Reading through the Bible together
You can be a blessing too – in the most unusual places and even before kings! The weathered patriarch Jacob stands before Pharaoh and extends his hands in a blessing over the head of the powerful Egyptian monarch who must have been touched by this graceful gesture of the old man. Jacob is now 130 years old and his eyes have seen so much, from the ladder connecting heaven and earth when he fled his home, via the extended stay in Haran with Laban; to the long years of grief over Joseph’s alleged death. All these years of hardship and sorrow seem to resolve themselves in the final happy reunion with Joseph in Egypt which prolongs his life for another 17 years. And from the rich experience of a lifelong walk with God he utters a blessing over pharaoh. What a privilege for us to pray for the powers that be and become a blessing to those who rule this earth. Through this blessing they might get a glimpse of the God of heaven as Nebuchadnezzar did through Daniel’s blessed presence at the Babylonian court, and may also find eternal life. Let us be a blessing wherever God has placed us.
The chapter ends, though, with a somber note: Jacob urges Joseph to carry his body out of Egypt and bury him in Canaan, reiterating the warning that Egypt should never become a destination but only a thoroughfare, even if we temporarily live in the “best of the land”.
Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology
Southern Adventist University