Have you ever traveled with a group? Think ski trips, family reunions, or an adventure to the beach. Things are often more fun and lively with a group, but depending on the size, it can also be more complicated. Imagine traveling with over 60 people. As Jacob set out for Egypt, he took all his family with him. An amazing thing is that every person was accounted for, recorded by name in today’s passage; God was moving them to Egypt as a part of the promises made to Abraham long ago.

  • Imagine what it must have been like for this family to travel together to another country. What attitudes do you think different family members were experiencing?
  • Do you think they saw the move as God’s provision or a difficult burden? 


Now these are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, with Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons.

19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, bore to him. 21 And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all.

23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, not including Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Pharaoh had told Joseph to have “your father and your households” come to Egypt. How many people did this include (vs. 27)? Was anyone left behind?
  2. What was the role of Jacob’s son Judah as they neared Goshen (vs. 28)? Previously, Judah took on the role of a leader when he encouraged his brothers to sell Joseph to traders instead of killing him (Genesis 37:26). How would you contrast these two episodes?
  3. Imagine this joyous reunion between a father and his long lost son. What kind of reception did Joseph give his family when they arrived, and what was Jacob’s response (vss. 29-30)?
  4. The sojourn to Egypt highlighted that God’s promise to make Jacob’s family into a great nation had not yet been fulfilled. Are you in a situation where it seems that God is taking too long? Or that he may have forgotten a promise? How can you walk by faith as you wait?


It had been 215 years since God made the promise to Abraham to make of him a great nation. Yet, after more than two centuries, there were only 70 descendants. In fact, the move to Egypt seemed quite a detour. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” And his timing is often not our timing. As believers, we must live with assurance that God never forgets a promise and respond with anticipation that he always will do what he says.

  • Thank God that his timing is always perfect. Ask him to help you in the waiting and to increase your trust in him in the meantime.