Genesis 46:4
I will go down with you into Egypt; and I will also surely bring you up again: and Joseph shall put his hand on your eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.—Both among the Jews and Greeks it was the duty of those nearest in blood to close the eyes of a deceased relative. The promise conveyed the assurance that Jacob would die peacefully, surrounded by his friends. For the fulfilment see Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 46:4. I will go down with thee into Egypt — Those that go where God sends them shall certainly have God with them. And I will surely bring thee up again — Though Jacob died in Egypt, yet this promise was fulfilled. 1st, In the bringing up of his body to be buried in Canaan. 2d, In the bringing up of his seed to be settled in Canaan. Whatever low and darksome valley we are called into, we may be confident, if God go down with us, he will surely bring us up again. If he go with us down to death, he will surely bring us up again to glory. And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes — This is a promise that Joseph should live as long as he lived, that he should be with him at his death, and close his eyes with all possible tenderness. Probably Jacob, in the multitude of his thoughts within him, had been wishing that Joseph might do this last office of love for him; and God thus answered him in the letter of his desire. Thus God sometimes gratifies the innocent wishes of his people, and makes not only their death happy, but the very circumstances of it agreeable.46:1-4 Even as to those events and undertakings which appear most joyful, we should seek counsel, assistance, and a blessing from the Lord. Attending on his ordinances, and receiving the pledges of his covenant love, we expect his presence, and that peace which it confers. In all removals we should be reminded of our removal out of this world. Nothing can encourage us to fear no evil when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but the presence of Christ.Jacob arriving at Beer-sheba is encouraged by a revelation from God. Beer-sheba may be regarded as the fourth scene of Abraham's abode in the land of promise. "Offered sacrifices." He had gathered from the words of the Lord to Abraham Genesis 15:13, and the way in which the dreams of Joseph were realized in the events of Providence, that his family were to descend into Egypt. He felt therefore, that in taking this step he was obeying the will of Heaven. Hence, he approaches God in sacrifices at an old abode of Abraham and Isaac, before he crosses the border to pass into Egypt. On this solemn occasion God appears to him in the visions of the night. He designates himself EL the Mighty, and the God of his father. The former name cheers him with the thought of an all-sufficient Protector. The latter identifies the speaker with the God of his father, and therefore, with the God of eternity, of creation, and of covenant. "Fear not to go down into Mizraim." This implies both that it was the will of God that he should go down to Egypt, and that he would be protected there. "A great nation."

Jacob had now a numerous family, of whom no longer one was selected, but all were included in the chosen seed. He had received the special blessing and injunction to be fruitful and multiply Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11. The chosen family is to be the beginning of the chosen nation. "I will go down with thee." The "I" is here emphatic, as it is also in the assurance that he will bring him up in the fullness of time from Egypt. If Israel in the process of growth from a family to a nation had remained among the Kenaanites, he would have been amalgamated with the nation by intermarriage, and conformed to its vices. By his removal to Egypt he is kept apart from the demoralizing influence of a nation, whose iniquity became so great as to demand a judicial extirpation Genesis 15:16. He is also kept from sinking into an Egyptian by the fact that a shepherd, as he was, is an abomination to Egypt; by his location in the comparatively high land of Goshen, which is a border land, not naturally, but only politically, belonging to Egypt; and by the reduction of his race to a body of serfs, with whom that nation would not condescend to intermingle. "Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes." His long-lost son shall be present to perform the last offices to him when deceased.

4. I will also surely bring thee up again—As Jacob could not expect to live till the former promise was realized, he must have seen that the latter was to be accomplished only to his posterity. To himself it was literally verified in the removal of his remains to Canaan; but, in the large and liberal sense of the words, it was made good only on the establishment of Israel in the land of promise.

Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes—shall perform the last office of filial piety; and this implied that he should henceforth enjoy, without interruption, the society of that favorite son.

I will bring thee up again, though not in thy person, yet in thy body, Genesis 47:29,30 50:5,13; and in thy posterity, which are a part of thyself, or thyself multiplied.

Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes; shall close thy eyes; which office was usually performed by the nearest and dearest relations of the dying party among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Hereby Jacob is assured that he should die in peace, and that Joseph both now was alive, and should survive his father. I will go down with thee into Egypt,.... Which was enough to silence all his fears; for if the presence of God went with him to protect and defend hide, to bless and prosper him, and to direct, support, and comfort, he had nothing to fear from any quarter:

and I will also surely bring thee up again: Jarchi takes this to be a promise that he should be buried in the land of Canaan, which had its fulfilment, when his corpse was carried out of Egypt to Machpelah, and there interred; but rather this refers to the bringing up of his posterity from thence in due time, for which Jacob might be most solicitous, and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and I will bring up thy children from thence:"

and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes: and so close them when he was dead; this, as Aben Ezra says, was a custom of the living to the dead, and it used to be done by the nearest relations and friends, though now with us commonly by strangers, or those that are not akin: this was a custom among the Greeks and Romans, as appears from Homer (o), Virgil (p), Ovid (q), and other writers (r); and so, among the Jews, Tobias is said to shut the eyes of his wife's father and mother, and to bury them honourably,"Where he became old with honour, and he buried his father and mother in law honourably, and he inherited their substance, and his father Tobit's.'' (Tobit 14:13)Of the Vulgate Latin version: Maimonides (s) reckons this of closing the eyes of the dead, among the rites used towards them, and so in the Talmud (t): now by this expression Jacob was assured that Joseph was alive, and that he should live to see him, and that Joseph would outlive him, and do this last office for him; and, as Ben Melech observes, by this he had the good news told him that Joseph should remain behind him, to sustain and support his sons, and his sons' sons, all the years that he should live after him.

(o) Odyss. 11. (p) Aeneid. l. 9. (q) Trist. l. 1. Eleg. 2.((r) Vid. Kirchman, de Funer. Rom. l. 1. c. 6. & Kipping. Rom. Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6. (s) Hilchot Ebel, l. 4. sect. 1.((t) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 151. 2.

I will {b} go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely {c} bring thee up again: and Joseph shall {d} put his hand upon thine eyes.

(b) Conducting you by my power.

(c) In your posterity.

(d) Shall shut your eyes when you die: which belongs to him that was most dear or chief of the kindred.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. I will go down] The promise of the Divine presence is the assurance of safety and blessing. God is no mere local god of Canaan. He will be with His people, where they are; whether in Mesopotamia (Genesis 31:13), in Palestine (Genesis 35:3), or in Egypt.

bring thee up again] i.e. from Egypt back into Canaan. The pronoun “thee” must surely be understood of the people descended from, and personified by, Jacob, and identified with his name. It does not predict his burial in Canaanite land. The words may best be illustrated from Genesis 50:24, and not from Genesis 50:13. They foretell the Exodus of the Israelites, not the burial of Jacob.

put his hand … eyes] The last tender office performed by the nearest relative. The promise is fulfilled; see Genesis 50:1.Verse 4. - I will go down with thee into Egypt; - not a proof that the Hebrews believed in a local deity following them when they changed their abodes, and confined to the district in which they happened for tire time being to reside (Tuch, Bohlen), but simply a metaphorical expression for the efficiency and completeness of the Divine protection (Kalisch) - and I will also surely bring thee up again (literally, and I will bring thee up also, bringing thee up; a double emphasis lying in the use of the infinitive absolute, with גַּם preceding, as in Genesis 31:15, meaning that God would assuredly recover his body for interment in Canaan should he die in Egypt, and his descendants for settlement in the land of their inheritance): and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes - i.e. will perform for thee the last offices of affection by closing thine eyes in death, a service upon which the human heart in all ages and countries has set the highest value (vide Homer, ' I1 .' 11. 453; 'Odys.,' 24:294; Virg., 'AEn.,' 9:487; Ovid, ' Epist.,' 1:162). "A father at the point of death is always very desirous that his wife, children, and grandchildren should be with him. Should there be one at a distance, he will be immediately sent for, and until he arrive the father will mourn and complain, 'My son, will you not come? I cannot die without you.' When he arrives, he will take the hands of his son, and kiss them, and place them on his eyes, his face, and mouth, and say, ' Now I die.'" (Roberts' 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 52). When they got back, and brought word to their father, "Joseph is still living, yea (וכי an emphatic assurance, Ewald, 3306) he is ruler in all the land of Egypt, his heart stopped, for he believed them not;" i.e., his heart did not beat at this joyful news, for he put no faith in what they said. It was not till they told him all that Joseph had said, and he saw the carriages that Joseph had sent, that "the spirit of their father Jacob revived; and Israel said: It is enough! Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die." Observe the significant interchange of Jacob and Israel. When once the crushed spirit of the old man was revived by the certainty that his son Joseph was still alive, Jacob was changed into Israel, the "conqueror overcoming his grief at the previous misconduct of his sons" (Fr. v. Meyer).
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