Genesis 49:29-Genesis 50
Jacob is going to die, and asks to be buried with his fathers in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, where Abraham, Sarah and Leah are buried. Remember how Rachel was supposedly his favorite, yet he chose to be buried where Leah is buried.
Genesis 49:33 And 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.
It is interesting that Jacob was active until the last. So many of the patriarchs were active until they breathed their last. I hope that God allows me to be active until the very end too.
Genesis 50 (deaths)
Joseph weeps over his father, and then has his servants, the physicians. to embalm his father. It took forty days to do this, and the Egyptians mourned with Joseph for seventy days. Pharaoh gives permission for Joseph to leave the country to bury his father.
There was a funeral procession. Genesis 50: 7-11 So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the house of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s house. Only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen, and it was a very great gathering. Then they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and they mourned there with a great and very solemn lamentation. He observed seven days of mourning for his father. And when all the inhabitants of the land, the Canannites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, the said, “This is a deep mourning for the Egyptians. Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
Abel Mizraim means the mourning of Egypt. I find it interesting that the mourning takes place on the threshing floor. A threshing floor is where the wheat is separated from the chaff – and it is done by beating the wheat until the berries fall. The berries are heavier than the chaff. Sometimes when we are in mourning for those we love, it feels like we are being threshed. When there is the death of something that is old in us, there is a feeling of the pain of the separation at times. I find it incredible that the Egyptians took the time to do such a mourning for one who was not an Egyptian – that shows us how much regard they had for what Joseph had done to preserve the land. Yet, we will see, that over time, the memory of the Egyptians will fade, and when we next meet the Israelites, 400 years later, they will be considered a threat to the Egyptians and made into slaves.
Joseph returns to Egypt after burying their father, and to show you how deep the brothers feared Joseph because of what they had done to him, they feared that now that their father was dead, Joseph would change his behavior toward them. It is a good reminder that our sins can affect our future behavior with others.
Genesis 50: 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.”
I grew up with a skewed picture of God, thinking that God kept a book of my sins, and he would look at them and keep reminding Himself of my failures. That was a period of unbelief on my part, unbelief that God could really forgive my sins, separate them from me as far as the east is from the west. I didn’t understand the immense love that God had for me, for us, that He dealt with our sins as completely as He had. Just like Joseph’s brothers, I didn’t understand the character and nature of God (or Joseph as a picture of God). They assumed that Joseph had the same mind set as they had, and if they were in Joseph’s sandals, they would have taken vengeance.
So, what do they do, they invent (and I am certain it was invention) something that their father “said” on his death bed. Verse 16-17 So they sent messengers to Joseph saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, “Thus you shall say to Joseph, ‘I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin: for they did evil to you’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Reminds me of when Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because of their unbelief. Joseph had already told them that God had orchestrated what happened to preserve his family, but his brothers still were bound by the shackles of their guilt, not fully accepting the forgiveness extended to them.
I love these verses, when Joseph responds to his brothers, verse 19-21 Joseph said to them,”Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me: but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Here is a good example of the healing power of forgiveness. Joseph had choices to make when his brothers did what they did to him. He could have held a grudge, tried to get them back in kind, nursed the hatred for what they did, and he would have still been bound in a prison of unforgiveness. But he is free of the past, so free that he could see the Hand of God in the midst of the trouble he experienced. So free that he could extend love to his brothers. He is not shackled by his past.
I used to nurse grudges against my parents for what they did, hated them, and even though they had both been dead many years, I was still linked to them. True freedom happened when I was able to forgive them. I assure you, as you have seen by the study of the prophecies of the brothers, that they end up reaping what they have sown, unless they learned a lesson from their past. They will answer to God, but Joseph is so right, HE is NOT GOD. Neither are we. We have to trust that God will judge accurately.
Then we have, sad to say, the death of Joseph at a ripe old age of 110 years. He was able to see his children’s children’s children – the third generation of offspring. And he pronounces this blessing verse 24 “I am dying: But God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
This is a promise that will take 400 years to come to completion, but how they must have held onto it year after year in the midst of their slavery.
Joseph makes them promise, verse 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
Very similar to our remembering of Jesus through the breaking of bread, Joseph’s descendants would remember God’s promise through Joseph’s bones, and the promise that they had made to take the bones out of Egypt. And this will happen. Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.
So Joseph died at 110 years old, was embalmed and buried in Egypt, but only temporarily.
Beth Moore, in her video connected to the Patriarchs did a word study that surprised me. She said, pp 239 The Hebrew word for “coffin” in Genesis 50:26 is the same world translated “Ark” in the Exodus, “Ark of the Covenant.” Though a detour seemed to await Joseph, its ultimate outcome was to allow him indeed to see that all was well with his brothers.
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
May we, like the Patriarchs die in faith, as pilgrims on the earth – not looking back to our past, but looking forward to our glorious homeland, a heavenly country. I know that God is proud of us as we tread our steps through the wilderness towards His promised land. Let’s keep pressing forward.
Have a blessed day.
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