Sat, Mar 28th - 7:02PM
†. Gen 50:22-26 . . So Joseph and his father's
household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph
lived to see children of the third generation of Ephraim: the children of
Machir, son of Manasseh, were likewise born upon Joseph's knees.
. . . At
length, Joseph said to his kin: I am about to die. God will surely take notice
of you and bring you up from this land to the land that He promised on oath to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. So Joseph made the children of Israel swear,
saying: When God has taken notice of you, you shall carry up my bones from
. . . Joseph
died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in
a coffin in Egypt.
"coffin" was likely an ornate mummy case; and kept in storage above
ground in a special location sort of like a shrine or a memorial. As they say:
Out of sight, out of mind. Keeping Joseph's remains perpetually on view would
make it difficult for the people of Israel to forget him.
Joseph ever make it back home again? Yes; he finally did.
"Now the Israelites went up armed out of
the land of Egypt. And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, who had exacted
an oath from the children of Israel, saying: God will be sure to take notice of
you; then you shall carry up my bones from here with you." (Ex 13:18-19)
bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at
Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought for a hundred kesitahs
from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, and which had become a heritage
of Joseph's progeny." (Josh 24:32)
records Jacob purchasing the property (Gen 33:17-20). But Stephen said it was
Abraham's transaction (Acts 7:15-16) which strongly suggests that the county
recorder in the community of Shechem was a bit careless with his paperwork and
let Abraham's deed slip through a crack; necessitating Jacob pay for the lot
all over again; no likely at a higher price the second time around.
The End --
Mon, Feb 1st - 10:40AM
†. Gen 50:10 . .When they came to Gorena
ha-Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and solemn
lamentation; and he observed a mourning period of seven days for his father.
geographic location described as "beyond the Jordan" suggests the
east side of the river but the term is ambiguous and can just as easily mean
west (e.g. Deut 3:18-20).
Hebrew word for Gorena is goren
(go'-ren) which identifies smooth places; e.g. threshing floors or any cleared
space like a parade ground. Judging by the size of Joseph's cortege, I'd have
to say Gorena ha-Atad comprised some appreciable acreage.
days became a traditional period of Jewish mourning (e.g. 1Sam 31:13, Job 2:13)
†. Gen 50:11 . . And when the Canaanite
inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at Goren ha-Atad, they said; This is a
solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians. That is why it was named
Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
means Meadow of the Egyptians. Unfortunately, it's precise location has been
lost in antiquity.
†. Gen 50:12-14 . .Thus his sons did for him as
he had instructed them. His sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried
him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham
had bought for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. After burying his father,
Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all who had gone up with him
to bury his father.
Joseph and his brothers were aware of the prediction Yhvh made to Abraham back
in Gen 15:13-14, then they probably returned to Egypt with heaviness knowing in
advance the slavery and the oppression in store for their progeny.
†. Gen 50:15 . .When Joseph's brothers saw that
their father was dead, they said: What if Joseph still bears a grudge against
us and pays us back for all the wrong that we did him?
did they get the idea that Joseph was bearing any grudge at all, let alone
"still" bearing a grudge? You know what they did? They did just what
Laban did to Jacob back in chapter 31 when he threatened Jacob with Divine
retribution if he abused Rachel and Leah or dumped them for other women.
had worked for Laban, on his ranch, up close and personal for twenty years and
never gave Laban one single reason to either believe, or suspect that Jacob
might do unkind things to his wives. In other words: Laban projected; that is:
he assumed everyone was like himself. Now that's an ego!
brothers had a wicked conscience. It wasn't beyond them to project their own
base motives upon everybody else and assume everybody else would do the very
same things they themselves would do in their place. They totally brushed aside
the gracious reception they received in Joseph's house back in chapter 45 and
replaced his hospitality with their own corrupt imaginations; not to mention
the seventeen years just past when they lived a very good life in Egypt under
Joseph's generous auspices.
reputation is safe in the hands of people like that who fail to take into
consideration someone's impeccable track record.
