BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 29, Day 5: Matthew 28:16-20

Summary of passage:  The disciples go to Galilee where Jesus told them to meet him.  They worshiped him when they saw him but some doubted.  Jesus said he had been given all authority in heaven and earth and to go and baptize all in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey all the commands and I will be with you always to the end of time.

Questions:

11)  According to Webster’s authority means “power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior; persons in command; a conclusive statement; testimony; a citation used in defense or support; convincing force or weight.”

12a)  Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all the commands.  Jesus promises to be with you always to the very end of the age.

b)  The word “all” is repeated (more times in other translations than here).  All authority, all nations, all things, all days.  Jesus is speaking to every person on this planet with eternal power.  Everyone is to know him from now (1st century AD) until the present moment and the future.  The idea of authority and command is also repeated.  Jesus has the right to tell us what to do, and therefore we must obey unconditionally.  That is the scope:  it applies to all of us without question and for all time.

c)  Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teach them to obey all he has commanded.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My kids just got baptized!  It was awesome!  Talk about Jesus to others everywhere I go.

e)  As our Lord, he has the right to command us.  He tells us to do something we should do it like we expect our kids to do what we tell them to do.  And he promises to be with us as we do it.  With Jesus by our side, we cannot fail.  Nothing is impossible.  Only with him and through him will we be all we were created to be.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:

Romans 5:10:  Jesus’ resurrection gives us a new life with God.  Live as such.

2 Corinthians 4:10-18:  Fix your eyes on eternity and not the troubles of the here and now.  We carry around Jesus’ life within us and we should overflow with gratitude. Do not focus on life’s circumstances but on the greater picture to come.  Reflect Jesus to others in your daily walk.

Galatians 2:20:  Die to self; live for Christ through faith in him.  Do God’s will and not your own.

Philippians 3:10:  We share in Christ’s sufferings.  Our sufferings grow and change us, making us more like Jesus and better able to spread the Good News to others.

Colossians 3:1-4:  Set your heart and mind on heaven and not on earthly things.  For you have died and only Christ is alive in you.  Remember things here on earth are only temporary and not important.  God’s work is what matters and nothing else.

Conclusions:  The emphasis here is on the importance of doing God’s work and following His will for your life and not yours.  Also, the importance of sharing the gospel with others.  As Jesus’ last words spoken to his disciples while in physical form here on earth, don’t you think they are the most important?  So they should be to us also.

What a comfort Jesus’ last recorded words:  “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Can you imagine how your life would change if at every moment of every day you knew Jesus was walking with you and present in every situation (good and bad) in your life?

God was there.  I was just blind.

End Notes:  Jesus’ authority is what sends us, guides us, and empowers us to do his commission and nothing else.

Disciples are not converts.  They are students, scholars, and learners and they are made, not born instantly.  It is a life-long process to become a disciple of Christ for it takes that long to get to know him and be like him.

Note the absence of circumcision here.  This new covenant does not require an outward sign anymore, only inward is what matters.  Yes, baptism is an outward sign to the world, but it affects the internal more than the external.

“In” is also translated “into” so into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Note also the singular “name”, meaning the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit are one, not three separate deities.

Note the teaching of “all things” and not just some things in the Bible as is popular today.

We work for and with Jesus as he is with us in every moment of every day.  He protects us, powers us, gives us peace in our daily lives.  Each footfall is next to his but more so is behind his as well as he guides us on his path to righteousness and salvation.  We cannot fail with Jesus.

Suggestion:  Read the other versions of the commission.  Mark focuses on Jesus’ chastisement of the disciples’ unbelief.  He includes what happens if people do not believe and signs of belief.  He just says to go and preach, not to make disciples.

Luke focuses as well on the disciples’ doubt.  He ate in their presence probably to help alleviate some of this.  He just mentions preaching and being sent out to the world.

John merely records Jesus interacting with Peter but here we see the commission as well:  feed and care for Jesus’ sheep and follow him.  Here, we see teach and turn to followers (disciples) of Christ.

