About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 50 (ch. 49:29 to 50:26)
In verses 29 to 32 Jacob
begins his final instructions concerning his death.
He wants to be buried in the tomb that Abraham bought as a family
burial site. This tomb is in
Verse 33 tells us that
Jacob then died. He drew his
feet into his bed. He had
clearly been sitting on the edge of his bed when he was giving the
prophecies of the last chapter. The
text says that "he breathed his last".
The Hebrew word for breathe is the same word that we translate
spirit from. Jacob simply
gave up his spirit to be gathered with his family.
There are two things to
note at this point. One is
that the term "being gathered" means to be gathered with those
in his family who had died before him.
He would now be where they are, and that is, Hades, the place of
the departed dead. It is
commonly thought that Hades was divided into two sections, one for the
righteous dead, and one for the unrighteous dead.
Many people believe that Jesus freed the righteous dead and took
them to paradise.
The other point to
consider here is that it appears that Jacob gave up his life in the
sense that it was his decision. Many
people just die. Death is beyond their control, but that does not seem
to be the case here, and I think, sometimes that is the case with
certain people. They almost
choose to die. I tend to
think that death can be a two sided thing.
The Lord takes us, but at the same time, when we are close to
death, we can say, "I'm ready", and at that point, you just
die. I've seen that happen.
50 – continues from chapter 49 in the NIV
In verse 1 we see that
Joseph threw himself on his father and wept.
The word "threw" is very descriptive.
I picture Joseph lunging on his father because of the great
emotion he had. We've
learned earlier that Jacob had lived in Egypt
for seventeen years. Joseph
had now been close to his father for the last seventeen years of his
life, while being away from him for two decades or more prior to their
We note that in verse 2
Joseph called in the physicians of Egypt
to embalm Jacob. We tend to
think of the word "physician" as a doctor, but that might not
be the case here. The word
seems to suggest "an embalmer".
The Hebrew word translated as "physicians" here mean
"a spice'. Certain
types of spices would have been used in the process of embalming.
The text says that the
embalming process lasted forty days while the people of
Hebrew people did not
embalm the dead. They buried
their dead very quickly. I
think the reason why Jacob was embalmed is obvious.
It is because he was to be transported quite a distance to his
burial site. Of course,
Joseph by now is very much influenced by Egyptian culture, but still I
think that was a secondary reason for Jacob being embalmed.
Some people might think
that Jesus was embalmed but He wasn't.
Yes, His body was prepared with spices and rapped, but not to the
same degree as was done in
In western culture today
people either have their bodies buried or else they are cremated.
Some people are against cremation because they think that will
hinder things when the "dead in Christ are raised" at the end
of this age. But we note
here that Jacob, and later Joseph, are embalmed, which includes all of
the organs except the heart being taken out of the body.
In my thinking, this is not all that different than cremation.
Much of your body is lost to fire in the Egyptian embalming
process, just as your body is lost to fire in the process of cremation,
and we can be sure that both Jacob and Joseph will be living with Jesus
in the next life.
Notice in verses 4 and 5
that Joseph asked permission to leave
In verses 7 through 9 we
see a "very large company" of people leave Egypt
with Joseph. All the
important people of
In verse 10, when the
procession got close to the burial site, they stopped at a place called
"the threshing floor of Atad".
Here they all mourned and wept for seven days.
You might wonder how some people could actually weep for so long.
In verse 11 we note that
the Canaanites saw "the Egyptians" mourning, and that place
came to be known as "Abel Mizrain".
Of course, there were lots of Egyptians in the procession, but
many, if not most were Hebrews.
It appears that the style of mourning was very much Egyptian.
Verses 12 to 14 simply
state that Joseph buried his father where he was to be buried and they
all returned to Egypt.
In verse 15 we see the
natural feelings that Joseph's brothers were having
Now that Jacob was dead, they feared Joseph would now retaliate
for the wrong they had done to them.
They obviously thought that Joseph had been kind to them just
because of Jacob.
In verses 16 and 17 we
note that the brothers really hadn't changed all that much over the
years. Because they felt
they would now be in trouble, they lied.
They told Joseph that Jacob had left specific instruction to them
to tell him that he forgive them for the evil they did to him.
There is no account of these instructions being given, and I
doubt if they were. If Jacob
wanted this to be known to Joseph, he would have told him directly.
Note how verse 17 puts
this request made by the brothers to Joseph.
It reads, "now please forgive the sins of the servants of
the God of your father".
Note that the brothers claimed to be "servants of God",
which might be a bit ironic to some.
Note also that the God they are supposed to be serving was the
"God of Joseph's father'.
The brothers are pleading with Joseph through the memory of his
father. In their minds, this
memory should soften Joseph's heart.
But as verse 17 states, Joseph's heart was already soft.
He wept when he heard this request.
The ultimate fulfillment
of Joseph's two dreams when he was seventeen years old now come true.
Verse 18 says that the brothers "threw" themselves down
before Joseph and acknowledged that they were his slaves.
The one they sold into slavery now had become their lord and
master. This reminds me of
the Jews in Jesus' days while on earth, and at His death.
Jesus, the one the Jews put to death, has now become their Lord
and Master, or as Peter stated it in the book of Acts, their "Lord
Joseph answers in verse
19. He tells his brothers
not to be afraid. He asks,
"am I in the place of God?"
Joseph is simply saying "am I God".
He is saying that only God has the right to avenge evil with
evil. In verse 20 Joseph
reaffirms what he has already said, and that was the brothers meant this
to be evil, but God meant it to be good.
God turned their evil into His good in order to save many people.
This is exactly what took place at the cross.
The Jews and the Romans killed Jesus.
They meant it to be evil, but God meant it to be good in order to
save many. The same will
happen at the end of this age. The
anti-christ will come, devastate Israel. The anti-christ will have
meant it for evil, but God will use it for Israel's good, that is, their salvation.
In verse 21 Joseph
reassured his brothers that he would look after them and their children.
This makes me think, and I'm not suggesting that this is a secondary
meaning to this verse, although part of me would like to think it is.
Joseph said that he would look after his brothers children.
We've already related this event to the death of Jesus.
In both cases, the end result of evil that was done was for the
salvation of people. Now
Joseph says he will look after his children.
I would like to think that Jesus will look after our children as
In verses 22 and 23 we
see that Joseph spent the rest of his life in Egypt. He lived one hundred and
ten years and actually got to see the third generation from Ephraim, and
the second generation from Manasseh.
We see in verse 24 that
Joseph speaks to his brothers on his death bed.
I'm not sure if any of the brothers had already died, or if
Joseph was the first to die. He
told his brothers that God would come to their aid and look after them
and return them back to
What we see in Joseph's
words here is that he believed all along that it was God who had saved
and rescued the family of Jacob. God
had used him, but it was God all along.
So just because Joseph would no longer be around would not mean
that God would stop looking after the family of Jacob.
God has always looked after Israel
and always will, even though the way in which He looks after them does
require severe judgment at times.
In verses 25 and 26, like
Jacob, Joseph made his brothers swear that they would not leave his body
This ends my commentary
on the book of Genesis, from Adam to Joseph, from the beginning of the
human race, to the beginning of a special nation of people.
Now to the book of Exodus where we see Moses, the Law, and the
next step in nationhood for