Genesis 47:29
And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
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(29) The time drew nigh that Israel must die—For seventeen years Jacob lived in Egypt, and saw the growing prosperity of his race under the fostering hand of Joseph. Placed at the entrance of Egypt, on the side of Arabia and Palestine, the clans of his sons would daily grow in number by the addition of Semitic immigrants, by whose aid they would make the vast and fertile region assigned them, and which had previously had but a scanty population, a well-cultivated and thriving land. But at last Jacob feels his end approaching, though apparently he was not as yet in immediate danger of death. But there was a wish over which he had long pondered; and desiring to have his mind set at rest, he sends for Joseph, and makes him promise that he will bury him in the cave at Machpelah. We find him again charging all his sons to grant him this request (Genesis 49:29-32); nor need we seek for any remote reason for it. Jacob’s whole nature was a loving one, and strongly influenced by home and domestic feelings; and at Machpelah his nearest relatives were buried. In the next chapter he dwells upon Rachel’s death, and his burial of her apart from the rest at Ephrath; and this seems to have increased his grief at her loss. At Machpelah, Abraham. whom he had known as a boy, his beloved father and mother, and Leah, who had evidently at last won his affections, all lay; and there, naturally, he too wished to lie among his own.

Put . . . thy hand under my thigh.—See Note on Genesis 24:2.

Genesis 47:29. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die — Israel, that had power over the angel, and prevailed, yet must yield to death. He died by degrees; his candle was not blown out, but gradually burned down, so that he saw, at some distance, the time drawing nigh. He would be buried in Canaan, not because Canaan was the land of his nativity, but in faith, because it was the land of promise, which he desired thus, as it were, to keep possession of until the time should come when his posterity should be masters of it: and because it was a type of heaven, that better country, which he was in expectation of. When this was done, Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head — Worshipping God, as it is explained, Hebrews 11:21, giving God thanks for all his favours, and particularly for this, that Joseph was ready to put his hand upon his eyes. Thus they that go down to the dust should, with humble thankfulness, bow before God, the God of their mercies.

47:27-31 At last the time drew nigh that Israel must die. Israel, a prince with God, had power over the Angel, and prevailed, yet must die. Joseph supplied him with bread, that he might not die by famine, but that did not secure him from dying by age or sickness. He died by degrees; his candle gradually burnt down to the socket, so that he saw the time drawing nigh. It is an advantage to see the approach of death, before we feel it, that we may be quickened to do, with all our might, what our hands find to do. However, death is not far from any of us. Jacob's care, as he saw the day approach, was about his burial; not the pomp of it, but he would be buried in Canaan, because it was the land of promise. It was a type of heaven, that better country, which he declared plainly he expected, Heb 11:14. Nothing will better help to make a death-bed easy, than the certain prospect of rest in the heavenly Canaan after death. When this was done, Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head, worshipping God, as it is explained, see Heb 11:21, giving God thanks for all his favours; in feebleness thus supporting himself, expressing his willingness to leave the world. Even those who lived on Joseph's provision, and Jacob who was so dear to him, must die. But Christ Jesus gives us the true bread, that we may eat and live for ever. To Him let us come and yield ourselves, and when we draw near to death, he who supported us through life, will meet us and assure us of everlasting salvation.Jacob lives seventeen years in Egypt, and so survives the famine twelve years. "He called his son Joseph." Joseph retained his power and place near Pharaoh after the fourteen years of special service were completed; hence, Jacob looks to him for the accomplishment of his wishes concerning the place of his burial. "Put thy hand under my thigh" Genesis 24:2. He binds Joseph by a solemn asseveration to carry his mortal remains to the land of promise. "And Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed." On receiving the solemn promise of Joseph, he turns toward the head of the bed, and assumes the posture of adoration, rendering, no doubt, thanks to God for all the mercies of his past life, and for this closing token of filial duty and affection. The Septuagint has the rendering: ἐπί τὸ ἄκρον τῆσῥάβδον αὐτοῦ epi to ākron akron tēs rabdou autou "on the top of his staff," which is given in the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 11:21. This is obtained by a mere change in the vowel pointing of the last word.

- Joseph Visits His Sick Father

The right of primogeniture has been forfeited by Reuben. The double portion in the inheritance is now transferred to Joseph. He is the first-born of her who was intended by Jacob to be his first and only wife. He has also been the means of saving all his father's house, even after he had been sold into slavery by his brethren. He has therefore, undeniable claims to this part of the first-born's rights.

