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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.

22. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt. It is not without reason that Moses relates how long Joseph lived, because the length of the time shows the more clearly his unfailing constancy: for although he is raised to great honor and power among she Egyptians, he still is closely united with his father’s house. Hence it is easy to conjecture, that he gradually took his leave of the treasures of the court, because he thought there was nothing better for him to do than to hold them in contempt, lest earthly dignity should separate him from the kingdom of God. He had before spurned all the allurements which might have occupied his mind in Egypt: he now counts it necessary to proceed further, that, laying aside his honor, he may descend to an ignoble condition, and wean his own sons from the hope of succeeding to his worldly rank. We know how anxiously others labor, both that they themselves may not be reduced in circumstances, and that they may leave their fortune entire to their posterity: but Joseph, during sixty years, employed all his efforts to bring himself and his children into a state of submission, lest his earthly greatness should alienate them from the little flock of the Lord. In short, he imitated the serpents, who cast off their exuviae, that, being stripped of their old age, they may gather new strength. He sees the children of his own grandchildren; why does not his solicitude to provide for them increase, as his children increase? Yet he has so little regard for worldly rank or opulence, that he would rather see them devoted to a pastoral life, and be despised by the Egyptians, if only they might be reckoned in the family of Israel. Besides, in a numerous offspring during his own life, the Lord afforded him some taste of his benediction, from which he might conceive the hope of future deliverance: for, among so many temptations, it was necessary for him to be encouraged and sustained, lest he should sink under them.


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