46 28 Israel had Judah sent ahead for Joseph to give directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, 29 Joseph harnessed his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. When Joseph appeared, he threw his arms around his neck and wept, weeping long upon his neck. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “I can die now, after seeing your face, for you are still alive!”
31 Joseph said to his brothers and his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, saying, ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds. They have always cared for livestock. They have brought their flocks and herds and everything that is theirs.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls for you and says, ‘What do you do?’ 34 then say, ‘Your servants have handled livestock from our youth until now, both we and our fathers,’ so that you will be able to settle in the land of Goshen. Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”
Now in Egypt, Jacob does not rely on Joseph but turns to Judah to lead his house to the land of Goshen, metaphorically halfway back to Canaan—held between Nile and Desert—a productive land not caught by either luxury or want.
Once settled in Goshen, Joseph puts on his newest exceptional presence, a state chariot instead of a coat, and appears in his glory before Jacob. The language here is reminiscent of a manifestation of a God before a human.
It turns out Joseph has come to weep over the past but does not know how to move into a different future.
After hearing his father Israel’s absolution for past separation and pain, Joseph turns to his brothers and proposes that he will let Pharaoh know that the family, for which Pharaoh had provided wagons and provisions to bring them to Egypt, has arrived.
Joseph gives instructions that his brothers are to claim the status of shepherds that they might reside in the land of Goshen with their flocks.
As far as safety from famine goes, this is good for the family. A difficulty arises in that Joseph continues to claim special status as Pharaoh’s chief administrator. Joseph and his family are separated in the same space of Egypt—Joseph in the seat of power and the rest of the family as the support of that power by way of providing a resource that can be exploited by the powerful—food.
To this day, resources, sustainable or not, are levers of power for a few that enslave many.
To be in the center and bowed toward is ground from which power plays its dividing game—to separate Joseph and Pharaoh from Jacob/Israel and sons. Political, military, economic, resource controllers do not mix with their bowed servants.