“How old are you?” Women are often reputed to fudge the answer to that question. Jacob not only answers Pharaoh’s question, but he also offers commentary, “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” (Gen. 47:9).
Truly, Jacob’s life has been one of difficulty:
Such is a life of one who seeks to live independently of God. No God, no peace. Know God, know peace. Even in the midst of adversity. Jacob’s story teaches a number of truths about God and life:
Seventeen years later Jacob summarizes his life, “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day . . .” (Gen. 48:15). Jacob, looking back over the entirety of his difficult life, sees the fingerprints of God’s shepherd-care. Rather live a long life of difficulty and get to know God than live a long, fun-filled life and not know God at all!
Before his death Jacob speaks a blessing or prophecy over the head of each of his sons. Judah’s blessing, in particular, points back to the redemptive thread begun in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The promises of God to Abraham are transferred to Jacob: “Also God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body” (35:11).
Those promises will continue through Judah's descendants: “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you . . . . The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (49:8, 10). This prophecy appears repeatedly throughout His story and culminates in the Book of the Revelation with dozens of glimpses of Shiloh, the One to whom it belongs: “But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals’” (Revelation 5:5). Through Shiloh comes redemption, and to Shiloh belongs the heavenly scroll.
How does God use Joseph during the global famine?
How does Jacob’s death affect Joseph’s brothers and how does Joseph calm their fears?
What do Jacob’s instructions regarding his body reveal about his faith in the promises of God?
IN THIS SECTION
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