Exodus 13:19
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and you shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). In Exodus 13:11-16, Moses communicated to the people the law briefly noticed in Exodus 13:2, respecting the sanctification of the first-born. This law was to come into force when Israel had taken possession of the promised land. Then everything which opened the womb was to be given up to the Lord. ליהוה העביר: to cause to pass over to Jehovah, to consecrate or give up to Him as a sacrifice (cf. Leviticus 18:21). In "all that openeth the womb" the first-born of both man and beast are included (Exodus 13:2). This general expression is then particularized in three clauses, commencing with וכל: (a) בּהמה cattle, i.e., oxen, sheep, and goats, as clean domestic animals, but only the males; (b) asses, as the most common of the unclean domestic animals, instead of the whole of these animals, Numbers 18:15; (c) the first-born of the children of Israel. The female first-born of man and beast were exempted from consecration. Of the clean animals the first-born male (פּטר abbreviated from רחם פּטר, and שׁגר from the Chaldee שׁגר to throw, the dropped young one) was to belong to Jehovah, i.e., to be sacrificed to Him (Exodus 13:15, and Numbers 18:17). This law is still further explained in Exodus 22:29, where it is stated that the sacrificing was not to take place till the eighth day after the birth; and in Deuteronomy 15:21-22, it is still further modified by the command, that an animal which had any fault, and was either blind or lame, was not to be sacrificed, but to be slain and eaten at home, like other edible animals. These two rules sprang out of the general instructions concerning the sacrificial animals. The first-born of the ass was to be redeemed with a male lamb or kid (שׂה, as at Exodus 12:3); and if not redeemed, it was to be killed. ערף: from ערף the nape, to break the neck (Deuteronomy 21:4, Deuteronomy 21:6). The first-born sons of Israel were also to be consecrated to Jehovah as a sacrifice; not indeed in the manner of the heathen, by slaying and burning upon the altar, but by presenting them to the Lord as living sacrifices, devoting all their powers of body and mind to His service. Inasmuch as the first birth represented all the births, the whole nation was to consecrate itself to Jehovah, and present itself as a priestly nation in the consecration of the first-born. But since this consecration had its foundation, not in nature, but in the grace of its call, the sanctification of the first birth cannot be deduced from the separation of the first-born to the priesthood. This view, which was very prevalent among early writers, has been thoroughly overthrown by Outram (de Sacrif. 1, c. 4) and Vitringa (observv. ii. c. 2, pp. 272ff.). As the priestly character of the nation did not give a title in itself to the administration of the priesthood within the theocracy, so the first-born were not eo ipso chosen as priests through their consecration to Jehovah. In what way they were to consecrate their life to the Lord, depended upon the appointment of the Lord, which was, that they were to perform the non-priestly work of the sanctuary, to be servants of the priests in their holy service. Even this work was afterwards transferred to the Levites (Numbers 3). At the same time the obligation was imposed upon the people to redeem their first-born sons from the service which was binding upon them, but was now transferred to the Levites, who were substituted for them; in other words, to pay five shekels of silver per head to the priesthood (Numbers 3:47; Numbers 18:16). In anticipation of this arrangement, which was to be introduced afterwards, the redemption (פּדה) of the male first-born is already established here. - On Exodus 13:14, see Exodus 12:26. מחר: to-morrow, for the future generally, as in Genesis 30:33. מה־זאת: what does this mean? quid sibi vult hoc praeceptum ac primogenitura (Jonathan).
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