Summary of Genesis 37-50:
God saves his family as a foreshadowing of how he will save the world. Forgiveness solves the problem of sin and allows for re-creation.
Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob (Israel), has dreams that his brothers and parents will bow down to him. His brothers hate him and sell him as a slave to a caravan of Ishmaelites, who take him to Egypt. They deceive Jacob into thinking that Joseph is dead.
In Egypt, Joseph works for Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, and earns his favor. But Potiphar's wife tries to seduce Joseph and falsely accuses him of rape when he refuses. Joseph is thrown into prison, where he interprets the dreams of two fellow prisoners, a cupbearer and a baker, who used to work for Pharaoh.
The cupbearer is restored to his position and the baker is executed, as Joseph predicted. Two years later, Pharaoh has two troubling dreams that none of his wise men can interpret. The cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him. Joseph is brought before Pharaoh and explains that his dreams mean that there will be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine in Egypt. He advises Pharaoh to appoint a wise man to store up grain during the good years and distribute it during the bad years.
Pharaoh is impressed by Joseph's wisdom and appoints him as his second-in-command, giving him authority over all Egypt. Joseph is 30 years old when he begins his service to Pharaoh. He has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, before the famine begins.
The famine affects not only Egypt but also Canaan, where Jacob and his sons live. Jacob sends ten of his sons to buy grain from Egypt, keeping Benjamin, his youngest and only remaining son by Rachel, at home. Joseph recognizes his brothers when they come to him, but they do not recognize him. He accuses them of being spies and demands that they bring Benjamin to prove their honesty. He keeps Simeon as a hostage and sends the rest back with grain and their money secretly returned in their sacks.
When the grain runs out, Jacob reluctantly agrees to let Benjamin go with his brothers to Egypt. Joseph is overjoyed to see Benjamin and invites his brothers to a feast at his house. He tests them by planting his silver cup in Benjamin's sack and then accusing them of theft. Judah pleads with Joseph to let him stay as a slave instead of Benjamin, because he does not want to break his father's heart.
Joseph can no longer hide his identity and reveals himself to his brothers. He tells them not to be angry with themselves for selling him, because God sent him ahead of them to save lives. He instructs them to bring Jacob and their families to Egypt, where he will provide for them during the remaining five years of famine. He embraces Benjamin and weeps with his brothers.
Pharaoh hears about Joseph's reunion with his brothers and approves of his plan. He gives them wagons, provisions, and gifts for their journey. Joseph sends his brothers back with a message for Jacob: "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay." He also gives them new clothes and silver, and gives Benjamin five times as much.
Jacob is stunned when he hears the news, but believes it when he sees the wagons sent by Pharaoh. He says, "It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die." He sets out for Egypt with all his descendants, 70 people in total. On the way, he stops at Beersheba and offers sacrifices to God. God speaks to him in a vision and tells him not to be afraid to go down to Egypt, because he will make him into a great nation there. He also promises that he will bring him back up again and that Joseph will close his eyes when he dies.
The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible and one of the five books of the Pentateuch, traditionally attributed to Moses. It can be divided into two main sections: **Primitive History** (chapters 1-11) and **Patriarchal History** (chapters 12-50).
Primitive History records four major events: the **creation** of the world and humanity (chapters 1-2), the **fall** of humanity into sin and its consequences (chapters 3-5), the **flood** that destroyed the wicked world (chapters 6-9), and the **confusion of languages** at the tower of Babel that dispersed the nations (chapters 10-11).
Patriarchal History narrates the lives of four main patriarchs: **Abraham**, the father of faith and of the chosen people (chapters 12-25), **Isaac**, the son of promise and heir of the covenant (chapters 21-28), **Jacob**, the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel (chapters 25-36), and **Joseph**, the favored son who became a ruler in Egypt and saved his family from famine (chapters 37-50).
Some scholars also divide Genesis by using a phrase that occurs ten times in the book: "These are the generations of..." This phrase introduces a new section that traces a genealogy or a history of a person or a family. For example, Genesis 2:4 says "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created..." and Genesis 5:1 says "This is the book of the generations of Adam."
The number 70 in the Bible, as shown in the examples below, symbolizes fullness, restoration, and an endpoint:
- The post-flood world was repopulated by 70 descendants of Noah, resulting in 70 nations (Genesis 10).
- Terah, the father of Abraham, was 70 years old when Abraham was born (Genesis 11:26).
- The nation of Israel began with 70 Hebrews who migrated to Egypt (Exodus 1:1-5).
- Moses appointed 70 elders to be the governing body of Israel (Numbers 11:16).