My favorite?  Matthew’s by far.  The focus is on learning about Christ, sharing Christ, and him always being with us–in my opinion, three of the most important things about Jesus.  We need to learn about him.  We need to share him.  And he is there always.  We are never alone.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 29, Day 4: Matthew 28:1-15; Acts 1:3-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 28:1-15:  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to Jesus’ tomb after the Sabbath at dawn. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled the stone back. He appeared like lightning in all white. The guards were afraid of him and fainted.

The angel told the women to not be afraid and that Jesus has risen. Come and see and then go and tell the disciples that Jesus is in Galilee. The women did as told and on the way Jesus met them. They worshipped him and Jesus told the women the same message as the angels said.

The guards went into Jerusalem and told the chief priests what had happened. The chief priests and elders bribed the guards to say that the disciples had come and stolen Jesus’ body and they would keep the soldiers from getting into trouble because of it. The soldiers agreed.

Acts 1:3-11:  Luke picks up the story right after the resurrection.  Jesus gave many proofs that he was alive.  He appeared to the disciples over a a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit.

The disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom of Israel.  Jesus said that is not for you to know.  You will receive power with the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the world. Then Jesus was taken up to heaven and as the disciples watched two men told them Jesus would return in the same way he was taken.

Questions:

9a) 1 Corinthians argues that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then our faith is useless and we are all false witnesses. Our faith is futile and we are still unsaved sinners and there is no afterlife with God in heaven.  I think the number of witnesses who saw Jesus alive and touched him is proof.  Mary clung to Jesus when she met him after his death (John 20:17).  Thomas touched Jesus’ wounds (John 20:27).

All the disciples witnessed Jesus in the flesh when he appeared to them.  1 Corinthians 15:6 says 500 people witnesses Jesus walk on the earth after his death.  Furthermore, as the Bible is God’s breathed word, we are to have faith in what it says.  The Bible says his body rose from the dead and Jesus walked the earth once more.  Hence, we are to believe it.

b)  Our faith is useless and we are still in our sin.  There will be no eternal life with God in heaven. For if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then neither can we.

10)  John 10:17-18:  Jesus laid down his life and took it up again.  This is how it shall be with us.

Acts 2:31 with Psalm 16:10:  Jesus would not be abandoned to the grave nor his body decay.

Acts 17:30-31:  God will judge the world and His proof is raising men from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:45-58:  Physical death is the penalty for sin so when we die, our sins die with us.  When we are raised, we are raised anew–imperishable and immortal–and we are now righteous with God.

Ephesians 1:18-20; Romans 6:4:  We can live a new life through the glory of the Father.  God has power over the dead to give life.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14:  With Jesus’ death and resurrection, he gave the ability and power for all believers to rise from the dead with him to be with God.

Hebrews 7:16, 23-28:  Jesus’ resurrection allows us to live forever and our sins are forgiven forever with his blood.  We can all be near to God because of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:3-5:  Jesus’ death and resurrection gives us a new life and inheritance in heaven.

Christ’s resurrection must take place physically or we cannot rise from the grave and come to new life in him and live eternally with God.

Conclusions:  Great lesson!  I had never really connected how it’s the fact Jesus rose from the dead that allows us to rise and be with God.  I had always just thought Jesus died for our sins and now we get to be with God.  Nope.  If Jesus hadn’t risen from the grave, Jesus could have died for our sins but we’d have no eternal life.  We’d just be cleansed forever but not live forever.

Hence, Jesus’ physical death on the cross paid for our sins.  His resurrection is our resurrection as well:  into a new life with God always.  Great passages explaining this!

End Notes: Acts 1 records the last time Jesus is seen by his disciples in his physical body.  You can only be a witness for Jesus if you have the Holy Spirit within.

Jesus’ commission of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the rest of the Earth is the outline of the rest of Acts–in that order.

Jesus’ ascension into heaven is for the disciples:  so they would know for a fact he was gone.  With his departure, the Holy Spirit could now come (John 16:7).

Presumably two angels appear and tell the disciples to get to work.

