This is a weekly devotion written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
The last time we met, Joseph had finally revealed who he was to his brothers. Since then, his siblings, his father, and his father’s entire household have traveled from the land of Canaan to Egypt with the assistance of Pharaoh. Joseph approaches Pharaoh with the news that his family has arrived and has settled in Goshen. That is where we begin our study today.
Now let’s go to the reading of God’s Word.
Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen. He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”
Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here awhile, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”
Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.
So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children. Genesis 47:1-12
I wonder which five brothers Joseph chose to be presented before Pharaoh? He coached them on what they were to say when Pharaoh inquired about their occupation (Genesis 46:33 & 34).
Everything happened just as Joseph said it would. Pharaoh asked them what they did for a living, and they followed Joseph’s advice. Even though shepherds were detestable to the Egyptians, out of respect for Joseph, Pharaoh gave them the best land which was in Goshen.
Then Joseph presented his father before Pharaoh. Jacob was one hundred and thirty years old at the time. What a beautiful sight it would have been to witness Jacob bestowing a blessing upon Pharaoh, a pagan ruler.
“Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.” Genesis 47: 27
Do you see the hand of God working in the lives of his people? Genesis 46:27 tells us that seventy of Jacob’s direct descendants—not including his sons’ wives but including Joseph’s two sons—lived in Egypt. He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would make their descendants into a great nation. Now his promise is being fulfilled for he greatly blessed them in number.
“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. And to you, as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.’ ” Genesis 48:21-22
“Then Jacob called for his sons and said: ‘Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.’ “ Genesis 49:1
Then he gave them these instructions: ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.
When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
Joseph threw himself upon 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 favor 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. Genesis 49:29-50:9
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.
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.
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 sons of Israel 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 50:14-26
I did not include Jacob’s words to each of his sons as to what was to happen in their future. But if you would like to read them, please open your Bible to Genesis 49:1-27. Jacob was one hundred and forty-seven when he died.
Embalming was not an Israelite custom, but an Egyptian custom. Aren’t you thankful that the embalming process today does not take forty days?
Even the Egyptians mourned Jacob’s death. He must have been respected by all people. A large number including Pharaoh’s officials and dignitaries made the trip back to Canaan for Jacob’s burial.
Joseph took care and provided for his brothers’ families for seventeen years. But as soon as their father passed away, they feared he would take revenge against them for selling him as a slave. Joseph had already expressed to them that it was God who placed him in Egypt.
Instead of trusting God and his plan for their lives, they opted to lie to Joseph saying that their father asked that Joseph forgive them of their wrongdoings. Their fear that Joseph would punish them crushed his spirit. The scripture says that Joseph wept.
So once again he assured them that he had no intention to bring harm to them and that God placed him in Egypt.
Joseph was one hundred and ten years old when he died. Before his death he comforted his brothers by reminding them that God would deliver them from Egypt and return them to the land of Canaan which he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But he also made his brothers promise to carry his bones with them back to Canaan when their deliverance came.
This concludes our study of Joseph. It has been a lengthy study, but many profitable lessons can be learned from it.
If you have been following along with me weekly, you know that we are taking a journey through the Bible. We will take a short break before we begin our study on the life of Moses.