MOURNED FOR HIM SEVENTY DAYS: As though he were a
(1) Even Joseph, second in Egypt, could not enter the
presence of Pharaoh while mourning. (2) Or, by this time a new Pharaoh had come
into power to whom Joseph was not as close as the previous one (cp Exo 1:8). (3)
Or, during the days of mourning Joseph was unshaven and therefore unfit to enter
the royal presence (Gen 41:14).
Notice the strange ties between Pharaoh and the God of
The last look of Israel's sons at their inheritance.
MAMRE: A place two miles north of Hebron, today called
Ramet el-Khalil. Abraham lived there in a tent (Gen 13:18; 14:13). The spot
seems to have taken its name from Mamre the Amorite, the owner at the time (Gen
14:13). Abraham was visited at Mamre by three heavenly messengers who promised
him a son (Gen 18:1). East of there he bought a burial place in Machpelah where
he buried Sarah (Gen 23:17-19; 49:30; 50:13).
Note their recurrent fear: Gen 42:23; 44:16; 45:3.
Vv 16-18: It is 17 years since Joseph made himself known to
his brethren but now their father is dead they still are concerned that Joseph
will treat them roughly. They did not understand what full forgiveness after
repentance really means. We run the risk of being like the brothers. Our God is
willing to forgive us if we are repentant -- however much we still
WHEN THEIR MESSAGE CAME TO HIM, JOSEPH WEPT: "If anyone
had a good excuse to bear a grudge and had the opportunity to pay his brothers
out for causing his grudges, it was Joseph. He had been thrown into the pit, had
his life threatened, been chained, sold as a slave, spent years in prison and
been separated from his father and family for half his life.
"So now that Jacob was dead and Joseph was the most powerful
man in Egypt, he had every opportunity to get back at his brothers for all the
misery they had put him through. Joseph's brothers thought that way, so they
sent an urgent message to Joseph pleading for forgiveness. But bearing a grudge
and getting revenge had not even crossed Joseph's mind and when he received
their message he wept. He had already forgiven them. He had realized that all
that had happened was for God to accomplish his plan and so Joseph held no
grudge at all- - only love.
"Most of us have less reason to bear a grudge or to pay
someone back for our grievances than Joseph did. Joseph learnt to forgive,
accept and love. We must follow his example. Accept what has happened in the
past, forgive any grievances we might have and turn our hatred into love"
THREW THEMSELVES DOWN BEFORE HIM: Bowing, as also in
Gen 42:6; 43:26,28; 44:14.
AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD?: "God with us" (Mat
Psa 105:17: "God sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold
for a slave." Cp the principle in Act 2:22-24.
An entirely Jewish end to the life of Joseph. No mention of
his Egyptian honors.
"Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern
by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself" (Act 15:14). How would Joseph
know this? From the promise to Abraham in Gen 15:13,14 that his seed would be
afflicted in a strange land for 400 years, and afterward would "come out with
great substance'. Prob this promise would have been made known to Joseph. Also,
there was the initial fulfillment of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's seed possessing
the land in the future (Gen 12:7; 15:18; etc). Some OT passages see this as a
partial fulfillment of some of the promises (Neh 9:7-8; Jos 21:43,45;
"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the
exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones" (Heb
11:22). Israel wishes to be buried in Canaan, due to associations of PAST esp
(Gen 47:28; 49:29). But Joseph particularly looks to FUTURE!
SO JOSEPH DIED...: "Hidden away from human knowledge,
in far-off Shechem, still rest the remains of a great man of God. He lived, as
few others have ever lived, a God-centred life. Humbly he acquiesced in many an
undeserved hardship. His faith in the ways of God's providence never faltered.
In everything his unfailing philosophy was: 'God knows best!' Was there ever a
servant of God with a more forgiving nature? You who read of all the good and
ill that befell him, and of the noble spirit with which he met every testing
situation, spare a minute to ponder his fine example and to thank God for the
inspiration he imparts to your own life. Especially learn from him faith in
God's promises concerning the Land -- 'Joseph, when he died, made mention of the
departing of the children of Israel' [Heb 11:22]. Learn also faith in the
eternal purpose in Christ which will one day bring saints of God forth from the
grave to the life everlasting -- 'he gave commandment concerning his bones'.
Here was the Christian faith long before Christ, exhibited in the Jesus of
Genesis, and written for your learning" (WJos 89).
A COFFIN IN EGYPT: "For 40 years those bones [would be]
a source of encouragement, and a silent exhortation, to those who would hear --
and his faith had been fully vindicated. God had brought them out, and He
brought them in.
"We do not follow a coffin: we know of an empty tomb, which
speaks eloquently of resurrection. We follow not a dead man's bones: we follow
the living Lord Jesus Christ, who, by his death, has brought us out. One day he
will return, and by his grace, he will bring us into the rest that remains for
the people of God. Until that day we must endeavour to follow the example of
Paul in Phi 3:13,14; 'Forgetting those things which are behind (Egypt), and
reaching forth unto those things that are before (the Kingdom), I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' Can we
possibly do less?" (A Harvey, Xd 138:256).
Genesis outlines man's fall from grace: It begins with God,
and ends with a "coffin in Egypt". But...
COFFIN: Sw commonly translated "ark". The "Savior of
the world" was at the last put into the "ark" of God!
"Under God's guiding hand, and with tremendous effort, this
spectacular character, Joseph, son of Jacob, had set the stage for the great and
long trek out of Egypt. He did not wish for an Egyptian monument, or pyramid,
which would have been considered appropriate for a man of his position. So his
death state, and the manner of his burial, in its impermanence, reminded the
Israelites of their impermanence, and honored his God, to the Egyptians.
Although dead, his mute witness to the Israelites stood through the testing
times, and gave the Israelites courage, until they took him with them under
Moses, all those years later, back to Shechem (Josh 24:32) after the 40 years in
the wilderness" (BRus).
"Joshua, who like Joseph, has no sin recorded against his
name, and who led the children of Israel into the land of promise, also died at
the age of 110 years. Joseph's faith was such that he knew that his brethren's
sojourn in Egypt would come to an end, at which time, he requested, his body
then be interred in the Land of Promise. Joseph perhaps typifies Jesus in his
mortality, whilst Joshua typifies Jesus in his triumphal immortality" (CY).