4 When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, “If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, 5 ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.’”
6 Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”
7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt— 8 besides all the members of Joseph’s household and his brothers and those belonging to his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen. 9 Chariots and horsemen[a] also went up with him. It was a very large company.
10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father. 11 When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.” That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.[b]
12 So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.
Joseph Reassures His Brothers 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
The Death of Joseph 22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.[c] 24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” 26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph is shaken to his core at the death of his father. He throws himself weeping over his father’s body in a poignant seen of grief, loss, and love. Even the Egyptians mourn for seventy days in honor of Jacob. Not only does the Pharaoh show his love and respect for Joseph by allowing him to leave for Canaan to bury his father as requested, but he also sends several dignitaries to accompany the brothers on their trip.
When the party reaches Canaan Jacob is buried beside his forefathers Abraham and Issac. Jacob mourns for ten days in the land of Canaan and then the company heads back to Egypt where they are destined to be.
Somehow Joseph’s brothers came to the notion that Joseph would now seek vengeance upon them now that their father had died. They pass a message of repentance along with fictional instructions from their father for Joseph to forgive them. Joseph weeps and tells them it is only God’s place to deal with sin. He also is strong in his belief that the wicked act of being sold into slavery was really a blessing from God in order for him to save so many lives during the terrible famine.
For the last seventy years of his life Joseph lives in relative peace in Egypt. However, he does not get so immersed in his position there that he forgets the future of his people. He knows that God will direct his people to the promised land in the future, and although he is embalmed in Egypt Joseph’s dying wishes are to be carried to the promised land when the time comes for their departure.
Genesis has shown us the true amount of involvement God has in our lives. In the very beginning God creates all that there is in the world. He or she takes special favor on humans placing them as guardians of all the other living creatures. A great rift is created between God and humans when Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge.
However, God takes favor on a certain man: Abraham. Their relationship is so great that Abraham comes close to offering his son as a sacrifice to God. God continues to be with Abraham’s descendants and the a covenant is made between them. As long as they follow God he or she will bless them, make them many in number, and eventually lead them to a land of promise.
We see God make the miraculous possible with Sarah and the birth of her son at such an old age. The blessings reign down through Abraham to Issac then to Jacob and his offspring. Through Joseph God turns a dark and desperate situation into one of light and favor. All those around this family can clearly see the LORD at work in their lives. Even the Pharaoh, who is of a different religion and custom, sees the great bound between God and these people. Hard times are ahead for the Israelites, but God will be there with them until the end.