Home > Bible Journal > February 1st, Genesis 47-50: The famine worsens and Joseph dies of old age

February 1st, Genesis 47-50: The famine worsens and Joseph dies of old age

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve every been truly hungry, I mean ravenously hungry. Sure, I’ve had hunger pangs but nothing on the scale of what the Egyptians and others felt during the time of great famine.

After the Egyptians used up all their money to buy grain, Joseph made them use their livestock to pay for the grain. After the Egyptians exhausted their supply of livestock, they sold themselves into servitude just for grain. One fifth of all the harvest would go to the Pharaoh.

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, i.e. one hundred and forty-seven years old. As Israel was approaching death, he called for Joseph and told him his wishes to be buried in the land of his fathers, in the land of Canaan. Joseph swore that he would do so.

Some time later, Joseph took his sons to see their ailing grandfather. Jacob repeated the Lord’s covenant to Joseph, and to his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. With Israel’s failing eyesight, the kids had to get close. Jacob bypassed Manasseh the first born and instead gave his blessing to Ephraim, which displeased Joseph.

Jacob made one last exhortation to Joseph to bury him in the land of his fathers.

Genesis 49 recounts Jacob’s predictions and blessings. It’s a lot to consider, but basically Reuben’s right for the first born transferred to Joseph after he left. Joseph was the one who would continue the covenant.

And so the twelves sons of Israel became the twelves tribes of Israel. They buried Jacob in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the same place that Abraham had bought many years ago to bury Sarah. When Jacob finished, he drew his last breath and gathered to his fathers and forefathers.

Genesis 50 tells us that it took a full forty days for them to embalm Jacob, and the Egyptians mourned for seventy days. Jacob’s sons did as they had been commanded to do, burying him in the field of Machpelah near Mamre.

Joseph’s brothers feared retribution now that their father was dead, so they devised a scheme in which they told Joseph that Israel had wanted Joseph to forgive his brothers, who prostrated themselves before Joseph.

Levelheaded, Joseph recognized the hardships that his brothers had put him through prepared him for the crucial task of managing Egypt’s grain supplies. He reassured his brothers that no harm would fall upon them.

Joseph lived until he was one hundred and ten years old. He saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children before he passed away. Joseph told his brothers that even though he was about to die, God was still surely with them.

Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten, embalmed, and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

And so concludes the Book of Genesis, where all things started.

Question: Have you prepared for the moment of your deathbed? How hard is it for you to choose God’s way over your own path?

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