Genesis 46:4

4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.

Genesis 46:4 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 46:4

I will go down with thee into Egypt
Which was enough to silence all his fears; for if the presence of God went with him to protect and defend hide, to bless and prosper him, and to direct, support, and comfort, he had nothing to fear from any quarter: and I will also surely bring thee up [again]:
Jarchi takes this to be a promise that he should be buried in the land of Canaan, which had its fulfilment, when his corpse was carried out of Egypt to Machpelah, and there interred; but rather this refers to the bringing up of his posterity from thence in due time, for which Jacob might be most solicitous, and so the Targum of Jonathan,

``and I will bring up thy children from thence:''
and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes:
and so close them when he was dead; this, as Aben Ezra says, was a custom of the living to the dead, and it used to be done by the nearest relations and friends, though now with us commonly by strangers, or those that are not akin: this was a custom among the Greeks and Romans, as appears from Homer {o}, Virgil F16, Ovid F17, and other writers F18; and so, among the Jews, Tobias is said to shut the eyes of his wife's father and mother, and to bury them honourably,
``Where he became old with honour, and he buried his father and mother in law honourably, and he inherited their substance, and his father Tobit's.'' (Tobit 14:13)
Of the Vulgate Latin version: Maimonides F19 reckons this of closing the eyes of the dead, among the rites used towards them, and so in the Talmud F20: now by this expression Jacob was assured that Joseph was alive, and that he should live to see him, and that Joseph would outlive him, and do this last office for him; and, as Ben Melech observes, by this he had the good news told him that Joseph should remain behind him, to sustain and support his sons, and his sons' sons, all the years that he should live after him.
FOOTNOTES:

F15 Odyss. 11.
F16 Aeneid. l. 9.
F17 Trist. l. 1. Eleg. 2.
F18 Vid. Kirchman, de Funer. Rom. l. 1. c. 6. & Kipping. Rom. Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6.
F19 Hilchot Ebel, l. 4. sect. 1.
F20 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 151. 2.

Genesis 46:4 In-Context

2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:
4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
5 And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: