Jacob’s and Joseph’s Final Days, Genesis 49:29-33; 50:1-26

I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite . . .” -Genesis 49:29-30

Jacob’s instructions for his sons to bury him where his fathers are buried in Canaan reveals his faith that God’s covenant promises to give them the land will come to pass. (Related: The Death of Sarah)

You may read Genesis 49:29-33; 50:1-26 here: Bible Gateway.

Interesting Facts and Observations

  • Jacob dies at the age of 147. Although he claimed his years to be “few and difficult” (Gen. 47:9), his relationship with God became a priority. God changed his name to Israel, meaning “he struggles with God.”
  • Joseph never appears to shed tears for himself, but rather tears for his brothers’ plight. He also mourns his father’s death for months.
  • The Egyptians show Joseph great respect when they mourn 70 days for Jacob after his death. This is just two days shy of the mourning period given for a pharaoh’s death. Also, all of Egypt’s elders—including Pharaoh’s elders and servants—accompany Joseph to bury his father.
  • Joseph hadn’t stepped foot in his homeland since he was 17 years old. Although Canaan is the land connected to God’s promises, Joseph keeps his word to Pharaoh and returns to Egypt, the place God called him.
  • Joseph dies at the age of 110. Even though he prevailed through much adversity, he also received great blessing from God.

Joseph’s Brothers Devise a False Claim

With Jacob’s (Israel’s) death, Joseph’s brothers are terrified that Joseph will punish them for wronging him. So they devise a false claim, stating that Jacob admonishes Joseph to forgive them after Jacob dies.

On the positive side—though the brothers scheme up a lie—they own up to their sin against Joseph. The brothers throw themselves down before him and beg for his forgiveness. God’s heart of grace is mirrored in Joseph’s response.

Don’t be afraid . . . You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – vs. 19-20

Joseph had already forgiven his brothers. He not only reassures them, but also pledges to care for them and their families.

Joseph’s Death

These verses set the groundwork for the Israelites plight in Exodus; the book of Joshua brings it to completion. The Israelites would have to rely on God's promises to make them into a great nation, lead them out of Egypt and bring them into Canaan, the promised land.

These verses set the groundwork for the Israelites plight in Exodus; the book of Joshua brings it to completion. The Israelites would have to rely on God’s promises to make them into a great nation, lead them out of Egypt, and bring them into the promised land.

More than 50 years lapse between verses 21 and 22. Joseph—an extraordinary man of faith and integrity—is blessed with a long life and is honored to see his great-great-grandchildren.

With the confidence that God would carry out His covenant promises, Joseph also requests that he be buried in the promised land. Although his coffin would lay above the ground for over 400 years as God’s people are enslaved in Egypt, the Israelites carry it back to Canaan under Moses’ leadership (Exodus 13:19).

Joseph’s faith is the perfect climax to the end of Genesis.

Reflect

Pharaoh didn’t doubt Joseph’s return to Egypt after burying Jacob. Because Joseph’s past record as Pharaoh’s advisor proved him responsible, Pharaoh trusted his word. Are we reliable even in the little things? Over time, privileges and freedom usually reward those who demonstrate trustworthiness.

Joseph gave complete forgiveness to his brothers. God also forgives us even though we don’t deserve it. Because God graciously accepts and forgives us, we should also graciously offer forgiveness to others.

God bringing good from evil is the theme in Joseph’s story. Like Joseph, do we trust God enough to work good out of our difficult situations?

Next week will be my last post in Genesis. Exhale. 🙂 I’ll give a brief summary of the parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Thanks for your visit!

Joseph Makes Himself Known, Genesis 45

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. . . . ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.’”        -Genesis 45:1-2, 4-7

While chapters 43 and 44 depict Joseph’s tender love and tough love respectively, chapter 45 display Joseph living out of God’s sovereignty.

You may read Genesis 45 here: Bible Gateway.

This account of Joseph meeting up with his brothers finally comes to a resolution when Joseph reveals his identity. Layman’s Bible Commentary notes: “The response of the brothers to Joseph’s revelation of his identity is a term translated dismayed or dumbfounded. This is a term used of paralyzing fear as felt by those involved in war (Exodus 15:15; Judges 20:41; 1 Samuel 28:21; Psalm 48:5).”

Joseph’s emotional display of weeping, embracing, and explaining finally convinces his brothers that he doesn’t intend revenge, but is actually favorable toward them.

Reflect 7b08064b7f5b6c0a895595c9de822b30

How in the world could Joseph forgive his brothers?

After all, they had rejected him, sold him into slavery, and made it possible for Joseph’s 12-13 year stretch of being imprisoned during young adulthood, (from the age of 17 to 30). The natural response to that kind of treatment is bitterness and revenge.

But not Joseph.

His ability to discern God’s providence over events and keeping an eternal perspective mark his life. He also lays the ground work of forgiveness by seeking God’s heart. Joseph’s graciousness, not only in forgiveness, but also in sharing his prosperity, reflect God’s forgiveness and blessing to those who ask.

Is there anyone God wants you to forgive and seek restitution?

One last thought. Joseph’s father, Jacob, was stunned to learn that Joseph was still alive.

Good news is hard to believe when going through difficulties. But God’s ultimate plan for his children is a future filled with joy and blessings. Have a great weekend!