Joseph’s whole family has just descended upon Egypt and in our series Joseph: A Life With Many Colors, he’s about to share some wisdom with them, paving the way…out of the way.  There’s no way Pharaoh was going to have a bunch of shepherds hanging around.  Ewwww….

Genesis 46:31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me.   32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’

33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”

Genesis 47:1 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.”  2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.

3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?” “Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.”   4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

 5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

Worked perfectly.

Think about it:

  • How did Pharaoh’s prejudice serve to bless Jacob and his whole family?
  • Goshen might have been the best part of the land for livestock but no Egyptian worth his scarab wanted to be there…because that’s where the livestock was.  And sheep.  And shepherds.  Shepherds were detestable. Given that there was presently a famine, how might that land have seemed expendable to Pharaoh?
  • Do you ever look at details of disasters, prejudice, disfavor, or rejection and find yourself amazed that God can bring good things out of it?
  • Read Isaiah 61:1-3. How did God give Jacob and his family “beauty for ashes” and use hardship to accomplish it?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on November 20, 2019

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