The ABC of Scattering
Part 8:  Back and forth between Egypt and Hebron

John Plunkett
July 23rd, 2016

Last time, in Part 7, we followed Jacob’s family on their travels from Penuel, where Jacob wrestled with the LORD (YHVH); and we followed their travels all the way back to his father Isaac’s temporary home at Hebron.

After Isaac’s death, we saw how young Joseph – who was, of course, one of the principal sons of Jacob and, therefore, the father of one of the major branches of Israel – how Joseph travelled voluntarily from Hebron to Shechem; and then how he was dragged involuntarily from Shechem down to Egypt.  That is where we left him at the end of Part 7 and at the end of Genesis 37.

As we move into chapter 38, we briefly leave poor Joseph in Egypt, and we go back up north, back into the land of Canaan where we learn of Joseph’s brother, Judah – one of the other principal sons of Jacob – doing some travelling of his own; but for very questionable purposes:

Genesis 38:1: 
And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

Judah was a naughty boy!  In just this one chapter , we find two more examples of his immorality.  I won't go into them today because we have some "young ears" here with us. 
What I want to point out is the contrast between the immorality of Judah and the morality of his brother Joseph.  I'm sure you know what happened in Potiphar’s house.  

Of course, Joseph was not perfect, by any means. There was only one perfect human being, and we all know who that was!

Some very complex, major family troubles came down upon Judah’s head – perhaps partially for the part he had played in Joseph’s enslavement; perhaps partially for his own multiple immoral behaviours; and perhaps partially as another slap on the wrist for the family’s continued dwelling (yashabing) – this time at Hebron.

As the 39th chapter opens, we have a repetition of the location of Joseph’s new home:

Genesis 39:1: 
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down there.

I want to concentrate on the verses that deal specifically with the travelling of the family of Abraham.

As I’m sure you know, Joseph had his “downs and ups” in Egypt; but he was richly blessed and used by God, to the point that, amazingly, he eventually came to be the number-two ruler of the whole country!

Lots of time went by and, with no scriptural mention of any travelling by the now elderly Jacob and his extended family, they were still evidently dwelling {yashabing} up in the Hebron area of Canaan.

We might think that young Joseph – now very successful – was also yashabing down in Egypt.  But he wasn’t!  In his new job, the equivalent of the Prime Minister, he was constantly on the move:

Genesis 41:
45: And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaph-nath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On.  And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
46: And Joseph was thirty years old
{Wow!} when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.  And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt...

This was just prior to the seven years of plenty.

Even though Joseph was doing a lot of travelling in his new job, this new Egyptian name that Pharaoh had given him might imply that Joseph had come to the dubious luxury of a full-stop there in Egypt.  His new name, Zaph-nath-Paaneah means "Treasury of the Glorious Rest"!

That name might have been wishful thinking on the part of Pharaoh, because he wanted Joseph to stay there.  He knew that Joseph was a great ally to have, and a really good guy to have working for him!

But even though Joseph’s father and brothers seemed at the time to be of the opinion that they were settled, the true God’s will for the scattering of His chosen people had evidently not yet ended; so the time did at last come for them to “hit the road” again, to leave the Hebron area, and to do some more travelling.  And the LORD initiated this travel by means of the major seven-year famine.

First of all, due to that great famine that hit the whole area, Joseph’s brothers – other than young Benjamin – took their first road-trip into Egypt.  As we continue to read through these verses, please note the many, many references to travel.  Still in chapter 41, just one more verse:

Verse 57:  And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

Genesis 42:
1:  Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, “Why do you look one upon another?”
2:  And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from there; that we may live, and not die.”
3:  And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt
5:  And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6:  And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth...

You know the details.  Joseph knew who they were; but they did not recognize him, and they even bowed down before him.  Joseph’s earlier, God-inspired dreams were starting to come to fulfillment. 

