Daily Word

Shepherds stink | Genesis 46:28-34

28 As they neared their destination, [he] sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, [Israel]. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, [Israel] said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”

31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”

33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Genesis 46:28-34 (NLT)

Judah leads

It’s common when groups of people are traveling in a new land that they send out scouts ahead of the group to scout the area. They determine the best route to the destination. Judah served this role. It is not by chance. As we noted from Genesis 44:14-17 and 45:1-3, Judah has now stepped into the leadership role as he takes on the banner of inheritor of the blessing and envious position in the line of progenitor of Messiah.

Dead alive

But the spotlight in this passage is really on Joseph and his reunion with Israel (Jacob). And what a grand reunion it is! Jacob had counted Joseph as dead. Now he sees him alive, as if resurrected from death. His favorite son is alive! Now he, himself, can die in peace. Wouldn’t you have liked to be a proverbial “fly on the wall” watching this reunion? And notice the change in Israel. “This was a dramatic change from the attitude that said before, ‘all things are against me’ (Genesis 42:36).” (enduringword.com) The faith of Isaac was fulfilled. 

Shepherds stink

Seems the Egyptians had a thing against shepherds. They were dirty and smelly, just taking care of animals. Such a lowly job. My guess is that this clarification to Pharaoh  would assure them their own plot of land and provide the advantage of keeping their race pure.

Yet it’s interesting that the one man in the Bible who is given the venerable name, “a man after God’s own heart”, was a shepherd. In fact he wrote the most famous chapter in the Bible, Psalm 23, about The Good Shepherd. Not only that, the Lord Jesus Christ calls Himself The Good Shepherd (John 10:11 – 18). So here we’d have to say that the world’s ways are definitely not in line with God’s.


  • Is God calling you to step into a leadership role? Maybe you’ve been hiding or shunning the call. Is fear a factor? If He calls, He also equips. He is worthy of your trust, worthy of your praise!
  • Do you know the Good Shepherd? He desires to be the shepherd of your soul, to lead you and guide you through the tranquil places as well as through the deadly ones. He promises to be with you. Click here to know Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Shepherd in field. Image from Pixbay.com *

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