Genesis 47:30
But I will lie with my fathers, and you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burial plot. And he said, I will do as you have said.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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). I will lie with my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, in Canaan. See Genesis 23:19 25:9 35:29. Which he desired not so much for himself, as knowing that wherever he was buried he should rise to glory; as for his children, to show his own, and confirm their faith in God’s promise of Canaan; to discover his high valuation of that land, not only for itself, but as it was a type and pledge of the heavenly inheritance; to keep his children’s minds and hearts loose from Egypt, a place of so much sin and danger, and fixed upon Canaan, that they might be more willing to go thither when God called them, by virtue of that inclination which is in most persons to be buried with their fathers; and in the mean time to declare his detestation of idolaters, with whom he would have no communion either in life, as far as he could avoid it, or in the place of burial; and on the contrary, to profess his communion with his godly ancestors, by his desire to be joined with them in burial. And for the same reasons Joseph desired the translation of his bones thither, Genesis 50:25. But I will lie with my fathers,.... Abraham and Isaac, whose bodies lay in the land of Canaan, where Jacob desired to be buried; partly to express his faith in the promised land, that it should be the inheritance of his posterity; and partly to draw off their minds from a continuance in Egypt, and to incline them to think of removing thither at a proper time, and to confirm them in the belief of their enjoyment of it; as well as to intimate his desire after, and faith in the heavenly glory he was going to, of which Canaan was a type:

and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt; into the land of Canaan:

and bury me in their burying place; in the burying place of his fathers, in the cave of Machpelah, near Hebron; see Genesis 49:30,

and he said, I will do as thou hast said; Joseph promised his father to fulfil his request, and do as he had desired of him.

But I will {i} lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.

(i) By this he demonstrated that he died in the faith of his fathers, teaching his children to hope for the promised land.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. when I sleep with my fathers] See note on Genesis 25:8. When his spirit is in Sheôl, his body is to rest at Machpelah.

bury me in their buryingplace] This charge of Jacob that he should be carried out of Egypt and buried in the burying-place of his fathers, viz. in the cave of Machpelah, is repeated in Genesis 49:29-30 (P). See for its execution Genesis 50:13 (P). For the burial of Isaac, see Genesis 35:29 (P); and of Abraham, Genesis 25:9 (P).

In Genesis 50:5 Jacob speaks of the grave he had digged for himself: see note.Verse 30. - But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying-place. The request of the venerable patriarch, while due in some respect to the deeply-seated instinct of human nature which makes men, almost universally, long to be buried in ancestral graves, was inspired by the clear faith that Canaan was the true inheritance of Israel, and that, though now obtaining a temporary refuge in Egypt, his descendants would eventually return to the land of promise as their permanent abode. And he (i.e. Joseph) said, I will do as thou hast said - literally, according to thy word. Then Joseph said to the people: "Behold I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh; there have ye (הא only found in Ezekiel 16:43 and Daniel 2:43) seed, and sow the land; and of the produce ye shall give the fifth for Pharaoh, and four parts (ידת, as in Genesis 43:34) shall belong to you for seed, and for the support of yourselves, your families and children." The people agreed to this; and the writer adds (Genesis 47:26), it became a law, in existence to this day (his own time), "with regard to the land of Egypt for Pharaoh with reference to the fifth," i.e., that the fifth of the produce of the land should be paid to Pharaoh.

Profane writers have given at least an indirect support to the reality of this political reform of Joseph's. Herodotus, for example (2, 109), states that king Sesostris divided the land among the Egyptians, giving every one a square piece of the same size as his hereditary possession (κλῆρον), and derived his own revenue from a yearly tax upon them. Diod. Sic. (1, 73), again, says that all the land in Egypt belonged either to the priests, to the king, or to the warriors; and Strabo (xvii. p. 787), that the farmers and traders held rateable land, so that the peasants were not landowners. On the monuments, too, the kings, priests, and warriors only are represented as having landed property (cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, i. 263). The biblical account says nothing about the exemption of the warriors from taxation and their possession of land, for that was a later arrangement. According to Herod. 2, 168, every warrior had received from former kings, as an honourable payment, twelve choice fields (ἄρουραι) free from taxation, but they were taken away by the Hephaesto-priest Sethos, a contemporary of Hezekiah, when he ascended the throne (Herod. 2, 141). But when Herodotus and Diodorus Sic. attribute to Sesostris the division of the land into 36 νομοί, and the letting of these for a yearly payment; these comparatively recent accounts simply transfer the arrangement, which was actually made by Joseph, to a half-mythical king, to whom the later legends ascribed all the greater deeds and more important measures of the early Pharaohs. And so far as Joseph's arrangement itself was concerned, not only had he the good of the people and the interests of the king in view, but the people themselves accepted it as a favour, inasmuch as in a land where the produce was regularly thirty-fold, the cession of a fifth could not be an oppressive burden. And it is probable that Joseph not only turned the temporary distress to account by raising the king into the position of sole possessor of the land, with the exception of that of the priests, and bringing the people into a condition of feudal dependence upon him, but had also a still more comprehensive object in view; viz., to secure the population against the danger of starvation in case the crops should fail at any future time, not only by dividing the arable land in equal proportions among the people generally, but, as has been conjectured, by laying the foundation for a system of cultivation regulated by laws and watched over by the state, and possibly also by commencing a system of artificial irrigation by means of canals, for the purpose of conveying the fertilizing water of the Nile as uniformly as possible to all parts of the land. (An explanation of this system is given by Hengstenberg in his Dissertations, from the Correspondance d'Orient par Michaud, etc.) To mention either these or any other plans of a similar kind, did not come within the scope of the book of Genesis, which restricts itself, in accordance with its purely religious intention, to a description of the way in which, during the years of famine, Joseph proved himself to both the king and people of Egypt to be the true support of the land, so that in him Israel already became a saviour of the Gentiles. The measures taken by Joseph are thus circumstantially described, partly because the relation into which the Egyptians were brought to their visible king bore a typical resemblance to the relation in which the Israelites were placed by the Mosaic constitution to Jehovah, their God-King, since they also had to give a double tenth, i.e., the fifth of the produce of their lands, and were in reality only farmers of the soil which Jehovah had given them in Canaan for a possession, so that they could not part with their hereditary possessions in perpetuity (Leviticus 25:23); and partly also because Joseph's conduct exhibited in type how God entrusts His servants with the good things of this earth, in order that they may use them not only for the preservation of the lives of individuals and nations, but also for the promotion of the purposes of His kingdom. For, as is stated in conclusion in Genesis 47:27, not only did Joseph preserve the lives of the Egyptians, for which they expressed their acknowledgements (Genesis 47:25), but under his administration the house of Israel was able, without suffering any privations, or being brought into a relation of dependence towards Pharaoh, to dwell in the land of Goshen, to establish itself there (נאחז as in Genesis 34:10), and to become fruitful and multiply.

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