Joseph – still a young man of about 32 years old – played some “games” with his brothers who didn’t recognize him.  I believe that the purpose of the tricks that he played on them was to bring them to point of confession and repentance.  First, he pretended to accuse them of being spies:

Verse 9:  And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, “You are spies; to see the nakedness of the land you are come.”
10:  And they said unto him, “No, my lord, but to buy food are your servants come”...

Perhaps these “games” also brought their father Jacob to the realization of some of his former errors, including those regarding his favouritism for Joseph.  But also, Joseph’s “games” resulted in some back-and-forth travels between Canaan and Egypt – which may have been the first instance of a kind of “shuttle diplomacy”:

Verse 15:  “Hereby you shall be proved.  By the life of Pharaoh you shall not go forth hence {back to Hebron}, except your youngest brother come hither.
16:  Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies…
Verse 19:  If you be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go you, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
20:  But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and you shall not die.”  And they did so…

Verse 26:  And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence {back to Hebron}

These poor guys were walking with their laden donkeys.  They were very likely hot and miserable.  They had travelled all the way down into Egypt and then back up again.

Verse 29:  And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them…
Verse 36:  And Jacob their father said unto them, “Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not
{Joseph was presumed dead, and Simeon as good as dead because he was in an Egyptian prison}, and you will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.
37:  And Reuben spoke unto his father, saying, “Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to you: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to you again.”
38:  And he
{Jacob} said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which you go, then shall you bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.”

On into chapter 43, where we find poor old Jacob reluctantly changing his mind:

Genesis 43:
2:  And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, “Go again, buy us a little food”…
Verse 4:  “If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food”…
Verse 7:  And they said, “The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father yet alive?  Have you another brother?’  And we told him according to the tenor of these words.  Could we certainly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”
8:  And Judah said unto Israel his father, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones.
9:  I will be surety for him; of my hand shall you require him: if I bring him not unto you, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame for ever”…
Verse 11:  And their father Israel said unto them, “If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds…
Verse 13:  Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:

Please note that all of these verses mention travel.

14:  And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother {Simeon} and Benjamin.  If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
15:  And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph…

Joseph played some more tricks on his brothers, causing their back-and-forth travel to continue:

Verse 20:  And said, “O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
21:  And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
22:  And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

Now we move into Chapter 44 and read of even more tricks from Joseph on his brothers:

Genesis 44:
3:  As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
4:  And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, “Up, follow after the men; and when you do overtake them, say unto them, ‘Why have you rewarded evil for good?’”

The brothers’ defensive reply: 

Verse 8:  “Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto you out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of your lord’s house silver or gold?”…
Verse 13:  Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.
14:  And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground…
Verse 17:  And he
{Joseph} said, "God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father."

Again, the brothers’ spokesman speaking:

Verse 21:  “And you said unto your servants, ‘Bring him {Benjamin} down unto me, that I may set my eyes upon him’.
22:  And we said unto my lord, “The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
23:  And you said unto your servants, ‘Except your youngest brother come down with you, you shall see my face no more.’
24:  And it came to pass when we came up unto your servant my father
{in Canaan}, we told him the words of my lord.
25:  And our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us a little food.’
26:  And we said, ‘We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man’s face, except our youngest brother be with us’…
Verse 30:  Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life…
Verse 32:  For your servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, ‘If I bring him not unto you, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.’
33:  Now therefore, I pray you, let your servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
34:  For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me, lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father?

As we go on into Chapter 45, we find Joseph finally revealing his identity to his brothers who were finally broken and repentant.  There is a spiritual example right in there, that sometimes trials are necessary to bring us to repentance.  We also read of even more travels for the brothers back and forth again between Egypt and Canaan.  Joseph speaking here:

Genesis 45:
5: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life…
Verse 7:  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8a:  So now it was not you that sent me here, but God…

This is a very important point for all of us to remember.  God often works through human beings.

