And he said, I am God, the God of your father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation:…
Not the invitation of Pharaoh, not the urgent message of Joseph, not even the warmth of his own love alone, carried Jacob out of Canaan. These furnished the occasion and the impulse, but the head of the covenant people did not leave the Land of Promise without the warrant of his covenant God. There were four promises.
1. "I will make of thee a great nation," a promise which ran far into the future. A people great in numbers, greater in their influence on all the earth to the end of time, should be formed of his seed, and formed in Egypt.
2. "I will go down with thee." Over every circumstance of the future, nearer and more remote, the Living and Almighty. God would watch.
3. "I will also surely bring thee up again." The old promise of the land would not be changed. For the purpose of forming the nation which should possess the land, were they now being taken into Egypt; when the nation had been formed according to God's promise, He would bring them back.
4. "And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes." Long before the nation was formed, Jacob's time to die should come; but when it came it would be accompanied with this tender consolation, the loving touch of Joseph's hand on the eyelids he could no longer move. That was to be his last sensation. And it would convey to him far more than the joy of his son's love; it would be the pledge that his soul was passing into the hands of the faithful Redeemer who had given this promise so long before. Thus it was by faith that Israel went into Egypt, consciously led by the hand of God.
(A. M. Symington, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: