genesis 45:11). On top of that, Joseph was a man in power and wore fine Egyptian clothing and jewelry (Genesis 41:42). He would have appeared to most people to be an Egyptian.
Joseph’s brothers had sold him from their home in Hebron, northern Israel (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jacob-Hebrew-patriarch) to a group of travelling Midianites (Genesis 37:28). This group tended to settle (when they weren’t travelling) in the Arabian area east of the Gulf of Aqaba (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Midianites). Instead of going there, though, the Midiantes took Joseph into the Egyptian capital Avaris (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/first-foreign-takeover-ancient-egypt-was-uprising-not-invasion-180975354/) — modern-day Tell el-Daba— which was about 280 miles west of where his brothers probably expected him to be taken.
Come Follow Me Insight #2
It can be confusing to figure out how there can be 12 tribes of Israel when Jacob/Israel had 12 sons, but two of the tribes of Israel are Joseph’s sons. Doesn’t that add up to 14? It sure does!
Here is how it was divided:
- Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob’s first wife Leah. However, because of his immorality (Genesis 49:4) he lost his firstborn double birthright inheritance which then went to Joseph, Jacob’s firstborn son with his second wife Rachel. We’ve still got 12 tribes here, but the double inheritance has been shifted to Joseph.
- Joseph’s double portion of the inheritance was split between his sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:20 and 1 Chronicles 5:1). So Joseph doesn’t get an inheritance (we’re down to 11 tribes) but then his inheritance is given to his two sons. Great, now we’re up to 13 tribes.
- It’s not until we get to the time of Moses that we get clarification on how there are 12 tribes. Numbers 8:14 tells us that the tribe of Levi was to be considered separate from the rest of the tribes and was considered specifically the Lord’s. They didn’t receive an inheritance of land and were set apart to be priests to the people. So now, finally, we have 12 tribes. The original twelve brothers – wicked Reuben losing his double birthright – Levi’s descendants who are the Lords – Joseph giving up his inheritance to his sons + Ephraim + Manasseh = 12 tribes of Israel
Come Follow Me Insight #3
Genesis 44:33-34 is absolutely beautiful. In these verses Judah offers himself as a sacrifice in place of his brother in order to save both his brother and his father from pain . . . especially because his father had already lost a beloved child.
I find it interesting that almost 1700 years later, Judah’s descendant Jesus Christ would make the same offer for His Father. He too would offer himself as a sacrific in place of His brothers and sisters to save them and His Father from eternal pain. . . especially because His father had already lost a third part of His children.
My Favorite Scriptures for the Week
- Genesis 42:21
- Genesis 44:33-34
- Genesis 45:5
- Genesis 46:4
- Genesis 49:3-4
- Genesis 50:20
- Genesis 50:21