And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.After the natural outburst of sorrow for his deceased parent, Joseph gave orders to embalm the body, according to the custom of Egypt. "His servants, the physicians." As the grand vizier of Egypt, he has physicians in his retinue. The classes and functions of the physicians in Egypt may be learned from Herodotus (ii.-81-86). There were special physicians for each disease; and the embalmers formed a class by themselves. "Forty days" were employed in the process of embalming; "seventy days," including the forty, were devoted to mourning for the dead. Herodotus mentions this number as the period of embalming. Diodorus (i. 91) assigns upwards of thirty days to the process. It is probable that the actual process was continued for forty days, and that the body lay in natron for the remaining thirty days of mourning. See Hengstenberg's B. B. Mos. u. Aeg., and Rawlinson's Herodotus.
And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.
And 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.
And 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,Joseph, by means of Pharaoh's courtiers, not in person, because he was a mourner, applies for leave to bury his father in the land of Kenaan, according to his oath. This leave is freely and fully allowed.
My 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.
And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.
And 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,The funeral procession is now described. "All the servants of Pharaoh." The highest honor is conferred on Jacob for Joseph's sake. "The elders of Pharaoh, and all the elders of the land of Mizraim." The court and state officials are here separately specified. "All the house." Not only the heads, but all the sons and servants that are able to go. Chariots and horsemen accompany them as a guard on the way. "The threshing-floor of Atari, or of the buck-thorn." This is said to be beyond Jordan. Deterred, probably, by some difficulty in the direct route, they seem to have gone round by the east side of the Salt Sea. "A mourning of seven days." This is a last sad farewell to the departed patriarch. Abel-Mizraim. This name, like many in the East, has a double meaning. The word Abel no doubt at first meant mourning, though the name would be used by many, ignorant of its origin, in the sense of a meadow. "His sons carried him." The main body of the procession seems to have halted beyond the Jordan, and awaited the return of the immediate relatives, who conveyed the body to its last resting-place. The whole company then returned together to Egypt.
And 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.
And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
And 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.
And 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.
And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:
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 buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
And 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.
And 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.His brethren supplicate Joseph for forgiveness. "They sent unto Joseph," commissioned one of their number to speak to him. now that our common father has given us this command. "And Joseph wept" at the distress and doubt of his brothers. He no doubt summons them before him, when they fall down before him entreating his forgiveness. Joseph removes their fears. "Am I in God's stead?" that I should take the law into my own hands, and take revenge. God has already judged them, and moreover turned their sinful deed into a blessing. He assures them of his brotherly kindness toward them.
And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
So 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.
And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
But 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.
Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.The biography of Joseph is now completed. "The children of the third generation" - the grandsons of grandsons in the line of Ephraim. We have here an explicit proof that an interval of about twenty years between the births of the father and that of his first-born was not unusual during the lifetime of Joseph. "And Joseph took an oath." He thus expressed his unwavering confidence in the return of the sons of Israel to the land of promise. "God will surely visit." He was embalmed and put in a coffin, and so kept by his descendants, as was not unusual in Egypt. And on the return of the sons of Israel from Egypt they kept their oath to Joseph Exodus 13:19, and buried his bones in Shekem Joshua 24:32.
The sacred writer here takes leave of the chosen family, and closes the bible of the sons of Israel. It is truly a wonderful book. It lifts the veil of mystery that hangs over the present condition of the human race. It records the origin and fall of man, and thus explains the co-existence of moral evil and a moral sense, and the hereditary memory of God and judgment in the soul of man. It records the cause and mode of the confusion of tongues, and thus explains the concomitance of the unity of the race and the specific diversity of mode or form in human speech. It records the call of Abraham, and thus accounts for the preservation of the knowledge of God and his mercy in one section of the human race, and the corruption or loss of it in all the rest. We need scarcely remark that the six days' creation accounts for the present state of nature. It thus solves the fundamental questions of physics, ethics, philology, and theology for the race of Adam. It notes the primitive relation of man to God, and marks the three great stages of human development that came in with Adam, Noah, and Abraham. It points out the three forms of sin that usher in these stages - the fall of Adam, the intermarriage of the sons of God with the daughters of men, and the building of the tower of Babel. It gradually unfolds the purpose and method of grace to the returning penitent through a Deliverer who is successively announced as the seed of the woman, of Shem, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. This is the second Adam, who, when the covenant of works was about to fall to the ground through the failure of the first Adam, undertook to uphold it by fulfilling all its conditions on behalf of those who are the objects of the divine grace.
Hence, the Lord establishes his covenant successively with Adam, Noah, and Abraham; with Adam after the fall tacitly, with Noah expressly, and with both generally as the representatives of the race descending from them; with Abraham especially and instrumentally as the channel through which the blessings of salvation might be at length extended to all the families of the earth. So much of this plan of mercy is revealed from time to time to the human race as comports with the progress they have made in the education of the intellectual, moral, and active faculties. This only authentic epitome of primeval history is worthy of the constant study of intelligent and responsible man.
And 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.
And 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.
And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.