Genesis 46:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 46:3, NIV: I am God, the God of your father,' he said. 'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

Genesis 46:3, ESV: Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation.

Genesis 46:3, KJV: 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:

Genesis 46:3, NASB: Then He said, 'I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

Genesis 46:3, NLT: 'I am God, the God of your father,' the voice said. 'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation.

Genesis 46:3, CSB: God said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

What does Genesis 46:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A large family, headed by Jacob, is in the process of moving from their home in the Promised Land of Canaan to Egypt. Jacob is on his way to be reunited with his long-lost son Joseph. The move will also protect the family from the severe famine in the land (Genesis 45:16–20). Before leaving behind Canaan, Jacob has stopped in Beersheba (Genesis 26:33) to offer sacrifices to God. In response, God is speaking to Jacob, also called Israel (Genesis 35:10).

Here, God formally identifies himself as "El," a title He has often used in Genesis. There can be no question that the One speaking to Jacob is the God of his father Isaac.

Though God has spoken to Jacob relatively often in Genesis, this will be the last recorded instance where He speaks directly to one of the patriarchs. God's next recorded revelation of Himself will be to Moses, several centuries in the future (Exodus 3). God's message is that Jacob should not be afraid to leave behind the Promised Land to move his family to Egypt. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob each took any departure from the land very seriously. Since God promised it to them (Genesis 13:15). To leave it behind to live elsewhere could be viewed as a loss of faith in the promises of God. God assures Jacob that He approves of this move to Egypt. The promises are still in effect. In fact, God tells Jacob that He will fulfill His promise to make a great nation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Egypt.

God's promise to this chosen family included the borders of their future nation. However, God would not be limited by those borders when keeping His promise to multiply Israel as the sands or the stars. Their numbers and national identity would grow to mighty proportions in Egypt (Exodus 1:7)