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.

Life of Joseph – Part 41 – Jacob’s Final Blessings

Jacob knows his time on earth is near the end. So he calls for his sons to gather around his bed and he gives them his final ‘blessing’–which is really a prophecy of their future.

Jacob doesn’t pull any punches when he talks to them. He tells Reuben and a couple of others exactly why their futures don’t look as bright as those of the rest of their brothers.

All these ‘sons’ of Jacob are/will become the 12 tribes of Israel.

Then, even on his deathbed, Jacob still favors Joseph. He calls him “the prince among his brothers.” I have to say it is true. And thankfully, now that Joseph has matured, he knows better how to handle his father’s favoritism.

For some reason, I’m drawn to the fact that it says the sons were given the blessings appropriate to them. I don’t see this as saying Reuben was ‘made’ to do something bad enough to essentially lose his inheritance. And I don’t see it as saying Joseph could do no wrong.

The way I read it is that we are created for the time and place we live in. And our gifts and callings fit in with when and where we live. And we each have a purpose for our lives and God has equipped each of us so we can fulfill our purpose.

I think one of our main problems is that sometimes we can’t imagine God wanting to use us or having a purpose and plan for US — so we act in such a way that we forfeit that purpose and plan! Like Reuben, we live out what we believe about ourselves.

And the same thing happens when we DO believe God has a purpose and a plan for us and we want to fulfill it. We act like Joseph did. He believed God wanted to use him, so he wouldn’t do anything that might interfere with him living out the dreams for his life that God had given him.

I think if we REALLY BELIEVED a tiny fraction of the inklings of dreams and visions God has given us about how He wants to use us and what He wants us to accomplish, there would be no stopping us! But I think we focus on US too much and we compare US to what we believe our God assignment is–and we KNOW we can’t do it. Which is true!

I think what we need to do is accept our God assignments and believe that God doesn’t give us a task without equipping us for it. And then just start walking in the direction God is leading us. He will bring us anything or anybody we need and He will open any doors we need to walk through.

Just look at what Joseph was able to accomplish–in a foreign land–in a prison unjustly–as a slave, when he was born a favored son–in a culture he originally knew nothing about–with language and customs foreign to him. And he became second-in-command in the entire country!

What is God calling you to do? Whatever it is, He has equipped you and will open any doors you need to go through. I dare you to believe it and start walking it out!!


Genesis 49:1-28 / New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Blesses His Sons

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, the first sign of my strength,
    excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
    for you went up onto your father’s bed,
    onto my couch and defiled it.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
    their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
    let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
    and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.

“Judah, your brothers will praise you;
    your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
    you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
    like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
    his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
    his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
    his teeth whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore
    and become a haven for ships;
    his border will extend toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey
    lying down among the sheep pens.
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
    and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
    and submit to forced labor.

16 “Dan will provide justice for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider tumbles backward.

18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord.

19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders,
    but he will attack them at their heels.

20 “Asher’s food will be rich;
    he will provide delicacies fit for a king.

21 “Naphtali is a doe set free
    that bears beautiful fawns.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
    they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
    his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
    because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
    blessings of the deep springs below,
    blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
    than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
    than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
    in the morning he devours the prey,
    in the evening he divides the plunder.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

Life of Joseph – Part 40 – Joseph’s Sons

Jacob is nearing the end of his life, so Joseph brings his two sons to meet their grandfather and to receive his blessing.

I love the fact that even though Jacob is literally “on his death bed,” when he’s told that Joseph has come to visit him, he gathers all of his strength and sits up in bed.

Jacob uses this opportunity to remind Joseph of the promise God made to Jacob . . . that God was going to bless him and make him fruitful and that He was giving the land of Canaan to his family and his future descendants as an “everlasting possession.”

I know I’ve read and studied these verses before, but I didn’t remember that Jacob ‘adopted’ these two sons of Joseph and that two of the 12 tribes of Israel are the descendants of these two boys.

