Fear & Obey God Over Humans!

Fear & Obey God Over Humans!

This morning completes our time with Joseph. Approximately five months ago, we began by considering his life from the time he was but a boy of seventeen years;[1] this morning takes us to the time of his death ninety-three years later at the age of 110. As one commentator observes, “The final 60 years of Joseph’s life in Egypt are passed over in almost complete silence…. As [Genesis 50] brings the account of his earthly life to a conclusion, it looks to the future, anticipating the time when God will bring the Israelites out of Egypt and return them to the land of Canaan.”[2] Scripture isn’t given to tell us about Joseph for his sake; Scripture is given us that we might better understand God. Therefore we saw how he was able to work in the first half of Joseph’s life to bring about his purposes for humanity as a whole, but we’re told little about the second half of Joseph’s life. Today we’ll bid Joseph farewell as we transition from an Egyptian king who knew and respected Joseph to one for whom “Joseph meant nothing.”[3] But our focus will be neither Joseph nor this later Pharaoh, but Shiphrah and Puah, two midwives who out of their fear, their high regard for God, chose to obey him over humans and were subsequently commended by him. But first, to Joseph!

After Joseph reassured his brothers of his ongoing care for them once their father died, as stated beginning in verse 22 of Genesis 50, “22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir[4] son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.” As we’ve previously noted,[5] Ephraim and Manasseh were the two children Joseph had while living in Egypt when his father and brothers were still in Canaan. Though Ephraim was the younger, he would take predominance over the older Manasseh. But this isn’t to say that Manasseh was unimportant for though the text indicates that Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children, it also notes that Joseph adopted Manasseh’s grandchildren, “the children of Makir son of Manasseh,” as his own (verse 23).

Verse 24 states that Joseph spoke to “his brothers.” This term is being used either to include those beyond his actual brothers or, if “brothers” is intended literally, then some of Joseph’s older brothers outlived him since only Benjamin was younger than he. The content of what Joseph told them is recorded in verse 24: “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Though his brothers were all yet living in Goshen in Egypt, Joseph believed God’s promises and reassured them accordingly. For surely the God of their great-grandfather Abraham, grandfather Isaac, and father Jacob would “come to [their] aid and take [them] up out of this land to the land he promised.” The final destination for these descendants of Abraham was Canaan, not Egypt.

Joseph asked his brothers to “swear an oath” even as his father had once asked him to swear a similar oath, asking to be buried with his fathers.[6] And as his father had reassured him saying, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers,”[7] as stated in verse 25, Joseph similarly reassured his brothers for a second time of God’s faithfulness, again saying to them, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” So we see, first, that even on his deathbed Joseph trusted God to do as he promised; and second, despite having spent the majority of his life in Egypt, he didn’t want his bones to remain there but he, as had been true for his father, desired to be buried in the land God had promised. As we’ll see in the weeks and months to come, Joseph’s instructions were later fulfilled by Moses, who carried Joseph’s bones out of Egypt,[8] and Joshua, who buried them in Shechem.[9]

In the meantime, we’re told in verse 26, “So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.[10] And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.” As we noted when Jacob was embalmed, embalming was an Egyptian custom, not a Hebrew one. Jacob and Joseph are the only two people Scripture notes as having been embalmed. This closing comment in the book of Genesis brings us to the end of the inspiring story of Joseph, which has taught us about God’s providence, his protective care over those who know, love, and serve him, and about how God was able to use even the evil done to Joseph by his brothers and others to bring good to so many—including, I would argue, us!

