Genesis 50

1 And Joseph falleth on his father's face, and weepeth over him, and kisseth him;
2 and Joseph commandeth his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father, and the physicians embalm Israel;
3 and they fulfil for him forty days, for so they fulfil the days of the embalmed, and the Egyptians weep for him seventy days.
4 And the days of his weeping pass away, and Joseph speaketh unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, `If, I pray you, I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
5 My father caused me to swear, saying, Lo, I am dying; in my burying-place which I have prepared for myself in the land of Canaan, there dost thou bury me; and now, let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and return;'
6 and Pharaoh saith, `Go up and bury thy father, as he caused thee to swear.'
7 And Joseph goeth up to bury his father, and go up with him do all the servants of Pharaoh, elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
8 and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and the house of his father; only their infants, and their flock, and their herd, have they left in the land of Goshen;
9 and there go up with him both chariot and horsemen, and the camp is very great.
10 And they come unto the threshing-floor of Atad, which [is] beyond the Jordan, and they lament there, a lamentation great and very grievous; and he maketh for his father a mourning seven days,
11 and the inhabitant of the land, the Canaanite, see the mourning in the threshing-floor of Atad, and say, `A grievous mourning [is] this to the Egyptians;' therefore hath [one] called its name `The mourning of the Egyptians,' which [is] beyond the Jordan.
12 And his sons do to him so as he commanded them,
13 and his sons bear him away to the land of Canaan, and bury him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying-place, from Ephron the Hittite, on the front of Mamre.
14 And Joseph turneth back to Egypt, he and his brethren, and all who are going up with him to bury his father, after his burying his father.
15 And the brethren of Joseph see that their father is dead, and say, `Peradventure Joseph doth hate us, and doth certainly return to us all the evil which we did with him.'
16 And they give a charge for Joseph, saying, `Thy father commanded before his death, saying,
17 Thus ye do say to Joseph, I pray thee, bear, I pray thee, with the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin, for they have done thee evil; and now, bear, we pray thee, with the transgression of the servants of the God of thy father;' and Joseph weepeth in their speaking unto him.
18 And his brethren also go and fall before him, and say, `Lo, we [are] to thee for servants.'
19 And Joseph saith unto them, `Fear not, for [am] I in the place of God?
20 As for you, ye devised against me evil -- God devised it for good, in order to do as [at] this day, to keep alive a numerous people;
21 and now, fear not: I do nourish you and your infants;' and he comforteth them, and speaketh unto their heart.
22 And Joseph dwelleth in Egypt, he and the house of his father, and Joseph liveth a hundred and ten years,
23 and Joseph looketh on Ephraim's sons of the third [generation]; sons also of Machir, son of Manasseh, have been born on the knees of Joseph.
24 And Joseph saith unto his brethren, `I am dying, and God doth certainly inspect you, and hath caused you to go up from this land, unto the land which He hath sworn to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.'
25 And Joseph causeth the sons of Israel to swear, saying, `God doth certainly inspect you, and ye have brought up my bones from this [place].'
26 And Joseph dieth, a son of an hundred and ten years, and they embalm him, and he is put into 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