Jacob Descends to Egypt

Dec 13, 2015

Jacob sets out for Egypt, stopping in Beersheba on the way. There, God addresses him, reassuring him not to fear the descent to Egypt, for there He will make them a great nation. The Israel Bible remarks on the use of the word ‘descent’, which serves as a reminder that the Land of Israel is the ultimate height of spirituality. From there, Jacob transports his family and belongings in the wagons sent by Pharaoh. Here, the Torah enumerates the names of all the children and grandchildren who travelled with Jacob.


Judah is sent ahead to prepare the land of Goshen for Jacob’s arrival. Joseph, meanwhile, rides out to meet his father, crying on his neck. Jacob tells his son he can now die in peace, having seen him once more.


Joseph alerts his brothers to the Egyptians’ squeamishness over herding. He tells them that if they inform Pharaoh they are shepherds, he will give them leave to live in Goshen, where the land is suitable for their profession and they will be out of sight of the Egyptians. The brothers follow Joseph’s advice, and Pharaoh does as Joseph predicted, asking them as well to choose competent men from among themselves to tend for Pharaoh’s own livestock.


Joseph presents his father to Pharaoh, and Jacob blesses him. Pharaoh asks Jacob his age, and he answers that at 130, his years have been bitter. Joseph also settles his father and brothers in their new land.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

The Torah indicates Joseph weeps upon seeing his father, but Jacob does not. Why do you think that might be?

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