And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from hence.
The narrative reminds us of the memorable orders given by Lord Nelson when dying. As his comrades raised him from the deck where he had fallen after receiving the fatal wound, he exclaimed, "I die." On his way to the cabin, whither they immediately conveyed him, his observant eye perceived that the tiller ropes had been shot away. Still interested in circumstances from which he was soon to take a final departure, he instantly gave the order, "Replace the ropes." Laid upon a cot, he said to the attendant surgeon, "Leave me; render aid to those who can be profited by it." Entertaining the same twofold conviction he entertained when he issued the order for battle — victory for England, death for Nelson — he lay calmly awaiting the anticipated result. Thinking, apparently, of the signal which for the encouragement of his soldiers he had exhibited from the mast-head as the two fleets came within range — "England expects every man to do his duty to-day" he whispered, I have done my duty. As Hardy, the captain of the ship, reported, "The victory is complete," he slowly raised himself upon his arm to give his last order: "Bring the fleet to anchor to-night." When reminded that this duty would devolve upon another, he sternly exclaimed, "Hardy, obey my order; anchor to-night." Obedience to that dying order might have saved many a dismantled ship and hundreds of lives. But when the winds which scattered and nearly wrecked England's victorious navy were howling through the torn rigging and sinking one disabled ship after another, the voice which gave this needed order, and could have enforced it, was silent in death. Nelson's last energies were expended in giving a command in the interests of a nation whose honour he had died in defending: a command which he hoped would be obeyed after his death, though it might call for the surrender of present advantages in the anticipation of future security. Believing fully that a severe storm was pending, he gave an order which, though it could be of no value to him, might prove, if obeyed, an inestimable blessing to those who should survive him, and might save England's victorious fleet. In this incident three facts are especially worthy of note, as having a parallel in the dying words of Joseph: the conviction that he stood by death's river, that victory awaited his countrymen, that they needed an order which should be obeyed after his death.
(J. S. Van Dyke.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.