8b: ... and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt…

So here is Joseph now, calling the shots and sending his brothers back to Jacob:

9:  Haste you, and go up to my father, and say unto him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, "God has made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:
10: And you shall dwell
{yashab!} in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near unto me, you, and your children, and your children’s children, and your flocks, and your herds, and all that you have:
11:  And there will I nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine; lest you, and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty.'"

I believe that this verse is very significant, because it puts a time-stamp on the narrative. We know that Joseph was thirty years old at the very beginning of the seven years of plenty.  Now they were two years into the seven-year famine; so, at this point, Joseph would have been thirty-nine years old.

Yes, God did use Joseph to get Jacob’s family into Egypt to see them through the remaining five years of that terrible, seven-year famine.  They were His chosen people, so He certainly didn’t want them to die of starvation!  He made arrangements to take them to Egypt, temporarily though, to see them through the remaining five years of this terrible seven-year famine.  But neither Goshen nor anywhere in Egypt was to be their permanent home, as Joseph seemed to be suggesting here.

Verse 13:  And you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall haste and bring down my father here” … 
16:  And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, 'Joseph’s brethren are come': and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.

Pharaoh gave Joseph’s brothers permission to return to Hebron to fetch Jacob.  But Pharaoh invited them – maybe even insisted – that they return to Egypt to dwell their permanently:

17:  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, “Say unto your brethren, ‘This do you; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;
18:  And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.
19:  Now you are commanded, this do you; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come"

Yes, the Pharaoh was being nice to them by providing transportation so that they would not have to walk or ride donkeys – especially the elderly and the children.

Verse 21:  And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way…
Verse 23:  And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way.
24:  So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, “See that you fall not out by the way.”
25:  And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father…

From our lack of any more recent scriptural evidence, we must believe that Jacob’s camp was still in the Mamre/Hebron area.

Verse 27:  And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:
28:  And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”

So, as chapter 46 begins, we find Jacob, finally, after such a long stay (yashab), breaking camp at Mamre/Hebron and heading south toward Egypt.  But, with one significant stop-over:

Genesis 46:
1:  And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
2:  And God spoke unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.”  And he said, “Here am I.”
3:  And He said, “I am God
{El}, the God {Elohim} of your father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation:
4:  I will go down with you into Egypt; and I will also surely bring you up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon your eyes.”

Now, at first reading, we might think that this would imply that it was okay with God that Jacob’s family remain in Egypt beyond the time of the famine – even for hundreds of years! thereafter!  But He doesn’t say this!  Based on what we have seen throughout this series so far, I don’t believe it to be true.

5:  And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6:  And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him:
7:  His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.
8:  And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn...
(etc., etc.)
Verse 26: All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six;
27: And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
28: And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen…

A temporary sojourn in Goshen was acceptable to get them through the balance of the seven-year famine.

Remember how we talked about Rachel in a previous episode of this series?  And how we have always thought that she was a "pretty good gal"?  Likewise, we have always thought that her first son, Joseph, was a "pretty good guy" – even that he was virtually perfect.  Again, the only perfect human being was Jesus Christ!  I am not knocking Joseph's reputation.  He certainly was a relatively good guy.  But he was not perfect.  He did make some mistakes; and I believe that this was one of them:

Verse 31:  And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, “I will go up, and show Pharaoh, and say unto him, ‘My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
32:  And the men are shepherds, for their trade has been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.

33:  And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, 'What is your occupation?'
 34:  That you shall say, ‘Your servants’ trade has been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that you may dwell
{yashab!} in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.'

I am not so interested in the Egyptians' opinion of shepherds as I am in the idea and desire for Jacob's family to dwell {yashab} in the land of Goshen.  As we move into chapter 47, we see a reply to Pharaoh likely from a spokesman for the eleven brothers:  

Genesis 47:
4a: They said moreover unto Pharaoh, “For to sojourn
{guwr} in the land are we come; for your servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray you, let your servants dwell {yashab!} in the land of Goshen.

The Hebrew word guwr is a totally different word from yashab; and has a totally different meaning.  A sojourn – guwr – is a temporary stay which, we believe, is what God wanted for them.

