Genesis 50 (NRSV)
Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; 3they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
Jacob was mourned for 70 days among the whole nation of Egypt. A royal mourning period in Egypt was 72 days. Jacob was obviously a greatly honored man.
4When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, “If now I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: 5My father made me swear an oath; he said, ‘I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.”
6Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”
7So Joseph went up to bury his father.
Luther remarks that there is no burial recorded in the Scriptures quite as honorable as this or with such wealth of detail.
With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company.
10When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father seven days. 11When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.
So Jacob is buried alongside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah.
14After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
Joseph Forgives His Brothers
15Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?”
16So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.”
Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.”
19But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
Romans 8:28 (Amplified Bible)
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
Are we able to be so generous with those who have hurt us, so trusting in a God who sometimes takes a long time to make things right? Oh, that I would be able to live my life in God’s grace and peace, and leave the judgment to Him! HERE is “My Life Is in You, Lord.”
Joseph’s Last Days and Death
22So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. 23Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees. 24Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
Joseph was the human agent most responsible for bringing this family to Egypt. Yet he knew that because of the covenant God had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this would not be their resting place. They were headed — eventually — back to Canaan.
25So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph’s remains were taken to Canaan four hundred year later, and he was buried at Shechem:
Exodus 13:19 (NIV)
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”
Joshua 24:32 (NIV)
And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
The book of Genesis begins with Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the origin of nations at the Tower of Babel. Next come the wonderful stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and his family, and Joseph.
What have you learned as you have been “DWELLING in the Word” in Genesis?
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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.