“Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So, the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years” (Genesis 47:28).

Photographers call it sweet light. Painters refer to it as the blue hour. The soft luminescence in the sky between sunset and dusk is called twilight. This gentle illumination of the Earth’s lower atmosphere happens when our sun falls below the horizon and scatters light in the up- per atmosphere. The world is neither light nor dark.

Twilight is measured by the solar elevation angle and has three subcategories: civil, nautical, and astronomical. The first permits most outdoor activities, such as reading without artificial light. The second allows you to still discern the horizon. But the third category marks complete darkness when you can clearly see the stars. Used metaphorically, twilight describes something or someone losing strength and approaching the end of life.

Jacob spent his twilight years in Egypt surrounded by his family. During the seven-year famine, Joseph moved his father, his brothers, and their families to Goshen. Jacob, who was now called Israel, had lived a long and difficult life. His early deception of Isaac brought him deep pain. He became a fugitive and never saw his mother again. He worked seven years for his bride, only to be deceived by a father-in-law who repeatedly took advantage of him. Then grief came to him from living in a divided household with sons who mistreated Joseph.

The results of Jacob’s sins were difficult for him to bear, but the faithful patriarch persevered and then, near the end of his life, he was finally able to enjoy “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). The gentle light of twilight touched his closing days. The clouds parted and the final glow of heaven brightened his closing hours. His final act was to pronounce a blessing on all his children. “When Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people” (Genesis 49:33).

Father in heaven, may the last days of my life on earth bring blessings to my family.

For Further Study: Genesis 49:28–50:1; Psalm 116:15; Revelation 14:13


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