And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Chronicles 2:8, 1 Chronicles 2:42.
The list given here of the family of Jacob as it came down into Egypt is not to be identified with a list of their descendants two hundred and fifty years after, contained in Numbers 26, or with another list constructed after the captivity, and referring to certain of their descendants in and after the times of the monarchy. Nor is this the place to mark out or investigate the grounds of the diversities from the present which these later lists exhibit. Our proper business here is to examine into the nature and import of this ancient and original list of the family of Jacob. It purports to be a list of the names of the sons of Israel, "who went into Mizraim." This phrase implies that the sons of Israel actually went down into Egypt; and this is accordingly historically true of all his immediate sons, Joseph having gone thither about twenty-two years before the others. And the word "sons" is to be understood here in its strict sense, as we find it in the immediate context Genesis 46:7 distinguished from sons' sons and other descendants.
"Jacob and his sons." From this expression we perceive the progenitor is to be included with the sons among those who descended to Egypt. This also is historically exact. For the sake of clearness it is proper here to state the approximate ages of these heads of Israel at the time of the descent. Jacob himself was 130 years of age Genesis 47:9. Joseph was in his thirtieth year when he stood before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams and receive his commission as governor-general of Egypt, Genesis 41:46. At the end of the second year of the famine nine full years were added to his life. He was therefore, we may suppose, 39 years old when Jacob arrived in Egypt, and born when his father was 91. As we conceive that he was born in the fifteenth year of Jacob's sojourn in Padan-aram, and Reuben in the eighth, we infer that Reuben was at the time of the descent into Egypt seven years older than Joseph, or 46, Simon 45, Leviticus 44, Judah 43, Dan about 43, Naphtali about 42, Gad about 42, Asher about 41, Issakar about 41, Zebulun about 40, Dinah about 39, Benjamin about 26. "Jacob's first-born Reuben." This refers to the order of nature, without implying that the rights of first-birth were to be secured to Reuben 1 Chronicles 5:1-2.
5. And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba—to cross the border and settle in Egypt. However refreshed and invigorated in spirit by the religious services at Beer-sheba, he was now borne down by the infirmities of advanced age; and, therefore, his sons undertook all the trouble and toil of the arrangements, while the enfeebled old patriarch, with the wives and children, was conveyed by slow and leisurely stages in the Egyptian vehicles sent for their accommodation.
and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him; it may be wondered at that Joseph did not send his chariot to fetch his father; it could not be for want of due respect and honour to him, but it may be such a carriage was not fit for so long a journey, and especially to travel in, in some parts of the road through which they went: no mention being made of Jacob's wives, it may be presumed they were all now dead; it is certain Rachel was, see Genesis 35:19; and it is more than probable that Leah died before this time, since Jacob says he buried her himself in Machpelah in Canaan, Genesis 49:31; and it is very likely also that his two concubine wives Bilhah and Zilpah were also dead, since no notice is taken of them.And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. Beer-sheba] Jacob’s home, as of his fathers, according to E (Genesis 21:31, Genesis 22:19).
the sons of Israel … Jacob their father] It is not often that the two names are found in such close collocation in the same clause; see note on Genesis 46:2. In all probability it betokens the work of editing and compiling the parallel narratives, of which J uses “Israel,” and E and P prefer “Jacob.”
6, 7 (P). P’s summarized account of the descent into Egypt. Observe the characteristic words “their goods which they had gotten”; “his seed”; “sons’ sons” and “sons’ daughters”; and the marked redundancy in style, similar to what is found in Genesis 12:5; Genesis 31:18; Genesis 36:6; which are all from the P narrative.
8–27 (P). We have here a list of “the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt.”
(a) With certain variations and expansions, the list appears also in Numbers 26:5-51 (with the omission of Levi), and in 1 Chronicles 2-8. Moreover in Exodus 6:14-16 we find the same list, so far as relates to Reuben, Simeon, and Levi (Genesis 46:9-11).
(b) It cannot accurately be described either as a list of Jacob’s descendants, for it includes Jacob himself: or as a list of those who went down into Egypt, for it includes the names of Joseph and his sons, and the names of Benjamin’s sons.
(c) There is an element of artificiality in the computation of the list. Thus the names of Er and Onan are only mentioned to be excluded from the total (Genesis 46:12). Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, is included in the list of thirty and three “souls of his sons and his daughters,” her name being the only female name up to that point. And Jacob himself is reckoned in the thirty-three.
(d) It should be noted, in the same connexion, that Leah’s sons are 32, and Zilpah’s 16; Rachel’s are 14, and Bilhah’s 7. Each concubine thus is credited with just half the number of sons that the real wife has. This arrangement is probably designed to assist the memory.
(e) The order which is followed in the list is that of the wives: (1) the sons of Leah (Genesis 46:8-15); (2) the sons of Zilpah (Genesis 46:16-18); (3) the sons of Rachel (Genesis 46:19-22); (4) the sons of Bilhah (Genesis 46:23-25).Verses 5-7. - And Jacob rose up - having received new vigor from the vision (Calvin) - from Beersheba (it is not probable that his stay there was of more than a day or two's, perhaps only a night's, duration): and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, - "Unlike the heathen tribes around them, and Oriental nations generally, the family of Jacob gave honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel" (Lawson) - in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him (vide Genesis 45:19, 21). And they took their cattle, and their goods (including probably their servants), which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, - Pharaoh had desired Jacob not to regard his stuff, because the good of all the land of Egypt was before him; but he wished not to take advantage of Pharaoh's goodness, or to owe greater obligations to him than he found necessary" (Lawson) - and came into Egypt, - a scene depicted on the tomb of Chumhotep, the near relative and successor of Osirtasen I., at Benihassan, represents a company of immigrants, apparently Shemitic in their origin, entering Egypt with their goods, as well as women and children, borne upon asses. Without affirming that this was the Egyptian version of the descent of Israel into Egypt, it may serve as a striking illustration of that event (vide. Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' vol. 1. p. 480, ed. 1878; Brugsch, 'Histoire d'Egypte,' p. 63; Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' p. 37) - Jacob, and all his seed (i.e. his descendants) with him: his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters (this need not imply that Jacob had more daughters than Dinah, but may include his sons wives, who are not otherwise mentioned in this enumeration), and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt. The date of this event was in the 130th year of Jacob's life (Genesis 47:9), and 215 years after the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:4), i.e. B.C. 1728 (Usher), 1885 (Hales); or A.M. 2276 (Usher), 3526 (Hales).
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