Exodus 13:19
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
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(19) Moses took the bones of Joseph.—Joseph’s body had been embalmed according to the Egyptian fashion (Genesis 1:26). He had ordered it to be conveyed to Canaan when the Israelites went there (Genesis 1:25).

13:17-20 There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few days' journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. God's way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journey's end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his people's trials to their strength, 1Co 10:13. They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.Harnessed - More probably, "marshalled" or "in orderly array." There is not the least indication that the Israelites had been disarmed by the Egyptians, and as occupying a frontier district frequently assailed by the nomads of the desert they would of necessity be accustomed to the use of arms. Compare Exodus 1:10. 19. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him—in fulfilment of the oath he exacted from his brethren (Ge 50:25, 26). The remains of the other patriarchs (not noticed from their obscurity) were also carried out of Egypt (Ac 7:15, 16); and there would be no difficulty as to the means of conveyance—a few camels bearing these precious relics would give a true picture of Oriental customs, such as is still to be seen in the immense pilgrimages to Mecca. The bones of Joseph, and the other patriarchs, as appears from Acts 7:16. The oath was taken only by the parents, but because the matter of it was not personal, and of particular concernment to them, but common to them and their children, therefore it obliged both the parents and their children, as Moses here signifieth.

And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him,.... And his remains might well be called bones, since at such a distance from his death the flesh must be gone, and nothing but bones left; of the place where Joseph's coffin was laid; see Gill on Genesis 50:26. The Jews pretend, that Moses was informed where Joseph was buried by Sarah, the daughter of Asher, who they say was living at this time (q); and many other fables they relate concerning the manner of finding him, which are not worthy of any notice. Jarchi thinks, that the bones of all the tribes, or of the sons of Jacob, were carried with them, but that does not appear from the text; though it seems, according to Stephen's account, that they were carried over to Canaan; but then, whether immediately after their death, or at this time, and also by whom, is not certain, see Acts 7:15,

for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel; his brethren; or "in swearing had caused them to swear" (r), had given them a very strict oath, and which they had related to their children, and so from one generation to another, and thus it became known, and Moses looked upon himself and the people of Israel as bound to observe it:

saying, God will surely visit you; in a way of mercy and goodness, and bring you out of Egypt, and put you it possession of the land of Canaan:

and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you; See Gill on Genesis 50:25.

(q) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 1.((r) "adjurando adjuraverat", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius.

And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
19. See Genesis 50:25; and cf. Joshua 24:32.

Verse 19. - Moses took the bones of Joseph - i.e., his body, which had been embalmed, and deposited in a mummy case (Genesis 50:26), most probably at Tanis, which was the capital of the Shepherd kings, no less than of Menephthah. He had straitly sworn the children of Israel. See Genesis 50:25. Joseph, firmly believing in the promise of God to give Canaan to the descendants of Abraham had made them swear to take his body with them when they left Egypt. The desire to be laid in their native earth was common to most of the nations of antiquity, and, in the case of the Israelites, was intensified by Canaan being the "laud of promise." Jacob had had the same feeling as Joseph, and had been buried by Joseph in the cave of Math-pelah (Genesis 50:13). Exodus 13:19Journey from Succoth to Etham. - Succoth, Israel's first place of encampment after their departure, was probably the rendezvous for the whole nation, so that it was from this point that they first proceeded in an orderly march. The shortest and most direct route from Egypt to Canaan would have been by the road to Gaza, in the land of the Philistines; but God did not lead them by this road, lest they should repent of their movement as soon as the Philistines opposed them, and so desire to return to Egypt, פּן: μή, after אמר to say (to himself), i.e., to think, with the subordinate idea of anxiety. The Philistines were very warlike, and would hardly have failed to resist the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan, of which they had taken possession of a very large portion. But the Israelites were not prepared for such a conflict, as is sufficiently evident from their despair, in Exodus 14:10. For this reason God made them turn round (יסּב for יסב, see Ges. 67) by the way of the desert of the Red Sea. Previous to the account of their onward march, it is still further stated in Exodus 13:18, Exodus 13:19, that they went out equipped, and took Joseph's bones with them, according to his last request. חמשׁים, from חמשׁ lumbus, lit., lumbis accincti, signifies equipped, as a comparison of this word as it is used in Joshua 1:14; Joshua 4:12, with חלוּצים in Numbers 32:30, Numbers 32:32; Deuteronomy 3:18, places beyond all doubt; that is to say, not "armed," καθωπλισμένοι (Sym.), but prepared for the march, as contrasted with fleeing in disorder like fugitives. For this reason they were able to fulfil Joseph's request, from which fact Calvin draws the following conclusion: "In the midst of their adversity the people had never lost sight of the promised redemption. For unless the celebrated adjuration of Joseph had been a subject of common conversation among them all, Moses would never have thought of it."
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