Life of Joseph – Part 42 – Jacob’s Death and Burial

At the end of his life, Jacob reminds his sons that he wants to be buried in Canaan–in the burial spot that Abraham bought for his family and his descendants. That’s where Abraham and Sarah were buried, and Isaac and Rebekah. And that’s where Jacob buried Leah.

A few things got my attention. I love the fact that Abraham called this a permanent burial place for his family. He was such a man of faith. He believed God’s promise that He was giving the land to Abraham and his descendants. And I believe Jacob is also showing his faith in that promise by wanting to be buried there.

I’m sure all of Jacob’s sons mourned his death, but Joseph’s mourning is talked about more than anyone else’s. I wonder if that’s because of all the years he was separated from his father.

I think it shows the Egyptians’ respect and appreciation for Joseph that they mourned his father as if he had been Egyptian royalty. That says a lot about how well Joseph took care of the people during a time of crisis. And even though at this point in time the famine has been over for several years, Joseph is still very well-respected and still has Pharaoh’s ear, because Pharaoh doesn’t hesitate to give Joseph whatever he needs in order to fulfill his father’s last wishes.

I also noticed that Joseph is still showing Pharaoh the respect he’s due. He doesn’t attempt to see Pharaoh since he’s in mourning clothes and he doesn’t presume anything–he asked for permission to go back to Canaan to bury his father.

I believe it is because of their respect for Joseph that so many Egyptians, including high-ranking officials, made the trip with Joseph and his family. And the mourning ceremony that took place for 7 days at Atad caused the local Canaanites to change the name of the place to a word that means “Mourning of Egypt.”

Then, after the burial, everybody went back to Egypt.


– Frequently people facing death share final wishes with their loved ones. A lot of times they ask to be buried with family that has already passed.

– Our faith, or lack of it, is typically evident in how we face death.

– Sometimes we’re not just mourning the death of a loved one, we’re also mourning opportunities that somehow we missed out on during their life.

– Some people who show up after a death are mourning the person who passed, while some are there to show their respect and support for a family member they’re close to.

– When someone saves your life, you don’t forget it. And you tend to always respect and admire them.

– Being hugely successful is not an excuse to become arrogant.

– Eventually after a loved one’s death you have to go back to normal life–although it will never be the same. Grief is a long process.


– What are you burial wishes? Who have you shared them with?

– How will your faith be evident as you face death?

– When have you mourned not just someone’s death, but lost opportunities with them?

– When did you last mourn the death of someone you didn’t know because you were close to a family member?

– Who is a successful person that years ago made a huge difference in your life and that you still respect and admire? How does their attitude affect your respect of them?

– Who are you still grieving? How long has it been?


Genesis 49:29 – 50:14 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

29 He charged them and said to them, I am to be gathered to my [departed] people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

30 In the cave in the field at Machpelah, east of Mamre in the land of Canaan, that Abraham bought, along with the field of Ephron the Hittite, to possess as a cemetery.

31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah.

32 The purchase of the field and the cave that is in it was from the sons of Heth.

33 When Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his [departed] people.

50 Then Joseph fell upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him.

And Joseph ordered his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.

Then forty days were devoted [to this purpose] for him, for that is the customary number of days required for those who are embalmed. And the Egyptians wept and bemoaned him [as they would for royalty] for seventy days.

And when the days of his weeping and deep grief were past, Joseph said to [the nobles of] the house of Pharaoh, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, to Pharaoh [for Joseph was dressed in mourning and could not do so himself], saying,

My father made me swear, saying, I am about to die; in my tomb which I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me. So now let me go up, I pray you, and bury my father, and I will come again.

And Pharaoh said, Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.

And Joseph went up [to Canaan] to bury his father; and with him went all the officials of Pharaoh—the nobles of his court, and the elders of his house and all the nobles and elders of the land of Egypt—

And all the household of Joseph and his brethren and his father’s household. Only their little ones and their flocks and herds they left in the land of Goshen.

And there went with [Joseph] both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company.

10 And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond [west of] the Jordan, and there they mourned with a great lamentation and extreme demonstrations of sorrow [according to Egyptian custom]; and [Joseph] made a mourning for his father seven days.

11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians. Therefore the place was called Abel-mizraim [mourning of Egypt]; it is west of the Jordan.

12 Thus [Jacob’s] sons did for him as he had commanded them.

13 For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre, which Abraham bought, along with the field, for a possession as a burying place from Ephron the Hittite.

14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brethren and all who had gone up with him.

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