Genesis 46:1 MEANING

Genesis 46:1


(1) Israel . . . came to Beer-sheba.--Though Jacob, in the first tumult of his joy, had determined upon hastening to Egypt, yet many second thoughts must have made him hesitate. He would call up to mind the boding prophecy in Genesis 15:13, that the descendants of Abraham were to be reduced to slavery, and suffer affliction in a foreign land for four hundred years. It might even be a sin, involving the loss of the Abrahamic covenant, to quit the land of Canaan, which Abraham had expressly forbidden Isaac to abandon (Genesis 24:8). Isaac, too, when going into Egypt, had been commanded to remain in Palestine (Genesis 26:2). Jacob therefore determines solemnly to consult God before finally taking so important a step, and no place could be more suitable than Beersheba, as both Abraham and Isaac had built altars there for Jehovah's worship (Genesis 21:33; Genesis 26:25), and, moreover, it lay upon the route from Hebron to Egypt.

Verse 1. - And Israel (as the head of the theocratic family) took his journey - literally, broke up, sc. his encampment (cf. Genesis 12:9) - with all that he had, and came - from Hebron (Genesis 37:14) - to Beersheba, - where Abraham (Genesis 21:33) and Isaac (Genesis 26:25) had both sojourned for considerable periods, and erected altars to Jehovah - and offered sacrifices unto the God (the Elohim) of his father Isaac. Probably giving thanks to God for the tidings concerning Joseph (Ainsworth); consulting God' about his journey to Egypt (Rosenmüller); it may be, pouring out before God his fear as well as gratitude and joy, more especially if he thought about the stern prophecy (Genesis 15:13) which had been given to Abraham (Kalisch); perhaps commending himself and family to the care of his covenant God (Keil), and certainly praying that God would confirm to him and his the covenant which had been made with his fathers (Calvin).

46:1-4 Even as to those events and undertakings which appear most joyful, we should seek counsel, assistance, and a blessing from the Lord. Attending on his ordinances, and receiving the pledges of his covenant love, we expect his presence, and that peace which it confers. In all removals we should be reminded of our removal out of this world. Nothing can encourage us to fear no evil when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but the presence of Christ.And Israel took his journey with all that he had,.... Set forward in it immediately, as soon as possible after he had resolved to take it, and with him he took all his children and grandchildren, and all his cattle and goods; which shows that he took his journey not only to see his son Joseph, but to continue in Egypt, at least during the years of famine, as his son desired he would, otherwise there would have been no occasion of taking all along with him:

and came to Beersheba: where he and his ancestors Abraham and Isaac had formerly lived; a place where sacrifices had often been offered up, and the worship of God performed, and much communion enjoyed with him. This is said to be sixteen miles from Hebron (n), where Jacob dwelt, and according to Musculus was six German miles from it:

and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac; which were attended with prayer and praise; with praise for hearing that his son Joseph was alive, and with prayer that he might have a good, safe, and prosperous journey.

(n) Bunting's Travels, p. 72.

Courtesy of Open Bible