- Ancient Israel spent a total of 70 years in captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10).
- Seventy sevens (490 years) were determined upon Jerusalem for it to complete its transgressions, to make an end for sins and for everlasting righteousness to enter into it (Daniel 9:24).
- Jesus sent out 70 disciples on a training mission to preach the gospel to the surrounding area (Luke 10).
The connection between Joseph and Jesus is that Joseph is a type or a shadow of Jesus, meaning that his life and actions foreshadowed and pointed to the life and actions of Jesus. There are many similarities between Joseph and Jesus, such as:
- Both were the objects of their father's special love.
- Both had promises of divine exaltation.
- Both were mocked by their family.
- Both were sold for pieces of silver.
- Both were stripped of their robe.
- Both were delivered up to the Gentiles.
- Both were falsely accused.
- Both were faithful amid temptation.
- Both were thrown into prison.
- Both stood before rulers.
- Both had their power acknowledged by those in authority.
- Both saved their rebellious brothers from death when they realized who they were.
- Both were exalted after and through humiliation.
- Both embraced God's purpose even though it brought them intense physical harm.
- Both were the instruments God used at the hands of the Gentiles to bless his people.
- Both welcomed Gentiles to be part of their family.
- Both gave hungry people bread.
- Both had people bow their knee before them.
The connection between Joseph and Jesus highlights the continuity between the Old and New Testaments and serves as a testament to God's unchanging love and provision for his people.
Gad’s sons: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malchiel. These were the sons of Zilpah—whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah—that she bore to Jacob: sixteen persons.
The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt. They were born to him by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, a priest at On. Benjamin’s sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. These were Rachel’s sons who were born to Jacob: fourteen persons.
Dan’s son: Hushim. Naphtali’s sons: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel. She bore to Jacob: seven persons. The total number of persons belonging to Jacob—his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons—who came to Egypt: sixty-six. And Joseph’s sons who were born to him in Egypt: two persons. All those of Jacob’s household who came to Egypt: seventy persons.
Now Jacob had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to prepare for his arrival at Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel. Joseph presented himself to him, threw his arms around him, and wept for a long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, “I’m ready to die now because I have seen your face and you are still alive!” Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s family, “I will go up and inform Pharaoh, telling him, ‘My brothers and my father’s family, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they also raise livestock. They have brought their flocks and herds and all that they have.’ When Pharaoh addresses you and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ you are to say, ‘Your servants, both we and our ancestors, have raised livestock from our youth until now.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the land of Goshen, since all shepherds are detestable to Egyptians.”
Early date for Slavery in Egypt: 1730-1445 BC
Late date for Slavery in Egypt: 1450-1275 BC
So Joseph went and informed Pharaoh: “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in the land of Goshen.” He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh asked his brothers, “What is your occupation?” They said to Pharaoh, “Your servants, both we and our ancestors, are shepherds.” And they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to stay in the land for a while because there is no grazing land for your servants’ sheep, since the famine in the land of Canaan has been severe. So now, please let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have come to you, the land of Egypt is open before you; settle your father and brothers in the best part of the land. They can live in the land of Goshen. If you know of any capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
Joseph then brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” Jacob said to Pharaoh, “My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not reached the years of my ancestors during their pilgrimages.” So Jacob blessed Pharaoh and departed from Pharaoh’s presence. Then Joseph settled his father and brothers in the land of Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s family with food for their dependents.
But there was no food in the entire region, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan were exhausted by the famine. Joseph collected all the silver to be found in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan in exchange for the grain they were purchasing, and he brought the silver to Pharaoh’s palace. When the silver from the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan was gone, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die here in front of you? The silver is gone!”
But Joseph said, “Give me your livestock. Since the silver is gone, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks of sheep, the herds of cattle, and the donkeys. That year he provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock. When that year was over, they came the next year and said to him, “We cannot hide from our lord that the silver is gone and that all our livestock belongs to our lord. There is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. Why should we die here in front of you—both us and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. Then we with our land will become Pharaoh’s slaves. Give us seed so that we can live and not die, and so that the land won’t become desolate.” In this way, Joseph acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, because every Egyptian sold his field since the famine was so severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, and Joseph made the people servants from one end of Egypt to the other. The only land he did not acquire belonged to the priests, for they had an allowance from Pharaoh. They ate from their allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.
Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They acquired property in it and became fruitful and very numerous. Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt 17 years, and his life span was 147 years. When the time approached for him to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise me that you will deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt. When I rest with my ancestors, carry me away from Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” Joseph answered, “I will do what you have asked.” And Jacob said, “Swear to me.” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed in thanks at the head of his bed.