I love the phrase “same Jesus.”  Jesus never changes as God never changes.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 29, Day 3: John 20:1-18; Luke 24:12-32

Summary of passages:  John 20:1-18:  Mary Magdalene returns to Jesus’ tomb early on the first day of the week and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple (John) that Jesus had loved and told them that Jesus’ body had been taken.

Peter and the other disciple run to Jesus’ tomb to investigate and saw strips of linen lying in the tomb and the burial cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.  The disciples returned home but Mary stood outside the tomb crying.  She looked in the tomb and saw two angels in white seater where Jesus’ body had been.  They asked her why she was crying and she answered because Jesus’ body was stolen and she doesn’t know where it is.

Jesus appeared at that moment.  He asked her the same thing and she does not recognize him until he utters her name.  He told her to go and tell his brothers that he will be returning to his Father and she did.

Luke 24:12-32:  Being told by the women that Jesus had arisen, Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself since he didn’t believe them.  He saw the strips of linen in Jesus’ tomb but still wondered what had happened.

On the road to Emmaus that same day, two of Jesus’ followers were wondering what was going on.  Jesus appeared to them but they did not recognize him.  He asked them what they were speaking about.  Cleopas said he must be a stranger if he doesn’t know recent events.  They recounted the story of how Jesus had been crucified and how his body was now missing and how the women had said he is risen from the dead.

Jesus called them foolish not to understand the prophets so he began with Moses and explained all the Scriptures concerning himself.  They invited him to stay with them overnight.  He blessed the bread and then they recognized him and Jesus disappeared.

Questions:

6)  “The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.”  The fact that the strips of linen and cloth were neatly arranged discounted the grave robbery theory as robbers have no concern for neatness and would have hurriedly stripped off the linen to get to what lay beneath.

7a)  As intimate as sheep who know their master’s voice like Mary who instantly recognized him when he spoke her name.  The caregiver for all of their needs and whom they implicitly trust, obey, and follow.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This whole study has impressed upon me the importance of doing His calling for my life on this earth.  How not to give up on that in the face of adversity.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The importance of understanding the Scriptures and the prophecies of the Old Testament.  The importance of listening to Jesus when he does explain them to you.  And the importance of sharing those lessons learned with others as Jesus himself did.  How we should pray to see Jesus in our midst.  How we should pray for our hearts to be set aflame by him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I try to explain to my kids the meanings and the intricacies of the Bible in terms they will understand.  And I try to explain to you all as well what I understand.  I pray to see Jesus and have him guide my heart and I pray this for others and my kids as well.  I teach them he is there and we can see him with grace and love.

Conclusions:  Don’t like reading John in the middle of the chapter.  Read more for further understanding.  Who amongst us wouldn’t have wanted to have been on that road to Emmaus to hear Jesus explain the Old Testament?  Wow!  What a gift!  Can you imagine the power of Jesus uttering your name and you instantly recognize him?  I want to hear my name spoken from his lips!

Overall, filler lesson since Matthew was not mentioned at all with a lot of personal questions.  Important?  Yes.  For we all must learn to recognize Jesus’ voice in our lives and understand the connections of the Old and New Testaments.

End Notes:  Cleopas could very well be the husband of “Mary the wife of Clopas” who stood faithfully by Jesus’ cross as he died (John 19:25).

John and Peter do not understand what they see because they have forgotten Jesus’ words.  They only know something amazing has happened.

Note Mary is NOT afraid when the angels appear to her here.  This is one of the few places in the Bible when someone is not afraid when angels appear to man.  Her grief is such that their presence does not affect her.

Mary plans to carry Jesus away when she finds him.  How she would accomplish this remains a mystery but her devotion is such she only is focused on finding Jesus.

Mary is already clinging to Jesus when he tells her to not hold onto him.  This tells us he definitely has a tangible, physical body.

Note Jesus’ distinction between “my father” and “your father”.  He is differentiating himself from us as he should since he is our lord as well.

If someone had fabricated this story, would they make a woman the first to see Jesus?  No. Women were nothing in first century AD.  This speaks to the Truth of God’s Word.

