(Gen 50:1 NASB) Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him.
(Gen 50:2 NASB) And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.
(Gen 50:3 NASB) Now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
Gen 50:3: We learn from the Greek historians, that the time of mourning was while the body remained with the embalmers, which Herodotus says was seventy days. During this time the body lay in nitre (which is a white crystalline semitransparent salt; potassium nitrate; or saltpeter), the use of which was to dry up all its superfluous and noxious moisture. And when, in the space of 30 days, this was sufficiently effected, the remaining forty, the time mentioned by Diodorus, were employed in anointing it with gums and spices to preserve it, which was properly the embalming.
This sufficiently explains the phraseology of the text.
(Gen 50:4 NASB) And when the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying,
(Gen 50:5 NASB) ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am about to die; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'”
Gen 50:5: He is speaking of the promise he had to make to Israel in Gen. 47:29-31.
(Gen 50:6 NASB) And Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”
(Gen 50:7 NASB) So Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
(Gen 50:8 NASB) and all the household of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s household; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of Goshen.
Gen 50:8: Goshen is where the Israel and his sons stayed in Egypt. Apparently Joseph did not want them to be in the palace or in the heart of idolatrous Egypt when they settled.
All those in the house of Egypt left to bury Israel in Canaan. Only the little ones were left behind.
(Gen 50:9 NASB) There also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company.
(Gen 50:10 NASB) When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father.
Gen 50:10: They mourned on the other side of the Jordon at a place called Atad. It was about a 240 mile journey as the crow flies.
(Gen 50:11 NASB) Now when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians.” Therefore it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
Gen 50:11: The Canaanites renamed the place Abel Mizraim which means “the mourning of the Egyptians.”
(Gen 50:12 NASB) And thus his sons did for him as he had charged them;
(Gen 50:13 NASB) for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.
(Gen 50:14 NASB) And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
(Gen 50:15 NASB) When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph should bear a grudge against us and pay us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!”
(Gen 50:16 NASB) So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying,
(Gen 50:17 NASB) ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Gen 50:17: The brothers of Joseph have a difficult time trusting their brother whom they sold into slavery earlier in his life. They concoct a story that Israel told them to tell Joseph to forgive them.
Their fear is probably understandable.
(Gen 50:18 NASB) Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
(Gen 50:19 NASB) But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?
Gen 50:19: Why does Joseph say this? He obviously knows the Law of Elohim (Lev. 19:18). This is yet another long list of evidences that the Instruction of Elohim was in place long before Sinai.
(Gen 50:20 NASB) “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
(Gen 50:21 NASB) “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Gen 50:21: Joseph was confident that the hand of Elohim guided him and his brothers actions, even though they intended evil for him.
(Gen 50:22 NASB) Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.
(Gen 50:23 NASB) And Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.
Gen 50:23: Joseph lived a long life but not as long as the his forefathers. He lived to see his descendants to the third generation.
(Gen 50:24 NASB) And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.”
(Gen 50:25 NASB) Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.”
Gen 50:25: The sons of Israel fulfilled this vow and buried the bones of Joseph in the land of Canaan some 400 or so years later (Exodus 13:19, Joshua 24:32).
(Gen 50:26 NASB) So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Gen 50:26: Joseph died and his body was embalmed. Why were Joseph, Israel, Isaac, and Abraham so concerned about being buried in the land that Elohim promised them?
The most logical answer to this question is that they knew of the resurrection and where it would take place. They knew of the Instructions of Elohim. They knew of Messiah (John 8:56). To say that they were aware of and believed in the resurrection simply seems to make sense.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2015 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas