Genesis 50 (ESV)
Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’” 6 And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” 7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen . . . Continue Reading
The Last Words of Joseph
This last chapter of Genesis honors the passing of Jacob and draws to an end Joseph’s life. Genesis 50 starts with a sober view of a son intensely grieving the loss of his father. After getting approval from Pharaoh to bury his father in Canaan according to the oath Jacob made with Joseph, Pharaoh not only allowed him to go but he also went with “all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen (Genesis 50:7-9).
What a scene!
Most of us have been behind or seen a funeral procession where a loved one who has passed is followed by friends and family to a cemetery where the deceased will be buried. If the person was popular or came from a large family, the procession can be quite long. As was the case of the passing of Jacob. Not only were there a lot of people, they also traveled with both chariots and horsemen.
After Jacob’s sons buried him the cave of the field at Machpelah, they returned to Egypt. The procession now over and back in Egypt, Joseph’s brothers realize that since their father died, Joseph may not be so kind to them for all the did to him. So they sent a message to Joseph that before Jacob died, he said for Joseph to “forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you” (Genesis 50:17).
How did Joseph respond? He wept.
Then in Genesis 50:19-21 he says to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.”
This is a repeat of Genesis 45:4-8 when Joseph said, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
We now see clearly that Joseph lived this truth. It was not conditional. It did not change with the passing of their father. Joseph sees the sovereign hand of God in his life and although he recognizes the evil his brothers did to him, he sees God’s leading him to Egypt – not as the result of what they did to him but it was God’s will!
Instead of the brothers experiencing justice, they are comforted as Joseph spoke kindly to them. After all, he certainly vetted them to see if they were changed people and they passed all those tests. Justice was already served in their change of hearts and attitudes.
The book of Genesis ends with the end of Joseph’s life. Before he died, he “made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’ 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:25).
Oh Father, without your love and forgiveness for me, I would never forgive those who have trespassed against me. I would hold a grudge and would be bent on revenge and retaliation while hiding behind a concept of justice. But vengeance is yours and because you have forgiven me, you have empowered me to forgive others. Help me to continue in this freedom-giving experience of loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me because I live in the reality of your sovereign hand guiding my life. Thank you for preserving your Word so that I may partake in the blessings of knowing you more as I read and study it. For your glory only and in the name of the Lord Jesus I pray, Amen.
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,