How the Israelite People went to Egypt

When Jacob's eleven sons returned to him in the land of Canaan, they told him, "Joseph is still alive and he is ruler of all Egypt." At first he did not believe them, but when he saw the wagons and donkeys loaded with supplies that Joseph had sent, "It is enough! My son Joseph is still alive; I will go and see him before I die."

So Jacob gathered his family and belongings and started for Egypt. At Beersheba he stopped to offer sacrifices to God. That night God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Do not be afraid to go to Egypt; I will make your children into a great nation there, and then I will bring them back to this land. Joseph will be with you when you die." So Jacob and his family went down to Egypt. There were 66 children and grandchildren that went with Jacob, not counting his son's wives, and so when one counts Joseph and his two sons the total is 70 members of Jacob's family that went down to Egypt. If one counts Joseph's grandchildren that were born later, the total is 75.

Joseph came to the north part of Egypt, which was called the land of Goshen, to meet his father Jacob. When they met, he threw his arms around his father's neck and cried for a long time. Then Joseph took his father Jacob and 5 of his brothers and presented them to King Pharaoh. When Pharaoh asked what they did for a living, they answered, "We are shepherds, like our fathers before us. Let us live in the land of Goshen." Now the land of Goshen was watered by the Nile River. So Pharaoh agreed and then he asked Jacob how old he was. Jacob said that he was 130 years old and then he blessed the king before he left.

Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years. When he was 147 years old, he knew that he was about to die so he called for his son Joseph and told him, "Promise me that you will not bury me in the land of Egypt. Bury me in the land of Canaan where my fathers are buried." So Joseph promised. After that Joseph brought his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob. Jacob sat up in bed. He could hardly see so he said, "Who are these two boys?" "These are my sons," said Joseph. So Jacob hugged them and kissed them and said to Joseph, "I never thought I would see you again, and now God has let me see you children too." Joseph put Manasseh at Jacob's right hand and Ephraim at his left. Then Jacob reached out his hands and put them on the boy's heads in order to bless them. But in doing so, he crossed his arms and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the older. Joseph was upset when he saw what his father had done, so he tried to move his right hand to Manasseh's head. But his father said, "I know what I am doing, son. Manasseh's children will become a people, and he will be great. But Ephraim will be greater, and his children will become many nations." After he blessed Joseph's sons he called together his twelve sons and blessed them all.

Then Jacob told his sons, "I am going to die. Take me back to the cave of Machpelah, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Leah are all buried. Bury me there." When he said this, he lay back down and died. Joseph threw himself on his father's body and cried. Then he gave orders to have his father's body embalmed into a mummy, which took 40 days. The Egyptians mourned the death of Joseph's father for 70 days. After that Jacob's sons and many of the king's officials went with Joseph to bury Jacob. They mourned another week and then buried Jacob's body in the cave of Machpelah. Then they returned to Egypt.

After this Joseph's brothers were afraid that he would punish them for selling him as a slave into Egypt and so they asked for his forgiveness. He answered, "Don't be afraid; I am not in God's place. You meant to do bad to me, but God meant it for good, to keep many people alive. So do not be afraid. I will take care of you and your children."

Joseph lived to be a 110 years old. Before he died, he called for his brothers and told them, "I am about to die but God will take care of you and take you back to the land that He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Promise me that when God takes you to that land, you will take my body with you to bury it there." So Joseph died and they embalmed his body and put it in a coffin.

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