And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.…
I. WHAT IT WAS.
1. It was not anxiety about temporal support, for that had been generously made sure to him by his son Joseph.
2. It was not concern about the future fortunes of his family, for these had been graciously taken under God's protection.
3. It was not uncertainty as to his own personal acceptance with Jehovah, for of that he had long ago been assured.
4. It was scarcely even fear of his approaching death, for besides being a thought with which Jacob had long been familiar, to a weary pilgrim like him the event itself would not be altogether unwelcome.
5. It was dread lest his lifeless body should be interred in Egypt, far from the graves of his ancestors in the holy land.
II. WHENCE IT AROSE.
1. From the deeply-seated instinct in human nature, which makes men wish, if possible, to sleep beside their fathers and friends. Though religion teaches us to believe that every spot on earth is in a manner holy ground, yet it does not induce a spirit of indifference as to the last resting-place where we shall lie.
2. From a firm faith in the Divine promise that his descendants should yet return to Canaan. Even if Jacob did not anticipate that this would immediately occur, if, as is probable, he had already dark forebodings that the period of exile and servitude spoken of by Jehovah to Abraham was about to commence, he was yet able to detect a silver lining in the cloud, to see the happy time beyond, when his children, in accordance with the promise "I will surely bring thee up again," should return home to their presently abandoned inheritance.
III. HOW IT WAS REMOVED.
1. By Joseph's promise. Requested by his aged parent to convey his body back to Canaan, when the life had departed, Joseph solemnly, engages to carry out that parent's wishes to the letter. "I will do as thou hast said."
2. By Joseph's oath. As if to remove every possible ground of apprehension, the old man further binds his son by an appeal to heaven. "And he said, Swear unto me; and he (Joseph) sware unto him." The venerable patriarch's anxieties were at an end. "And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head." - W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.