Genesis 46:26-27

6 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

This verse says that 66 descendants went down to Egypt with Jacob. If you include Joseph's sons, the count goes up to 70. How can this be so? Shouldn't it only go up to 68 if Joseph's two sons are the only thing increasing the count?

  • What about Joseph himself
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 1:44
  • @DoubleAA Is it hypothetically possible that Joseph wouldn't be counted, since he too was already in Egypt. Thing is, the text specifies that "With the two sons... the members of Jacob's family... were seventy." Manasseh and Ephraim are the ones said to bring the count to 70.
    – A.O.
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 1:53
  • Also, including Joseph, apparently against the text, would only take the count down to 67.
    – A.O.
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 2:01
  • An alternative is that the text is serving two overlapping functions in the same passage: 1) It is listing descendants of Ya'akov, including those who were deceased (such as Er and Onan—likely excluded even from the sub-tally of 33) and those who were already in Egypt (such as Yosef's sons mentioned in 46:20,27, included in the sub-tally of 14). 2) The final tally of 70 (end of 46:27) is counting members of Ya'akov's family who descended to Egypt (including Ya'akov—or, alternatively per BB 123b, Yocheved daughter of Levi—and his three surviving wives [on the premise that they were surviving]).
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


Rashi explains that Yocheved was born "in between the walls" of Egpt. That is, she was not counted explicitly in the list, bu was born while the family entered Egypt so she was added to the count.

because when they came there they were seventy, for there they found Joseph and his two sons, and Jochebed was added to them between the walls

  • I saw in schottenstein chumash this opinion this shabbat BH. Brought another opinion that Yaacov is included in the count, and yet another that Hashem is counted. The Yocheved opinion is difficult because she is the only woman on the list, and if we are counting women then a lot more than 70 come. I might ask that as a question - do you know how to resolve this?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 11:50
  • @RabbiKaii Gen. 46:15 "וְאֵת דִּינָה בִתּוֹ כָּל נֶפֶשׁ בָּנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשָׁלֹשׁ", Gen. 46:17 "וּבְנֵי אָשֵׁר יִמְנָה וְיִשְׁוָה וְיִשְׁוִי וּבְרִיעָה וְשֶׂרַח אֲחֹתָם".
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 17:40
  • @Fred were they not marred at this point?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 18:12
  • @RabbiKaii There are aggados indicating Dina was married. Not sure about Serach. Why do you ask?
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 18:22
  • @Fred basing off an idea I heard recently, and wondering if we are counting women, then why not the wives of all the men listed (and husbands of the women listed)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 18:34

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