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 three score and ten.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
The Septuagint gives seventy-five as the sum-total, which is made out by inserting Makir the son, and Gilead the grandson of Menasseh, Shuthelah and Tahan, sons, and Edom or Eran, a grandson of Ephraim Numbers 26. This version has also the incorrect statement that the sons of Joseph born to him in Egypt were nine; whereas by its own showing they were seven, and Jacob and Joseph are to be added to make up the nine. Some suppose that Stephen's statement - ἀποστείλας δὲ Ιωσὴφ μετεκαλέσατο τὸν πατέρα αὑτοῦ Ιακὼβ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν συγγένειαν ἐν ψυχαῖς ἐβδομήκοντα πέντε aposteilas de Iōsēph ton patera autou Iakōb kai tēn sungeneian en psuchais hebdomēkonta pente - is founded on this version. If Stephen here quoted the Septuagint as a well-known version, he was accountable only for the correctness of his quotation, and not for the error which had crept into his authority. This was immaterial to his present purpose, and it was not the manner of the sacred speakers to turn aside from their grand task to the pedantry of criticism. But it is much more likely that the text of the Septuagint has here been conformed in a bungling way to the number given by Stephen. For it is to be observed that his number refers, according to the text, to Jacob and all his kindred, "exclusive of Joseph and his sons." They could not therefore, amount to seventy-five, but only to sixty-seven, if we count merely Jacob and his proper descendants. It is probable, therefore, that in the idea of Stephen the "kindred" of Jacob included the eight or nine surviving wives that accompanied the children of Israel. Judah's wife was dead, and it is probable that Reuben's was also deceased before he committed incest with Bilhah. If there were two or three more widowers the number of surviving wives would be eight or nine.
The number of the children of Israel is very particularly noted. But the Scripture lays no stress upon the number itself, and makes no particular application of it. It stands forth, therefore, on the record merely as a historical fact. It is remarkable that it is the product of seven, the number of holiness; and ten, the number of completeness. It is still more remarkable that it is the number of the names of those who are the heads of the primitive nations. This is in accordance with the fact that the church is the counterpart of the world, not only in diversity of character and destiny, but also in the adaptation of the former to work out the restitution of all things to God in the latter. The covenant with Abraham is a special means by which the seed may come, who is to give legal and vital effect to the old and general covenant with Noah the representative of the nations. The church of God in the world is to be the instrument by which the kingdom of the world is to become the kingdom of Christ. "When the Most High bestowed the inheritance on the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel" Deuteronomy 32:8. This curious sentence may have an immediate reference to the providential distribution of the human family over the habitable parts of the earth, according to the number of his church, and of his dispensation of grace; but at all events it conveys the great and obvious principle that all things whatsoever in the affairs of men are antecedently adapted with the most perfect exactitude to the benign reign of grace already realized in the children of God, and yet to be extended to all the sons and daughters of Adam.
which came with Jacob into Egypt, because some of them came thither before him, and others with him, some in their persons, and some in their parents. As for the difficulty arising from comparing this place with Acts 7:14, it will be more fit to speak of it when we come to that place.
all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten; here it may be observed, the phrase is varied; it is not said, "all the souls which came out of the loins of Jacob", but "all the souls of the house" or family of Jacob; all that that consisted of, and takes in Jacob himself, the head of his house or family; nor is it said, "which came with Jacob into Egypt", as before, but "which came into Egypt"; not which came with him thither, but yet were there by some means or another, as Joseph and his two sons; Joseph by being brought down, and sold there, and his two sons by being born there; if therefore Jacob, Joseph, and his two sons, are added to the above number of sixty six, it will make seventy; as for the account of Stephen, making the number seventy five; see Gill on Acts 7:14.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. threescore and ten] LXX gives “threescore and fifteen,” which is followed in Acts 7:14. The additional five persons were the three grandsons and two great-grandsons born to Joseph in Egypt. Cf. Genesis 50:23; Numbers 26:28 ff.
The number “seventy” being a sacred number is secured, though at the cost of some adjustment.Genesis 46:27), "all the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt" (הבּאה for בּאה אשׁר, Ges. 109), including the patriarch himself, and Joseph with his two sons, who were born before Jacob's arrival in Egypt. If we reckon these, the house of Jacob consisted of 70 souls; and apart from these, of 66, besides his sons' wives. The sons are arranged according to the four mothers. Of Leah there are given 6 sons, 23 grandsons, 2-great-grandsons (sons of Pharez, whereas Er and Onan, the sons of Judah who died in Canaan, are not reckoned), and 1 daughter, Dinah, who remained unmarried, and was therefore an independent member of the house of Jacob; in all, therefore, 6 + 23 + 2 + 1 equals 32, or with Jacob, 33 souls. Of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, there are mentioned 2 sons, 11 grandsons, 2-great-grandsons, and 1 daughter (who is reckoned like Dinah, both here and Numbers 26:46, for some special reason, which is not particularly described); in all, 2 + 11 + 2 + 1 equals 16 souls. Of Rachel, "Jacob's (favourite) wife," 2 sons and 12 grandsons are named, of whom, according to Numbers 26:40, two were great-grandsons, equals 14 souls; and of Rachel's maid Bilhah, 2 sons and 5 grandsons equals 7 souls. The whole number therefore was 33 + 16 + 14 + 7 equals 70.
