Going down to Egypt

“I myself will go down with you to Egypt.” (Gen 46.4)

Jacob had just learned that Joseph was very well alive in Egypt, and he was on his way to Egypt to meet his beloved son. On the journey, YHWH came to him and re-assured him that, indeed, he was going down to Egypt as well with Jacob. This abode well with what his grandfather, Abraham, had experienced before in his life, where he needed to travel and sojourn all over the land of Canaan from his homeland of Ur.

Usually a god is associated with a particular land, and that his/her sovereignty is limited to that land. Indeed, Naaman took back as much earth as he could carry to his land in Syria so that he could still worship YHWH in his homeland (2 Kgs 5.1-19). That’s what people thought at that time (and it is not unusual to see such a similar pattern of thought today). So perhaps YHWH is a different kind of god. A god who does not belong only to a piece of land, but who could travel and sojourn together with his people no matter where they are. After all, as the psalmist proclaimed, “The earth is YHWH’s, and everything in it; the world and all its people belong to him.” (Psa 24.1)

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