-Joseph falls on his departed father’s face and kissed him and wept over him. He had him embalmed as one of the greats of Egypt, which took 40 days. The Egyptians wept over him as a people for 70 days. This indicates their reverence for this father of their savior, Joseph. We can see evidence here of this family’s importance in one of the great empires of the world.
-When the days of mourning were past, Joseph approaches Pharaoh for permission to carry out his promise to his dad for a proper burial with his fathers in Canaan. Pharaoh readily and graciously gives him this consent with all of Pharaoh’s servants going with him along with the elders of Egypt. Joseph’s entire household and brothers and his father’s household went up as well to bury their father. Only the little ones were left and their flocks and herds in the land of Goshen.
-They go up with chariots and horsemen in a very large company and come across the Jordan to the threshing floor of Atad where they mourned and lamented for seven days for Israel. The Canaanites of the land observed this great lamentation and called the place Abel-mizraim since it was a great place of grievous mourning for the Egyptians. Israel is carried to his fathers’ burial spot at Machpelah. Then Joseph and the company return to Egypt.
-Joseph’s brothers now fear their revenge will come and plead before him on their father’s words for forgiveness. They tell him that Israel knew of their doing him wrong and for him to be gracious and merciful to them. Whether or not this is true could be debated. Israel would have had ample opportunity to relate this to Joseph himself. Therefore, it could be reasonably concluded that they were lying to save their rear end, but on the other hand, they may have been speaking the truth. The Bible does not clearly reveal this matter either way. Whatever the case, Joseph does have a forgiving heart and weeps when he hears this. The brothers once again fall down before him as his servants, but Joseph is quick to tell them he is not God and for them not to fear him at all. Then he makes one of the most profound statements in Scripture, “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 (Genesis 50:20).” He promises to provide for them and their families and puts them at ease speaking kindly to them. *Application* Obviously this has Messianic themes and proposes in the forgiving spirit. It also challenges us with what theologians call “Theodicy.” This quite simply is the defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil. We should at this point remember that God is totally righteous and works for our deliverance and salvation despite what any form of evil brings against us. God is the One who is for us; it does not make good sense to get angry at Him when bad things happen. He is not the One to blame. He allows it because He has given free choice on the part of angels (at least to some degree in some point in time) and man. This free choice has deviated creation, as we clearly observe in the world, from His good will and intention. God tries simply to bring us, the pinnacle of His creation, back into proper relationship with Him at all points for our benefit. Trust Him today!
-Joseph lives 110 years and sees the third generation of both of his sons. He challenges his posterity to remember God’s promises for their return one day to the land of Canaan and he implores them with an oath to carry his bones up from Egypt when they go.
Verse to memorize: Genesis 50:20