Well, the book of Exodus begins by naming those whom Jacob brought from Canaan to Egypt with him at the time at which the seven-year famine was in its second year. As stated in verses 1–4, “1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.” This list essentially summarizes the one provided in Genesis 46 but omits the specific names of the “each with his family”—i.e., children and grandchildren—that were included in the earlier list.[11]

Beginning with verse 6 we become aware of the passing of time for not only was Joseph dead but “all his brothers and all that generation died.” Yet just as God had promised, these descendants of Abraham were already becoming as the dust of the earth[12] and the stars in the sky”[13] for, as noted in verse 7, “the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.” This language is reminiscent of that found in the opening chapter of Genesis when the LORD blessed Adam and Eve and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”[14]

Now though this ongoing fulfillment of God’s promise should have been cause for rejoicing for the Israelites, instead their rapid increase in number precipitated a perfect storm of events for these descendants Abraham. For as we noted earlier, verse 8 states, “Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.” One commentator notes that the time that passed “[f]rom the death of Joseph to the rise of a new king…was more than 200 years.”[15] What this meant was that all of the kindnesses that had been extended to Joseph’s family because of him by the Pharaoh of that day no longer mattered. For the only thing that the current Pharaoh, or king, considered was that this nation living on its land posed a great threat to Egypt. As stated beginning with verse 9, he told his people, “Look,… the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” The Israelites had gone from being viewed as friends of Egypt to potential enemies. Consequently, whereas the Israelites had once lived and served freely among the Egyptians, now, verse 11, “they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor.” Yet it’s important to remember that this, too, was just as the LORD had foretold when he said to Abraham, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.”[16]

Now although the Egyptians sought to squelch the Israelites, things didn’t turn out as they planned for, as stated in verse 12, “the more [the Israelites] were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.” This situation brings to mind what occurred during New Testament times when Stephen was martyred. As Luke records at the opening of Acts 8, “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” God’s people are never promised deliverance from earthly persecution but, as we noted last week, he is able to use even the evil done to them for good. As Tertullian,[17] an early theologian, observed “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” In the case of the Israelites, as stated beginning with the end of verse 12, this multiplication and spread in spite of persecution caused the Egyptians “to dread the Israelites 13 [who] worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.” Out of their fear for the continued growth of the Israelites, twice we’re told that the Egyptian slave masters consequently worked them ruthlessly.

If this oppression wasn’t in and of itself evil enough, the Egyptian king then sought to impose an even more horrific evil. As stated beginning with verse 15, he spoke with two Hebrew midwives whose names were Shiphrah and Puah. Think about what’s being said here: this is the ruler of a country speaking to two lowly midwives who had now, along with the rest of their kinsmen, been enslaved by him. This is the most powerful person of a country speaking to the least powerful of his subjects. The evil this Pharaoh asked of them is recorded in verse 16: “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” Because boys, unlike girls, were viewed as a future threat given their physical power and potential as soldiers and warriors, they were to be destroyed.

Yet despite the enormous difference in power, Shiphrah and Puah refused to do what Pharaoh had asked because, as stated in verse 17, they “feared God.” They were more concerned about what God wanted than what Pharaoh wanted. Therefore, whatever fear they may have had of the Egyptian king, their fear of God who made them and watched over them was even greater. So they chose to obey God over humans. As stated in the text, they “did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” They disobeyed what Pharaoh had directly asked them to do. When the king later summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” (verse 18), they answered him, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”—and I should note that there’s no consensus as to whether the women answered truthfully, i.e., whether Hebrew women at the time were indeed vigorous and quick to bear children, or whether they had lied.[18]

Whatever the case, the midwives’ response surely did nothing to assuage the dread that the Egyptians already felt towards the Israelites.[19] Upon hearing their response, Pharaoh raised the stakes. If, in fact, the Hebrew midwives were unable to kill the baby boys given the vigor of the Hebrew women giving birth, then he would find another way to put the Hebrew boys to death. As stated in verse 22, “Then Pharaoh gave an order to all of his people, ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.’” Thus the Egyptian king was no longer dealing with the Hebrew midwives for he, the most powerful man in all of Egypt, had now commanded all his subjects to drown any Hebrew boy they came upon.

