And Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.
The descent into Egypt was -
1. An ending.
2. A beginning.
It closed one chapter in God's providence, and opened a new one. It terminated the sojourn in Canaan; brought to a harmonious conclusion the complicated series of events which separated Joseph from his father, raised him to power in Egypt, wrought for the purification of his brethren's character, and prepared the way for the ultimate settlement of, the whole family in Goshen. It laid the foundation for new historical developments. There is now to be a pause, a breathing space, while the people are gradually multiplying, and exchanging the habits of nomadic life for those of agriculturists and dwellers in cities. The death of Joseph, and of his brethren, and of all that generation, is the proper close of this earlier period. Their part is played out, and the stage is cleared for new beginnings.
1. They died - so must we all. The common fate, yet infinitely pathetic when reflected on.
2. They died - the end of earthly greatness. Joseph had all he could wish for of earthly power and splendour, and he enjoyed it through a long lifetime. Yet he must part with it. Well for him that he had something better in prospect.
3. They died - the end of earthly disciplines. The lives of the brethren had been singularly eventful. By painful disciplines God had moulded them for good. Life to every one is a divinely ordained discipline. The end is to bring us to repentance, and build us up in faith and holiness. With some, the discipline succeeds; with others it fails. In either case death ends it. "After this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). The fact of discipline an argument for immortality. God does not spend a lifetime in perfecting a character, that just when the finishing touches have been put upon it, he may dash it into non-existence. Death ends discipline, but we carry with us the result and the responsibility.
4. They died - Joseph and his brethren - happily in faith. There was a future they did not live to see; but their faith grasped God's promise, and "Joseph, when he died, gave commandment concerning his bones" (Hebrews 11:22). And behind the earthly Canon loomed something better - an inheritance which they and we may share together. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.