Journeys and Events in the Lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

By Edward J. Brandt

Department of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion

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    Throughout the Church many adults are studying the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine classes. To assist them in their studies, the following map and information are presented.

    Abraham’s Sojourn in Gerar

    Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah in GERAR. (Gen. 20:1; Gen. 21:1–8, 12; JST, Gen. 21:5–6; 1 Chr. 1:28; Matt. 1:2; Luke 3:34.) Abraham’s family lived as strangers in the land, moving as it was necessary to secure lands for the care of their herds and flocks. (Gen. 13:5–12; Gen. 20:1; Gen. 21:31–34.) Isaac’s birth, even his name and birthright, had been foretold. (Gen. 17:15–21; JST, Gen. 17:23; Josh. 24:3; Rom. 9:7, 10; Gal. 4:28; Heb. 11:11, 17–19.)

    Sojourn at Beersheba Secured by Covenant

    New land was secured for grazing in BEERSHEBA by covenant with King Abimelech, the governor of the area. (Gen. 21:31–34.)

    The Test of Obedience and Faith

    Both Abraham and Isaac demonstrated trust in the Lord through their obedience. (Gen. 22:1–19; James 2:21–23.) They journeyed to the mountain in the LAND OF MORIAH (at Salem or Jerusalem: Gen. 22:2; 2 Chr. 3:1.) Their experience served not only as a test, but also taught them concerning the future atonement of Christ. (Heb. 11:17–19; Jacob 4:5.)

    Continued Sojourn by Abraham’s Family at Beersheba

    Sarah died in HEBRON 28 years after Isaac’s birth. (Gen. 23:1; Gen. 17:1; Gen. 21:5.) For her burial a special family plot was purchased. (Gen. 23:1–2, 17–20.) Abraham sent his chief servant to arrange for a wife for Isaac. He journeyed to HARAN in the north, where Abraham’s family had settled many years earlier. (Gen. 24:1–4, 47–51, 66–67.)

    Isaac’s Sojourn at Lahairoi

    Isaac established his dwelling place at the well of LAHAIROI near the birthplace of Ishmael. (Gen. 24:62; Gen. 25:11; Gen. 16:11–15.) He received the birthright of his father (Gen. 25:5; Gen. 24:36), and shortly thereafter Abraham died and was buried with Sarah at HEBRON (Gen. 25:8–9). While Isaac and Rebekah, his new wife, resided in this area, Esau and Jacob were born. (Gen. 25:20–26; 1 Chr. 1:34; Josh. 24:4; Matt. 1:2; Luke 3:34.) At this place Esau gave up his birthright to Jacob. (Gen. 25:27–34; Heb. 12:16.)

    Wandering of Isaac in the South Country

    Famine caused Isaac to move his shepherd family. Again they turned to GERAR among the Philistines. (Gen. 26:1–6.) Because the prosperity of Isaac’s family became a threat to the natives of this land, Isaac moved to BEERSHEBA and renewed with the inhabitants of that area the covenant that Abraham had established many years before. (Gen. 26:7–33; Gen. 21:31–34.)

    Here at Beersheba, Isaac blessed his sons. (Gen. 27:18–40.) While Jacob’s motives in obtaining the blessings may seem questionable, it was in spite of, not because of, his methods that he obtained it. Jacob had lived a worthy life, and he had been foreordained to receive the birthright; this fact had been revealed to his parents. (Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:10–13.) Esau’s life-style had brought grief to the family. (Gen. 26:34–35.) When Esau came for his blessing, Isaac discovered that he had bestowed the birthright upon Jacob. He also realized that it rightfully belonged to Jacob on the basis of his potential, and therefore he confirmed that Jacob would retain it. (Gen. 27:33; Heb. 11:20.)

    Journey of Jacob to Haran

    Jacob was commanded to seek a wife from among his own people. (Gen. 28:1–5, 10.) Early along the route to HARAN, he stopped at the city of LUZ. Here he received a vision concerning his mission and the promises of the Lord to him. He named the place BETHEL, meaning the House of God. (Gen. 28:10–22.) (Haran is spoken of as being located in Padanaram or the plain of Aram Syria, which is the area generally identified as the upper Mesopotamian region. Mesopotamia is the Greek word for the Hebrew Aram Naharaim, which means Aram of the two rivers, Euphrates and Tigris.)

    Sojourn of Jacob in Haran

    While in HARAN, Jacob married Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, his uncle. (Gen. 29:1–30.) He also later married Bilhah and Zilpah, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel. (Gen. 30:4, 9.) Eleven sons and one daughter were born to Jacob and his wives while he worked for Laban. (Gen. 29:31–35; Gen. 3:5–8, 10–13, 17–24.)

