Genesis 50

1 Joseph threw himself on his father, crying and kissing his face.
2 Then Joseph gave orders to embalm his father's body.
3 It took forty days, the normal time for embalming. The Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
4 When the time of mourning was over, Joseph said to the king's officials, "Please take this message to the king:
5 "When my father was about to die, he made me promise him that I would bury him in the tomb which he had prepared in the land of Canaan. So please let me go and bury my father, and then I will come back.' " 1
6 The king answered, "Go and bury your father, as you promised you would."
7 So Joseph went to bury his father. All the king's officials, the senior men of his court, and all the leading men of Egypt went with Joseph.
8 His family, his brothers, and the rest of his father's family all went with him. Only their small children and their sheep, goats, and cattle stayed in the region of Goshen.
9 Men in chariots and men on horseback also went with him; it was a huge group.
10 When they came to the threshing place at Atad east of the Jordan, they mourned loudly for a long time, and Joseph performed mourning ceremonies for seven days.
11 When the citizens of Canaan saw those people mourning at Atad, they said, "What a solemn ceremony of mourning the Egyptians are holding!" That is why the place was named Abel Mizraim.
12 So Jacob's sons did as he had commanded them;
13 they carried his body to Canaan and buried it in the cave at Machpelah east of Mamre in the field which Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial ground. 2
14 After Joseph had buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him for the funeral.
15 After the death of their father, Joseph's brothers said, "What if Joseph still hates us and plans to pay us back for all the harm we did to him?"
16 So they sent a message to Joseph: "Before our father died,
17 he told us to ask you, "Please forgive the crime your brothers committed when they wronged you.' Now please forgive us the wrong that we, the servants of your father's God, have done." Joseph cried when he received this message.
18 Then his brothers themselves came and bowed down before him. "Here we are before you as your slaves," they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid; I can't put myself in the place of God.
20 You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened.
21 You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children." So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts.
22 Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father's family; he was a hundred and ten years old when he died.
23 He lived to see Ephraim's children and grandchildren. He also lived to receive the children of Machir son of Manasseh into the family.
24 He said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land he solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
25 Then Joseph asked his people to make a vow. "Promise me," he said, "that when God leads you to that land, you will take my body with you." 3
26 So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of a hundred and ten. They embalmed his body and put it in a coffin.

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Genesis 50 Commentary

Chapter 50

The mourning for Jacob. (1-6) His funeral. (7-14) Joseph's brethren crave his pardon, He comforts them. (15-21) Joseph's direction concerning his bones, His death. (22-26)

Verses 1-6 Though pious relatives and friends have lived to a good old age, and we are confident they are gone to glory, yet we may regret our own loss, and pay respect to their memory by lamenting them. Grace does not destroy, but it purifies, moderates, and regulates natural affection. The departed soul is out of the reach of any tokens of our affection; but it is proper to show respect to the body, of which we look for a glorious and joyful resurrection, whatever may become of its remains in this world. Thus Joseph showed his faith in God, and love to his father. He ordered the body to be embalmed, or wrapped up with spices, to preserve it. See how vile our bodies are, when the soul has forsaken them; they will in a very little time become noisome, and offensive.

Verses 7-14 Jacob's body was attended, not only by his own family, but by the great men of Egypt. Now that they were better acquainted with the Hebrews, they began to respect them. Professors of religion should endeavour by wisdom and love to remove the prejudices many have against them. Standers-by took notice of it as a grievous mourning. The death of good men is a loss to any place, and ought to be greatly lamented.

Verses 15-21 Various motives might cause the sons of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding the prophetic vision Abraham had of their bondage there. Judging of Joseph from the general temper of human nature, they thought he would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. Not being able to resist, or to flee away, they attempted to soften him by humbling themselves. They pleaded with him as the servants of Jacob's God. Joseph was much affected at seeing this complete fulfilment of his dreams. He directs them not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek the Divine forgiveness. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to.

Verses 22-26 Joseph having honoured his father, his days were long in the land, which, for the present, God had given him. When he saw his death approaching, he comforted his brethren with the assurance of their return to Canaan in due time. We must comfort others with the same comforts with which we have been comforted of God, and encourage them to rest on the promises which are our support. For a confession of his own faith, and a confirmation of theirs, he charges them to keep his remains unburied till that glorious day, when they should be settled in the land of promise. Thus Joseph, by faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, and the promise of Canaan, gave commandment concerning his bones. This would keep up their expectation of a speedy departure from Egypt, and keep Canaan continually in their minds. This would also attach Joseph's posterity to their brethren. The death, as well as the life of this eminent saint, was truly excellent; both furnish us with strong encouragement to persevere in the service of God. How happy to set our early in the heavenly race, to continue stedfastly, and to finish the course with joy! This Joseph did, this we also may do. Even when the pains of death are upon us, if we have trusted in Him upon whom the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles depended, we need not fear to say, "My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

Cross References 3

  • 1. 50.5Genesis 47.29-31.
  • 2. 50.13Acts 7.16.
  • 3. 50.25Exodus 13.19;Joshua 24.32;Hebrews 11.22.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. abel mizraim: [This name sounds like the Hebrew for "mourning of the Egyptians."]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 50

This chapter contains a short account of what happened from the death of Jacob to the death of Joseph, and is chiefly concerned with the funeral of Jacob; it first gives an account how Joseph was affected with his father's death, of his orders to the physicians to embalm him, and of the time of their embalming him, and of the Egyptians mourning for him, Ge 50:1-3, next of his request to Pharaoh to give him leave to go and bury his father in Canaan, and his grant of it, Ge 50:4-6 and then of the grand funeral procession thither, the mourning made for Jacob, and his interment according to his orders, Ge 50:7-13 upon the return of Joseph and his brethren to Egypt, they fearing his resentment of their former usage of him, entreat him to forgive them; which they said they did at the direction of their father, to which Joseph readily agreed, and comforted them, and spoke kindly to them, and bid them not fear any hurt from him, for whatever were their intention, God meant it, and had overruled it for good, Ge 50:14-21 and the chapter is concluded with an account of Joseph's age and death, and of his posterity he saw before his death, and of the charge he gave to his brethren to carry his bones with them, when they should depart from Egypt, Ge 50:22-26.

Genesis 50 Commentaries