However, returning to Shiphrah and Puah, notice what verses 20 and 21 state occurred as a result of their honoring God over Pharaoh: “20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” God rewarded the midwives because of their actions; God rewarded them because of their disobedience to Pharaoh. Their reward benefitted both the broader community and themselves. For God continued to fulfill his promise to Abraham as “the people increased and became even more numerous” and God “gave [the midwives] families of their own.” This was all because they had feared and obeyed God and disobeyed Pharaoh. And returning for a moment to the earlier question about whether or not they lied—something the Scriptures forbid[20]—it’s worth noting that even if we assume that they did lie, they were commended by God not for the lying but for fearing him.

The matter of lying aside, this account in Exodus 1 presents us with a challenge, doesn’t it? For Scripture teaches that we ought to obey authority, even secular authority. Yet here Shiphrah and Puah are commended by God for their fear and obedience to him and, by implication, for their disobedience to Pharaoh. The challenge, then, is this: How do we discern when we should obey authority, as Scripture elsewhere teaches, by doing what authority asks vs. disobeying authority as the Hebrew midwives did in this historical account recorded in Exodus 1? To answer this question, I want to turn to one of the passages in Scripture, written by the apostle Peter, concerning authority.[21] Specifically, I want to consider his teaching in 1 Peter 2.

In this portion of 1 Peter 2, Peter is essentially teaching followers of Christ how to be in the world but not of the world. Verses 11 and 12 introduce the teaching he goes on to develop. Peter first addresses the negative: “11 [Beloved,][22] I urge you, as foreigners and exiles…,”—and I want to pause for a moment to remind ourselves the importance of viewing earth as our temporary, not final home. Recall, again, how when Jacob was brought before Pharaoh, he spoke of the years of his “pilgrimage.”[23] As we noted at the time, whether we view our earthly lives as a pilgrimage or sojourning,[24] Scripture is clear in teaching that earth isn’t our final destination. Peter here uses the terms “foreigners and exiles” to make the same point for a foreigner is someone who is in a country that is other than their own. Likewise, an exile is someone who is living away from their native country. The true home for followers of Christ is his heavenly, eternal kingdom, not this earthly world that one day will come to an end.

Returning to Peter’s opening exhortation in verse 11, “[Beloved,] I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” So, again, first we have the negative stated: “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” Why should we abstain from sinful desires? Because yielding to them will harm us and those around us. As James teaches, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”[25] Our good God who made us knows best how we ought to live and function. This is why he’s left us his Word, that we might flourish, not suffer in this world. And his word clearly teaches that we should stay away from sinful desires and resist temptation.

But Peter doesn’t stop at the negative, at what we should abstain from, but goes on to exhort the positive, what we should embrace, in verse 12: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” This is also what Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount when he told his followers “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”[26] As a child’s good behavior reflects positively on its parents, so the good behavior of God’s children reflects positively on our Father in heaven. In a world of darkness, acts of light stand out. Peter applies this teaching to how Jesus’ followers ought to live among pagans. The living of “such good lives” among those who don’t know or follow Christ means that even if we’re accused of “doing wrong,” our “good deeds” will speak for themselves and thereby glorify God—glorify Christ—when he returns. As one scholar notes, such a visiting “is His drawing near either for judgment or mercy.”[27]

Peter then goes on to speak of the relationship that Christians should have with the powers that be. As stated in verses 13–14, “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” Important to note here is that this “submitting,” this yielding, is:

First, voluntary;

Second, for the sake of the Lord, that is, God;

And third, to every human authority, whether emperor or governor. The emperor at this time would have been Nero.