†. Gen 50:16-17a . . So they sent this message
to Joseph: Before his death your father left this instruction: So shall you say
to Joseph; Forgive, I urge you, the offense and guilt of your brothers who
treated you so harshly. Therefore, please forgive the offense of the servants
of the God of your father.
is one of the most bold, bare-faced lies in the entire Bible. If Jacob had
desired Joseph to let his brothers off like they said, he would have met with
Joseph and said so himself in person rather than elect the brothers as his
†. Gen 50:17b . . And Joseph was in tears as
they spoke to him.
people referred to as "they" were not the brothers, but rather, the
messengers they sent. I've not doubt whatsoever that Joseph suspected the
message was a lie concocted by his brothers as a desperate measure to save
their own skins. His disappointment in them for not trusting him must have been
overwhelming. Joseph had never done even one single thing in his entire life to
deliberately injure his brothers and this is how they react?
†. Gen 50:18-21 . . His brothers went to him
themselves, flung themselves before him, and said: We are prepared to be your
slaves. But Joseph said to them: Have no fear. Am I a substitute for God?
Besides, although you intended me harm, God intended it for good, so as to
bring about the present result-- the survival of many people. And so, fear not.
I will sustain you and your children. Thus he reassured them, speaking kindly
say repetition is an effective teaching aid; and it's probably because some
people just don't pay attention. Joseph had already made a similar speech to
his brothers once before already in chapter 45 and here he is having to do it
all over again. Their lack of trust in his word as a man of honor and integrity
is just unforgivable.
Sun, Jan 31st - 9:53AM
†. Gen 50:4a . . and when the mourning period
was over, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh's court
curious that Joseph didn't meet with Pharaoh in person; I mean, after all,
Joseph was second in command over the entire country of Egypt, and certainly
outranked all of Pharaoh's courtiers. It's guessed by some that in the Egypt of
Joseph's day, a dead man's close kin were deemed unfit to approach a Pharaoh.
Whether it was for religious reasons, or just simply customary propriety is
†. Gen 50:4b-5a . . saying; Do me this
kindness, and lay this appeal before Pharaoh: "My father made me swear, saying;
I am about to die. Be sure to bury me in the grave which I made ready for
myself in the land of Canaan."
some time in the past, prior to his immigration to Egypt, Jacob spent some time
in Abraham's cemetery preparing a spot in it for his own burial so that his
surviving kin only had to take him there-- no muss, no fuss, no money problems,
and no legal hassles. It's a good idea for people to make arrangements for
their own burials rather than leaving it all up to the inconvenience of their kin.
†. Gen 50:5b . . Now, therefore, let me go up
and bury my father; then I shall return.
quite probable that Joseph's assurance of his return anticipated Pharaoh's
anxiety that Joseph might stay back in the land with his brothers if permitted
to leave the country and thus The Man would lose the services of not only his
kingdom's best cattle ranchers but also the services of an extraordinarily
†. Gen 5:6 . . And Pharaoh said: Go up and bury
your father, as he made you promise on oath.
choice of words, though inadvertent, were quite appropriate. Travel to Israel
is to go "up" and to leave it is to go down. Israel is biblically
regarded as the top of the mountains. (Isa 2:2-3)
†. Gen 50:7-8 . . So Joseph went up to bury his
father; and with him went up all the officials of Pharaoh, the senior members
of his court, and all of Egypt's dignitaries, together with all of Joseph's
household, his brothers, and his father's household; only their children, their
flocks, and their herds were left in the region of Goshen.
the children and the flocks back in Egypt was not only a practical
consideration but served to reassure Pharaoh that Joseph and his family fully
intended to return as he had promised; which sort of reminds me of a scene in
Goodbye Girl when Richard Dreyfuss leaves his guitar behind when he goes to a
new acting job to assure Marsha Mason he'll be back.
people pick up and move; lock, stock, and barrel; you pretty much know they
aren't coming back; which is probably why a later-to-come Pharaoh wouldn't let
Moses go to worship with everything his people possessed. (Ex 10:24)
why Pharaoh's courtiers, and all of Egypt's dignitaries came along is hard to
understand unless protocol and custom demanded they pay their respects because
of Joseph's rank. Though he wasn't really a home boy, Joseph's marriage to the
daughter of the priest of On, and his Pharaoh-given name of Tsophnath Pa'neach,
made him a naturalized Egyptian; and he was entitled to just as much of the
nation's respect afforded its native sons.
