February 18, 2021
Joseph is Forgotten and Slavery Begins
Last week we saw Joseph and his brothers having a family reunion. Little did Joseph and his brothers know what all this traveling between Canaan and Egypt would to. In the Chapter that speaks most about what went on with Joseph, one of my favorite verses is Genesis 45:7 (35) – But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (NIV) Joseph realized what is going on at the highest level. He knew, and has always known, that God is in charge and he has always readily admitted it and given God the Glory for every good thing that has happened to him. Do you readily do that? Do you insert God into your daily conversations and give him the Glory?
Joseph and his brothers celebrated their new situation. At the behest of the Pharaoh Joseph brought his entire extended family down to Egypt. The response in Pharaoh’s palace was also great. The Pharaoh was pleased. So much so that he directed Joseph to bring his whole family down to Egypt and gave them a special place to live, the land of Goshen. That way they would not have to travel back and forth between Canaan and Egypt to find food for the family.
Genesis 49:29-50:9 (39) – Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”
When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, “If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'”
Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.” So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him — the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt — besides all the members of Joseph’s household and his brothers and those belonging to his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen. Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company. (NIV)
Before he died, Jacob gave detailed instructions about his burial. Someone was going to have to go back to Canaan to bury him. It would not be an easy trip, during the famine, but it would be done.
The response of the Egyptians is nothing short of phenomenal. All of Joseph’s family AND all of the Pharaoh’s court went to Canaan to bury Jacob/Israel. This gives us a great picture into how much the Pharaoh thought of Joseph. Without Joseph Egypt may have starved. But, because of Joseph’s wisdom to depend on God Almighty allowed his family and all of Egypt to not just survive, but to prosper.
On the direction of Pharaoh himself the Israelites settled in the land of Goshen. There they were well fed, and taken care of. Joseph’s family, including all his brothers were blessed by God through the Pharaoh. The lived in and filled the land of Goshen for the rest of Joseph’s life. When we come to the end of the book of Genesis Joseph has died. He lived 110 years and had quiet a story to tell. He was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. Genesis 50:24-26 (40) – Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”
So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt. (NIV)
As the book of Exodus begins Joseph and all his brothers and that generation had died. Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them. Exodus 1:6-7 (NIV) (40)
New Pharaohs came and went and soon Joseph and all he had done for the Pharaoh and for Egypt was forgotten. Joseph had foretold and brought Egypt through a 7 year famine in great style. In all Jacob had a total of 70 children and they were fruitful and multiplied and filled the land of Goshen.
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them. Exodus 1:6-7 (NIV) (40)
One day the Pharaoh looked out on the multitude of Israelites that now inhabited the land and began to worry about them rising up against him. He decided that he should take control of all the Israelites and put them to use.
Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly. Exodus 1:8-14 (NIV) (40)
From that point on, Israel was oppressed. Even though they were forced into bondage they continued to multiply so that the Egyptians began to dread the Israelites. This was their future for the next 400 years. To control the Israelites even more the Pharaoh ordered every male child to be killed.
With this in mind, in Exodus 2 a Levite woman named Jochebed decided to save her son from death and slavery. And so, Jochebed’s plan was set afloat.
Bostwick UMC 2/14/21