Contents Calendar Find Reference
Navigating the Bible
Genesis Chapter 46
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Joseph Reveals Himself to his Brothers
46:1 Israel began the journey, taking all his possessions, and he arrived in Beer-sheba. He offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
46:2 God spoke to Israel in a night vision, and said, 'Jacob! Jacob!'

'Yes,' replied [Jacob].

46:3 [God] said, 'I am the Omnipotent God of your father. Do not be afraid to go to Egypt, for it is there that I will make you into a great nation.
46:4 I will go to Egypt with you, and I will also bring you back again. Joseph will place his hands on your eyes.'
46:5 Jacob set out from Beer-sheba. Israel's sons transported their father, along with their children and wives, on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry them.
46:6 They took their livestock and all the possessions that they had acquired in Canaan. Jacob came to Egypt with all his descendants.
46:7 His sons and grandsons were with him. He also brought his daughters, his grand-daughters, and all his offspring to Egypt with him.

Jacob's Family
46:8 These are the names of the Israelites who came to Egypt:

Jacob and his sons.

Reuben was Jacob's first-born.

46:9 Reuben's sons were Enoch (Chanokh), Palu, Chetzron and Carmi.
46:10 Simeon's sons: Yemuel, Yamin, Ohad, Yakhin, Tzochar, as well as Saul (Shaul) son of the Canaanite woman.
46:11 Levi's sons: Gershon, Kehath and Merari.
46:12 Judah's sons: Er, Onan, Shelah, Peretz and Zerach. Er and Onan died in Canaan. The sons of Peretz were Chetzron and Chamul.
46:13 Issachar's sons: Tolah, Puvah, Yov and Shimron.
46:14 Zebulun's sons: Sered, Elon and Yachle'el.
46:15 All the above were [from] the sons that Leah bore to Jacob in Padan Aram. Besides this, there was also [Jacob's] daughter Dinah. The tally [so far, including] his sons and daughters, is 33.
46:16 Gad's sons: Tzifion, Chagi, Shuni, Etzbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
46:17 Asher's sons: Yimnah, Yishvah, Yishvi and Beriah. There was also their sister Serach. The sons of Beriah were Chever and Malkiel.
46:18 The above are [from] the sons of Zilpah. Laban gave her to his daughter Leah, and she bore these sons to Jacob. Here there are 16 in all.
46:19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
46:20 In Egypt, Joseph had sons born to him by Asenath, daughter of Poti Phera, priest of On: Manasseh and Ephraim.
46:21 Benjamin's sons: Bela, Bekher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Echi, Rosh, Muppim, Chuppim and Ard.
46:22 The above are [from] the sons that Rachel bore to Jacob. There are 14 in all.
46:23 Dan's sons: Chushim.
46:24 Naphtali's sons: Yachtze'el, Guni, Yetzer and Shilem.
46:25 The above are [from] the sons of Bilhah. Laban gave her to his daughter Rachel, and she bore these sons to Jacob. Here there are 7 in all.
46:26 Thus, the number of people who came to Egypt with Jacob, who were his blood descendants, was 66, not counting the wives of Jacob's sons.
46:27 Joseph's sons, born to him in Egypt, added another two individuals. [Adding it all up,] the number of individuals in Jacob's family who came to Egypt was 70.

Jacob Arrives in Egypt
46:28 [Jacob] sent Judah ahead of him to make preparations in Goshen. They then arrived in the Goshen district.
46:29 Joseph [personally] harnessed his chariot, and he went to greet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to [his father], and threw himself on his shoulders, weeping on his shoulders for a long time.
46:30 'Now I can die,' said Israel to Joseph. 'I have seen your face, and you are still alive.'
46:31 To his brothers and his father's family, Joseph said, 'I will go and tell Pharaoh. I will say the following to him: 'My brothers and my father's family have come to me from Canaan.
46:32 These men deal in livestock and are tenders of sheep. They have brought along their sheep, their cattle, and all their possessions.'
46:33 'When Pharaoh summons you and inquires as to your occupation,
46:34 you must say, 'We and our fathers have dealt in livestock all our lives'. You will then be able to settle in the Goshen district, since all shepherds are taboo in Egypt.'


  South of Hebron where Jacob lived (Yov'loth 44:1), and hence, on the way to Egypt.

  (see Saadia Gaon on Sefer Yetzirah 1:1 (p.35, note 2); Radak, Sherashim, s.v. AYL.)