NOTE: I've heard
it said that the reason half of us go to funerals is to pay our respects to
people we avoided when they were alive.
†. Gen 50:9 . . Chariots, too, and horsemen
went up with him; it was a very large troop.
unit of fighting men was likely for safeguarding all the dignitaries. Palestine
was a frontier in those days; and a caravan of aristocrats would be a really
tempting target for brigands.
Sat, Jan 30th - 8:41AM
†. Gen 50:1 . . Joseph threw himself upon his
father's face and wept over him and kissed him.
almost looks like Joseph smothered his dad; but in reality that scene was
probably a bit difficult to put in writing because there's so much emotion. I
think what we're actually looking at there is a one last cheek-to-cheek
farewell with Joseph clutching his father's hand; and I would not have liked to
be in the room when it took place because Joseph was terribly broken up by his
word for "wept" is bakah
(baw-kaw') and means not just to weep, but to bemoan; which Webster's defines as:
to express deep grief and/or distress. Deep grief is what people undergo when
they experience loss.
there is one salient characteristic of Jacob's family, I would have to say it
was a lack of affection. Joseph seemed the only one in the entire home who was
truly bonded with his dad. His siblings were somehow detached; and I think that
the multiplicity of their mothers might have something to do with that.
I found out that my own dad had two sons besides me by two other women, it
destroyed any notion I had of feeling special in my own home; especially when
the only son my dad was ever really proud of was one that didn't even live with
us; but with whom my dad stayed in contact over the years without telling me.
†. Gen 50:2 . .Then Joseph ordered the
physicians in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed
is apparently well known that mummification, with all its elaborate ritual,
played a crucial role in Egyptian religion and was bound up with the cult of
Osiris and concepts of the afterlife. Survival of death was taken for granted
by the Egyptians. Central to this notion was the belief in the importance of
the physical preservation of the deceased's body. They took meticulous care to
prevent the putrefaction of the corpse in order to ensure the right of the dead
seriously doubt Egypt's religion played a role in Joseph's decision to embalm
his dad. His reason was simply one of practicality. The body was to be
transported to Palestine for burial, and if care wasn't taken to preserve it,
poor old Jacob would be in a terrible state of decay by the time they arrived;
and very smelly too.
own personal physicians performed the task rather than professional morticians,
thus assuring nobody would come around to defile Jacob with pagan rituals,
garments, and/or enchantments and spiritual potions. Jacob's life, and
afterlife, were fully consecrated to Yhvh; and no pagan deities were permitted
an attempt to claim a share of his future. (cf. Jude 1:9)
†. Gen 50:3 . . It required forty days, for
such is the full period of embalming. The Egyptians mourned him seventy days
wouldn't be a bit surprised if the bewailing wasn't mandatory like that of
North Korea's when Kim Jong Il passed. Citizens of that country are not only
denied the freedom of speech, but they don't even have the freedom of tears.
exists no information about embalming procedures from Joseph's era but there is
some available from the fifth century BC and from the late Hellenistic period.
Herodotus (Histories 2.86) reports that bodies were soaked in niter (potassium
nitrate) for seventy days.
of Sicily (Histories 1.91) describes a thirty-day dressing of the corpse with
oils and spices and seventy-two days of public mourning for a king. That
practice probably corresponds to the American flag being raised at half mast
for deceased dignitaries and notable personages.
was afforded royal honors no doubt brought about by Josephs' influence, and his
connections with Egypt's aristocrats; sort of like John F. Kennedy Jr's burial
at sea from the US Navy's Spruance class destroyer USS Briscoe.
junior Kennedy never served in the US military, nor in any Federal civil
service capacity whatsoever; ergo: he certainly did not merit burial at sea
from a US Navy vessel; but the Kennedy dynasty is very influential, and well
connected; and has been for a good many years beginning with patriarch Joseph
P. Kennedy Sr. That just goes to show that there's undue advantages to being connected
in this world.
under his son Joseph's auspices, Jacob's was the most grandiose funeral of any
of Israel's primary patriarchs, including Abraham the paterfamilias of the
Fri, Jan 29th - 4:37PM
†. Gen 49:22 . . Joseph is a fruitful vine, a
fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
assessment of Joseph is similar to the assessment of a blessed man in the very
is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, nor taken the path
of sinners, nor joined the company of the insolent; rather, Yhvh's teaching is
his delight, and he studies that teaching day and night. He is like a tree
planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose
foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives."
