Jacob yearns to see Joseph again, but Joseph also yearns to see his father again. He goes up to meet him. As we are on our way to meet the Lord, we will see that He is on His way to meet us. What Jacob says (verse 3030Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.”) reminds us of what Simeon says (Lk 2:2929“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
We see in Joseph’s whole behavior how he, as a son, honors his father. It is the duty of the children to honor their parents (Eph 6:1-31Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),3so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.). This obligation remains, even if the children are in a better social position than their parents. Joseph’s love for his father has not diminished over the years. For Jacob, seeing Joseph again is the fulfillment of his greatest desire. He is satisfied and may die. However, he would live another seventeen years.
Joseph wants to introduce his family to Pharaoh. He tells them what to say when Pharaoh asks about their profession. It seems to be a usual question of Pharaoh to those who come to him. Joseph prepares them for this. The answer must be that they have always been keepers of livestock.
God, of whom Pharaoh is a picture here, also asks us: ‘What are you doing?’ Can we then also answer, ‘With taking care for the livestock, with taking care for what has been entrusted to us, with making sure that everything we do is to Your honor” (Col 3:1717Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.)?
The word for “occupation” is the same word that is translated with “verses” in Psalm 45: “I address my verses to the King” (Psa 45:1b1For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
). In the answer Joseph puts in the mouth of the brothers, the brothers say that their occupation are verses about the King, about His glory, which is further described in Psalm 45. This is also what the Lord Jesus wants to bring about in our lives, what He wants to put in our mouths, as it were. He wants our life to be the verses of a song in which the glory of God is sung.
It is not surprising that it says: “For every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians” (verse 3434you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.”). Therefore the family of Jacob is assigned a separate part of the land of Egypt so it will prevent that they will connect with the Egyptians. By mixing with the Egyptians, they will lose their identity, which is not the case now. They remain separated from the Egyptians and thus retain their national and religious independence.
There is also a spiritual application of the loathsomeness of the Egyptians of the shepherd. The Egyptians are a picture of the world. To someone of the world the life of a Christian living for the glory of God is loathsome.