The Journey of Joseph: Joseph’s Family Settles in Goshen.

“So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” (Genesis 47:1–6 (ESV)

Even though Joseph was the governor or viceroy of Egypt, he was careful to follow protocol with respect to his family from Canaan. Even though he planned on them settling in Goshen (Gen. 46:28-34), he wanted to make sure it was agreeable to Pharaoh.

Therefore, Joseph arranged for five of his brothers to have an audience with the king of Egypt. This was after Joseph had met with Pharaoh and told him, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.”

Genesis 47:3-4 says, “Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”

A key word in this dialogue is sojourn. It means to live as a stranger, to be a guest, or to be in a place. This dwelling is with a focus that one is living as a guest or stranger in a place, whether a territory, city, or house (Gen.12:20). You sense that Jacob and his family did not plan on dwelling in Egypt for over 400 years (Gen. 15:13-16; Ex. 12:40; Acts 7:6; Gal. 3:17). However, this is what the LORD had told Abraham. The LORD had other plans (Proverbs 16:9).

Unlike the Pharaoh of the Exodus (Ex. 1-2), this Pharaoh was gracious and generous to Joseph’s family. He told Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The pharaoh graciously grants the requests of Jacob’s family and even puts them in charge of his livestock (vv. 5–6), establishing Jacob and his sons as court officials and thereby investing them with legal rights and protection. Incidentally, this turn of events corroborates what is known about ancient Egyptian civilization, again demonstrating Scripture’s trustworthiness. A later pharaoh, Rameses III, employed over 3,200 foreigners as overseers of his vast herds of cattle and other animals.

Dr. Sproul concludes, “Believers do often enjoy positions of safety and privilege in cultures that do not trust the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Christians engage the government responsibly, blessing often ensues as seen here and in other passages such as Nehemiah 1:1–2:8. Yet our security does not rest in the government, for as the pharaoh shows us, ruling authorities can turn on the church even if she has benefited the society (Ex. 1:8–22). Let us not be terrified or taken off guard should this happen. Our sworn allegiance is to Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36), and to that realm alone do we owe unqualified submission.”

1 Peter 2:11–12 (ESV) says, 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Have a blessed day as we seek to live and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

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