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50. Death of Jacob and Joseph

And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. 2And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. 4And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. 6And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.

7And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. 9And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. 10And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. 12And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: 13For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

14And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

15And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

22And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. 23And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

15. And when, Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead. Moses here relates, that the sons of Jacob, after the death of their father, were apprehensive lest Joseph should take vengeance for the injury they had done him. And whence this fear, but because they form their judgment of him according to their own disposition? That they had found him so placable they do not attribute to true piety towards God, nor do they account it a special gift of the Spirit: but rather, they imagine that, out of respect to his father alone, he had hitherto been so far restrained, as barely to postpone his revenge. But, by such perverse judgment, they do a great injury to one who, by the liberality of his treatment, had borne them witness that his mind was free from all hatred and malevolence. Part of the injurious surmise reflected even upon God, whose special grace had shone forth in the moderation of Joseph. Hence, however, we gather, that guilty consciences are so disturbed by blind and unreasonable fears, that they stumble in broad day-light. Joseph had absolved his brethren from the crime they had committed against him; but they are so agitated by guilty compunctions, that they voluntarily become their own tormentors. And they have not themselves to thank, that they did not bring down upon themselves the very punishment which had been remitted; because the mind of Joseph might well have been wounded by their distrust. For, what could they mean by still malignantly suspecting him to whose compassion they had again and again owed their lives? Yet I do not doubt, that long ago they had repented of their wickedness, but, perhaps, because they had not yet been sufficiently purified, the Lord suffered them to be tortured with anxiety and trouble: first, to make them a proof to others, that an evil conscience is its own tormentor, and, then, to humble them under a renewed sense of their own guilt; for, when they regard themselves as obnoxious to their brother’s judgment, they cannot forget, unless they are worse than senseless, the celestial tribunal of God. What Solomon says, we see daily fulfilled, that the wicked flee when no man pursueth; (Proverbs 28:1;) but, in this way, God compels the fugitives to give up their account. They would desire, in their supine torpor, to deceive both God and men; and they bring upon their minds, as far as they are able, the callousness of obstinacy: in the mean time, whether they will or no, they are made to tremble at the sound of a falling leaf, lest their carnal security should obliterate their sense of the judgment of God. (Leviticus 26:36.) Nothing is more desirable than a tranquil mind. While God deprives the wicked of this singular benefit, which is desired by all, he invites us to cultivate integrity. But especially, seeing that the patriarchs, who were already affected with penitence for their wickedness, are yet thus severely awakened, a long time afterwards, let none of us yield to self-indulgence; but let each diligently examine himself, lest hypocrisy should inwardly cherish the secret stings of the wrath of God; and may that happy peace, which can find no place in a double heart, shine within our thoroughly purified breasts. For this due reward of their neglect remains for all those who do not draw nigh to God sincerely and with all their heart, that they are compelled to stand before the judgment-seat of mortal man. Wherefore, there is no other method which can free us from disquietude, but that of returning into favor with God. Whosoever shall despise this remedy, shall be afraid not only of man, but also of a shadow, or a breath of wind.

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