Today’s Reading: Genesis 45:16-47:27
Unfortunately, there is still a famine to contend with. The family of Jacob knows it can not survive in Canaan. There is not enough pasture for their herds in Canaan cf. Genesis 47:4. Joseph works it out with Pharaoh that the whole family of Jacob can come to Egypt to survive the famine. The land of Goshen is set aside for them. By the way that is Goshen, Egypt not Goshen, Indiana or the other 35 places in the USA, or the six international places named Goshen. I assume 36 places in the United States named Goshen must mean something. Well, to the ancestors of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob it was a place of rest and survival. A land set apart for them by God to survive the famine. Not only did they survive there, but they prospered – this we will read about after the book of Job when we begin catch up with the Israelites again in 400 years.
We read that they are 70 people. From the promise of God to Abraham in Genesis 12 we find they have multiplied over 212 years to 70.
Genesis 12:1 – 3 (NIV)
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
God is in the process of fulfilling his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is slowly making them a great nation. They have gone from 1 to 70 in 212 years.
As soon as I was reminded that they were 70 Israelites in the land of Goshen – the number struck me as a common one in the Bible. Is it a Godly coincidence or a predetermined plan of God? You decide…
- 70 nations that descended from Noah – Genesis 10
- The Egyptians mourn Joseph’s death for 70 days – Genesis 50:2-4
- The wandering Israelites found a place to rest with 70 Palms – Exodus 15:27
- There were 70 elders in the Israeli camp – Exodus 24
- Many temple offerings weighed 70 shekels – Numbers 7
- kings with their thumbs and toes cut off = 70 – Judges 1
- Jerub-Baal son of Joash had 70 sons – Judges 8
- 70 people die looking into the Ark of the Covenant –1 Samuel 6
- a plague kills 70 thousand Jews – 2 Samuel 24
- Ahab had 70 sons killed in Samaria – 2 Kings 10
- The captivity of the Jews was 70 years – 2 Chronicles 36
- The building described in Ezekiel’s temple was 70 cubits wide – Ezekiel 41
Overall, it is a mixed bag of good and bad. But the fact that there were 70 elders and 70 years of captivity might be the key.