In chapter 46, we see Jacob and his household- seventy souls in all- taking their journey from Canaan down into Egypt. Along the way, they stop to offer sacrifices in a place called Beer-Sheba, which is the southern-most outpost of the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. Beer-Sheba has great significance to this family. It is here that Abraham dug a well and entered into an oath with Abimelech, king of the Philistines. In fact, Beer-Sheba literally means "Well of the Oath". It was here Abraham eventually abode (Gen 21:33; 22:19), and Isaac would settle as well (26:23, 33). When Jacob was sent by his father to find a wife in Haran, he was sent from Beer-Sheba (28:10), his home. It was here that God renewed with Isaac his covenant first given to Abraham, and it is now here that this same covenant is once again renewed with Israel, and with his children.
God first established his promise to Jacob way back at Bethel in chapter 28, assuring him that wherever he went, the Lord would be with him, and bring him back to this sacred land. Jacob made his own promise to God: that if He indeed kept him in his way, and brought him back to his father's house (Beer-Sheba) in peace, that Yahweh would forever be his God, and he would bless God back with a tenth of all he had received of Him.
Now, Jacob has come full circle, and has returned to his father's "house" in peace, the Well of the Oath. God kept His oath to Jacob all these years: He kept him in his way, and brought him back to Beer-Sheba. Jacob kept his oath to God all these years: he had made Yahweh his God, and stayed faithful to Him. Did you know that from this point in the story onward, God would no longer be referred to simply as the "God of Abraham", or the "God of Abraham and Isaac"? From this point forward, He would forever be referred to as the "God of Abraham, Isaac AND Jacob"?
To God's people today, Jacob would testify: "Fear not, for when God makes a promise, it will surely come to pass!"
Jacob is comforted by God at Beer-sheba
1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:
4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
He joruneys to Egypt
5 And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him:
7 His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.
8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
9 And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.
10 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.
11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zerah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.
14 And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.
17 And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel.
18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.
19 The sons of Rachel Jacob's wife; Joseph, and Benjamin.
20 And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
21 And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.
22 These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.
23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim.
24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.
26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six;
27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
Joseph comes to meet his father.
28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
30 And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.
31 And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
32 And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
David is an Assistant Pastor at The Master's House.