†. Gen 49:23 . . Archers bitterly assailed him;
they shot at him and harried him.
"archers" in that sentence are the kind who wait in ambush.
that certainly happened to Joseph. He was totally ambushed by his very own
brothers, and then later on, ambushed by Potipher's wife. But he escaped them
all. They thought to ruin Joseph, but he prospered instead.
Gen 49:24-25a . .Yet his bow stayed
taut, and his arm were made firm by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob--
there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel --the God of your father who helps
you, and Shaddai who blesses you
is so easy to admire Joseph's perseverance in the face of overwhelming
adversity while overlooking the real reason behind his success. It was Yhvh's
providence all the way. Left to himself, it's very likely Joseph would have
been dead before he was thirty years old; either by murder, execution, or
†. Gen 49:25 . .With blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lurk below, blessings of the breast and womb.
blessings consist of rain, dew, and abundant water resources; all of which
depict fruitfulness of the soil and the fecundity of both man and beast.
†. Gen 49:26. .Your father's blessings
surpassed the blessings of my ancestors, to the utmost bounds of the eternal
hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the elect of his
Deut 33:13-17 where Manasseh and Ephraim are indirect recipients of Joseph's
blessings, and will apparently conquer and colonize quite a bit of the earth
some day in the future.
pronounced Joseph the "elect" of his brothers not out of a spirit of
favoritism, but out of a spirit of prophecy. You can easily tell that Yhvh is
micro-managing the entire meeting.
to man, the hills really are eternal; viz: perpetual from one generation to
another. Jacob's ancestors included Abel, Seth, and Noah. They were good men
but none of them inherited the promises God made to Abraham; which are promises
just as eternal as the hills; if not more so.
†. Gen 49:27 . . Benjamin rends in pieces, like
a wolf-- in the morning he consumes the prey, and in the evening he apportions
is hardly the picture of a peaceful, agrarian society. Israel used to be a land
of milk and honey (Ex 3:8) and you have to wonder what on earth happened that
caused the transformation of a tribe of herders and farmers into human
a testament to the cruel nature of the tribe of Benjamin, Israel's first king--
ego-driven, selfish Mr. Saul --came from there. (1Sam 9:1-2)
nightmarish events of Judges 19 and 20 took place in Benjamin's borders and led
to the tribe's decimation in a brief civil war.
†. Gen 49:28 . . All these were the tribes of
Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade
them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.
the tribes of Israel is tricky because Jacob has twelve birth sons, and two
adopted sons; which adds up to fourteen. But the tribes are always listed so
that the numbering comes out to twelve. Compare the list at Rev 7:5-8 where
everybody but Dan and Ephraim are named so that the number again comes out to
twelve. The same strange numbering system was employed in counting the Lord's
apostles. Even after Judas was eliminated, they were still referred to as the
twelve. (1Cor 15:5)
†. Gen 49:29-33 . .Then he instructed them,
saying to them: I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my fathers in
the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave which is in the
field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham
bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site-- there Abraham and his wife
Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried; and there I
buried Leah --the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.
. . .When
Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and,
breathing his last, he was gathered to his kin.
phrase "gathered to his kin" is an action separate from being buried
side by side with kin in a cemetery. Jacob was gathered to his kin immediately
upon expiration, but wasn't buried with them till more than seventy days after
to Christ, though Jacob's flesh expired many centuries ago in Egypt, he
continues to exist somewhere else.
now, as to whether the dead will be raised-- even Moses proved this when he
wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he
referred to Yhvh as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
So He is the God of the living, not the dead. They all live unto Him."
is a region in the netherworld where faithful Israelites were at one time
warehoused waiting for the resurrection of their bodies. (e.g. Luke 16:19-31,
cf. Matt 17:1-9)