29-31. the time drew nigh that Israel must die—One only of his dying arrangements is recorded; but that one reveals his whole character. It was the disposal of his remains, which were to be carried to Canaan, not from a mere romantic attachment to his native soil, nor, like his modern descendants, from a superstitious feeling for the soil of the Holy Land, but from faith in the promises. His address to Joseph—"if now I have found grace in thy sight," that is, as the vizier of Egypt—his exacting a solemn oath that his wishes would be fulfilled and the peculiar form of that oath, all pointed significantly to the promise and showed the intensity of his desire to enjoy its blessings (compare Nu 10:29). Put thy hand under my thigh, i.e. swear to me, as Genesis 47:31, that thou wilt do what I am now desiring of thee; see Poole on "Genesis 24:2". He requires this, not out of any distrust of Joseph’s promise, but partly, as a more solemn protestation of his right to and affection for that promised land; partly, us a motive to all his children to have their minds and hearts there, even when their bodies were in Egypt; and partly, to give Joseph an argument and excuse to Pharaoh, that he might more willingly permit Joseph to fulfil his father’s desire, because of his own oath.

And deal kindly and truly, or, that thou wilt deal; as the Hebrew vau joined with the future tense is elsewhere used, as Psalm 24:7 35:24 51:15. Kindly in promising, and truly in performing thy promise.

And the time drew nigh that Israel must die,.... As all men must, by the appointment of God, even good men, the Israel of God; though they shall not die a spiritual death, nor an eternal one, yet a corporeal one, which is for their good, and is a blessing to them; the sting being removed, and so not a penal evil, which is owing to Christ's dying for them, who has abolished death as such; and there is a time fixed for their death, beyond which they must not live, and before which they must not die, but when the time comes there is no avoiding it; the time of Jacob's death was drawing on, as he perceived by the great decline of his natural strength, and perhaps by a divine impulse on his mind:

and he called his son Joseph; sent for him, by a messenger, to come to him:

and said unto him; when he was come:

if now I have found grace in thy sight; which is not spoken in a way of submission, as from an inferior to a superior, as the phrase is sometimes used; or as signifying what would be esteemed as a favour should it be granted, but it is as if he should say, if thou hast any filial affection for me as a parent, and art willing to show love and respect to me, do as follows:

put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: a gesture in swearing, as Jarchi observes, Genesis 24:2; adding, for explanation's sake:

and deal kindly and truly with me; "kindly", by promising and swearing to do what he after desires; and "truly", by observing his oath, and fulfilling his promise:

bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt; not choosing to lie among idolaters at death, with whom he cared not to have any fellowship in life.

And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
29–31 (J). Jacob makes Joseph swear to bury him in Canaan

29. And the time drew near] The description of Jacob’s dying moments may be compared with those of Moses (Deuteronomy 31-34) and of David (1 Kings 2:1).

I have found grace] Cf. Genesis 6:9, Genesis 18:3, Genesis 32:5, Genesis 33:8; Genesis 33:15 (J).

put … thy hand … thigh] See note on Genesis 24:2 (J).

Verse 29. - And the time drew nigh that Israel (i.e. Jacob) must die (literally, and the days of Israel to die drew near): and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight (not as if Jacob doubted Joseph's affection, but simply as desiring a last token of his love, perhaps also as unconsciously recognizing his son's greatness), put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, - an ancient form of adjuration (cf. Genesis 24:2) - and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt. On the root קָבַר, to bury (cf. Eng. cover), vide Genesis 23:4. Genesis 47:29Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years. He then sent for Joseph, as he felt that his death was approaching; and having requested him, as a mark of love and faithfulness, not to bury him in Egypt, but near his fathers in Canaan, he made him assure him on oath (by putting his hand under his hip, vid., p. 164) that his wishes should be fulfilled. When Joseph had taken this oath, "Israel bowed (in worship) upon the bed's head." He had talked with Joseph while sitting upon the bed; and when Joseph had promised to fulfil his wish, he turned towards the head of the bed, so as to lie with his face upon the bed, and thus worshipped God, thanking Him for granting his wish, which sprang from living faith in the promises of God; just as David also worshipped upon his bed (1 Kings 1:47-48). The Vulgate rendering is correct: adoravit Deum conversus ad lectuli caput. That of the lxx, on the contrary, is προσεκύνησεν Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄδρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ (i.e., המּטּה); and the Syriac and Itala have the same (cf. Hebrews 11:21). But no fitting sense can be obtained from this rendering, unless we think of the staff with which Jacob had gone through life, and, taking αὐτου therefore in the sense of αὑτοῦ, assume that Jacob made use of the staff to enable him to sit upright in bed, and so prayed, bent upon or over it, though even then the expression המטה ראשׁ remains a strange one; so that unquestionably this rendering arose from a false reading of המטה, and is not proved to be correct by the quotation in Hebrews 11:21. "Adduxit enim lxx Interpr. versionem Apostolus, quod ea tum usitata esset, non quod lectionem illam praeferendam judicaret (Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad h. l.).
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