Life of Joseph – Part 36 – Land of Goshen

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.

Life of Joseph – Part 35 – Big Changes for Israel

A little over a year ago, I gave away a lot of my belongings, packed and shipped several boxes of items I wanted to keep, loaded everything else in my car and drove for two days (with a puppy!) across the country.

I was moving back home. And I was extremely happy about it.

In addition to that, when I arrived, I continued a reinvention of myself (career-wise) — a metamorphosis I had started about a year earlier.

Now I’m no spring chicken. But I’m not ready for a rocking chair on the front porch either.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

I’m not sure which was the most daring: reinventing myself and my career at this age . . . or driving 2 days across country with a puppy!?!?!

But still . . .

What I did is NOTHING compared to what Israel and his family do in today’s passage!

They packed up their entire family (70 people plus the in-laws) and their cattle and their belongings and left their HOME! I was coming back home . . . so at least I had that going for me. The Israelites were leaving home and moving into a foreign country, where they would be the strangers.

And although they had Joseph waiting to take care of them in Egypt, I’m sure they had more than a few misgivings about leaving their home.

I love how God meets us right where we are. He knows we’re afraid. He knows we have why’s and how’s and what if’s and He wants to remind us that where He guides, He provides. Today He wants us to remember that if we’re following Him, that means He’s going ahead of us.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles to be overcome and problems to be solved and enemies to be defeated. What it means is that He KNOWS about all of that and He will give us exactly what we need when we need it so we can inhabit and enjoy the land He’s bringing us into.

And even if He has us in a foreign land for a time, we can trust Him to take care of us there, too. And to eventually bring us HOME.


– Our age does not prevent God from making big changes in our lives! (Jacob/Israel is 130 years old when he moves to Egypt!)

– Sometimes God asks us to leave our home and move to a place where we’ll be strangers and where we’ll have to establish a new home, new friendships, new routines . . . new everything!

– God knows how big a part fear plays in our lives when changes are happening, but He reminds us that our fear is not necessary.

– When God leads us to a new home, it’s because He has plans to bless us there.


– When have I used my age as an excuse to ignore God’s asking me to make a major change in my life?

– When has God asked me to leave my “home” — whether that was a physical house, a hometown, a job, a church, a relationship, a position?

– What am I afraid of right now? And what is that fear keeping me from doing that I believe God’s leading me to do?

– What blessings have I enjoyed because I was willing to step out in faith and follow God to a new “home”?


Genesis 46:1-7, 26-27 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

46 So Israel made his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba [a place hallowed by sacred memories] and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, Jacob! Jacob! And he said, Here am I.

And He said, I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will there make of you a great nation.

I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you [your people Israel] up again; and Joseph will put his hand upon your eyes [when they are about to close in death].

So Jacob arose and set out from Beersheba, and Israel’s sons conveyed their father, their little ones, and their wives in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him.

And they took their cattle and the gains which they had acquired in the land of Canaan and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him:

His sons and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters and his sons’ daughters—all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

26 All the persons who came with Jacob into Egypt—who were his own offspring, not counting the wives of Jacob’s sons—were sixty-six persons all told.

27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two persons. All the persons of the house of Jacob [including Joseph and Jacob himself], who came into Egypt, were seventy.

Life of Joseph – Part 34 – Go Get Papa!

It looks like news travels pretty fast in Egypt! It doesn’t seem to take long for Pharaoh to be informed about what’s going on at Joseph’s house. And soon he’s inviting Joseph’s entire family to come to Egypt to live, where he’ll take good care of them and let them settle down.

And that’s exactly what Joseph wants. So he gives them everything they’ll need for the round-trip journey.

And then he gives them one last piece of advice–which seems to be very strange, or at least it does to me.

Joseph tells the brothers not to quarrel on the trip back home. Why does he tell them that? It seems to me that there’s not that much to quarrel about now. All the brothers are safe and sound and together. They’re headed back home to get Papa and their families and belongings. Pharaoh has promised them the best Egypt has to offer. They won’t be starving like they were in Canaan. Life looks good from here on out.