However, we mustn’t miss the intended role of these human authorities, the purpose for which they have been given their authority by God. Again, as stated in verse 14, God sends authorities “to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” Here, I believe, is a key that can help us figure out when we ought to submit to authorities—and when we ought not. In the case of the Pharaoh “to whom Joseph meant nothing,”[28] he ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill every male infant that was born. Therefore, he was using his power to do wrong even as he had used his power to do wrong to the Israelites by placing oppressive slave masters over them who “made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields” and “worked them ruthlessly.”[29] Accordingly, we can say that when a human authority asks us to do evil, the godly response on our part would be to disobey rather than obey their command. The disobedience to do evil is a “good deed” that will “glorify God on the day he visits us.” As one commentator similarly states, “obedience to the emperor must never be in violation of the law of God.”[30]

Notice how Peter reiterates in verse 15, “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” Therefore, if someone in authority asks us to do something evil, we should follow the example of Shiphrah and Puah and refuse to do it. In this instance, our disobedience to authority will “silence the ignorant talk of foolish people”—foolish people being those who don’t believe in God or his Word but instead seek to follow their own counsel rather than his. In case we missed Peter’s point, he goes on to state, verse 16, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” Got that? We’re God’s slaves—and God is the kindest, most generous, compassionate, merciful and good Master we could ever have. As God’s slaves, the greatest freedom we can ever exercise is the freedom to do his will as he has disclosed this to us in his Word, knowing that his will is ever for our good and the good of those around us.

Peter closes this portion of his letter by exhorting Christ-followers, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” Whether or not we obey someone, we must always treat them respectfully, remembering that all human beings have been made in God’s image.[31] Therefore all human beings are worthy of such respect.

Now not only did Peter teach the importance of fearing and obeying God above human authorities, but we have two instances of his doing so recorded for us in the book of Acts.[32] The first occurs in Acts 4 when he and John were brought before the Sanhedrin, the highest court of justice and supreme council at the time. After spending a night in jail for proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead and being told to cease and desist doing so, Peter and John responded, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”[33] In other words, they disobeyed the authorities and continued to tell others about Christ. Acts 5 records another incident in which Peter and other apostles were jailed and given “strict orders not to teach in this name.” But they again replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings!”[34] The end result was that the powers that be “called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”[35] Yet their disobedience continued as “41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”[36]

Dear sisters and brothers, as citizens of heaven and citizens of earth, there may be times when we are told by earthly authorities to do something that our good and holy Father, Son, and Holy Spirit strictly forbids. Should this happen to us, I would encourage all of us to fear God even as Shiphrah and Puah did; fear God even as Peter and the apostles did. For we should ever be more concerned with what God who made us thinks than what any earthly authority thinks; we should ever be more concerned with what God who made us might do than with what any earthly authority might do; we should ever be more concerned with pleasing and obeying God than with pleasing and obeying an earthly authority who may be asking us to do evil. Our heavenly citizenship should ever be more important to us than our earthly citizenship. Therefore, let us ever fear and obey our heavenly Father, who sent his Son to destroy Satan and all evil, and who gives all who believe in his Son his Holy Spirit in order that we might discern and do, as individuals and with one another’s help, what his Scriptures teach.

Let us pray.

Addendum #1: Although, the jury is out as to whether the Hebrew midwives lied in the account recorded in Exodus 1, as Noted in footnote #18, what follows is a heart-stopping account of someone who told the truth when much was at stake.


This is an account from Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place (found online—I provide the link at the end). It illustrates that we can’t always presume to know the outcome of our lying or truth-telling.

“Corrie ten Boom was born on 15 April 1892 to a working-class family in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She and her family were Calvinists in the Dutch Reformed Church and their faith inspired them to serve their society, offering shelter, food, and money to those in need.

“In May 1940 the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and the ten Booms became part of the underground. Corrie and parents and sister Betsie opened their home to refugees—both Jews and others who were members of the resistance movement—being sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. So did Corrie’s married sister Nollie. A hidden room was built off Corrie’s bedroom.

