Chapter 46-Israel (Jacob) starts the journey to Egypt. Along the way, he has a dream that God will protect him in Egypt and he should not be afraid. Then we get a listing of all the children and grandchildren of Jacob that are traveling with him. They get to Egypt, Jacob and Joseph have a tearful reunion.
In the listing of family members, the Bible mentions Job as a son of Issachar- which would make him a grandson of Jacob. I am curious if this is the same Job that stars in the book of Job later in the Bible. I google’d it, because that’s what I do, and the long and short of it seems to be that we don’t know. Some people are adamant it is, some people are convinced it isn’t. One particularly useless answer was along the lines of “We’ll just have to ask when we get to Heaven, praise the Lord!” Thanks for that.
Since everyone else is just guessing, I’ll throw my conjecture on the pile too. I think it’s not the same Job. The Bible places a huge emphasis on genealogy, but the book of Job fails to mention from whom he was descended. I would think being Jacob’s grandson is an important tidbit that would’ve been included to add weight to the story if that’s who he was.
(I’m feeling, perhaps disproportionately, frustrated with the Bible right now. It can’t even make clear who the characters are, and I’m supposed to accept it as a holy book?! Pssh!)
Moving on, the Bible says the direct descendants of Jacob headed to Egypt were 70 in number, not including wives of his sons/grandsons. In that big long list of descendants, only 2 were daughters. What are the odds of that many offspring and only 2 daughters? The Bible’s passion for sons, as well as its disregard for probability, is off-putting to me as well.
I found some interesting statistics here about the likelihood of male/female babies. Boys do have a slight advantage- 51% male to 49% female. But, the odds of having all male children go down to 1.6% at 7 children. So, the odds of 65+ boys and only 2 girls are astronomically small (2.71 x 10 ^ -20, by my quick calculation). Either God preferred males and gave Jacob’s family a statistical miracle, or the Bible is wrong about who Jacob’s descendants were.
In verse 34, it says “for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” Again with that abomination business. I wish the Bible would’ve provided more information! In the next chapter, Pharaoh welcomes these 70 abominable shepherds with opens arms, so, uh…what’s the deal?
Chapter 47- Pharaoh greets Joseph’s family, offers them the best land, and appoints some of them as chief herdsmen over his flocks. Jacob blesses Pharaoh. The famine gets really bad, and people run out of money because they’ve spent it all buying grain already. So they exchange their livestock for bread. The next year, they give up all their land and become slaves in exchange for bread. A system of sharecropping is instituted. Jacob is about to die, and asks not to be buried in Egypt.
I wonder if Pharaoh is in Heaven. Maybe you had to have someone from God’s favorite family bless you (twice in this case) back in the olden days. Maybe “blessed” means more along the lines of “well bless your heart” as you’ll hear in the southern US. Or maybe Pharaoh sneezed…
Again, we see that it’s good to have friends in high places, as Joseph’s family gets the best of everything, while the rest of the commoners are selling themselves into slavery so as to not starve to death. I’m a little disgusted with just how filthy rich Pharaoh and Joseph become because of this natural disaster. On one hand, they prepared well for the famine, and so supply and demand economics suggest they can sell their goods at a mark up. But to actually force people into servitude for some bread seems heartless and cruel. For the rest of their lives, these people will have to work land they don’t own and give 1/5 of the crop to Pharaoh. The rich get richer…
As Jacob is requesting to not be buried in Egypt, we again see the “put your hand under my thigh” request, which I still find weird. I’m glad we’ve moved to handshakes instead of junk-holding while making deals and promises.