Jesus knew the 2 men on the road to Emmaus were sad when they shouldn’t be.  Hence, he wanted them to understand what had truly happened.  Amazing God’s care for the lost!

Jesus encourages them to tell him things even though he already knows them.  As God wants us to do always.

Jesus called them foolish for not believing the testimony of others.  It was a heart problem as so often it is with us.

We should pray that Jesus opens our eyes to see him who walks by our side every day.  Then, as these two men did, we will see him and understand.  Their hearts were set aflame by Jesus’ words. What our prayer should be every day:  to be on fire for Jesus!

Map of Emmaus with great re-telling and famous accompanying artwork:  http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm

Cleopas:  What we know is basically what the Bible tells us of him.  He is never mentioned again outside of this story.  More information HERE if interested.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 29, Day 2: Matthew 28:1-15

Summary of passage:  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to Jesus’ tomb after the Sabbath at dawn.  An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled the stone back.  He appeared like lightning in all white.  The guards were afraid of him and fainted.

The angel told the women to not be afraid and that Jesus has risen.  Come and see and then go and tell the disciples that Jesus is in Galilee.  The women did as told and on the way Jesus met them.  They worshipped him and Jesus told the women the same message as the angels said.

The guards went into Jerusalem and told the chief priests what had happened.  The chief priests and elders bribed the guards to say that the disciples had come and stolen Jesus’ body and they would keep the soldiers from getting into trouble because of it.  The soldiers agreed.

Questions:

3a)  Three days after he was crucified on the Sabbath.  Mark 16:1 says when the Sabbath was over.  Luke and John both say the women arrived early on the first day of the week.

b)  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.  Mark 16:1 says Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus and Salome.  Luke does not name them until verse 10, saying Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others.  John just mentions Mary Magdalene.

c)  Jesus had already risen.

4a)  A violent earthquake had accompanied the angel.  His appearance was like lightning and he single-handedly opened the tomb.  Mark tells us that the tomb was already open and a young man dressed in a white robe was sitting in Jesus tomb.  They were afraid as well because Jesus’ body was missing.  Luke says that two men in clothes gleaming like lightning suddenly appeared beside the women in the tomb that had already been opened.  John says Mary Magdalene saw tow angels in the tomb seated where Jesus’ body had been.  She was crying and then Jesus himself appears to her.

[Fear is a natural human response to supernatural events and things the mind cannot comprehend nor understand.]

b)  They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him.  The other gospels’ versions are too different here to compare.

c)  The same thing the angels told them to do:  “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”  The other gospels’ versions are too different to compare.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With Jesus, fear is masked by a hope and a knowledge of what is to come.  Everyone is afraid at times in their life especially as children since there is just so much we do not know yet.  We are afraid of people, of evil, of bad things happening, of death of ourselves or of loved ones, of the unknown, of circumstances that spiral out of control, etc.  But with Jesus we can be calm as the storm swirls around us and find comfort in him.

With the Holy Spirit, he is always present within so we don’t have to be alone when frightful things happen in this world.  Pray and he will be there–always.

5a)  Jesus’ friends:  With joy and worship.

The guards:  With fear.

The Jewish leaders:  With fear and denial and deception.

The Jewish people:  Not told in Matthew.  Luke leads us to believe confusion.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The disciples didn’t understand themselves Jesus’ death and purpose yet so how could they invent such a story of resurrection?  Also, they doubted as well what they had seen until Jesus himself appeared to them.  Furthermore, they had no motivation to invent such a story.  They would only be persecuted more for saying such a thing.  Why bring that upon themselves?

Conclusions:  A better question for 5b would have been “Which group in part A could you identify with and how do you respond to Jesus’ Resurrection?”  Overall, liked this lesson.  Interesting how again the story and the details vary amongst the disciples.  Love how the priests are still trying to be in control of earthly events and to maintain their power.  But money cannot hide the Truth.

End Notes:  The women were headed to properly embalm and care for Jesus’ body.  Jewish law strictly forbade handling dead bodies during the Sabbath and since he died during a Sabbath celebration they had to wait for its conclusion.

Matthew is the only one who notes the earthquake.  The earth shook at Jesus’ death and at the announcement of his resurrection.

