The Life of Joseph - Lesson 40, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 49:1,2, And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
Jacob is about to die and it is now time for the gathering together of his sons to hear what shall befall each.
Abraham had no gathering but a scattering in Ishmael. Isaac had no gathering but also a scattering in Esau.
Both submitted to God=s pruning but here we see that Jacob gathers all his sons to himself.
First a pruning and now we witness the beginning of an expansion.
The stream is to be widened and not narrowed anymore.
In Jacob the family is one, the heads of the chosen race are complete.
It is interesting to note that this time of prophesy completes the character of Jacob as he performed the role of king, priest and prophet.
God had named him prince of God in Genesis 32:28, he had priestly qualities in his prevailing intercession with the Lord at Peniel where he received his new name and here we see that in blessing his sons he was also a prophet.
The blessings were given in the general order of his son's births with a few exceptions.
The six sons of Leah came first but Zebulon, the sixth is mentioned before Issachar, the fifth.
Then came the four sons of the handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah though the two sons of Zilpah, Asher and Gad are inserted between the two sons of Bilhah, Dan and Naphtali.
And lastly came the blessings upon the two sons borne by his favorite wife, Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin.
In blessing his sons Jacob also briefly sketches the histories of his sons.
As Jacob spoke of his sons he connected their traits of disposition to what destiny lay ahead for their tribe.
Jacob had closely observed those boys for many years and he knew their histories, their strengths, their weaknesses, their very characters.
The Holy Spirit now enables him to project the lines of their personalities into the future and predict their future as tribes.
For each tribe would expand, amplify, and inherit the dispositional traits seen in its founder.
Would you like to think that what lay ahead for your descendants is connected to your traits of disposition?
But does not the past provide a key to the future?
Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
The sons of Jacob, the supplantor, the weak, the vile, the unworthy Jacob, are not to gather together to hear Jacob.
They are to gather together to hear Israel for Israel has something to tell them from God.
That is the nature of the new man, the one born of God.
The one born of God has a message to tell.
The old man has no message but despair.
So as the sons gather around this judgment seat of Jacob, lives are brought up for review and rebukes and rewards are meted out.
What has been sowed in their lives must be reaped.
Hidden things are exposed and judged, open things are praised or punished.
The past is reviewed and used to give a fore-knowledge of the future.
Jacob reads off the fortunes of his sons, in their respective races, under the light of what they had shown themselves to be.
But prominence is given to two of his sons, Judah and Joseph.
We know that subsequent history shows that the tribes bearing their names, Judah and Ephraim (Joseph=s son) played the principal part in the working out of the destiny of the chosen nation.
Judah, faithful to David's line, Ephraim the head of the provinces who revolted.
Judah is pre-eminent among the first four sons of Jacob, and Joseph ranks as first among the remaining eight.
Genesis 49:3,4, Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Reuben as my firstborn you should have been strong as I was strong.
You should have been my might.
You should have displayed my dignity and my authority.
As firstborn that was your right, your destiny, a father's expectation.
You should have had the double portion, the pre-eminence, my possessions.
You were the one who should have had the birthright.
But it is not to be and it will be not in your tribe because of you are unstable as water.
This instability will prevent your people from excelling.
This instability was revealed by your going up to my bed with Bilhah and defiling my couch.
So here we see a public condemnation on record of Reuben's deed.
Talk about a permanent record!
Reuben, instability will never excel.
The Lord will not give anything to the double minded.
The Lord is not going to waste His resources on the double minded.
As James 1:7,8, says: For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
And this record was again recorded in 1 Chronicles 5:1,2, Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)
Look at the history of the tribe of Reuben and nothing outstanding is recorded.
Korah was in the line of Reuben and he expressed in the wilderness the rebellion of Reuben.
The tribe settled east of the Jordan, seemingly desiring to be the first to be settled before the battles in the promised land.
Lets read Numbers 32
In the days of the Judges Reuben failed in an emergency when put to the test:
Others came when called but Reuben searched the heart.
Judges 5:12-17, Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty. Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart. Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.
The Amplified Bible adds this comment:
These came not forth to battle for God's people
Reuben, Dan and Asher were careful and thought about serving the Lord, and examined what profit there was before they would serve the Lord.
This is the sign of the double minded.
Carefully examining the situation before entering into the fray.
Is their profit in serving God.
If so, I will enter into the fray, if not I'll stay behind.
This was not so with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Joseph was 17 when sold into slavery: 37:2
Two full years before he stood before Pharaoh he interpreted the dreams for the baker and the butler: 41:1, Joseph was 28
Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh: 41:46
When Joseph stood before Pharaoh at age 30 Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream to be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine: 41:29
And unto Joseph were born two sons (Manasseh, first born, and Ephraim) before the years of famine came: 41:50. Joseph was between the ages of 30 and 37 during the famine.
Joseph revealed himself to his brothers two years into the famine years: 45:6, Joseph was 39, He left home at age 17 so he was now in Egypt 22 years
Jacob tells Pharaoh that he is 130 years old, this is in the second year of famine: 47:9, Joseph was born 39 years ago from this time, therefore Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born. Joseph was born in Haran at the end of the second 7 year period. Jacob still had 6 years left of the twenty he spent in Harran. So Joseph was 6 years old when he came to Canaan. So the time betwen Haran and the beginning of the Joseph story in 37:2 is 11 years.
Also since Jacob fled to Harran after deceitfully receiving the blessing from Issac and he was 14 years there when Joseph was born he must have been 91 minus 14 or 77 years old when he fled to Haran.
Reuben - 4
Simeon - 6
Levi - 3
Judah - 3, 2 had died in Canaan, also had 2 grandchildren
Zebulon - 3
Gad - 7
Asher - 5, also had 2 grandchildren
Joseph - 2 in the land of Egypt
Benjamin - 10
Dan - 1