Devotional Readings

Genesis 46 – Souls Count

Souls that is a curious word in this chapter, it’s used almost exclusively here, with only one previous reference. The singular form goes way back to the beginning:

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

And Jesus speaks truth about the soul:

Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So one application is that God is the creator and is sovereign over the essence of life…our soul.
Anyway it seems that one of the Bible lists is about the “souls” that went into Egypt.

Gen 46:15  These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.

Gen 46:18  These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.

Gen 46:22  These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.

Gen 46:25  These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the soulswere seven.

Gen 46:26  All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the soulswere threescore and six;

Gen 46:27  And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

This last one I noticed presents a controversy and apparent conflict (there are no real conflicts in God’s word), with a quote by Stephen in Acts: You can read it here and John Gill’s helpful math.

all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten; here it may be observed, the phrase is varied; it is not said, “all the souls which came out of the loins of Jacob”, but “all the souls of the house” or family of Jacob; all that that consisted of, and takes in Jacob himself, the head of his house or family; nor is it said, “which came with Jacob into Egypt”, as before, but “which came into Egypt”; not which came with him thither, but yet were there by some means or another, as Joseph and his two sons; Joseph by being brought down, and sold there, and his two sons by being born there; if therefore Jacob, Joseph, and his two sons, are added to the above number of sixty six, it will make seventy; as for the account of Stephen, making the number seventy five; see Gill on Act 7:14.


Act 7:14  Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.


Acts 7:14 Gill

Then sent Joseph,…. Gifts and presents to his father, and wagons, to fetch down him and his family into Egypt, Gen 45:21.

and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls; which seems to disagree with the account of Moses, who says, that “all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten”, Gen 46:27. But there is no contradiction; Moses and Stephen are speaking of different things; Moses speaks of the seed of Jacob, which came out of his loins, who came into Egypt, and so excludes his sons’ wives; Stephen speaks of Jacob and all his kindred, among whom his sons’ wives must be reckoned, whom Joseph called to him: according to Moses’s account, the persons that came with Jacob into Egypt, who came out of his loins, and so exclusive of his sons’ wives, were threescore and six; to which if we add Jacob himself, and Joseph who was before in Egypt, and who might be truly said to come into it, and his two sons that were born there, who came thither in his loins, as others in the account may be said to do, who were not yet born, when Jacob went down, the total number is threescore and ten, Gen 46:26 out of which take the six following persons, Jacob, who was called by Joseph into Egypt, besides the threescore and fifteen souls, and Joseph and his two sons then in Egypt, who could not be said to be called by him, and Hezron and Hamul, the sons of Pharez not yet born, and this will reduce Moses’s number to sixty four; to which sixty four, if you add the eleven wives of Jacob’s sons, who were certainly part of the kindred called and invited into Egypt, Gen 45:10 it will make up completely threescore and fifteen persons: or the persons called by Joseph maybe reckoned thus; his eleven brethren and sister Dinah, fifty two brother’s children, to which add his brethren’s eleven wives, and the amount is threescore and fifteen: so that the Jew (w) has no reason to charge Stephen with an error, as he does; nor was there any need to alter and corrupt the Septuagint version of Gen 45:27 to make it agree with Stephen’s account; or to add five names in it, in Act 7:20 as Machir, Galaad, Sutalaam, Taam, and Edom, to make up the number seventy five: and it may be observed, that the number is not altered in the version of Deu 10:22 which agrees with the Hebrew for seventy persons.

(w) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 63. p. 450.

Perhaps the take away….is that we can really believe what we read in the Bible.

Check out my earlier two posts today.




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