“German soldiers were also using a method of forced servitude that the Dutch called the ‘razzia.’ They would perform a lightning search and seizure of all the young men they could find and send them to work in munitions factories. For this reason, Nollie’s family created a temporary hiding place by enlarging the trapdoor in the kitchen floor leading to a small potato cellar, putting a large rug on top of it, and moving the kitchen table to stand on this spot. One day Nazi soldiers burst into Nollie’s home and demanded whether the family was hiding any Jewish refugees. Corrie tells the story in her book The Hiding Place:

We were chatting in [Nollie’s] kitchen with [Nollie’s daughters] Cocky and Katrien when all at once [the girls’ brothers] Peter and his older brother, Bob, raced into the room, their faces white. “Soldiers! Quick! They’re two doors down and coming this way!” They jerked the table back, snatched away the rug, and tugged open the trapdoor. Bob lowered himself first, lying down flat, and Peter tumbled in on top of him. We dropped the door shut, yanked the rug over it, and pulled the table back in place. With trembling hands, Betsie, Cocky, and I threw a long tablecloth over it and started laying five places for tea. There was a crash in the hall as the front door burst open and a smaller crash close by as Cocky dropped a teacup. Two uniformed Germans ran into the kitchen, rifles leveled. “Stay where you are. Do not move.” We heard boots storming up the stairs. The soldiers glanced around disgustedly at this room filled with women and one old man… “Where are your men?” the shorter soldier asked Cocky in clumsy, thick-accented Dutch. “These are my aunts,” she said, “and this is my grandfather. My father is at his school, and my mother is shopping, and—” “I didn’t ask about the whole tribe!” the man exploded in German. Then in Dutch: “Where are your brothers?” Cocky stared at him a second, then dropped her eyes. My heart stood still. I knew how Nollie had trained her children—but surely, surely now of all times a lie was permissible! “Do you have brothers?” the officer asked again. “Yes,” Cocky said softly. “We have three.” “How old are they?” “Twenty-one, nineteen, and eighteen.” Upstairs we heard the sounds of doors opening and shutting, the scrape of furniture dragged from walls. “Where are they now?” the soldier persisted. Cocky leaned down and began gathering up the broken bits of cup. The man jerked her upright. “Where are your brothers?” “The oldest one is at the Theological College. He doesn’t get home most nights because—” “What about the other two?” Cocky did not miss a breath. “Why, they’re under the table.” Motioning us all away from it with his gun, the soldier seized a corner of the cloth. At a nod from him, the taller man crouched with his rifle cocked. Then he flung back the cloth. At last the pent-up tension exploded: Cocky burst into spasms of high hysterical laughter. The soldiers whirled around. Was this girl laughing at them? “Don’t take us for fools!” the short one snarled. Furiously he strode from the room and minutes later the entire squad trooped out…  It was a strange dinner party that evening, veering as it did from heartfelt thanksgiving to the nearest thing to a bitter argument our close-knit family had ever had [arguing over whether Cocky was right to tell the truth]. Nollie stuck by Cocky, insisting she would have answered the same way. “God honors truth-telling with perfect protection!” Peter and Bob, from the viewpoint of the trapdoor, weren’t so sure. And neither was I….”


Addendum #2: As noted in footnote 32, what follows is a more detailed recounting of the accounts of Peter’s disobedience of authority due to his obedience to Christ.


As stated in the opening verses of Acts 4, “1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” After spending a night in jail, they were brought before the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law and were questioned[37] for having healed a man who was lame.[38] In Peter’s own words, he “filled with the Holy Spirit” told them in part, “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.”[39] The end result was that they “called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.”[40] And yet listen to the answer given the very same Peter (also John) who taught the importance of submitting to authority: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”[41] The end result was that “21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.”[42]

In the very next chapter of Acts, chapter 5, we’re told of another account in which “the high the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy”[43] over the many who were coming to faith as a result of their ministry.[44] Consequently, they “arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.”[45] However, “during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out” and told them, “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life,” which, of course, they did.[46] Therefore, yet again “apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest” since they had given them “strict orders not to teach in this name” yet they had “filled Jerusalem” with their teaching.[47] But notice, again, how “Peter and the other apostles replied.”: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”[48] The end result was that the power that be “called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”[49] Did this order and flogging by the authorities change their behavior? No. They continued in their disobedience to them. As Luke records, “41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”[50]


[1] The first sermon on Joseph was preached on January 24, 2021, Truth and Light, on Genesis 24, 2021.

