Genesis: Two peoples

Genesis 47:1–31

Here we are at the end of Genesis, knocking on the door of the book of Exodus.

Remember the book of Exodus? The people of Israel are oppressed slaves in Egypt. But they weren’t always that way. And this chapter 47 of Genesis reminds just how much will change between Israel and Egypt between here and Exodus 1.

This chapter is structured like a sandwich. Verses 1–12 and 27–31 are all about Jacob/Israel, while verses 13–26 are all about the Egyptians. Notice the sharp contrast between the two groups of people.

The people of Israel settling in the land, in fact, the best land in the midst of a famine. The people of Egypt are starving. Israel is thriving, flourishing, multiplying. Egypt is selling everything to be in debt to Pharaoh.

Good times for Israel. Bad time for Egypt.

And if you’re telling this story from the point of view of the Israelites after the Red Sea, looking back on who you are and where you come from, there’s some comedy here that Joseph leverages the Egyptians to be Pharaoh’s slaves before the Israelites ever were.

Notice also the interaction between Jacob and Pharaoh in verses 7–12. Jacob blesses Pharaoh. To be the guy doing the blessing means you are the guy with the power. Jacob, the guy who once swindled his brother out of inheritance and blessing. Jacob, who ran away homeless and penniless. Jacob, conned into marrying two sisters. Jacob, who couldn’t control his sons.

Jacob now stands before the most powerful man and the world. And blesses him. Just like God told Abraham his family would bless the nations.

God has a way of coming through on his promises, huh.

What about you? What do you see?



About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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