Jesus is the first one recorded in the Bible to be resurrected with a new body.  He is still resurrected in heaven.

Jesus had already left the tomb when the angel appeared.  The only reason the stone was rolled away was for the benefit of the witnesses to testify that Jesus was not there.  Note how it’s the same people who watched Jesus’ body being placed in the tomb who witnessed to its being gone.  This proves the truth of their words.

Jesus’ resurrection proved that he had paid our sins with the Father and that it was accepted.

If you are running towards Christ, it is likely he will meet you.  If you are moving slowly, there is more chance of failure along the way.  So run to him!

Historically speaking, there is more evidence for Christ’s resurrection than most other events in history.  Doubters are those like the priests:  they know the truth but reject it.  And for that they will pay the price.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Jesus calls his disciples “Brothers”.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 29, Day 5: Genesis 47:28-48:22

Summary of passage:  Israel requested to be buried in the Promised Land.  When Jacob was old, Joseph and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, went to visit him.  Jacob repeated God’s promise to him and he reckons Joseph’s two sons as his to share in this blessing and inheritance.  Jacob blesses the two boys, giving the firstborn blessings to the younger.

Joseph was displeased that Jacob blessed the younger son over the older son but Jacob insisted, saying he will be greater than his brother.  Thus Ephraim was put ahead of Manasseh.

Jacob says God will take him soon back to the Promised Land and he gives Joseph the land he took from the Amorites.

Questions:

10a)  Joseph obtained the rights of the firstborn when Reuben defiled his father’s marriage bed.  Then Jacob substitutes Joseph for his two sons, thus giving Joseph double the inheritance.

b)  Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over Reuben

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be honest, none stand out.

12)  God

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 19 where Jacob clearly says the younger will be greater than the older. Talk about setting up sibling rivalry.

14)  He asks to be buried in the Promised Land (47:30).  He repeats God’s covenant (48:4).  He says Joseph’s two sons will inherit the territory from God (48:6).  He tells Joseph that God will take him back to the Promised Land ( 48:21) and gives him some land he conquered there (48:22).

Conclusions:  Didn’t get much out of this besides the fact Jacob finally believed God, which we found out a while back.  Great example of how life isn’t fair and just because you are born first doesn’t mean you are automatically granted privileges.  You have to earn it and all the aforementioned first-borns forfeited theirs.

Thus, we can think of the firstborn more as the first position and not necessarily birth order as we’ve seen throughout Genesis.

With this adoption, there are actually 13 tribes/sons of Israel as Joseph’s inheritance is now divided into two.

I wish the Bible said why Jacob gave Joseph’s two sons the inheritance when he did this for no other.  I’m assuming because Joseph is his favorite and as the favorite you are accorded special privileges.  Not saying this is right but this is the way of the world.

We know that the right hand is the favored position as exhibited the best by Jesus sitting at the right hand of God.

The story of Joseph is a great parallel to Jesus’s and I wish BSF would have spent more time drawing that comparison out in the questions.

End Notes:  Luz is another name for Bethel.

Fun Search:  Do research on the number 12 in the Bible.  12 is special to God as seen with 12 sons and 12 disciples, etc.

Fun Fact:  This is the first mention in the Bible of God as a shepherd to His people (Genesis 48:15).

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 29, Day 4: Genesis 47:13-31

Summary of passage:  All the food (except that stored by Joseph) was eaten in Egypt and Canaan during the famine.  Joseph brought all the money in payment for the grain to Pharaoh and when all of the people’s money was gone the people came to Joseph, begging for food.

So Joseph began exchanging food for the people’s livestock.  When the people’s livestock was gone, they had nothing left to sell except their land and their bodies.  So all the land became Pharaoh’s and the people were reduced to servitude.  All except the priests who were protected and fed by Pharaoh.

Joseph instructed the people to begin planting again but to give one-fifth of their crop to Pharaoh. This became law for all land except the priests’ land.

The Israelites settled in Goshen, acquired property, and were fruitful.  Israel requested to be buried in the Promised Land.