Not to mention the fact that Joseph doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against them. It appears he really has forgiven them.

Everything seems to be going very well for them right now. So why would they argue on the way home?

I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. It’s something I’d like to ask Joseph when I meet him in Heaven.

But for now, I have a guess. And it is just that–a guess.

Something hit me during this current study of the life of Joseph. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it before. And it’s a question that I can’t find the answer to in scripture.

My question is: Did any of the brothers ever tell their father what they did to Joseph?

Like I said, I haven’t been able to find the answer to that question. My personal guess is that they did not ever tell him.

And the fact that in today’s passage he almost died when they told him Joseph was alive leads me to believe they probably wouldn’t have taken a chance telling him the sad, sad truth about the entire situation.

So I’m wondering if that’s why Joseph told them not to quarrel on their trip. If it was a warning or a request for them not to start blaming each other for the whole big mess that started 20+ years ago. But instead, to focus on getting home and picking up their father and their families and getting everyone to Egypt–so Joseph could see his father again before he died.

And that also may be why the brothers are so anxious later on in this story–after their father dies. They’re concerned then that Joseph’s attitude toward them would be different once their father is dead.

Oh, well. It’s fun to think about things like that. At least it is to me.

Family secrets. Wow. They started a long time ago, didn’t they!



– Sometimes it IS who you know. Pharaoh gladly welcomed Joseph’s entire family, giving them wagons and provisions, and promising them the best the land of Egypt had to offer. The brothers weren’t cashing in on their relationship with Pharaoh–but Joseph’s good relationship with him.

Sometimes a relationship with a close friend, family member, or business acquaintance puts us in contact with someone even more powerful and we reap the benefits of their relationship.

– And that leads to this: It’s important to maintain good relationships. Because you never know when you or someone you know/love will need the benefits a particular relationship affords.

– Sometimes you just have to believe the unbelievable. When the brothers told their father that Joseph was alive and was the governor of Egypt, his heart almost stopped beating. It was as if Joseph had come back from the dead. And sometimes God has surprises for us that are almost that unbelievable. Just think what Israel (the father and the nation!) would have missed out on if their father hadn’t taken a chance on believing their unbelievable story!

– And how about the obvious spiritual principles these three truths portray. (1) Because of our relationship with Jesus and our trust in what He did for us on the cross, we can have a relationship with and access to God the Father. (2) We need to maintain relationships–even with–or especially with–our friends who are lost, because we may be their link to God.  (3) The work Jesus did on the cross on our behalf, his resurrection from the dead, the spiritual blessings He promises His followers–not the least of which is eternity with Him!!–are all unbelievable from a human perspective. But refusing to believe this unbelievable story will cause us to miss out on real life!!

Application Questions:

– What relationships do you have that have benefited you? Personally? In business?

– Which of your friends/family members/business contacts have benefited by your relationship with someone else?

– What unbelievable blessings have you chosen to believe to be possible? How has your life been changed because of them?


Genesis 45:16-28 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well.

17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Tell your brothers this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan,

18 And get your father and your households and come to me. And I will give you the best in the land of Egypt and you will live on the fat of the land.

19 You therefore command them, saying, You do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come.

20 Also do not look with regret or concern upon your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.

21 And the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons, as the order of Pharaoh permitted, and gave them provisions for the journey.

22 To each of them he gave changes of raiment, but to Benjamin he gave 300 pieces of silver and five changes of raiment.

23 And to his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-donkeys laden with grain, bread, and nourishing food and provision for his father [to supply all who were with him] on the way.

24 So he sent his brothers away, and they departed, and he said to them, See that you do not disagree (get excited, quarrel) along the road.

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came into the land of Canaan to Jacob their father,

26 And they said to him, Joseph is still alive! And he is governor over all the land of Egypt! And Jacob’s heart began to stop beating and [he almost] fainted, for he did not believe them.

27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived [and warmth and life returned].

28 And Israel said, It is enough! Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.

Life of Joseph – Part 33 – The Big Reveal


Joseph is so overcome with emotion listening to Judah beg to take Benjamin’s place as a slave in Egypt . . . so he won’t have to go home to his father without the favored son . . . that Joseph finally breaks down.

