Fruitfulness in Egypt

“Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly” (Gen. 47:27).  

- Genesis 47:27–28

Before we move on to the final days of Jacob in Egypt, it is worth noting again the wisdom Joseph displayed in Genesis 47:13–26, which enabled him to save the land from starvation. As we have seen, it was through prudent planning that this son of Israel was able to feed Egypt when she was hungry, enrich the pharaoh, and give the citizens the goods necessary for their survival. Joseph is proof that such divine wisdom can be ours as well if we acknowledge the Lord and live an upright life (Gen. 39:6b–10; 41:25–36; Prov. 1:7; 5:20–23). He prefigures our Savior who by perfect obedience to His Father and complete reliance on His will “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Today’s passage describes the end result of Jacob’s sojourn in Egypt: the tremendous growth of one small family into a great nation, as was first revealed to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3; 15; 47:27). Given the importance attached to living in the land of Canaan it was probably hard for Jacob to see how dwelling in Egypt could further the Lord’s plan (46:1–4). But the patriarch trusted God despite this, for he knew that His ways are not our ways and that the Lord will fulfill His will even when it is difficult for us to discern it. And so God kept His promise to bless and increase His people in Egypt, for that is the kind of God He is — One who is always true to His word.

This turn of events begins to fulfill not only Yahweh’s commitment to Abraham, it also points us back to His covenant with Adam. Our first parents were ordered to “be fruitful and multiply” (1:28), and the people of Israel “were fruitful and multiplied greatly” in the land of the Nile (47:27). In an important sense, the descendants of Jacob were to be a new Adam through whom the Lord would extend knowledge of Himself and His visible reign to the world. 

Jacob’s sons were flawed images of our Creator and failed, just as the Lord foretold (Deut. 31:16–29). And so our Father sent one last Adam who faithfully performed Israel’s vocation (Matt. 2:13–15; Rom. 5:12–21), thereby reckoning all those in Him faithful sons and daughters of the King (Gal. 3:1–9).

Coram Deo

Israel, called to be a new Adam, failed to keep covenant and increased transgression (Rom. 3:9–20; 7:7–13). As our perfect representative, Jesus succeeded where Israel failed, and in so doing, He also succeeded where Adam failed. All who trust in Him can now fulfill the task entrusted to man, namely, to be a witness of the risen Lord through true worship. If you are in Christ you are in right standing with God and must proclaim His glories to others. Do so today.

Passages for Further Study

Ps. 40
Hab. 2:14
Hag. 2:1–9
Mark 1:9–11
Col. 1:24–28

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