Contemporary English Version
Jacob and His Family Go to Egypt
46 Jacob packed up everything he owned and left for Egypt. On the way he stopped near the town of Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God his father Isaac had worshiped. 2 That night, God spoke to him and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” Jacob answered.
3 God said, “I am God, the same God your father worshiped. Don’t be afraid to go to Egypt. I will give you so many descendants that one day they will become a nation. 4 I will go with you to Egypt, and later I will bring your descendants back here. Your son Joseph will be at your side when you die.”
5-7 Jacob and his family set out from Beersheba and headed for Egypt. His sons put him in the wagon that the king[a] had sent for him, and they put their small children and their wives in the other wagons. Jacob’s whole family went to Egypt, including his sons, his grandsons, his daughters, and his granddaughters. They took along their animals and everything else they owned.
8-15 When Jacob went to Egypt, his children who were born in northern Syria[b] also went along with their families.
Jacob and his wife Leah had a total of thirty-three children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but two of their grandchildren had died in Canaan.
Their oldest son Reuben took his sons Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
Their son Simeon took his sons Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, whose mother was a Canaanite.
Their son Levi took his sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Their son Judah took his sons Shelah, Perez, and Zerah. Judah’s sons Er and Onan had died in Canaan. Judah’s son Perez took his sons Hezron and Hamul.
Their son Issachar took his sons Tola, Puvah, Jashub,[c] and Shimron.
Their son Zebulun took his sons Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
Their daughter Dinah also went.
16-18 Jacob and Zilpah, the servant woman Laban had given his daughter Leah, had a total of sixteen children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Their son Gad took his sons Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
Their son Asher took his sons Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, who took his sons, Heber and Malchiel.
Serah, the daughter of Asher, also went.
19-22 Jacob and Rachel had fourteen children and grandchildren.
Their son Joseph was already in Egypt, where he had married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of Heliopolis.[d] Joseph and Asenath had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Jacob and Rachel’s son Benjamin took his sons Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
23-25 Jacob and Bilhah, the servant woman Laban had given his daughter Rachel, had seven children and grandchildren.
Their son Dan took his son Hushim.
Their son Naphtali took his sons Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
26 Sixty-six members of Jacob’s family went to Egypt with him, not counting his daughters-in-law. 27 Jacob’s two grandsons who were born there made it a total of seventy members of Jacob’s family in Egypt.
28 Jacob had sent his son Judah ahead of him to ask Joseph to meet them in Goshen. 29 So Joseph got in his chariot and went to meet his father. When they met, Joseph hugged his father around the neck and cried for a long time. 30 Jacob said to Joseph, “Now that I have seen you and know you are still alive, I am ready to die.”
31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to everyone who had come with them:
I must go and tell the king[e] that you have arrived from Canaan. 32 I will tell him that you are shepherds and that you have brought your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 33 The king will call you in and ask what you do for a living. 34 When he does, be sure to say, “We are shepherds. Our families have always raised sheep.” If you tell him this, he will let you settle in the region of Goshen.
Joseph wanted them to say this to the king, because the Egyptians did not like to be around anyone who raised sheep.
47 1-2 Joseph took five of his brothers to the king and told him, “My father and my brothers have come from Canaan. They have brought their sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else they own to the region of Goshen.”
Then he introduced his brothers to the king, 3 who asked them, “What do you do for a living?”
“Sir, we are shepherds,” was their answer. “Our families have always raised sheep. 4 But in our country all the pastures are dried up, and our sheep have no grass to eat. So we, your servants, have come here. Please let us live in the region of Goshen.”
5 The king said to Joseph, “It’s good that your father and brothers have arrived. 6 I will let them live anywhere they choose in the land of Egypt, but I suggest that they settle in Goshen, the best part of our land. I would also like for your finest shepherds to watch after my own sheep and goats.”
7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and introduced him to the king. Jacob gave the king his blessing, 8 and the king asked him, “How old are you?”
9 Jacob answered, “I have lived only a hundred thirty years, and I have had to move from place to place. My parents and my grandparents also had to move from place to place. But they lived much longer, and their life was not as hard as mine.” 10 Then Jacob gave the king his blessing once again and left. 11 Joseph obeyed the king’s orders and gave his father and brothers some of the best land in Egypt near the city of Rameses. 12 Joseph also provided food for their families.
A Famine in Egypt
13 The famine was bad everywhere in Egypt and Canaan, and the people were suffering terribly. 14 So Joseph sold them the grain that had been stored up, and he put the money[f] in the king’s treasury. 15 But when everyone had run out of money, the Egyptians came to Joseph and demanded, “Give us more grain! If you don’t, we’ll soon be dead, because our money’s all gone.”
16 “If you don’t have any money,” Joseph answered, “give me your animals, and I’ll let you have some grain.” 17 From then on, they brought him their horses and donkeys and their sheep and goats in exchange for grain.
Within a year Joseph had collected every animal in Egypt. 18 Then the people came to him and said:
Sir, there’s no way we can hide the truth from you. We are broke, and we don’t have any more animals. We have nothing left except ourselves and our land. 19 Don’t let us starve and our land be ruined. If you’ll give us grain to eat and seed to plant, we’ll sell ourselves and our land to the king.[g] We’ll become his slaves.
20 The famine became so severe that Joseph finally bought every piece of land in Egypt for the king 21 and made everyone the king’s slaves,[h] 22 except the priests. The king gave the priests a regular food allowance, so they did not have to sell their land. 23 Then Joseph said to the people, “You and your land now belong to the king. I’m giving you seed to plant, 24 but one-fifth of your crops must go to the king. You can keep the rest as seed or as food for your families.”
25 “Sir, you have saved our lives!” they answered. “We are glad to be slaves of the king.” 26 Then Joseph made a law that one-fifth of the harvest would always belong to the king. Only the priests did not lose their land.
Jacob Becomes an Old Man
27 The people of Israel made their home in the land of Goshen, where they became prosperous and had large families. 28 Jacob himself lived there for seventeen years, before dying at the age of one hundred forty-seven. 29 When Jacob knew he did not have long to live, he called in Joseph and said, “If you really love me, you must make a solemn promise not to bury me in Egypt. 30 Instead, bury me in the place where my ancestors are buried.”
“I will do what you have asked,” Joseph answered.
31 “Will you give me your word?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, I will,” Joseph promised. After this, Jacob bowed down and prayed at the head of his bed.
- 44.18; 45.2; 46.5-7 the king: See the note at 12.15.
- 46.8-15 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
- 46.8-15 Jashub: The Samaritan Hebrew Text and one ancient translation; the Standard Hebrew Text “Iob.”
- 46.19-22 Heliopolis: See the note at 41.45.
- 46.31 the king: See the note at 12.15.
- 47.14 money: See the note at 42.25.
- 47.19 the king: See the note at 12.15.
- 47.21 made. . . slaves: One ancient translation and the Samaritan Hebrew Text; the Standard Hebrew Text “made everyone move to the cities.”