God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28 - Genesis 46-47: The (Small) Nation of Israel Moves to Egypt

Today’s Reading: Genesis 46-47

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Joseph uses Egyptian culture to his advantage.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God reassured Jacob that he would be safe going to Egypt. So Jacob and his entire family left.
When the harem arrived, Joseph coached them to tell Pharaoh that they were herders so he would give them the land of Goshen. Pharaoh welcomed them and gave them that land.
The people of Egypt sold their livestock to Pharaoh in return for food. The next year they sold their land to Pharaoh. Joseph allowed the people to keep their land but required a fifth of the crops.
Jacob died in Egypt, but made Joseph promise to return his body to Canaan.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jacob loves his land.

Jacob was born on this land. He returned to it with his family. He had worked the land for decades. He does not wish to leave. But he must. He wishes for his body to return to the land once his dies. As someone living far from his home, this resonates with me.

Joseph uses the Egyptians' prejudices against them.

It is interesting that Pharaoh gives the best land to the Israelites (as they will later be called) because they do not want these livestock herders to live near them. The best land. And the Israelites flourished.

Joseph designs a just sharecropping arrangement.

Remember that Genesis is not a book of moral tales. It is a history of God's early people. However, and not to get overtly political (as I often do), this arrangement should be lauded for its simplicity and fairness. Joseph could have forced the people onto community farms and required them to give all of the crops to Pharaoh in return for enough to survive, as in communist countries of the recent past. But we know how that system worked (or didn't). The amount he requires as payment is only 20%. This means the people were able to keep, sell, and live off 80% of their labor, unlike other sharecropping contracts from around the world. This arrangement provided the necessary ingredients for a boon to Egypt's cultural progression and leads them to become an empire. When godly people create godly systems of government, all people benefit.

What did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.

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