Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joseph’s Reward - Genesis 50:22-23


Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.  And Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.

In this short passage we learn Joseph and Jacob’s households stayed on, after Jacob’s death, to live in Egypt for many years.  There is no direct reference to the households of the other brothers, but we could assume that since they had settled there, they too were included, from a language perspective, under Jacob’s household.  This is supported by verse 24 that follows this passage wherein Joseph at his death is speaking to his brothers and tells them God will take them from Egypt to the Promised Land.

We also learn that Joseph lived to the age of 110.  Our last look at our chronological timeline (from the beginning of Genesis) was back in Genesis 47:27.  Let’s revisit it.

·      3461    The meeting of Jacob and Pharaoh when Jacob’s family moved to Egypt (based on Genesis 47:9 and the dates we had arrived at above)(Jacob was 130 years old)
·      3478    Jacob’s death in Egypt at the age of 147 (based on Genesis 47:28,29)

To this we would, if we could, add the next event.

·      ????    Joseph dies at age 110

This presents our own “chronological timeline” with a problem.  While we know this occurred some time after Jacob’s death around 3478 years from the start of Genesis, we do not know exactly when. The reason is that we have information of how old Joseph was when he died, but not the year in which he was born.  We can only hope that later in Scripture, more information is given to us to allow us to continue down this avenue of time measurement through the Bible.

Literally the text speaks of Joseph “seeing” the third generation of his son Ephraim’s sons. That is, he saw Ephraim’s children (first generation of Ephraim’s sons), their children (Joseph’s grandchildren and Ephraim’s second generation), and their grandchildren (Joseph’s great grandchildren and Ephraim’s third generation).  That was Joseph’s reward – to be able to live long enough to see all these children.  That would be quite a blessing.  My own father lived to see five great-grandchildren.  They kept him young and he loved them all.

The text also speaks of Joseph seeing the sons of Machir his grandson, born to Manasseh and his wife.  Later on we discover this was Manasseh’s eldest son and likely born to him through one of his Aramite or Syrian concubines.  Manasseh was Joseph’s oldest son, but Jacob, back in Genesis 48, had given the younger son, Ephraim the ‘right-hand’ blessing reserved for the ‘first-born’.

All these generations Joseph enjoyed as part of his blessed life.  What is your life like today?  Are you blessed?   Have you placed yourself in a position to be blessed in this manner with family and grandchildren?  Or have you gone your own way because of family feuds, your own stubbornness, etc.?  If so, it is never to late to start “rebuilding” that same family, starting with your relationship with God.  I encourage you to re-examine your current lot in life.  Is it what it could be?  Is it what it should be?  If not, I pray you will take the steps to start heading in that direction.   Even if you’re on your deathbed, it is never too late.  And the rewards are immense.

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