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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 50


v.1-3 Mourning for Jacob

v.4-11 Pharaoh gives permission for Jacob to be taken to Canaan

v.12-14 Jacob buried in Canaan

v.15-21 Joseph Reassures His Brothers

v.22-26 The Death of Joseph & his burial in Egypt



v.1-3 Mourning for Jacob

v.1 Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him.

v.2,3 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.


[Notes: A long time of embalming and mourning follows respecting this amazing old Patriarch for what he had become, a man honoured and respected by a nation.]



v.4-11 Pharaoh gives permission for Jacob to be taken to Canaan


v.4 When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh's court, “If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,

v.5 ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'”

v.6 Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”

v.7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh's officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt—

v.8 besides all the members of Joseph's household and his brothers and those belonging to his father's household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen.

v.9 Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.

v.10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.

v.11 When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.” That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.


[Notes: Joseph recounts Jacob's wishes and Pharaoh grants him permission to take the body back to Canaan in what is clearly the equivalent to a modern state funeral.]



v.12-14 Jacob buried in Canaan


v.12 So Jacob's sons did as he had commanded them:

v.13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite.

v.14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.


[Notes: Jacob is thus returned to the land that had been promised to him and his descendants by God, and buried there.]



v.15-21 Joseph Reassures His Brothers


v.15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”

v.16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died:

v.17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

v.18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

v.19 But Joseph said to them, “Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?

v.20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

v.21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


[Notes: After Jacob's death, the brothers fear retribution from Joseph for the past, but verse 20 stands out as a beacon of understanding the will and purposes of God and thus anything that forms part of that should never attract hostility or revenge or retribution. They are safe.]



v.22-26 The Death of Joseph & his burial in Egypt


v.22,23 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father's family. He lived a hundred and ten years and saw the third generation of Ephraim's children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph's knees.

v.24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

v.25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

v.26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.


[Notes: From the time he took on leadership in Egypt at the age of thirty (41:46) Joseph lives on another eighty years. As he approaches death he reminds his brothers of the word from God spoken to Abraham [Gen 13:15-16]. When that happens, he says, you must take my bones with you and return them to Canaan.]


[Postscript: Perhaps questions arise over why Israel, as a growing people, remained in Egypt so long that they became a threat to the Egyptians and were made slaves needing Moses to deliver them. Answers may include:

- they were too comfortable in the grasslands of Egypt and clearly prospering there, so much so that any return, they might have felt, threatened that prosperity.

- while Joseph still remained alive, no doubt received his protection and that security made them disregard any thoughts of leaving.

- the spiritual and moral life of Canaan was deteriorating and thus provided a less conducive environment than they had in Egypt.

- the fact that God has spoken of this to Abraham perhaps made them feel it is was set in God's will.

Whatever, whether these or other reasons, they stayed where they were, growing all the time but also growing a potential hostility from their hosts which eventually boiled over making them slaves.

Trying to catch the big picture, we see in the next book, Exodus, that God had it in mind to use the situation as it eventually became, as an opportunity to

•  bring judgement on the idolatry of Egypt and

•  bring judgment on the idolatry of Canaan and also

•  bring about one of the two most significant occurrences in the life of Israel (the other one being the Exile) seen in what is simply summed up as ‘the Exodus' which was also a major learning exercise for the people who had probably grown to perhaps in excess of two million people, who would be forged into a nation by the occurrences at Mount Sinai, the wanderings in the wilderness. and the entrance to the Promised Land.

•  bring revelation to the world of the nature of power of who God is.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 50


1. Joseph is an example of a son who is determined to honour his father's wishes in where he is to be buried. Such an act honours the name and memory of the old man.

2. His declaration in v.20 to his brothers, reassuring them, is the classic example of a wronged person who has come to understand the will of God – and everything about the way he now views the family. Again, to be emulated!