[2] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 50:22–26. To be more precise, since Joseph was 56 at the time at which his father died, fifty-four years his life have passed with little comment: Joseph was seventeen when he was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:2, 28); thirty years old when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41:46); thirty-nine when he brought over his family from Canaan—seven years of plenty had passed and two years of famine had begun (Geneiss 45:6, 11); fifty-six when Jacob, who lived in Egypt for seventeen years, died (Genesis 47:28).

[3] Exodus 1:8: Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.

[4] The Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 50:23 states that Makir was “Manasseh’s firstborn son and the ancestor of the powerful Gileadites (Jos 17:1). The name of Makir later became almost interchangeable with that of Manasseh himself….” Joshua 17:1: This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh as Joseph’s firstborn, that is, for Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn. Makir was the ancestor of the Gileadites, who had received Gilead and Bashan because the Makirites were great soldiers.

[5] See sermon preached on May 23, 2021, The Most Important Story, on Genesis 47:28–48:22.

[6] Genesis 47:29–31: If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried. Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

[7] Genesis 48:21. The “you’s” are all plural. Earlier God had told Jacob, as recorded in Genesis 46:3–4:3 I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

[8] Exodus 13:17–19: 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

[9] Joshua 24:32: And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

[10] Also stated in Genesis 50:22: Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years

[11] Genesis 46:7–27: Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring. These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob. The sons of Reuben: Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, 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 had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon and Jahleel. 15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all. 16 The sons of Gad: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malkiel. 18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah—sixteen in all. 19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard. 22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob—fourteen in all. 23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem. 25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven in all. 26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

[12] Genesis 13:14–17: 14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

[13] Genesis 15:1–6: 1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

[14] Genesis 1:28: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

[15] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 1:6–7. In its note on Exodus 1:8 it further suggests that this new king was “probably Ahmose, the founder of the 18th dynasty, who expelled the Hyksos (foreign—predominantly Semitic—rulers of Egypt).”

[16] Genesis 15:13. However, this is immediately followed by verse 14: “But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”  Emphasis added.

[17] c. 160–c. 240 AD.

[18] For a heart-stopping account of someone who refused to lie, see Addendum #1 at the end.

[19] See verse 12: But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites

[20] Leviticus 19:11: Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.; Colossians 3:5–11 (see verse 9): 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

[21] Other passages that address authority include Romans 13:1–5: 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.; Titus 3:1–2: 1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.; 1 Timothy 2:1–3: 1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,…

[22] I have switched the NIV’s “Dear friends” for “Beloved” out of personal preference. The Greek is Ἀγαπητοί meaning “beloved, dear; worthy of love,” https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/agapetos.

[23] Genesis 47:9: And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” See sermon preached on May 9, 2021, The Pilgrim Life on Genesis 46:31–47:12.

[24] Pilgrimage: “a journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected.” Sojourn: “a temporary stay.”

[25] James 1:14–15.

[26] Matthew 5:16.

[27] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on 1 Peter 2:12.

[28] Exodus 1:8: Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.

[29] Exodus 1:11, 12b–14: 11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh…. so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.

[30] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on 1 Peter 2:13. Emphasis added.

[31] Genesis 1:26–27: 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

[32] For a slightly fuller accounting of this, see Addendum #2.

[33] Acts 4:19–20.

[34] Acts 5:29.

[35] Acts 5:40.

[36] Acts 5:41–42.

[37] Acts 4:5–7

[38] Recorded in Acts 3.

[39] Acts 4:8–10.

[40] Acts 4:18.

[41] Acts 4:19–20.

[42] Acts 4:21–22.

[43] Acts 5:17.

[44] Acts 5:12–16: 12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

[45] Acts 5:18.

[46] Acts 5:19–21.

[47] Acts 5:27–28.

[48] Acts 5:29.

[49] Acts 5:40.

[50] Acts 5:41–42.