LESSON 28 – Jacob’s Family Moves to Egypt – Genesis 46-50


  • Gen. 46.  Jacob is overjoyed and overwhelmed to find out his son Joseph is still living. He packs everyone up and they head for Egypt, but first he stops at Beersheba (find it on the map). What happens there? (vs. 1-4 Jacob offers a sacrifice and God talks to him. He tells him to not be afraid to go to Egypt with his family because that is where God will make a great nation out of his descendants. He also promises that they would come back to the Promised Land.) Read Gen. 15:12-16.  What prediction had God given to Abraham that is starting to be fulfilled in Jacob’s move? (That Abraham’s family would go to another land and become enslaved there.  Jacob knew of this prophecy and would realize that this move was part of God’s plan for his family.) According to 46:27, how many Israelites moved to Egypt? (70 in all counting Joseph and his 2 sons.) {Note: there are several places in the Bible that give different numbers for the amount of people that left. There are explanations for this: Gen 46:26 gives the number as 66 – this number leaves out Jacob’s sons’ wives. Acts 7:14 – Stephen gives the number as 75, which includes the 5 surviving wives of the 12. The wise student of the Word will assume that there are no mistakes in God’s Word!} Joseph and Jacob are reunited. Jacob feels that his life is complete and is ready to die. However, he will live 17 more years! Why did Jacob’s family end up in Goshen? (vs. 33 – Goshen was to the west of the Nile and was a perfect place for them to raise their animals. Also, the Egyptians detested shepherds – Possibly because of the Hyksos rulers of Egypt that were Semitic people from Canaan and had conquered part of Egypt in 1720 BC. Some scholars believe that the Pharaoh at this time was a Hyksos ruler, which predisposed him to Joseph and his family.) Why might it be a good thing that Jacob’s family would be separated from the people of Egypt? (The Egyptians were idol worshippers. Israel would be kept away from the temptation of turning away from the One True God.)
  • Gen. 47.  What were the effects on the Egyptian people as the years passed and the famine continued? (vs. 13-31. As the people came to purchase grain, they eventually ran out of money. They sold their land to the Pharaoh and ended up selling themselves to him as well.  After the famine was over, Joseph instituted a law that the people would continue to give Pharaoh 1/5 of all their produce and at the time that Moses wrote the account in Genesis 47 they were still doing so. What did Jacob make Joseph promise before he died? ( vs. 28-31. That in the future they would transport his body back to the Promised Land.)
  • Gen. 48-49. Because of his great love for Joseph, Jacobs gives him a double portion of the blessing he will give to his sons. Therefore, each of Joseph’s sons is to become one of the tribes of Israel. {Note: This technically makes 13 tribes. Levi was not counted, though, in the distribution of land when Israeltakes over the Promised Land because they were the priestly tribe and as such were to inhabit every area of the land.} What happened when Joseph brought his sons to Jacob for blessing? (48:8-21. Joseph arranges his son in order of their birth – Manasseh on the right and Ephraim on the left. Jacob crosses his hands over their head and gives the blessing of the first-born to the second born.) Ephraim is told he will be the greater of the two tribes.  Joseph is irritated and thinks his father made a mistake. Jacob says he knows what he is doing!  Jacob brings all of his sons together and gives each of them a blessing/prophecy. To what does Gen. 49:9.10 refer? (These verses are talking about Judah, the son that Jesus comes from. Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah in Rev. 5:5. David, who is from the tribe of Judah, is also told that his descendant would rule forever.) Jacob gives specific instructions as to where he is to be buried and then he dies. (vs. 33)
  • Gen. 50. Why do Joseph’s brothers come to him after Jacob is dead? (vs. 15-17. They think now that their father is dead, Joseph will enact his revenge on them for selling him.) On what basis do they ask for mercy? (vs. 16,17. They say that Jacob left a message for Joseph asking him to forgive the 10 and the wrongs they committed.) I don’t know about you, but this sounds a little fishy and too convenient to me!  It doesn’t seem like the brothers have taken the time over the last 17 years to really get to know Joseph and see that he holds them no animosity for what happened. He already pointed out to them earlier that God had used his experiences to bring him to leadership so that all of them would not die in the famine. When he hears their request, he weeps.  How little they understand him and the ways of God! How are the 10 brothers still being affected by their sin in the past? (possible answers: they feel quilty, they can’t believe that they would be forgiven, they live in fear) However, at least they do finally go to him to ask forgiveness. What important message does Joseph give his brothers in 50:19-21. (Possible answers: he tells them that God had a good plan for him in spite of their sin, that God used their sin to a good purpose – the saving of many lives – their own included; Joseph reassures them that they are safe and he speaks kindly to them.) How old is Joseph when he dies? (50:22. 110) What does he ask his family to do and why? (vs. 25-26. That they would take his bones with them when they leave. He also knows the prophecy God made to Abraham that one day they would become a great nation and leaveEgypt.)


Jacob has been through much in his life; quite a bit of it he caused himself. However, we all can say the same thing about ourselves.  These last few chapters in Genesis give us an insight into what Jacob has learned through his experiences.

  • What hardships had he faced in his life? (possible answers: the favoritism of his father for his brother, having to leave home on account on his deception, being deceived and manipulated by his father-in-law, trouble with his wives, his sons selling his favorite son and making it look like Joseph was dead, living with the sorrow of that “loss” for 22 years, having ungodly or god-fearing children, having to spend the last years of his life away from his home) Joseph, also, learned much about God and his character from the trials he faced. Look up the following verses from chapters 46-49 to find out what things Jacob and Joseph have learned about God(e.g. How does he refer to God?), themselves and life:
Passage Lesson learned/observation
46:1-4 Example: God will keep his promise – God does not change. God will take care of His own.
  • Share with your children how your experiences have shaped your ideas about who God is and His character. How have your experiences changed you and matured you? Share that with them as well. As you discuss how God has revealed Himself to you consider the names of God found in the book of Genesis:

            EL: God “mighty, strong, prominent” (Genesis 7:1)

            ELOHIM: God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7)

            EL SHADDAI: “God Almighty or” “God All Sufficient” (Genesis 49:24)
ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2)

            YAHWEH-YIREH: “The Lord will Provide” (Genesis 22:14)
YAHWEH-ELOHIM: “LORD God” (Genesis 2:4)
EL ROI: “God of Seeing” (Genesis 16:13)

  • As a family, come up with a name or title for the Lord that expresses your experience with Him (Use English – It is not necessary to come up with the Hebrew or Greek equivalent!). End your time by thanking Him for all he has done for you.

Digging Deeper

  1. Each of the blessings of Jacob gave to his sons has significance. Parts of the prophecies refer to past acts of the brothers. Some of the prophecies have been fulfilled; some are yet to be fulfilled.  Using a commentary on the passage in Genesis 49:1-28, write out what each blessing means and its significance. What did you learn? Is any of this applicable to you and your life and how?
  2. Read Hebrews 11:21.  Why do you think the act of blessing Joseph’s sons was listed as the outstanding act of in Jacob’s life? (You may refer to a commentary for help. If you do, cite references.) See 1 Chron. 5:1 and tell how Jacob’s blessing determined the structure and leadership found in the 12 tribes. If your name appeared in the “Hall of Fame of Faith” in Hebrews 11, what one act of faith would be listed? How do you need to grow in faith?
  3. Make a list of at least 10 ways that Joseph was a type of Christ. List the event/thing/quality, the verse in Genesis and parallel in the life of Christ. (I have a resource that lists 22 similarities.) Why do you think that God included the stories of Joseph in the Bible and what have you personally learned from his example?