The End of the Beginning — Genesis Chapter 50
This blog post will cover the devotionals #204, 205 for Genesis Chapter 50.
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 Genesis 50:1-14
After Jacob died, Joseph laid on Jacob’s face, cried and kissed him. Recall that we saw, in devotional #185, that God promised Jacob (in Genesis 46:4) that Joseph would put his hand on Jacob’s eyes? He was the one that touched his face right after he died—just as God had promised. Joseph then told his physicians to embalm him, and they did. After forty days were finished for the embalming process, and the Egyptians had mourned for seventy days, Joseph asked Pharaoh if he could travel to bury his father in the cave, as Jacob had made him promise to do. He promised Pharaoh he’d return, and Pharaoh allowed him to go and follow his father’s wishes. So, he went and buried him, along with all of Pharaoh’s servants and all the elders of Egypt, as well as Joseph’s and Jacob’s family. The only ones that remained in Goshen were the children and animals. They were accompanied by chariots and horsemen and mourned again for seven days. When the Canaanites witnessed the huge company (made up largely of Egyptians) mourning, they were convinced it was a terrible loss for the Egyptians and named the place Abelmizraim (meaning ‘meadow of Egypt’). Thus, his children buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, just as he’d asked them to. When Jacob awakens at Jesus' return, he’ll be surrounded by his ancestors in the land of promise.
 Genesis 50:15-26
As soon as Jacob died, his sons’ feared Joseph once again. They figured Joseph treated them well for their father's sake, but now he'd finally get revenge on them. They sent a message to him (Jacob had told them to say, “We beg you now, forgive the trespass of your brothers—the servants of the God of your father—and their sin; because they did you evil.”). This made Joseph cry. He couldn’t handle them thinking he could hold feelings of revenge towards them when he loved them so deeply. They also fell before him, saying, “Look, we are your servants.” He responded with comfort and kindness, saying, “Do not fear: am I in the place of God? As for you, you thought evil against me; but God used it for good, to cause many people to be kept alive, as it is this day. Now, therefore, do not fear: I will nourish you and your little ones.” Joseph represented Christ. They both came to their families and were rejected and despised. This was a result of their consistent, righteous life being a constant rebuke to the self-righteous, sin-loving men. Those who sought to make each of them lose their integrity were unable to do so, thus they lied about them and caused them to suffer despite their innocence. They were both betrayed and sold for a small amount of money by people of their inner circles. Both were stripped of their clothing (Joseph’s coat of colors, and Jesus’ seamless robe). The evil done against each of them was to prevent them from fulfilling prophecy, and yet, the evil acts themselves were the very things used to fulfill the prophecies. Both bore their trials without complaint. When the sins against each of them were acknowledged, they quickly and completely forgave without vengeance / grudge. If Joseph, who wasn’t sinless like Christ, was able to be such a powerful example of the Savior, then we can be encouraged that we can do the same. Joseph continued to live in Egypt, along with his brothers. He lived 110 years—outliving Jacob by fifty-four years. He died 2,370 years after Creation (the total time span covered by the book of Genesis). He lived to see Ephraim’s children of the third generation, and Manasseh’s grandchildren were also presented to him. He survived to see the growth and prosperity of his people. Through all the years, his faith never wavered in the promise that God would return His people to the Promised Land. He told his brothers, “I’m dying: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land which He swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He also made them swear, like Jacob had done, to take his bones away from Egypt (Egypt wasn’t his home, even though he lived most of his life there). We can see, in Exodus 13:19, that when Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves go, “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: because he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you; and you must carry my bones from here.’” Strong’s Concordance defines ‘straitly swear’ as ‘seven oneself’ (in other words, ‘swear by repeating a declaration seven times’). While Jacob had said twice that he should be buried in Canaan instead of Egypt, Joseph said it seven times—showing the seriousness of his desire not to remain there, even after his death. Though he was honored in Egypt, he still considered that place his exile, and just as Jacob’s final act (in ensuring he’d be buried in Canaan) was a manifestation of his faith in God’s promise, Joseph’s final act was to indicate that he cast his lot with Israel—his true people. Then he died and was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt. Throughout the centuries of struggle that came afterward, his coffin was a reminder of his dying words, and a testimony to Israel that they, too, were only sojourners in Egypt, instructing them to fix their hopes on both the earthly and heavenly Promised Lands—because their time of deliverance would indeed come.