Jacob Settles in Goshen
"Then [Jacob] sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out before him the way to Goshen. And they came to the land of Goshen. So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said to Joseph, 'Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.' Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, 'I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, "My brothers and those of my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds, and all that they have." So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, "What is your occupation?" that you shall say, "Your servants occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers," that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians'" (Gen. 46:28-34).

The caravan that was headed to Egypt was a large one, and they journeyed straight to Goshen. It was there that father and son were reunited--after two decades! It was an emotional reunion and Israel felt at peace after seeing Joseph's face. A huge burden of pain and sorrow has been lifted from Jacob!

Joseph clearly explained what would happen next. Pharaoh would be told about the type of work his family did: shepherding. Although this point seems trivial to us, it was significant in that day. Shepherds were considered an abomination in the Egyptian culture (perhaps because they viewed shepherding as barbaric and inferior to agriculture). Thus, it made sense to isolate the Israelites in Goshen for it was a fertile land and well suited to their needs. It would seem Joseph's hope was to use this negative perception to their advantage, and help keep his family independent from Egypt both nationally and religiously.

As Genesis 47 opens, what was discussed at the end of the prior chapter is implemented. Joseph and five of his brothers speak directly with Pharaoh, who allows them to settle in "the best of the land" of Egypt. Furthermore, Pharaoh trusts Joseph so much that he instructs him to make any "competent man among them...chief herdsman over my livestock" (47:6). Then Joseph introduced his father to Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh and was asked how old he was. Jacob replied - "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage" (47:9). Israel knew his life on earth was a sojourn (cf. Heb. 11:13-16). He didn't believe he would live as long as his father or grandfather (and he was correct). Furthermore, he felt that he had more sorrow in his life than they did, and he is probably right on that as well, considering the stress of a polygamous family and devastating effect the loss of Rachel and Joseph had on him for so long.

The section ends with this summary statement - "Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with bread, according to the number in their families" (Gen. 47:12). The son who was believed to be dead was very much alive and able to help his family survive and even thrive in a difficult situation!