Free Bible Commentary
“Genesis 50:22-26”Categories: Genesis
“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.”
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“Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.” (verse 22) Joseph lived “Comfortably, quietly, and in great prosperity, not only he, but his brethren and their families, as long as he lived, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years and all but seventeen of them in Egypt, for at that age it was when he was brought thither: thirteen years he lived in Potiphar's house, and in prison, for he was thirty years of age when he was brought to Pharaoh, and stood before him, and fourscore years he lived in the greatest honour and prosperity that a man could well wish for.” (Pulpit Commentary)
“Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons…” (verse 23) “It is not clear whether the great-grandchildren…are Ephraim’s or Joseph’s (‘through Ephraim’). If the former, Ephraim’s line would have begotten one more generation than Manasseh’s in the same period of time. This would be in fulfillment of the blessing of Genesis 48:19. If the later, then Joseph would have seen only the grandchildren of both his sons before dying. He would thus have lived to see at least the fourth generation. This is a sign of special favor, such as Job enjoys as a reward for his piety (Job 42:16).” (Nahum Sarna)
“Also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.” (verse 23) “Machir was the most important of the clans of Manasseh and, at one time, was identified with the tribe as a whole. The Machirites captured and occupied the Trans-jordanian regions of Gilead and Bashan. Machir’s first-born is given as Gilead in 1 Chronicles 7:14, a name without doubt derived from the association of the clan in the area.” (Nahum Sarna)
“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die…’” (verse 24) Even though Joseph was younger than all but one of his brothers, some or all of them must have outlived him. Either that or the term “brothers” is used more loosely to represent the family or “tribe” of Israel that each of his brothers headed. Joseph sensed that his time on earth was rapidly drawing to a close, so he assured his brethren that, “God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Although Joseph would no longer be around to provide for and protect his brethren, he assured them that the Lord always would. “Observe how the patriarchal narrative is closing with the promise of redemption, and with the renewal of the oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)
“You shall carry my bones up from here.” (verse 25) “Why Joseph does not request immediate interment in the land of his father is not explained; no doubt, he knows that present conditions are unfavorable. The oath he extracts was indeed carried out at the time of the Exodus, as Exodus 13:19 reports. No request for any specific burial place is made, and he is finally laid to rest in a plot of land that Jacob had once bought in Shechem (Josh. 24:32; cf. Gen. 33:19).” (Nahum Sarna) Another possible reason for Joseph waiting to remove his skeletal remains is that his Egyptian peers and overlord would have viewed such a request made by him as ungrateful and unpatriotic, and, being so offended, they could have made life much more difficult for his entire family. This was obviously not cowardice on Joseph’s part but an act of great wisdom and faithfulness as declared by the Hebrews writer—“ By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).
“So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.” (verse 26) And thus, the remarkable narrative of Joseph and the magnificent first biblical book of inspiration draws to an unlikely close with a coffin in Egypt. This is obviously not the end of the story of God’s chosen people or His scheme of redemption for the entirety of the human race, just as certainly as the stone rolled over the opening of the sepulcher was not the end of the story for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is a lengthy cessation and period of divine silence of over three hundred years before the story picks up again with the Exodus of God’s people from the land of their enslavement. If you serve the Lord in all love and faithfulness and your life belongs to the Savior of the world, that life will not end in a coffin or a grave. Death is only a dark portal to a vivid and brilliant land of joy and bliss, and only the beginning of an everlasting life for all eternity in the heavenly mansion that Jesus went to prepare for his followers in His Father’s house.
Thanks for spending the last seven months with us studying the book of Genesis! At some point I would like to start a running commentary on the book of Exodus as well, but for now I need a break from writing new articles every day. Tomorrow we will be starting a 50 day study of the life of Jesus. This is a rerun of a reading program that we did in 2015 so it should be like new to us. Each of the 50 days will include a passage of Scripture, two questions included on the attached PDF of the reading schedule, and some brief commentary.
Please read the Isaiah 53:1-12 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!