Questions:

8a)  That the Promised Land was in fact his–enough so to spent eternity there.  That he believed in God’s covenant with him and his people.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The Bible says our home is in heaven.  Our inheritance is in heaven.  We are children of God.  We exist for heavenly rewards, not earthly rewards.

This life is temporary.  We are to do God’s work here and work for Him.  Our time here is short and we are to live each day to the fullest for we do not know when God will call us home.  We should look forward to that day when we get to spend eternity with God. We should not be afraid.  If our work is done, we shall depart to a better place.

9a)  First, the people were to use money to buy grain.  Second, they were to use livestock once their money ran out.  Finally, they were to sell their land and bodies as payment.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So the people didn’t get used to handouts from the government.  The people still had to earn their food and work for it.  This gives people a sense of pride and keeps the country prosperous.

c)  No.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Discipline of kids and money.

Conclusions:  I found this interesting cause I never really knew how the Israelites ended up in bondage in Egypt.  This is one reason at least.  Fascinating.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 29, Day 3: Genesis 46:5-47:12

Summary of passage:  Jacob left Beersheba for Egypt, taking with him all his sons, their wives and children, his daughters and their families and all his possessions including his livestock.  They numbered 66 persons who went with Jacob that were direct descendants. Counting Joseph and his two sons and Jacob the total came to 70 in Egypt.

Joseph met his family at Goshen to escort them to Egypt and he threw his arms around his father and wept. Joseph said he will go to Pharaoh and ask for them to settle in Goshen as shepherds for all shepherds are detestable to Egyptians.  Pharaoh gave them the best land in Goshen and told Joseph to choose some to tend his flocks as well.

Jacob blessed Pharaoh and settled in Goshen in the best part of the land and had plenty to eat.

Questions:

5a)  66 that journeyed with Jacob, 70 including Joseph and his 2 kids and Jacob himself.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To preserve the record to Jesus.  These sons are also going to be the 12 Nations of Israel, God’s chosen people, so it’s important to know who’s who.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Our names are written in heaven and those who accept Jesus as their Savior are written in the book of life and go to heaven.  Anyone else goes to the lake of fire.  It lets me know that I am saved, I am known, I am remembered, I am important, I am loved.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So as not to intermix with the locals.  To stay as a separate people and propagate the land as God commanded. To grow together and not separate.  And to obey God who told Jacob to go to Egypt where He would make them into a great nation.

b)  It kept the Israelites separate from the Egyptians, away from their influence and corruptible practices and kept God’s people from intermingling.  It was apparently a good land to graze animals on.

7)  Even though Pharaoh did not believe in the One, True God, he recognized God’s power and abilities and God’s will for Joseph.  He recognized competency and put Joseph in charge despite who he was and his background.  He was gracious to Joseph and Jacob, allowing them to come to Egypt and have the best land and whatever else they need.

He made every effort to assimilate Joseph and make him comfortable by giving him a prominent Egyptian wife.  He trusted Joseph implicitly with his empire.  He gave Joseph carts for Jacob to travel to Egypt.

Ultimately, Pharaoh was saving his people and was using whomever could do that for him.  He cared for the people by preparing for the famine instead of letting the poor die out.  He was preparing for the future, not the present.  He delegated where he needed to delegate and trusted those under him to do the job.  He rewarded those who served him well (such as Joseph).  Overall, Pharaoh saved his kingdom along with God’s people.

Conclusions:  Let’s not forget that Joseph is the whole reason Jacob and his family were saved.  “Joseph settled his father”.  “Joseph provided food”.  Pharaoh accepted Jacob and the family only because of Joseph.  If they had just been regular Hebrews looking for relief from the famine, they would have been turned away.  But because of Joseph (and God) they were saved–as was God’s will.

The Egyptians considered sheep unclean; hence, everyone who worked with sheep were unclean.

Goshen was what is basically the Sinai Peninsula today.  Today it is a desert land but in ancient times it was renown for it’s grazing of animals.  Succinct history on Goshen HERE.

Map of Goshen:  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bc/images/03990_000_bible-map-9.pdf