Genesis 46:4—Did God bring Jacob out of Egypt or did he die there?

Problem: In this verse, God promised Jacob, “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.” However, Jacob died in Egypt (Gen. 49:33) and never returned to the Land of Promise.

Solution: This promise was fulfilled to Jacob in several ways, any one of which would explain the difficulty. First, it was a promise to Jacob’s posterity who were brought back out of Egypt. This is indicated by the statement, “I will make of you a great nation” (v. 3). Second, Jacob was probably brought back from Egypt along with Joseph, though not alive (Gen. 50:25; Ex. 13:19). Finally, after the resurrection Jacob will return to the Land alive (cf. Matt. 8:11).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.