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14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. 16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

 

7:14

Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people.

After being reunited with his brothers, Joseph sent for his father Jacob to come to Egypt, which involved seventy-five family members (Ge 46:26, 27; Ex 1:5; Deut 10:22). Stephen, as a Greek-speaking Hellenist, derived the “seventy-five” number from the Septuagint (Ge 46:27; Ex 1:5), which calculated differently from Masoretic text (Hebrew), where it conveyed seventy went to Egypt (Ge 46:27; Ex 1:5; Deut 10:22). Manasseh and Ephraim were born in Egypt, which brought the number to seventy. However, the Septuagint (LXX) added the seven grandsons of Joseph but omitted Jacob and his wife.

7:15

So Jacob went down to Egypt;

Jacob accepted the invitation from Joseph and took his family to Egypt. God’s purpose changed for His people by sending them to Egypt, which is one of the markers of change Stephen had argued before the Sanhedrin.

and he died,

Jacob died in Egypt, but he wanted to be buried in Canaan.

he and our fathers.

Other relatives of Joseph died in Egypt as well.

7:16

And they [Joseph and his brothers, but not Jacob] were carried back to Shechem

There are difficulties in understanding this verse. There is an apparent contradiction to another account, which gives the burial place of Jacob at Hebron (Mamre) (Ge 49:29-32). Thus, Jacob was not buried in Shechem but in Machpelah (Ge 50:13). The “they” of this verse references Joseph and his brothers (Josh 24:32) and not Jacob. Joseph’s family members were buried in a tomb that Abraham purchased from Hamor (Ge 33:19; 23:16-18). Shechem was the burial place for Joseph and his brothers (Josh 24:32).

and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

Another difficulty lies in Stephen’s apparent statement that Abraham purchased the tomb from the sons of Hamor in Shechem, but Joshua 24:32 says that Jacob purchased the plot of land at Shechem, not Abraham, but Abraham never lived there but only buried his wife there. He was later buried there. During the intervening period, the inhabitants of the land moved onto the property, so Jacob had to purchase the property again. Another explanation is that Stephen compressed the events without distinguishing specifics.

PRINCIPLE:

God keeps His promises.

APPLICATION:

The argument of God’s sovereign hand in bringing Jacob back to the Promised Land shows that God keeps His promises. He will ultimately bring the nation Israel back under the leadership of Moses. How many of God’s promises do we claim? Do we trust Him to keep His promises when we fall into difficulties?

 

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