I heard a few tales from my mother and grandmother about the Dust Bowl days of the US in the 1940s, when thousands of displaced workers caravanned from the Midwest and Southwest to California, in hopes of striking gold – or at least landing a job in a gold mine or some other operation. This is about where Jacob is at. He’s been hit with a famine in his homeland, and in order to provide for his family, he must take a risk – a faith-backed risk – to take them all on a huge journey across Canaan to Egypt. Now, there’s a great difference between taking a dumb risk and taking a faith-backed risk. Jacob (and Joseph also) did not make too many moves, or faith-backed risks, without consulting God. In fact, it often was God who got in touch first. Whether God spoke to them in a dream or however, the point is that they listened! And they listened wholeheartedly because by this point in their lives, they had depended on God so much that they knew his voice and trusted his direction. I’m not so sure a lot of Dust Bowlers took this approach, but I bet there was some prayin’ going on down Route 66.
Jacob took with him 70 direct descendants. We don’t know how many actually traveled to Egypt, but this gives us a rough estimate of Jacob’s immediate crew. Pharaoh already has promised Joseph’s family the best land and all the fixin’s, but I love what Joseph does when his father arrives. You have to have a map to appreciate it. Joseph sends his father to the land of Goshen, which is about as far on the eastern edge of Egypt as you can get. Like if there wasn’t a line drawn on the map, they’d still be in Canaan. Furthermore, he ensures their peacefulness by telling Pharaoh they are shepherds, heardsmen and livestockmen – dirty people, lowlifes to a ruler. Pharaoh’ll want them as far away as possible. Moving his family to Goshen keeps Joseph’s relatives out from underneath Pharaoh’s nose and right across the border from their homeland, to which God promises they will return one day. Well played, Joseph. Well played.
Writing prompt: Muppim and Huppim
I didn’t mention my favorite find of Muppim and Huppim in verse 21. These were two of Benjamin’s youngest sons. Don’t you just wonder if they were twins??? Either way, what fun names. Complete tongue-twisters – individually and as a unit! I had to say Muppim, Huppim and Ard (It’s frustratingly hard!) a few times under my breath because it made me smile – and think of poetry, specifically limericks! Write a short poem or limerick about Muppim and Huppim. If you’re not into poetry today, then write a fun short story about these boys. They would make FABULOUS characters in a children’s book!