(Note: Instead of the number 70 given here, Exodus 1:5, and Deuteronomy 10:22, Stephen speaks of 75 (Acts 7:14), according to the lxx, which has the number 75 both here and Exodus 1:5, on account of the words which follow the names of Manasseh and Ephraim in Genesis 46:20 : ἐγένοντο δὲ οἱοὶ Μανασσῆ, οὓς ἔτεκεν αὐτῷ ἡ παλλακῆ ἡ Σύρα, τοὺ Μαχίρ· Μαχὶρ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Γαλαάδ, υίοὶ δὲ Ἐφραΐ́μ ἀδελφοῦ Μανασσῆ Σουταλαὰμ καὶ Ταάμ. υίοὶ δὲ Σουταλαάμ. Ἐδώμ: and which are interpolated by conjecture from Genesis 1:23, and Numbers 26:29, Numbers 26:35, and Numbers 26:36 (33, 39, and 40), these three grandsons and two great-grandsons of Joseph being reckoned in.)
The wives of Jacob's sons are neither mentioned by name nor reckoned, because the families of Israel were not founded by them, but by their husbands alone. Nor is their parentage given either here or anywhere else. It is merely casually that one of the sons of Simeon is called the son of a Canaanitish woman (Genesis 46:10); from which it may be inferred that it was quite an exceptional thing for the sons of Jacob to take their wives from among the Canaanites, and that as a rule they were chosen from their paternal relations in Mesopotamia; besides whom, there were also their other relations, the families of Ishmael, Keturah, and Edom. Of the "daughters of Jacob" also, and the "daughters of his sons," none are mentioned except Dinah and Serah the daughter of Asher, because they were not the founders of separate houses.
If we look more closely into the list itself, the first thing which strikes us is that Pharez, one of the twin-sons of Judah, who were not born till after the sale of Joseph, should already have had two sons. Supposing that Judah's marriage to the daughter of Shuah the Canaanite occurred, notwithstanding the reasons advanced to the contrary in Genesis 38, before the sale of Joseph, and shortly after the return of Jacob to Canaan, during the time of his sojourn at Shechem (Genesis 33:18), it cannot have taken place more than five, or at the most six, years before Joseph was sold; for Judah was only three years older than Joseph, and was not more than 20 years old, therefore, at the time of his sale. But even then there would not be more than 28 years between Judah's marriage and Jacob's removal to Egypt; so that Pharez would only be about 11 years old, since he could not have been born till about 17 years after Judah's marriage, and at that age he could not have had two sons. Judah, again, could not have taken four sons with him into Egypt, since he had at the most only two sons a year before their removal (Genesis 42:37); unless indeed we adopt the extremely improbable hypothesis, that two other sons were born within the space of 11 or 12 months, either as twins, or one after the other. Still less could Benjamin, who was only 23 or 24 years old at the time (vid., pp. 200f. and 204f.), have had 10 sons already, or, as Numbers 26:38-40 shows, eight sons and two grandsons. From all this it necessarily follows, that in the list before us grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob are named who were born afterwards in Egypt, and who, therefore, according to a view which we frequently meet with in the Old Testament, though strange to our modes of thought, came into Egypt in lumbis patrum. That the list is really intended to be so understood, is undoubtedly evident from a comparison of the "sons of Israel" (Genesis 46:8), whose names it gives, with the description given in Numbers 26 of the whole community of the sons of Israel according to their fathers' houses, or their tribes and families. In the account of the families of Israel at the time of Moses, which is given there, we find, with slight deviations, all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob whose names occur in this chapter, mentioned as the founders of the families, into which the twelve tribes of Israel were subdivided in Moses' days. The deviations are partly in form, partly in substance. To the former belong the differences in particular names, which are sometimes only different forms of the same name; e.g., Jemuel and Zohar (Genesis 46:10), for Nemuel and Zerah (Numbers 26:12-13); Ziphion and Arodi (Genesis 46:16), for Zephon and Arod (Numbers 26:15 and Numbers 26:17); Huppim (Genesis 46:21) for Hupham (Numbers 26:39); Ehi (Genesis 46:21), an abbreviation of Ahiram (Numbers 26:38); sometimes different names of the same person; viz., Ezbon (Genesis 46:16) and Ozni (Numbers 26:16); Muppim (Genesis 46:21) and Shupham (Numbers 26:39); Hushim (Genesis 46:23) and Shuham (Numbers 26:42). Among the differences in substance, the first to be noticed is the fact, that in Numbers 26 Simeon's son Ohad, Asher's son Ishuah, and three of Benjamin's sons, Becher, Gera, and Rosh, are missing from the founders of families, probably for no other reason than that they either died childless, or did not leave a sufficient number of children to form independent families. With the exception of these, according to Numbers 26, all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob mentioned in this chapter were founders of families in existence in Moses' time. From this it is obvious that our list is intended to contain, not merely the sons and grandsons of Jacob, who were already born when he went down to Egypt, but in addition to the sons, who were the heads of the twelve tribes of the nation, all the grandsons and great-grandsons who became the founders of mishpachoth, i.e., of independent families, and who on that account took the place or were advanced into the position of the grandsons of Jacob, so far as the national organization was concerned.
