Man! Look at all the emotion going on in today’s passage! As a parent, I can’t imagine believing your child was dead and then learning decades later that they’re alive. It reminds me of a few cases of kidnapped children being found alive in the last few years. Those reunions were probably similar to the one between Jacob and Joseph.
The emotion of finally seeing each other after all these years had to be overwhelming. The scripture says Jacob and Joseph hugged and wept for a long time. And Jacob said that now he was ready to die . . . since he had seen for himself that Joseph was alive. (Leave it to Jacob to always add as much drama as possible to a situation!)
There was also a lot of catching up to do. Joseph has a wife and two sons (and possibly some daughters), but I’m sure a lot of that had to wait until later. Joseph needed to get back to Pharaoh to keep him posted and make sure he was okay with Joseph’s family living in Goshen.
I think it’s interesting how Joseph segregates his family. I think Joseph’s plans to take care of his family in Egypt are definitely TEMPORARY in his mind. I think he plans for them to live here until the famine is over and then go back to Canaan. So he sets them up in Goshen, as shepherds–which guarantees they’ll remain separate from the Egyptians.
And I believe he segregated them for their own protection. Protection from any immoral and pagan influence. And possibly from being taken advantage of, since they are foreigners living in a strange land at the mercy of a foreign ruler.
The situation reminds me a little of the New Testament passage where Jesus talks about believers being in the world but not of the world. I think Joseph was trying to help his family be in Egypt temporarily so they don’t starve, but not to adopt any part of Egyptian pagan culture while they’re there.
– Sin separates. The brothers’ sin against Joseph separated father (Jacob/Israel) and son (Joseph) for decades.
– Our weaknesses don’t weaken with age. Unless we deal with our issues, they will become even more prominent in our old age. (Jacob’s penchant for adding drama whenever possible hasn’t lessened at all.)
– Keeping ourselves separated from immoral influences is important. “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (I Corinthians 15:33)
– How have I seen my sin cause separation in relationships? How have other people’s sins created separation in my life?
– What weaknesses do I need to deal with NOW, so they don’t continue to be a problem as I age?
– How has NOT separating myself from bad influences caused problems in my life? Who/What do I need to separate from now?
Genesis 46:28-34 / Amplified Bible (AMP)
28 And he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to direct him to Goshen and meet him there; and they came into the land of Goshen.
29 Then Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen; and he presented himself and gave distinct evidence of himself to him [that he was Joseph], and [each] fell on the [other’s] neck and wept on his neck a good while.
30 And Israel said to Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen your face [and know] that you are still alive.
31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, I will go up and tell Pharaoh and say to him, My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.
32 And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been keeping livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.
33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, What is your occupation?
34 You shall say, Your servants’ occupation has been as keepers of livestock from our youth until now, both we and our fathers before us—in order that you may live in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.