Acts 7:11-15
Acts 7:11 (KJB)
Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.
Dearth - Famine
Sustenance - Food, grain, fodder, or staple foods
After Joseph had interpreted the dream of Pharaoh concerning the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine, God had begun to fulfill these fourteen years. The first seven years had yielded bumper crops in Egypt and there was a massive amount of grain available for the people of Egypt and for others who came and bought. Then the next seven years brought the famine which had been so bad that it had extended over the borders into Egypt and was felt in the land of Canaan. The land was so parched it was unable to grow anything to sustain any types of life whether it be human or animal.
Acts 7:12 (KJB)
But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
Jacob had heard that there was corn in Egypt. The term “corn” can be generically understood as grain and not necessarily only corn. How Jacob came to know that there was grain to be bought in Egypt is not known. He might have heard this from someone who brought grain in Egypt and told him. (Gen 42:1-2 KJV) Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? {2} And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. Jacob then says to his ten sons as if to say, there is corn in Egypt why aren’t you packed yet and on your way? So Jacob had dispatched his ten sons, Joseph’s brethren to Egypt to buy grain. Apparently they were going to buy a quantity since all ten of them had went and they probably had others with them for the purpose of repelling any thieves who might want to steal the grain as they came out of Egypt.
Acts 7:13 (KJB)
And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.
(Gen 43:1-2 KJV) And the famine was sore in the land. {2} And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. The famine was so bad that they had to make another trip into Egypt to buy more grain but this time all eleven of them went which included Benjamin as Joseph had ordered. Joseph had prepared a meal for them and gave Benjamin five times as much as the other brothers. (Gen 43:34 KJV) And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him. Joseph did this to test the brothers one more time to see if they had repented of their pernicious ways. Joseph remembered that he was the youngest and they mistreated him and sold him into slavery, so he wanted to see if there would be anything said against Benjamin having five times more than the others. However, this time all eleven brothers had eaten merrily instead of any infighting or jealousy. It was at this time that Joseph made himself known to his brothers. (Gen 45:1 KJV) Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. Then after Joseph had made himself know to them, they had been introduced to Pharaoh. (Gen 45:16 KJV) And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. Instead of Pharaoh being repulsed by the fact they were shepherds, Pharaoh was pleased.
Acts 7:14 (KJB)
Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
One of the attacks against the Bible is that of numbers being incorrect in events which are listed twice or more in the Bible. One of these under attack is Acts 7:14 where it speaks of 75 souls or people who went with Jacob into Egypt upon Joseph’s request. The four verses are Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5; Deuteronomy 10:22, and Acts 7:14. The explanation is below how Acts 7:14 arrives at 75 while the other verses claim 70.
In Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5, and Deuteronomy 10:22 the word for “threescore and ten” is the word “sheva” which is translated seven. Since the word is speaking of seventy, the word is “shiv’î m” which is translated seventy. If you will notice that God confirms the correct number of those who went down into Egypt as seventy in both Exodus 1:5 and Deuteronomy 10:22. When God places the same thing in the Bible twice or even three times, he is emphasizing a major fact. The fact that He is emphasizing right here is that only 70 went down into Egypt. Genesis 46:27 and Acts 7:14 are both speaking of two different events.
(Gen 46:27 KJV) And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
(Exo 1:5 KJV) And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
(Deu 10:22 KJV) Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.
(Acts 7:14 KJV) Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
In the Genesis account we have the number of those who went to Egypt with Jacob, which was 70.
(Gen 46:15 KJV) These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
This comes out to 33 - Notice there is only one daughter listed by name but verse 15 speaks of “daughters” plural fulfilling 33.
(Gen 46:26 KJV) All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six;
This now comes out to 66
(Gen 46:27 KJV) And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
With the inclusion of Joseph and Ephraim and Manasseh that comes out to 69 and since Jacob is mentioned that brings us to 70, thus fulfilling the proper number of 70 according to the Masoretic Text.
Now to Acts 7:14 and the seventy five.
(Acts 7:14 KJV) Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
Joseph called his father and “all his kindred” which would include those that were already in Egypt. This would also have included Er and Onan even though they were slain by the Lord as we read in Genesis 38. Joseph would not have known they were dead because in the previous chapter 37, he was already in Egypt as a slave.
The unnamed daughter of Leah remained in Canaan and now the 75 would include the unnamed wives in Genesis 46:26. This would concur with both Exodus 1:5 and Acts 7:14
Acts 7:15 (KJB)
So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,
Jacob had dwelt in the land of Egypt. They were given the land of Goshen in the northeastern part of Egypt, which was their entrance from the east. Since they chose to stay in Egypt, it marked the beginning of the nation of Israel which would grow to a tremendous size and that caused fear in the heart of Pharaoh who placed them into bondage. All eleven of the brothers had died in Egypt but there is nothing recorded concerning the deaths of any of them, only Jacob and Joseph are recorded.