God Provided and Israel Multiplied [Genesis 47]

 11So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered.

 12Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father's household with food, according to their little ones.

 27Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous.

 28Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob's life was one hundred and forty-seven years.



Joseph provided for Israel during the famine, therefore, instead of losing money, herds and property like the Egyptians did, the people of Israel acquired property, "were fruitful and became very numerous." Meanwhile, the Egyptians lost everything, were relocated to the cities and became slaves of Pharaoh having to pay him 1/5th of their crops.

For a long time I have wondered why Jacob wanted his people to be known for being sheep herders in a land where sheep herders were despised and kept separate. Today, I finally think I know why he did that. Could it be that he could see that the isolation from the Egyptian people would enable Israel to remain unmolested and intact as a group? In this way, the family would not lose their identity and would not intermarry so that eventually, when God led them back to Canaan, their people would still be pure and separate from Egyptian ways and influence.

I am sure God guided Joseph in this decision to keep the people separate or holy as God had guided Joseph all along. God is a God of immense power and of tiny details that make all of the difference in the long run.


We praise You that You don't forget the details even though we don't always see them and recognize their importance at the time. Cause us to grow in hearing the details and getting to participate more effectively in Your plans. Your plans will happen no matter what we do, but what a blessing to be part of what You are doing.


Beth Warlick, 1/14/2010