Reading 14/341, Genesis 46-48

God speaks once again to Jacob, repeating the promises. Jacob and his descendants go to Egypt, where they live in the land of Goshen, protected by Joseph, who continues managing Egypt’s resources. Jacob blesses Joseph and his two sons, taking them as his own sons in place of Joseph.
[A] Today we find out how income taxes were invented. It was Joseph's idea.
[B] The blessing at the end of this reading is very important even today for the Jews. Jewish fathers still bless their sons every Friday evening after the pattern of this blessing. Christian fathers too should take the example and bless their children frequently.

...Genesis...

Israel traveled with all that he had and came to Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" He said, "Here I am." He said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down into Egypt, for there I will make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt. I will also surely bring you up again. Joseph will close your eyes." Jacob rose up from Beersheba, and the sons of Israel carried Jacob, their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt--Jacob, and all his seed with him, his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and he brought all his seed with him into Egypt.

These are the names of the children of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn. The sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Iob, and Shimron. The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, along with his daughter Dinah. All the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty-three. The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah their sister. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob, sixteen souls. The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife: Joseph and Benjamin. To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen. The son of Dan: Hushim. The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob: all the souls were seven. All the souls who came with Jacob into Egypt, who were his direct descendants, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were sixty-six. The sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two souls. All the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt, were seventy.

He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel, his father, in Goshen. He presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive." Joseph said to his brothers, and to his father's house, "I will go up, and speak with Pharaoh, and will tell him, 'My brothers, and my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. These men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.' It will happen, when Pharaoh summons you, and will say, 'What is your occupation?' that you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers:' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."

Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, "My father and my brothers, with their flocks, their herds, and all that they own, have come out of the land of Canaan, and behold, they are in the land of Goshen." From among his brothers he took five men, and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, "What is your occupation?" They said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers." They said to Pharaoh, "We have come to live as foreigners in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants' flocks. For the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen." Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Make your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land. Let them dwell in the land of Goshen. If you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock." Joseph brought in Jacob, his father, and set him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many are the days of the years of your life?" Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are 130 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." Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh.

Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. Joseph fed his father, his brothers, and all of his father's household, with bread, according to their families.

There was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, "Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone." Joseph said, "Give me your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, if your money is gone." They brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks, and for the herds, and for the donkeys: and he fed them with bread in exchange for all their livestock for that year.

When that year was ended, they came to him the second year, and said to him, "We will not hide from my lord how our money is all spent, and the herds of livestock are my lord's. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh. Give us seed, that we may live, and not die, and that the land will not be desolate." So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine was severe on them, and the land became Pharaoh's. As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. Only he did not buy the land of the priests, for the priests had a portion from Pharaoh, and ate their portion which Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land. Then Joseph said to the people, "Behold, I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. Behold, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. It will happen at the harvests, that you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four parts will be your own, for seed of the field, for your food, for those of your households, and for food for your little ones." They said, "You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants." Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. Only the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh's.

Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they gained for themselves possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years. The time drew near that Israel must die, and he called his son Joseph, and said to him, "If now I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I sleep with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place." He said, "I will do as you have said." He said, "Swear to me," and he swore to him. Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed.

It happened after these things, that someone said to Joseph, "Behold, your father is sick." He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Someone told Jacob, and said, "Behold, your son Joseph comes to you," and Israel strengthened himself and sat on the bed. Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.' Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, will be mine. Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance. As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (this is Bethlehem)."

Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?" Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me here." He said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them." Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. He brought them near to him, and he kissed them, and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, "I did not think I would see your face, and behold, God has let me see your seed also." Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near to him. Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, though Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless these boys, and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. He held up his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father; for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head." His father refused, and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a multitude of nations." He blessed them that day, saying, "In you will Israel bless, saying, 'God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh'" He set Ephraim before Manasseh. Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."

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