He sends all of the Egyptians out of the room before he reveals himself to his brothers. But he’s sobbing so loudly that they can’t help but hear him. And soon Pharaoh’s household hears about it.

Joseph’s first question for his brothers is about his father . . . is he still alive?

However, his half brothers are so terrified, now realizing who he is, that they can’t speak. And can you blame them? The spoiled rotten teenage brat of a half brother that their father adored and they loathed and treated like dirt and sold as a slave and pretended was dead . . . is now all grown up and extremely powerful and holds their very lives in his hands.

Talk about poetic justice.

But Joseph tells them not to be upset about what they did to him. In fact, no less than four times within a few verses, Joseph re-iterates that GOD SENT HIM TO EGYPT. He lets his brothers know that he doesn’t blame them or hold a grudge against them . . . because he knows that God sent him there in order to save the family (and future nation) of Israel.

To me, this ties in with those last two years Joseph spent in prison. Remember when he interpreted the chief butler’s dream and told him he would be restored to his position in Pharaoh’s household? And then Joseph asked the chief butler to be sure to tell Pharaoh about him and how he was in prison unjustly and that he should not even be in the country . . . especially as a slave?

Then two years later, when Joseph is in Pharaoh’s presence interpreting his dreams, Joseph doesn’t mention any of that.

And in today’s passage, he actually gives God the CREDIT (not the BLAME!) for him being in Egypt and being in the position he’s in.

I believe during those two years in prison, Joseph came to terms with the fact that God had a purpose for him being there. I’m not sure he knew what that purpose was at the time, but I believe he decided to trust that God knew what He was doing.

And now, having been in his current position for 9 years, he knows God is using him to save all of Egypt from starvation.

Then when his brothers show up, I believe Joseph realizes God also sent him to Egypt to save his entire family.

Now when he has a chance to blame his brothers for all his suffering . . . he releases them from any ‘fault’ and gives God credit for sending him there to save their lives.

Then he shares his plan with them. He wants them to hurry and go let his father know he’s alive and that God has sent him to Egypt ahead of them to be sure they survive the famine that will last five more years. And to bring the entire family and all their livestock to Egypt. They’ll live in Goshen, close to Joseph. And he’ll take care of them.

He and Benjamin hug and cry. And then he kisses all his brothers and cries over all of them, too.

And finally they’re able to talk to him.


– God can and will use the bad things others do to us to get us in position for promotion and purpose.

– Someone we once viewed as an enemy could one day be the person who saves our life.

– God always has a plan . . . and it’s always for our good.


– How has God used bad things that happened to me to move me into position for promotion and to fulfill His purpose?

– Which former ‘enemy’ has the potential to bless me and my family?

– When was the last time I recognized God’s good plan while I was in a bad situation?

– What situation am I in right now that I need to trust God with and look for His good plan?


Genesis 45:1-15 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

45 Then Joseph could not restrain himself [any longer] before all those who stood by him, and he called out, Cause every man to go out from me! So no one stood there with Joseph while he made himself known to his brothers.

And he wept and sobbed aloud, and the Egyptians [who had just left him] heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard about it.

And Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph! Is my father still alive? And his brothers could not reply, for they were distressingly disturbed and dismayed at [the startling realization that they were in] his presence.

And Joseph said to his brothers, Come near to me, I pray you. And they did so. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt!

But now, do not be distressed and disheartened or vexed and angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.

For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years more in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.

God sent me before you to preserve for you a posterity and to continue a remnant on the earth, to save your lives by a great escape and save for you many survivors.

So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Hurry and go up to my father and tell him, Your son Joseph says this to you: God has put me in charge of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not delay.

10 You will live in the land of Goshen, and you will be close to me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and all you have.

11 And there I will sustain and provide for you, so that you and your household and all that are yours may not come to poverty and want, for there are yet five [more] years of [the scarcity, hunger, and starvation of] famine.

12 Now notice! Your own eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin can see that I am talking to you personally [in your language and not through an interpreter].

13 And you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.

14 And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.

15 Moreover, he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers conversed with him.