Genesis 50

1 Joseph threw himself on his father, cried over him, and kissed him.
2 Then Joseph ordered the doctors in his service to embalm his father. So the doctors embalmed Israel.
3 The embalming was completed in the usual time--40 days. The Egyptians mourned for him 70 days.
4 When the time of mourning for Jacob was over, Joseph spoke to the Pharaoh's palace staff. He said, "Please speak directly to Pharaoh. Tell him,
5 'My father made me swear an oath. He said, "I'm about to die. Bury me in the tomb I bought for myself in Canaan." Please let me go there and bury my father; then I'll come back.'"
6 Pharaoh replied, "Go and bury your father, as you have promised him."
7 So Joseph left to bury his father. All Pharaoh's officials, the leaders in his palace staff, and all the leaders of Egypt went with him.
8 Joseph's household, his brothers, and his father's household also went with him. (Only their children, their flocks, and their cattle were left in Goshen.)
9 Chariots and horsemen went with him. It was a very large group.
10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is on the east side of the Jordan River, they began a great and solemn ceremony to mourn Jacob's death. Joseph took seven days to mourn his father's death.
11 When the Canaanites living there saw the funeral ceremonies at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "These funeral ceremonies are taken very seriously by the Egyptians." That's why that place on the east side of the Jordan was named Abel Mizraim [Egyptian Funeral Ceremonies].
12 Jacob's sons did for him what he had told them to do.
13 They carried him back to Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre. Abraham had bought this tomb from Ephron the Hittite.
14 After Joseph had buried his father, he went back to Egypt along with his brothers and everyone who had gone there with him to bury his father.
15 Joseph's brothers realized what their father's death could mean. So they thought, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us? What if he decides to pay us back for all the evil we did to him?"
16 They sent a messenger to Joseph to say, "Before your father died, he commanded us,
17 'This is what you should say to Joseph, "I'm begging you to forgive the crime and the sin your brothers committed against you. What they did to you was very evil."' So now, please forgive our crime, because we are servants of your father's God." Joseph cried when he got their message.
18 Then his brothers also came and immediately bowed down in front of him. "We are your slaves!" they said.
19 Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid! I can't take God's place.
20 Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now.
21 Don't be afraid! I will provide for you and your children." In this way he reassured them, setting their minds at ease.
22 Joseph and his father's family stayed in Egypt. Joseph lived to be 110 years old.
23 He saw his grandchildren, Ephraim's children. Even the children of Machir, son of Manasseh, were adopted by Joseph at birth.
24 At last Joseph said to his brothers, "I'm about to die. God will definitely take care of you and take you out of this land to the land he swore with an oath to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
25 Joseph made Israel's sons swear an oath. He said, "God will definitely take care of you. So be sure to carry my bones back with you."
26 Joseph died when he was 110 years old. His body was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

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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."

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