Genesis 50

1 Joseph fell on his father’s face, wept on him, and kissed him. 2 Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were fulfilled for him, for that is how many the days it takes to embalm. The Egyptians wept for him for seventy days. 4 When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the house of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am dying. Bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come again.’” 6 Pharaoh said, “Go up, and bury your father, just like he made you swear.” 7 Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 All the house of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s house. Only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. 9 There went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 They came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they lamented with a very great and severe lamentation. He mourned for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan. 12 His sons did to him just as he commanded them, 13 for 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 burial site, from Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. 14 Joseph returned into Egypt—he, and his brothers, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 They sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded before he died, saying, 17 ‘You shall tell Joseph, “Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is today, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore don’t be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones.” He comforted them, and spoke kindly to them. 22 Joseph lived in Egypt, he, and his father’s house. Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. 23 Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am dying, but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–6

Though pious relatives and friends have lived to a good old age, and we are confident they are gone to glory, yet we may regret our own loss, and pay respect to their memory by lamenting them. Grace does not destroy, but it purifies, moderates, and regulates natural affection. The departed soul is out of the reach of any tokens of our affection; but it is proper to show respect to the body, of which we look for a glorious and joyful resurrection, whatever may become of its remains in this world. Thus Joseph showed his faith in God, and love to his father. He ordered the body to be embalmed, or wrapped up with spices, to preserve it. See how vile our bodies are, when the soul has forsaken them; they will in a very little time become noisome, and offensive.

Verses 7–14

Jacob’s body was attended, not only by his own family, but by the great men of Egypt. Now that they were better acquainted with the Hebrews, they began to respect them. Professors of religion should endeavour by wisdom and love to remove the prejudices many have against them. Standers-by took notice of it as a grievous mourning. The death of good men is a loss to any place, and ought to be greatly lamented.

Verses 15–21

Various motives might cause the sons of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding the prophetic vision Abraham had of their bondage there. Judging of Joseph from the general temper of human nature, they thought he would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. Not being able to resist, or to flee away, they attempted to soften him by humbling themselves. They pleaded with him as the servants of Jacob’s God. Joseph was much affected at seeing this complete fulfilment of his dreams. He directs them not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek the Divine forgiveness. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to.

Verses 22–26

Joseph having honoured his father, his days were long in the land, which, for the present, God had given him. When he saw his death approaching, he comforted his brethren with the assurance of their return to Canaan in due time. We must comfort others with the same comforts with which we have been comforted of God, and encourage them to rest on the promises which are our support. For a confession of his own faith, and a confirmation of theirs, he charges them to keep his remains unburied till that glorious day, when they should be settled in the land of promise. Thus Joseph, by faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, and the promise of Canaan, gave commandment concerning his bones. This would keep up their expectation of a speedy departure from Egypt, and keep Canaan continually in their minds. This would also attach Joseph’s posterity to their brethren. The death, as well as the life of this eminent saint, was truly excellent; both furnish us with strong encouragement to persevere in the service of God. How happy to set our early in the heavenly race, to continue stedfastly, and to finish the course with joy! This Joseph did, this we also may do. Even when the pains of death are upon us, if we have trusted in Him upon whom the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles depended, we need not fear to say, “My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

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