On no other hypothesis can we explain the fact, that in the time of Moses there was not one of the twelve tribes, except the double tribe of Joseph, in which there were families existing, that had descended from either grandsons or great-grandsons of Jacob who are not already mentioned in this list. As it is quite inconceivable that no more sons should have been born to Jacob's sons after their removal into Egypt, so is it equally inconceivable, that all the sons born in Egypt either died childless, or founded no families. The rule by which the nation descending from the sons of Jacob was divided into tribes and families (mishpachoth) according to the order of birth was this, that as the twelve sons founded the twelve tribes, so their sons, i.e., Jacob's grandsons, were the founders of the families into which the tribes were subdivided, unless these grandsons died without leaving children, or did not leave a sufficient number of male descendants to form independent families, or the natural rule for the formation of tribes and families was set aside by other events or causes. On this hypothesis we can also explain the other real differences between this list and Numbers 26; viz., the fact that, according to Numbers 26:40, two of the sons of Benjamin mentioned in Genesis 46:21, Naaman and Ard, were his grandsons, sons of Belah; and also the circumstance, that in Genesis 46:20 only the two sons of Joseph, who were already born when Jacob arrived in Egypt, are mentioned, viz., Manasseh and Ephraim, and none of the sons who were born to him afterwards (Genesis 48:6). The two grandsons of Benjamin could be reckoned among his sons in our list, because they founded independent families just like the sons. And of the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim alone could be admitted into our list, because they were elevated above the sons born to Joseph afterwards, by the fact that shortly before Jacob's death he adopted them as his own sons and thus raised them to the rank of heads of tribes; so that wherever Joseph's descendants are reckoned as one tribe (e.g., Joshua 16:1, Joshua 16:4), Manasseh and Ephraim form the main divisions, or leading families of the tribe of Joseph, the subdivisions of which were founded partly by their brothers who were born afterwards, and partly by their sons and grandsons. Consequently the omission of the sons born afterwards, and the grandsons of Joseph, from whom the families of the two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were elevated into tribes, descended, forms only an apparent and not a real exception to the general rule, that this list mentions all the grandsons of Jacob who founded the families of the twelve tribes, without regard to the question whether they were born before or after the removal of Jacob's house to Egypt, since this distinction was of no importance to the main purpose of our list. That this was the design of our list, is still further confirmed by a comparison of Exodus 1:5 and Deuteronomy 10:22, where the seventy souls of the house of Jacob which went into Egypt are said to constitute the seed which, under the blessing of the Lord, had grown into the numerous people that Moses led out of Egypt, to take possession of the land of promise. From this point of view it was a natural thing to describe the seed of the nation, which grew up in tribes and families, in such a way as to give the germs and roots of all the tribes and families of the whole nation; i.e., not merely the grandsons who were born before the migration, but also the grandsons and great-grandsons who were born in Egypt, and became founders of independent families. By thus embracing all the founders of tribes and families, the significant number 70 was obtained, in which the number 7 (formed of the divine number 3, and the world number 4, as the seal of the covenant relation between God and Israel) is multiplied by the number 10, as the seal of completeness, so as to express the fact that these 70 souls comprehended the whole of the nation of God.
(Note: This was the manner in which the earlier theologians solved the actual difficulties connected with our list; and this solution has been adopted and defended against the objections offered to it by Hengstenberg (Dissertations) and Kurtz (History of the Old Covenant).)
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