Genesis 50


‘Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So, the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, ‘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.’ Pharaoh said, ‘Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.’ 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—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. Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company. 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. 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. So, Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 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. 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.’ Genesis 50:1-14

Joseph, understandably, is deeply upset with the passing of his father, he threw himself on him, wept and kissed him. notice that Joseph directed the physicians to embalm his father, this was the practice of the Egyptians and from where embalming originated.

The process was fairly straightforward and over the years the Egyptians became masters of embalming. First of all, they would remove the vital organs from the body, place them in a separate jar and bury them with the body.

The body itself was filled with salt to preserve it and myrrh and other spices were added for scent, this would prevent the smell of a rotting body. The body was then tightly wrapped with many layers of cloth and encased like a mummy in a stone or wooden coffin, depending on how wealthy you were.

It would make a lot of sense for Joseph to ask for his father, Jacob to be embalmed because this would preserve his father’s body until they finally reached the cave in the field of Machpelah near Shechem.

Pharaoh gives permission for Jacob to go and bury his father and notice how respected Jacob must have been, Pharaoh ordered a whole assignment of Egyptians to go along with Joseph. It appears that while the seven days of mourning were going on, the Canaanites watched what was happening and noticed that the Egyptians themselves were mourning and thought the burial was an Egyptian burial.

Jacob was buried next to Leah and because he’s buried in Canaan, the Promised Land, this tells us that he truly believed what God had promised, concerning the land, Genesis 12:7 / Genesis 35:12.

This is the end of the great Patriots, but God will raise up great men after they all have gone.

Lessons From The Life Of Jacob

We can learn a few lessons from the life of Jacob, one of which is the great example he set for his children. He never held it against his sons for selling Joseph into slavery, Genesis 37:28. Most parents are aware that they have the most influence in a child’s life, so must set them an example worth following, Proverbs 22:6.

Another lesson we can learn from Jacob is that he realised that he will reap what he sowed, Galatians 6:7. Remember he deceived his father, Isaac, to get the blessing, Genesis 27, Jacob himself was deceived by his sons as they lied about Joseph being eaten by a ferocious animal, Genesis 37:31-32.

A final lesson we can learn from Jacob is that even though he thought Joseph was dead, God was planning ahead. God was using the famine and placing Joseph in charge of Egypt, to finally get Jacob’s family into Egypt, where eventually He would free them from slavery and bring them into the Promised Land, Genesis 28:13-14. God has plans for us too as His people, 1 Corinthians 15:52-54 / 1 John 3:2 / 2 Peter 1:4.

‘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?’ So, they sent word to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘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. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. ‘We are your slaves,’ they said. But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.’ Genesis 50:15-21

It’s one thing knowing we are forgiven but another thing excepting that forgiveness. This is something which Joseph’s brothers were really struggling with as they continued to carry all that guilt and shame from selling their brother into slavery.

Joseph is obviously upset that his brothers would even think such a thing and notice that they ‘threw themselves down before him’, this again was a fulfilment of Joseph’s dreams when he was a teenager, Genesis 37:5-8.

Joseph’s reply to his brothers who were afraid he might take vengeance on them is really humbling, as he tells them, ‘am I in God’s place’. Joseph had the right and the ability to take revenge, but he knew that it all was God’s will.

Although Joseph’s brother’s intent was evil, they still didn’t understand that God used their evil intent to bring about a greater purpose, he wanted to save the lives of all those in the household of Jacob.

Joseph reassures them again, not to be afraid and promises to look after them and their children.

‘Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 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. 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.’ 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.’ So, Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.’ Genesis 50:22-26

Joseph’s Death

Joseph, now a hundred and ten years of age dies, but before he dies, he reminds his brothers that Egypt isn’t their home, but Canaan is, hence why he asked for his body to be taken out of Egypt to the Promised Land where their fathers were buried.

Joseph, just like his father Jacob, was embalmed and put in a coffin, the coffin would be a silent witness of the promise. They would have to protect and take care of his coffin for the next 400 years until they received the Promised Land as an inheritance from God. The bones were to be taken to the Promised Land which would be an act of faith in God, Exodus 13:19 / Joshua 24:32.

Joseph reminded them of the promise that was made to Abraham, concerning them having a land of their own, Genesis 12:1-7 / Genesis 15:13-16, but they needed to be patient and work on God’s timetable, Genesis 15:16.

Joseph, a powerful picture of Jesus

Joseph Jesus

Genesis 37:3 Their fathers loved them dearly. Matthew 3:17

Genesis 36:2 Shepherds of their father’s sheep. John 10:11 / John 10:27

Genesis 37:13-14 Sent by father to brothers. Hebrews 2:11

Genesis 37:4 Hated by brothers. John 7:5

Genesis 37:20 Others plotted to harm them. John 11:53

Genesis 39:7 Tempted. Matthew 4:1

Genesis 37:25 Taken to Egypt. Matthew 2:14-15

Genesis 37:23 Robes taken from them. John 19:23

Genesis 37:28 Sold for the price of a slave. Matthew 26:15

Genesis 39:20 Bound in chains. Matthew 27:2

Genesis 39:16-18 Falsely accused. Matthew 26:59-60

Genesis 40:2-3 Placed with two other prisoners, one who was saved and the other lost. Luke 23:32

Genesis 41:46 Both are 30 years old at the beginning of public recognition. Luke 3:23

Genesis 41:41 Exalted after suffering. Philippians 2:9-11

Genesis 45:1-15 Forgave those who wronged them. Luke 23:34

Genesis 45:7 Saved their nation. Matthew 1:21

Genesis 50:20 What men did to hurt them, God turned to good. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8


The Book of Genesis is full of events which many people have heard of, the story of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel and Jacob’s Ladder. But the story of Genesis is really all about setting the stage for the rest of the Bible, it’s basically a very long introduction to Israel’s beginnings as a nation.

Specifically, it’s the story of the promises God made to humans, promises that God begins to carry out through the rest of the Bible.

‘I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.’ Genesis 17:7