    Later, Jacob desired to return to his homeland, but Laban retained him with persuasive offers. (Gen. 30:25–43.) Finally, the Lord commanded Jacob to depart from Haran. (Gen. 31:3, 11–13.)

    Return of Jacob to the Land of Canaan

    Laban attempted to stop Jacob and his family after they had departed for CANAAN; however, he was warned by the Lord not to hinder their journey and so covenanted peace with Jacob at GILEAD. (Gen. 31:17–18, 21–24, 44–45.)

    While en route, Jacob prepared to meet again his brother Esau. (Gen. 32:3–23.) At the places of MAHANAIM and PENIEL, near the brook JABBOK, Jacob received divine manifestation. (Gen. 32:1–2, 30–32.) At Peniel his name was changed to Israel. (Gen. 32:24–29.)

    The reunion of Esau and Jacob that followed was one of mutual love, respect, and peace. (Gen. 33:1–16.)

    Journey of Jacob through the Land of Canaan

    Because Jacob’s children were young and because his flocks and herds had many young among them, their journey was slow, and often it was necessary for them to stop for a time along the way. (Gen. 33:13–14.) A brief stay was made at SUCCOTH. (Gen. 33:17.) They next moved on to SHALEM, near the city of SHECHEM, where Jacob purchased property for an inheritance, but the circumstances that followed did not permit remaining there at that time. (Gen. 33:18–20; John 4:5; Gen. 34.)

    The family then moved to BETHEL. At this revisited sacred place Jacob received another great vision and reaffirmation of his name Israel. (Gen. 35:1–15.) From Bethel they moved on toward BETHLEHEM AT EPHRATH, near which Jacob’s twelfth son was born. Here Rachel, the mother of the boy, died and was buried. (Gen. 35:16–20.)

    Jacob’s Sojourn in Hebron

    There was a brief stay en route to Hebron at a locale spoken of as the tower of Edar, but the final place of dwelling for Jacob in the land of Canaan was HEBRON. (Gen. 35:21; Gen. 37:1.) Some time after his arrival, his aged father, Isaac, died and was buried there by Jacob and Esau. (Gen. 35:27–29.)

    Jacob’s Sons on the Range near Shechem

    Jacob’s ten oldest sons took their father’s flocks and herds for grazing near SHECHEM. (Gen. 37:12.) Joseph was sent to his brothers and found them located at DOTHAM. (Gen. 37:13–17.) The brothers conspired against Joseph and sold him to traveling merchants. (Gen. 37:18–28.) A piece of Joseph’s torn coat was taken to Jacob with a report of Joseph’s disappearance. (Gen. 37:29–35; Alma 46:23–24.)

    The Events of Joseph’s Life in Egypt

    Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (Gen. 37:36; Gen. 39:1), and became overseer of his master’s household (Gen. 39:4–5). Because he resisted the lustful enticements of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was falsely accused and imprisoned. (Gen. 39:6–20.)

    As an overseer in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s servants (Gen. 39:21–23; Gen. 40) and Pharaoh’s dreams (Gen. 41:1–36).

    Joseph was later made ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, and charged to prepare for the predicted famine. (Gen. 41:37–49, 53–57.)

    Joseph married subsequently and had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. (Gen. 41:45, 50–52.)

    Journeys of Joseph’s Brothers to Egypt

    The famine brought Joseph’s ten older brothers to Egypt to buy grain, and Simeon was retained as a hostage, through Joseph’s strategy. (Gen. 42.)

    On their second visit the brothers brought Benjamin with them. (Gen. 43; Gen. 44.) Joseph then revealed himself to his brothers and invited them to move to Egypt. (Gen. 45:1–28.)

    Jacob’s Journey to and Sojourn in Egypt

    The families of Jacob (Israel) and his sons began their journey to EGYPT. At BEERSHEBA Jacob received the promise of the Lord concerning their stay in Egypt and eventual return to Canaan. (Gen. 46:1–7.) Eventually they settled in GOSHEN, the best part of the land of RAMESES. (Gen. 45:10; Gen. 46:28–29, 34; Gen. 47:1, 6, 11.)

    Promise was given to Jacob that he would be buried in the land of Canaan. (Gen. 47:28–31.) Jacob blessed his sons and also the sons of Joseph. (Gen. 48; Gen. 49.)

    Jacob died and was taken to HEBRON for burial. (Gen. 49:28–33; Gen. 50:2, 7–13.) And the children of Israel remained in Egypt. (Gen. 50:14.)

    [map] Journeys and Events in the Lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph