Meditation: Genesis 47

Reading: Genesis 47:1-12 and 27-31

Jacob’s family arrives in Egypt and are allowed to live in Goshen, which is well away from the Egyptians. God separates the church from the ungodly Egyptians and their culture to prevent dangerous mixing of the people. The family must remain strangers in Egypt and free to serve God and live in holiness. We learn here how much better it is to possess a remote corner of a country with the Lord, than to dwell in the midst of palaces, and away from the Church.


Joseph rules Egypt wisely and preserves not only the Egyptians but also his family. God blesses Israel (the church) so that it is fruitful and multiplies exceedingly (vs 27). Jacob’s family is growing into a nation according to the promises of God.


We know from the historic monuments and archaeology today that Egypt was a very rich and splendid country. Its ancient buildings, cities, burial places and literature show the Egyptians were a highly developed nation. But in vs 29-31 Jacob shows that he did not want his family to share in this wealth and splendour. The Lord had promised to give the land of Canaan to them and that there God would bless them according to the covenant promises (Genesis 17). Jacob understood there is no future for the church in Egypt. Jacob wants to impress this upon his sons; they must always remember that not Egypt but the Promised Land is for them and their generations. Jacob therefore makes Joseph, representing the whole family, promise by oath to bury his body in Canaan when he dies. This will link the family firmly with Canaan.


Key text: Gen 47:29-30 “Please do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”


Question: Jacob impresses upon his sons that not Egypt but the Promised Land is for them and their generations. Like Abraham he “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). What significance does this have for your life?