Israel & His Family Settle in Goshen
After revealing his identity, Joseph embraced his brothers—all of them—even the ones who had been the ringleaders in the plot to kidnap and sell him as a slave. After a short time of talking and catching up, he sent them on their away. He wanted them to hurry back to Canaan and bring the rest of the family to Egypt—especially his father! When Pharaoh heard that Joseph’s brothers were moving to Egypt, he was pleased. He promised to give them some of the best land when they returned, and he provided them with carts to make the trip back with their families more speedy and comfortable. They hurried home to share everything with Jacob. He was stunned. At first he wouldn’t believe them, but when he saw the carts and gifts he was finally convinced. They packed everything and the family began a new chapter in their history. The man “Jacob,” who had spent so much time and effort trying to control his life, began to be referred to more and more as “Israel” (the name God had given him many years before). He was no longer just a man with a large family and a strong will. He was a follower of God and leader of a new nation that God would use to bring the whole world to Himself. On the way to Egypt, Israel stopped to offer a sacrifice at Beersheba, a place where both his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac had spent time with God. God showed up and spoke to him that night. He told Israel not to be afraid. It was in Egypt that God would multiply his family of seventy people into a great nation. One day that nation would return to the Promised Land (later called the Land of Israel). Joseph arrived in a chariot to greet his family in the Egyptian territory known as Goshen. It was the first time he had seen his father in more than twenty years. He threw his arms around him and they wept together for a long time. Joseph visited Pharaoh to let him know that his family had arrived. He knew that Pharaoh would want to talk to his brothers and make a final decision about where they should live. He told them to be honest and say that they tended livestock as a living and that they had brought all their animals with them. He knew if they shared that they were shepherds, Pharaoh would allow them stay in Goshen for several reasons: it was near Joseph’s family residence, it provided great pastureland for grazing, and it was removed from where most of the Egyptians lived. You see, the Egyptians did not think kindly of nomadic shepherds who came through their lands and destroyed their crops. As a matter of fact, they despised them. This made Goshen the perfect place for God’s chosen people to grow into a great nation. The things that isolated them also protected them. There was no fear they would become entangled in a pagan culture; no chance that they would intermarry with people who worshiped other gods.
Do you ever feel isolated or different because of where God has put you? Or the family that He gave you? Or the faith that you have in Him? Isolation is not always a bad thing. It is often the very thing God uses to prepare us for something special.