And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) These are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt.—This document, consisting of Genesis 46:8-27, is one that would be of the highest importance to the Israelites, when taking possession of Canaan, being as it were their title-deed to the land. Accordingly we find that it is drawn up in a legal manner, representing as sons some who were really grandsons, but who took as heads of families the place usually held by sons. We next find that it represents them as all born in Canaan, not in a natural sense, but as the rightful heirs of the country. Technically every head of a family was born in Canaan, and thus the danger was obviated of an objection to the possession of this rank being accorded to one born in Egypt. As a matter of fact Pharez (Genesis 46:12) was an infant when taken down into Egypt. (See Genesis 38:29, and Excursus on Chronology of Jacob’s life.) It is difficult enough to find time sufficient for his birth in the interval between the return from Padan-Aram, and the descent into Egypt; for the birth of his two sons, Hezron and Hamul, there is no space whatsoever. In Genesis 46:21 Benjamin has ten sons assigned him, but he was at most about thirty years of age when he went into Egypt, and some of these sons are expressly said elsewhere to have been his grandsons. Commentators have indeed endeavoured to show that Benjamin might have been a few years older, but they do this by upsetting their own conclusions previously arrived at; and there is no process which so legitimately produces scepticism as the re-statement by commentators of the facts so marshalled on each occasion as to suit the apparent exigencies of the passage before them, but in a manner irreconcilable with previous difficulties.
The genealogical table of the twelve patriarchs is thrice given in Holy Scripture: here, in Numbers 26, and in 1 Chronicles 1-8. See also Exodus 6:14-16, where only Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are given.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.Numbers 26:1-65 1 Chronicles 6:1-8:40.
Jacob and his sons; for he went with them to Egypt, and was the head and principal of them:
Reuben, Jacob's firstborn; see Genesis 29:32.And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 8. - And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt. The phrase "which came into Egypt" must obviously be construed with some considerable latitude, since in the appended list of seventy persons, "souls of the house of Jacob which came into Egypt," are reckoned Joseph, who undoubtedly came into Egypt, but not with Jacob, Hezron and Hamul, the sons of Pharos, as well as the descendants of Benjamin, who probably, and Ephraim and Manasseh, the children of Joseph, who certainly, were born in Egypt. Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn. Genesis 28:12.), the comforting promise, "I am האל (the Mighty One), the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt (מרדה for מרדת, as in Exodus 2:4 דּעה for דּעת, cf. Ges. 69, 3, Anm. 1); for I will there make thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I-- bring thee up again also will I, and Joseph shall close thine eyes." גּם־עלה an inf. abs. appended emphatically (as in Genesis 31:15); according to Ges. inf. Kal.
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