Saturday, August 4, 2012

XXX - Wrapping up Genesis - Chapter 50

Chapter 50 - This chapter starts out with Joseph weeping and grieving over the death of his father Jacob.  Joseph got to enjoy seventeen years with his father in Egypt.  I'm sure those years passed quickly for both Joseph and Jacob.  Joseph directs the phsicians to embalm his father Jacob.  It says it took forty days for the embalming process, then the Egyptians mourned for seventy days over Joseph's father.  {Nobody knew more about embalming that the Egyptians.  Many of their centuries-old mummified corpses are still amazingly intact today.}

Vss 4-->  Joseph requests of Pharaoh to allow him to take his father and bury him in Canaan to honor his father's dieing wish.  Joseph was careful to assure Pharaoh that he would return.  (It was no secret how dependant upon Joseph the Pharaoh had become.)    Pharaoh not only granted Joseph permission to do as he asked, he also sent along a large regiment of Egyptian royalty and military escort.  Pharaoh did this to not only to show Joseph's family the respect Pharaoh had for them through Joseph, but also to assure a safe return, as travel was extremely dangerous in those days, no matter the location.  Note in vs 8 that only Jacob's grandchildren were left behind with the herds and flocks.  I'm not certain the meaning of this, as it indicates that the servants were going to the funeral.  Some might suggest that it was an assurance to Pharaoh that they would definately return, but it doesn't seem to me that Pharaoh had any doubts of this anyway.  When they reached the threshing floor of Atad on the east bank of the Jordan River, Joseph halted the journey for another seven days of mourning. {I cannot say for certain and cannot find where Atad is, but I suspect that Joseph felt that he was on the brink of entering the promised land at this point, which would have brought on many feelings of high emotion.  When searching for the exact location, I tried to trace their steps from
Goshen in Egypt to Mamre in Canaan.  I kept getting thrown off because it says they were on the east side of the Jordan.}  Note that the Egyptians were mourning also.  The Canaanites observing this were so impressed with "Egyptians mourning the death of a Hebrew" that the Canaanites named this location "Abel Mizraim" which meant "Mourning of the Egyptians".  After the seven days of mourning were complete, Joseph and his brothers proceeded further into the land of Canaan,
and on to the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre.  (That was the field Abraham purchases from Ephron the Hittite.)  I don't think the Egyptians accompanied them any deeper into Canaan, and I believe that was because the Egyptians did not want the Canaanites to suspect any show of military aggression.  They buried Jacob there, as he requested.  {All this time spent in mourning and travel may seem to have been excessive, but let's remember that Jacob is the last true father of Israel, whose tribes would be comprised of his sons.  Also, I personally consider Jacob to have been one of the most colorful characters in the Bible to study (perhaps not so much as Sampson).  Jacob was
so human, yet so Godly.  Think back if you have a moment and ponder all the things that have happened in his life:  From grabbing his twin brothers heel as they were born; to tricking his brother Esau out of his birthright; to serving unsavory Laben; to wrestling with one of God's angels.  His life was so full and entertaining to study.  I can't help but be saddened by his passing.  And I'm glad I am.}

Vss 15-21  -  Here we go again.  Jacob's brothers, still with guilty consciences, now begin to worry that Joseph will seek his "pound of flesh" now that their father was no longer there to preside over the family.   A guilty conscience is a very powerful thing.  In vss 16 and 17, the brothers sent Joseph a message telling him that their father Jacob had left instructions for Joseph to forgive his brethren for the wrong they did him.  (I wonder if that was true.  I doubt it.)  Joseph wept when he heard this.  I think he wept because it saddened him deeply that his brothers would consider him to be the type of man that would harbor a grudge against them, especially considering how hard Joseph had tried to
convince them otherwise.  Vs 18 - They all came and threw themselves down before him, as a show of begging for mercy.  And again, Joseph works very hard to assure them that their fears are without warrent.

Vss 22,23  -  Joseph spent 93 of his 110 years in Egypt.  He fulfilled his very important mission, and had the joy of seeing his great-grandchildren born to Manasseh, and his great-great-grandchildren born to Ephraim.  Makir is mentioned by name because of prominance he is given later (Judges 5).  Vss 24-26  -  Before his death, Joseph told his brothers and the rest of the family that they would some day go back and possess the land in Canaan promised to them by God.  Joseph also asked his brothers to promise that, when they returned to Canaan they would carry his body back with them for burial.  Jacob wanted to be buried with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Vs 26 - So Joseph died at the age of 110.  And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.  Israel honored Jacob's last request 400 years later (Ex. 13:19 - Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph
made the Israelites swear an oath.)

Our study of Genesis is now as complete as I know how to make it.  Our journey through this wonderful book is finished, but our journey through the entire Bible has just begun.  We will see how God will honor His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as well as some to even more of these heroes of the Old Testament.  When the curtain rises again on Israel in Exodus, a new dynasty of Pharaohs will have emerged, and God will is already laying plans for Israel to return to Canaan.

Son, I've finish this first book, and will begin Exodus soon.  Is this the way you want this teaching to be presented?  If there are adjustments you wish to be made, now would be an excellento time to make them known.


1 comment:

  1. I love the format. I like the details and look forward to those and the insights you provide.

    I definitely enjoy the story format so please continue with that.

    If there are any details from Genesis that we should remember going forward that you mentioned, that would be great. Not completely necessary, so don't feel pressure to do this. Just a thought.