Bible Discussion — Genesis 47-50

May 30, 2007, 12:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, David, MC-B, Mike J, Steve, Tom  | 2 Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next four chapters of the Bible, Genesis 47-50.

Previously in Genesis:
1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18-2 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
Jacob gathers his children to bless them and prophesy over them. He removes Reuben as firstborn, giving that right to Joseph and splitting the inheritance between Ephraim & Manasseh, and speaks God’s judgment over Simeon and Levi for the murder they had committed.

Mike:
The children of Israel are each given a blessing as Jacob nears death.

Tom:
I look at this passage — particularly Israel’s blessings on the 12 tribes to be — like a cruel fiction writer’s “happily ever after…” before he pulls the rug out from under the reader with another paragraph. In this case, the paragraph is the Israelites’ need for deliverance from their deliverance.

MC-B:
Joseph? Reducing the people to servitude?

And he was doing so well.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Steve:
For a nation that apparently hated shepherds, Egypt wasn’t afraid to use them. Someone had to watch the livestock, after all.

MC-B:
I think I always skipped this part when I read the Joseph story; after all, all the action was done with.

Chloe:
The language of these chapters strongly foreshadows the coming enslavement. People right and left are telling each other that they’ll be their servants or slaves, or telling their sons that they’ll end up as slaves.

Tom:
Beyond the whole “his people surviving the famine” thing, the Pharaoh was much, much better off economically after Joseph.

David:
Jacob instructs them to bury him in the cave of Machpelah with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah. Rachel, his true love, ends up buried under a tree in the wilderness, and his final resting place is with Leah.

Mike:
How Jacob in the end is buried with Leah — his “least favorite” wife is the one whom he chooses to be buried near. I also never noticed that Jacob was embalmed in the manner of Egyptians.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
David: Royal Dainties
MC-B: A Very Large Company
Mike: The Wrath of Levi
Steve: Darker Than Wine
Chloe: Desolate
Tom: Out of Canaan

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Steve:
Egypt’s famine-driven command economy reminds me of the stories that came out of communist Russia — like the chandelier factory whose workers were paid by the ton, so before long, their products were ripping down ceilings with the added weight of thousands of ball bearings. Or the shoe factory that met its weight quota by adding a 5-cm rubber sole to every shoe. Such plans never seem to work out as intended.

Mike:
I love the custom of blessing children with these rich blessings. The blessings don’t paper over the children’s faults and tendency toward sin (see Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Dan); but at the same time, each is still blessed (with the possible exception of Simeon and Levi). It reminds me of the way that Christ takes us just as we are and imagines deeper possibilities for us than we are aware of.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
MC-B:
Joseph’s brothers return to him over and over again asking for forgiveness and offering themselves, but Joseph constantly reassures them that he holds no grudges. It’s sometimes difficult to feel instantly forgiven for our transgressions (especially the ones that we believe are particularly horrible), but it’s as easy as asking once with a pure heart.

Steve:
When God promises something, He will make it come to pass, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time. 50:18 is a stark fulfillment of the dream that got Joseph in such trouble to begin with, willingly reenacted by the same brothers who homicidally resented the prophecy at the time.

David:
God’s plans are unfathomable. This is a joyous time of fulfillment, but only serves as a prelude to 400 years of slavery — which will in turn yield joy, leading to 40 years of wandering in the desert, which will in turn yield joy… leading to the chaos and idolatry of Judges, which will in turn………

Chloe:
“I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children, too.” God blesses. Oh, yes, He blesses abundantly.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
David:
I like the introduction of a third party (the Canaanites) viewing the passage of Israel’s funeral procession, and commenting on it.

Tom:
Levi, the father of the priesthood, was noted in his father’s last words for the instruments of cruelty that were in his habitations. G-d knows how to pick ’em.

Chloe:
I would have liked to see the faces of Jacob’s children as he blessed them. “I’m a ravenous wolf? What does that even mean??”

Mike:
Was Jacob happy in Egypt with his whole family? Or did he secretly yearn to go back to Canaan? Also, that whole sealing a promise by grabbing each other’s thighs thing. Yeesh.

Steve:
I’m confused about the way Joseph ran things in Egypt. If the land didn’t already belong to Pharaoh, why did he take all the extra grain to begin with? If it belonged to Pharaoh earlier, then why did he pay the farmers for it and demand one-fifth of the future production?

MC-B:
All of Egypt came to Joseph all at once several times and spoke in one voice. Anyone who’s organized a weekend car trip for four or five people can appreciate what a feat this is.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Mike:
Joseph listens to his brothers spin a yarn about how Jacob, on his deathbed, wanted Joseph to forgive his brothers. And Joseph weeps. He weeps because his brothers are so proud that they can’t come more humbly. He weeps because their relationship obviously still is fractured if they think they have to invent a story to gain his forgiveness.

I think Jesus weeps when we misunderstand his grace, when we seek justification for our actions rather than forgiveness, when we come to him in ways that suggest we’re not sure we’ll be forgiven. Like Joseph, Christ longs for relationship with us, and Jesus is pained when our actions demonstrate that relationship doesn’t exist.

Chloe:
In 49:8-12.

David, Steve:
The promise of Shiloh, the one to whom all authority belongs.

David:
In the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David, Tom:
49:18 — “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”

Chloe, Steve, MC-B:
48:11 — “And Israel said to Joseph, ‘I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!'”

Mike:
48:21 — “I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Chloe:
Why is it that Joseph is getting rich off the famine when the people are starving? Who grew the crops in the first place? And does this mean that the famine (and Joseph’s subsequent business/political decisions) ended up being the cause of the Hebrew enslavement?

MC-B:
I’d like a little more elaboration on some of the tribes of Israel that are less well-known; what are their stories? How did those blessings play out in real life? What did Jacob mean by them?

David:
“I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” Who says this? Does Jacob say it as part of Dan’s blessing? Does Jacob just randomly blurt it out about himself? It doesn’t seem to fit anywhere, yet it seems more filled with emotion than anything else being said.

Mike:
Why did Levi, a tribe named as trigger-happy and angry, become the tribe of priests?

Steve:
How disappointed was Asher? I guess it’s good that he didn’t get cursed like the first three sons, but wouldn’t it be depressing, on such an important day, to hear your destiny was rich bread and ‘royal dainties’?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Mike:
God’s covenant goes forward both because of and despite us.

David:
“Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life.” — Ecc. 7:14

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Steve:
What a verse in 48:11! Remembering the ordeal Jacob and Rachel went through to have Joseph, and then the tragic story behind the lie his sons told him, makes this verse all the more powerful — this is a father privileged to see the children of his most beloved son, whom he thought was dead for so many years.

David:
I have always loved chapter 49 because of how Jacob blesses each son and speaks not just what he wants for them, but the judgment of God over their lives.

MC-B:
They could’ve called this set of chapters the Epilogue for the amount of storyline and plot development that happens herein. It also comes complete with an opening for the sequel (Exodus).

 
CONCLUSION:
Steve:
It took the Israelites at least 2400 years to get out of Genesis; it only took us three months. Now we both move on — to the Exodus!!


Comments

2 Comments to “Bible Discussion — Genesis 47-50”

  1. Bible Discussion — Romans 8 (Part One) : Bweinh! on October 18th, 2007 10:12 am

    […] Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26 27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50 […]

  2. Bible Discussion — Romans 12 : Bweinh! on November 14th, 2007 11:41 am

    […] Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26 27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50 […]

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