Reading through the Bible: day 29

Genesis 48 – 50

So, we’re at the end of Genesis, just a few comments. Firstly, if you count the tribes, there’s a problem, Ephraim and Manasseh are later listed as tribes, but not Joseph. Reuben lost the rights of the firstborn for his sexcapade with his father’s concubine. Joseph, as Rebekah’s firstborn, thus received the double portion of the firstborn (hence two tribes). Judah also received part of the firstborn’s blessing by being the one from who the sceptre would not pass. Obviously it took years before there was a king, and when there was, he wasn’t from Judah (Saul was a Benjaminite). So this seems problematic, but it isn’t really, the sceptre could not depart from someone who never had it, so it was only once a member of Judah received it (David) that it would never depart. Once David had the kingship, it belonged to his family, and even in exile and afterwards, the Davidic bloodline would be recognised as the kings in waiting, so to speak. Once Jesus was born, He became the King of God’s people and thus the sceptre remains with Judah until armageddon and beyond.

There are issues with the tribes, which I will address as we go. For now, you’ll notice that with Joseph’s two sons being represented in his place, there are thirteen tribes, not the famous number of twelve tribes, but in Exodus the tribes are organised and it becomes clear why we speak of the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Genesis 46:4, God promises that he would bring Jacob out of Egypt, but Jacob dies in Egypt. It would be easy to say at this point that we have a failed prophecy and then ignore the divine inspiration of the Bible, but this isn’t the case. Jacob died in Egypt and after the embalming and mourning period, he was taken to Machpela and buried there. He was thus brought out of Egypt as God promised, it just wasn’t in his lifetime. His request to his sons (initially to Joseph) that he wouldn’t be buried in Egypt, showing that despite how we may read Genesis 46:4, Jacob didn’t interpret it as a promise to be removed from Egypt in his lifetime.

I found this video on You Tube, if there’s a problem viewing it let me know (I’ve not embedded a video here before and don’t know if it will work). It’s an animated program on Joseph. I don’t agree with many things, like Benjamin’s age in Egypt, but it’s something of a reward to you the reader for completing two long Old Testament books in less than a month.

What are your thoughts?

Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading through the Bible.


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