Joseph will place...
  When a man dies, it was the custom for the son to close his eyes (Zohar 226a; Ibn Ezra; Lekach Tov; cf. Shabbath 77a). Or, 'Joseph will take care of your concerns' (Rashbam; Sforno; cf. Job 9:33).

  See Genesis 37:35.

  See Genesis 32:33. Here, beney Yisrael cannot mean 'children of Israel' in the literal sense, since Jacob is counted among them, as we shall see. See Targum.

Jacob and his sons
  Jacob is thus the first person counted. See note on Genesis 46:15.

Reuben's sons
  See Exodus 6:14, Numbers 26:5,6, 1 Chronicles 5:3.

  The name was used for earlier people (Genesis 4:17, 5:18, 25:4).

Simeon's sons
  See Exodus 6:15, Numbers 26:12,13, 1 Chronicles 4:24.

  In Exodus 6:15 it is also Yemuel. However, in Numbers and Chronicles it is Nemuel. It is possible that the name was changed after they were in Egypt (cf. Sh'muel ben Chofni Gaon; Sekhel Tov; Lekach Tov on Numbers; Ramban ibid.; Teshuvoth Rashba 12, end).

Ohad, Yakhin
  These two are mentioned in Exodus, but not in Numbers. It appears that these tribes became extinct after the sin at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:9; cf. Rashi on Numbers 26:13; Bereshith Rabbah 99:7). In Chronicles, Yariv is substituted for Ohad and Yakhin. It is possible that the remnants of these two sub-tribes united to form a new group.

  Identical to Zerach in Numbers and Chronicles (Rashi, Numbers; Teshuvoth Rashba loc. cit.).

  He had the same name as King Saul. Some say that this Saul was an ancestor of Zimri (Numbers 25:14; Targum Yonathan; Sanhedrin 82b; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

Canaanite woman
  Some say that this is mentioned because Simeon was the only one of the brothers to marry a Canaanite (Ibn Ezra; Radak). According to some ancient sources, her name was Adiva, and after Saul was born, Simeon took a wife from Aramaea like his other brothers (Yov'loth 34:20,21). According to other sources, Saul was the son of Dinah and Shechem, and he had been adopted by Simeon (Bertenoro; Bereshith Rabbah 80; Rashi; cf. Hirsch). Others translate it as, 'Saul who acted like the son of a Canaanite' (Sanhedrin 82b; Targum Yonathan).

Levi's sons
  See Exodus 6:16; 1 Chronicles 6:1.

  Sometimes spelled Kohath. He was the grandfather of Moses.

Judah's sons
  See Numbers 26:20; 1 Chronicles 2:3, 4:21.

Er, Onan
  See Genesis 38:3-8

Peretz and Zerach
  Genesis 38:29,30.

Issachar's sons
  See Numbers 26:23,24, 1 Chronicles 7:1.

  Puah in 1 Chronicles 7:1.

  Yashuv in Numbers and Chronicles (Rashi on Numbers). The name was changed in Egypt when Yov devoted himself to study (Sekhel Tov; Rashi on Chronicles).

Zebulun's sons
  Numbers 26:26.

  There are only 32 names listed here, so Jacob must be included in the tally (Ibn Ezra on Genesis 46:23; Radak). According to others, the total of 33 is completed by Levi's daughter Yochebed (Numbers 26:59; Rashi; Bava Bathra 123a,b).

Gad's sons
  Numbers 26:15.

  In Numbers it is Tzefon.

  Azni in Numbers (Rashi ibid).

  Arod in Numbers.

Asher's sons
  1 Chronicles 7:30. In Numbers 26:44, Yishva is omitted (Sifethey Chakhamim on Numbers 26:13).

  See Numbers 26:46. Some say that she was Asher's step-daughter (Ramban on Numbers; Ba'aley Tosafoth ibid.). According to Midrashic tradition, she attained immortality for telling Jacob that Joseph was still alive (Targum Yonathan here and on Numbers; Rashi on Numbers; Pirkey Rabbi Eliezer 48).

Manasseh and Ephraim
  See Genesis 41:51,52.

