Previously we have seen a tearful reunion between Jacob and his son Joseph, whom Jacob thought was dead. Now Jacob and his large family have escaped worldwide famine by going to live with Joseph in Egypt. Egypt was a place of escape and refuge for Abraham years before, and becomes a place of escape for young Jesus and his family centuries later. Looking ahead in the story, this place of refuge becomes a place of bondage for Jacob’s family when a Pharaoh of a different dynastic family takes the throne.
The rest of the starving world came to Egypt for food and ended up selling their livestock, their lands, and ultimately themselves as debt-slaves to Pharaoh. Jacob and his family are blessed with the gain of the land of Goshen, a fertile area perfect for raising their sheep. The Egyptians are not keen on visiting their shepherd-neighbors, as they hold shepherds in lowest regard, so the people of Israel are able to remain separate from those who worship pagan gods.