5:  And Pharaoh spoke unto Joseph, saying, “Your father and your brethren are come unto you:
6:  The land of Egypt is before you; in the best of the land make your father and brethren to dwell
{yashab!}; in the land of Goshen let them dwell {yashab!}: and if you know any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle…

Remember what happened with Laban and Jacob?  We are seeing something similar here.  Pharaoh knew which side his bread was buttered with Jacob's family.  Pharaoh knew that having Joseph and his brothers with him, with all of their talents that God had given them, would be a great benefit for himself and his country.  Joseph had given such a great example on their behalf.

Verse 11: And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded…

Yes.  God had promised Abraham that He was going to give them a possession (Genesis 17:8); but here we see Joseph giving them a possession that was not God-given.

Verse 27:  And Israel dwelt {yashab!} in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

In effect, "they got their feet under the table" in Goshen.

28a: And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years

Seventeen years!  That was five years during the famine and twelve whole years after the end of the famine!  Again, the famine had been raging for two years when Jacob moved from Hebron to Egypt.

28b: … so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.
29a:  And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, “If now I have found grace in your sight, put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me...

Here we read words containing an unusual and interesting tone of deference from father to son – possibly due to Joseph's rank and all the great things he had done for his own family and for many, many others. 

29b:  ... bury me not, I pray you, in Egypt:
30:  But I will lie with my fathers
{Abraham and Isaac}, and you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place {Machpelah}.”  And he {Joseph} said, “I will do as you have said.”
31: And he
{Jacob/Israel} said, “Swear unto me.”  And he {Joseph} swore unto him.  And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.  

On in to chapter 48:

Genesis 48:
3: And Jacob said unto Joseph, “God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz
{renamed “Bethel” Genesis 28:19; 35:6} in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
4:  And said unto me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people; and will give this land
{Canaan where Luz/Bethel was
not Egypt!} to your seed after you for an everlasting possession  

That promised God-given possession was not in Egypt; but back in Canaan, where Luz/Bethel was situated .

Verse 7:  And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem” …
16: “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”

The Hebrew for "in the midst of the earth" is "qereb-erets."  It means "beginning there" … i.e. in the Land of Canaan; in what we now call “the Middle East”.  In this context, we would say: in Egypt, later on in the land of Canaan; then spreading out from there – then ultimately throughout the whole world.

Verse 21:  And Israel said unto Joseph, “Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

But!  While he was still alive, why didn’t Jacob – as the living patriarch of the family – exert some influence over Joseph to terminate the family’s evidently over-lengthy yashab in Egypt, and to take them back to the land of their fathers?  Why didn't he do that?  Or at least get them out of Egypt and back “on the road again,” as that is evidently what the LORD God wanted of them.

Why not?  Perhaps a partial answer may have been implied in the next chapter (Genesis 49) when Jacob was giving his death-bed prophecies about the futures of each of his sons’ and their descendants.   Right between his prophecies for Dan and Gad, Jacob jumped out of context and said this:

Genesis 49:18:  
I have waited for your salvation, O LORD…

Yes.  He waited for the LORD.

It is true that waiting for the LORD to act is sometimes a good thing.   There are times when we certainly should wait for the LORD’s guidance (Psalm 27:14; 37:34; 69:6; Proverbs 20:22).

But once we know, either by inspiration by God or by solid personal experience as to what decision God the Father and Jesus would have us make (i.e. “What would Jesus do?”), we should not procrastinate; but should be willing to move forward – in faith – and in knowledge too, of course (II Peter 1:5).

Historically, Jacob seems to have had something of a problem with procrastination.   From the very time the LORD sent him out on the road, Jacob seems to have been a bit of a procrastinator.  Over and over again, throughout his whole life, he seems to have needed a “nudge” from the LORD God in order to move him on to the next location.  Remember, for example, how long he stayed with Laban.  God was trying to push him to get back on the road again; but he made excuses and held back for years and years.