And speaking of these two boys, as Jacob is prophesying and blessing them, he crosses his hands–on purpose–and gives the greater blessing to the younger son. Joseph didn’t like that, but Jacob said that was way it was going to be. The younger son’s tribe would be more powerful than the older son’s tribe. And that’s the way it turned out many years later.

The sweetest part of this chapter for me is when Jacob tells Joseph that he never thought he’d see his face again–but that God allowed him to see not only him but his children as well. Right after Jacob said that, it says Joseph bowed down with his face to the ground. I think that was one of those “Oh, God!” moments. When all of a sudden you realize what a miracle your life is and what God has done to protect you and promote you and to bring you where you are! It’s kind of hard to stand up when you really think about who He is and who you are and how much He loves you!


– God’s promises are forever. And He has NEVER NOT kept a promise. (Sorry, grammar geeks.)

– The older generations need to remind the younger generations of the promises and faithfulness of God.

– The younger generations need to listen to and receive the blessings and prophecies the older generations want to share.

– A lot of times God promotes the unlikely candidate–the younger over the older, the weak over the strong.

– We need to NOT give up hope.


– What promises am I still waiting on God to fulfill? When I talk about them, do I speak with faith or with fear?

– What opportunities do I have to remind younger generations of God’s faithfulness?

– Whose blessings and prophecies do I need to receive?

– When has God promoted me over someone seemingly more qualified? When has someone with fewer credentials been promoted over me?

– What situation is causing me to feel like giving up hope? What do I need to do about it?


Genesis 48 / New International Version (NIV)

Manasseh and Ephraim

48 Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’

“Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”

“They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.

Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”

10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.

11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”

12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers
    Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
    all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
    —may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
    and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
    on the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said,

“In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing:
    ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”

So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

Life of Joseph – Part 39 – Living in Egypt

In today’s verses we get an overview of Israel’s future in Egypt. The people of Israel prospered while they were in Egypt. It says they gained possessions while they were there. It also says the family grew and multiplied exceedingly! If you’ve read further on in the story — in the book of Exodus — you know that the fact that they grew and prospered so much while living in Egypt eventually caused them some major problems.


We also learn in these few verses that Jacob (Joseph’s father) lived 17 more years after moving to Egypt. And when he knew the end was near, he asked Joseph to promise he wouldn’t bury him in Egypt. He also asked him to take his body back to his homeland and bury him where his ancestors were buried. And Joseph promised he would.



– God is not limited by our location. He can still bless us EXCEEDINGLY — even when we’re living in a foreign land and in the middle of a nation that worships idols. There is nothing strong enough to stop God’s hand of blessing from reaching us — no matter where we are. We need to stop thinking our poor choices in the past, our neighbors, our government, our family, our location, our boss, or anything or anybody else is going to keep God’s blessings from reaching us!

– God is not limited by our age. He can continue to use us and bless us and bless others through us as long as He wants to. We need to stop thinking we’re too old, it’s time to retire from life, time to slow down, time to take a backseat and let someone younger take over. God may have something major He wants to do for us, in us, or through us and it may entail a complete uprooting and transplanting. And we need to be open to whatever He wants to do with us.

– God expects us to respect our grown children. We are to ASK and not DEMAND.

– God expects us to respect our parents. If possible, we are to carry out their end of life requests.



– How do I feel God’s blessings are being limited in my life? Who/What am I blaming? What choices have I made that I believe are preventing God’s blessings from reaching me?

– How do I feel my age is limiting God working in me and through me?

– When have I DEMANDED instead of ASKED something of an adult child?

– What end of life requests do I hesitate to promise to do? Why?


Genesis 47:27-31 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they gained possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.

28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so Jacob reached the age of 147 years.

29 When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and [promise to] deal loyally and faithfully with me. Do not bury me, I beg of you, in Egypt,

30 But let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place. And [Joseph] said, I will do as you have directed.

31 Then Jacob said, Swear to me [that you will do it]. And he swore to him. And Israel bowed himself upon the head of the bed.