1: And Israel came to Beer - sheba, and offered sacrifices to the God
of his father Isaac - He chose that place in remembrance of the communion
which his father and grandfather had with God in that place. In his
devotion he had an eye to God as the God of his father Isaac, that is, a
God in covenant with him, for by Isaac the covenant was entailed upon
him. He offered sacrifices, extraordinary sacrifices, besides those at
his stated times. These sacrifices were offered,
By way of thanksgiving for the late blessed change of the face of his
family, for the good news he had received concerning Joseph, and the
hopes he had of seeing him.
By way of petition for the presence of God with him in his intended
By way of consultation. Jacob would not go on 'till he had asked
2: And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night - (Probably
the next night after he had offered his sacrifices.) Those who desire to
keep up communion with God, shall find that it never fails on his side. If
we speak to him as we ought, he will not fail to speak to us. God called
him by his name, by his old name, Jacob, Jacob, to mind him of his low
estate. Jacob, like one well acquainted with the visions of the
Almighty, answers, Here am I - Ready to receive orders. And what has God
to say to him?
3: I am God, the God of thy father - That is, I am what thou ownest
me to be: thou shalt find me a God of divine wisdom and power engaged for
thee: and thou shalt find me the God of thy father, true to the covenant
made with him. Fear not to go down into Egypt - It seems though
Jacob, upon the first intelligence of Joseph's life and glory in
Egypt, resolved without any hesitation I will go and see him, yet
upon second thoughts he saw difficulties in it.
He was old, 130 years old; it was a long journey, and he was unfit to
He feared lest his sons should be tainted with the idolatry of Egypt,
and forget the God of their fathers.
Probably he thought of what God had said to Abraham concerning the
bondage and affliction of his seed.
He could not think of laying his bones in Egypt. But whatever his
discouragements were, this was enough to answer them all, Fear not to go
down into Egypt.
4: I will go down with thee into Egypt - Those that go where God
sends them shall certainly have God with them. And I will surely bring
thee up again - Tho' Jacob died in Egypt, yet this promise was
In the bringing up of his body to be buried in Canaan.
In the bringing up of his seed to be settled in Canaan. Whatever low
and darksome valley we are called into, we may be confident if God go down
with us, he will surely bring us up again. If he go with us down to
death, he will surely bring us up again to glory. And Joseph shall
put his hand upon thine eyes - That is a promise that Joseph should
live as long as he lived, that he should be with him at his death, and close
his eyes with all possible tenderness. Probably Jacob, in the multitude
of his thoughts within him, had been wishing that Joseph might do this
last office of love for him; and God thus answered him in the letter of his
desire. Thus God sometimes gratifies the innocent wishes of his people, and
makes not only their death happy, but the very circumstances of it
7: All his seed - 'Tis probable they continued to live together in
common with their father, and therefore when he went they all went; which
perhaps they were the more willing to do, because, tho' they had heard that
the land of Canaan was promised them, yet to this day they had none of
it in possession. We have here a particular account of the names of
Jacob's family; his sons sons, most of which are afterwards mentioned,
as heads of houses in the several tribes. See (Nu 26:5), &c.
Issachar called his eldest son Tola, which signifies a worm,
probably because when he was born he was a little weak child, not likely to
live, and yet there sprang from him a very numerous off - spring,(1Ch 7:2). The whole number that went down into
Egypt were sixty - six, to which add Joseph and his two sons, who were
there before, and Jacob himself, the head of the family, and you have
the number of seventy. 'Twas now 215 years since God had promised
Abraham to make of him a great nation, (Ge 12:2), and yet that
branch of his seed, on which the promise was entailed, was as yet increased
but to seventy, of which this particular account is kept, that the power of
God in multiplying these seventy to so vast a multitude, even in Egypt,
may be the more illustrious. When he pleases, A little one shall become
30: Now let me die - Not but that it was farther desirable to
live with Joseph, and to see his honour and usefulness; but he had
so much satisfaction in this first meeting, that he thought it too much to
desire or expect any more in this world.