Maybe this might have been part of the reason why Jacob didn’t put pressure on Joseph to move the family out of Egypt.   And maybe Joseph inherited the same trait from his father.

Jacob didn’t insist on getting out of Egypt and back up to the small piece of family real-estate in Canaan until he insisted that his remains be taken there.  He repeated that urgent request – demand even – right here::

Verse 29:  And he charged them, and said unto them, “I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30:  In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place.
31:  There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
32:  The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.”
33:  And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons,
he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost {human spirit}, and was gathered unto his people.

This doesn't mean that he went to heaven, of course.  It simply means that his dead body was put in the same place as his forebears' bodies were placed – in an earthly tomb; and more specifically, in the Machpelah cave. 

It is also interesting, as Warren pointed out to me, that, at the end of Jacob's road and at the close of his many travels, old Jacob gathered up his feet – i.e. his primary travelling equipment – into his bed – just as if he was packing them away because he had no further use for them!  Perhaps with some relief!  Thinking back to when he wrestled with YHVH, and YHVH threw his hip out, from what we understand, Jacob may have suffered a limp from that time on.  I wonder if that limp was due to chronic pain whenever he had to walk.   And he had to do a lot of walking!

After Jacobs death, Joseph repeats his father’s funeral instructions to “the house of Pharaoh” and from these, we see that more travelling became necessary:

Genesis 50:
5: “My father made me swear, saying, ‘Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.’  Now therefore let me go up, I pray you, and bury my father, and I will come again.”
6:  And Pharaoh said, “Go up, and bury your father, according as he made you swear.”

So Joseph and his brothers (and a large accompanying party of Egyptians) made what we think to be a relatively short road-trip up (north) towards Machpelah.

7:  And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
8:  And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
9:  And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
10:  And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 

11:  And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians”: wherefore the name of it was called Abel-Mizraim
(which means "the meadow of Egypt") which is beyond Jordan.

It seems to have been a temporary stop-over – possibly just on the border between Egypt and Canaan.  Maybe the seven day ceremony – a formal public mourning and lamentation – was representative of a kind of "fond-farewell" by the late Jacob to Egypt which had treated him and his family so well.  They then carried on to Machpelah:

12:  And his sons did unto him {Jacob/Israel} according as he commanded them:
13:  For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying-place of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

At that point in time, that was the only legal possession that God allowed them to have.

Except for the seven-day stopover at Abel-Mizraim, this seems to have been quite a short trip; but was notably a round trip. Joseph had promised Pharaoh that they would return to Egypt after the “funeral” was over.   And they did:

14:  And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father… 
22:  And Joseph dwelt
{yashab!} in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years…

Again, we ask, why did Joseph and his brothers continue to yashab in Egypt for sixty-six years after the end of famine?   Why didn’t they hit the road again after the end of the famine?   And, what is more important, what did the LORD think about them staying so long in Egypt?

Finally came Joseph’s turn to depart this life; and, just as his father had done, he prophesied that the LORD would take his descendants and those of his brothers out of Egypt and into the Promised Land:

Verse 24:  And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”  

But, and again, just like his father, why didn’t Joseph do it while he was still alive?  

When the scriptures speak of God visiting a person or group, it usually means good or bad news for them.  In Israel's case, it turned out to be both!

Joseph knew that Egypt was not the place where they were going to have their possession. Also just as his father had done, Joseph gave strict instructions that his remains be taken to the Promised Land:  

25:  And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from hence.”

Both Jacob and Joseph and their families continued to “yashab” in Egypt – long after the seven-year famine ended.

Were they right in doing so?   I’m not a hundred percent sure; but from all that we have studied from Adam until now, I think not.

We'll leave them in Egypt for the time being; we'll pick up the story next time and we'll read the fulfillments of Jacob's and Joseph’s prophecies; and we'll follow them on their journey out of Egypt – and beyond!