Benjamin's sons
  In Numbers 26:38, they are listed as Bela, Ashbel, Achiram, Shefufam and Chupam (see Rashi; Ibn Ezra on Numbers 26:12). There is a still different count in 1 Chronicles 8:1 (see Radak, Ralbag ad loc.). Some say that the Benjamin mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:6 is not Jacob's son (Radak; Malbim). Cf. 1 Chronicles 7:10, Ezra 10:22, Nehemiah 3:23.

  Mentioned in Numbers 26:38, 1 Chronicles 7:6, 8:1.

  Also in 1 Chronicles 7:6, but not in Numbers or 1 Chronicles 8:1. Some say that he was a grandchild of Benjamin (Radak on 1 Chronicles 8:1). See 2 Samuel 20:1. Also see Numbers 26:35.

  Also in Numbers. In 1 Chronicles 8:1 he is counted as Benjamin's second son. Some say that he is the Yediel in 1 Chronicles 7:6 (Rashi, Radak).

  It is possible that he was a son of Bela and thus a grandson of Benjamin; cf. 1 Chronicles 8:3, 8:5 (Ralbag). Also see 1 Chronicles 8:7, Judges 3:15, 2 Samuel 16:5.

  Also a son of Bela, and a grandson of Benjamin; Numbers 26:40 (Ibn Ezra here; Rashi, Ramban, on Numbers (26:24). Also see 1 Chronicles 8:4,7.

  Achiram in Numbers 26:38 (Rashi, Ibn Ezra ibid.). Possibly Achiyah in 1 Chronicles 8:7 and Acho'ach in 1 Chronicles 8:5. Cf. 2 Samuel 23:9, 23:28. He may also be called Echud in 1 Chronicles 8:6. Significantly, Josephus refers to him as Yess (Antiquities 2:7:4).

  Not mentioned elsewhere. But see 2 Samuel 15:32, 16:1.

  Shefufam or Shufam in Numbers 26:39 (Rashi, Ibn Ezra ibid.). Also Shefufan in 1 Chronicles 8:5 (Ralbag), and Shupim in 1 Chronicles 7:12,15.

  Also in 1 Chronicles 7:12,15. In Numbers 26:38 it is Chupam (Ibn Ezra ibid.).

  A son of Bela; Numbers 26:40. Possibly the Adar in 1 Chronicles 8:3. (see Sh'muel ben Chofni).

Dan's sons
  Although there was only one son, this is a formulaic usage (Bava Bathra143b). See Numbers 26:8, 1 Chronicles 2:7, 2:8, 3:22, 4:13, 4:15, 7:17, 2 Samuel 23:32 (Sh'muel ben Chofni Gaon). However, some say that Dan had other sons who died (Ibn Ezra). Indeed, ancient sources state that Dan had four other sons, Shimon, Asudi, Yocha, and Sh'lomo, but they died the year he came to Egypt (Yov'loth 44:28,29). According to others, he had more sons later (Tosafoth, Bava Bathra 143b, s.v. She-hayu).

Many of the discrepancies may be explained in this manner, since it is possible that the individuals named here died childless, while others were born later and are mentioned in Numbers and Chronicles. Sub-tribes could have also become extinct or changed their names. Obviously, a complete analysis is beyond the scope of these notes.

  Shucham in Numbers 26:42. See 1 Chronicles 7:12. According to Talmudic tradition, Chushim was deaf (Sotah 13a) and extremely powerful (Bereshith Rabbah 93). It was he who killed Esau (Sotah 13a).

Naphtali's sons
  See Numbers 26:48,49, 1 Chronicles 7:13. According to ancient sources, Naphtali had another son Ivi, who died (Yov'loth 44:31).

  Also in Numbers 26:49. But in Chronicles, it is Shalum.

blood descendants
  Literally, 'emanating from his 'thigh.' ' See note on Genesis 24:3, 32:26

We and our fathers...
  Literally, 'Your servants have been livestock men from our youth until now; also us, also our fathers.'

shepherds are taboo
  Some say that this was because sheep were sacred to Egyptians, and hence, those who raised them for food were considered an abomination (Rashi; see Genesis 43:32). Others say that the Egyptians were vegetarians (Ibn Ezra). If this was after the Hyksos were driven out, it might have been a reaction against the Hyksos, who were 'shepherd kings' (Josephus, Contra Apion 1:14). Others say that it was a social taboo (Rashbam). According to others, the fact that shepherding was taboo was an advantage, since the Israelites would not be competing with the Egyptians (Josephus, Antiquities 2:7:5).

Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.