The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 50

Gen 50:3

MOURNED FOR HIM SEVENTY DAYS: As though he were a Pharaoh.

Gen 50:4

(1) Even Joseph, second in Egypt, could not enter the presence of Pharaoh while mourning. (2) Or, by this time a new Pharaoh had come into power to whom Joseph was not as close as the previous one (cp Exo 1:8). (3) Or, during the days of mourning Joseph was unshaven and therefore unfit to enter the royal presence (Gen 41:14).

Gen 50:7

Notice the strange ties between Pharaoh and the God of Israel.

Gen 50:13

The last look of Israel's sons at their inheritance.

MAMRE: A place two miles north of Hebron, today called Ramet el-Khalil. Abraham lived there in a tent (Gen 13:18; 14:13). The spot seems to have taken its name from Mamre the Amorite, the owner at the time (Gen 14:13). Abraham was visited at Mamre by three heavenly messengers who promised him a son (Gen 18:1). East of there he bought a burial place in Machpelah where he buried Sarah (Gen 23:17-19; 49:30; 50:13).

Gen 50:15

Note their recurrent fear: Gen 42:23; 44:16; 45:3.

Gen 50:16

Vv 16-18: It is 17 years since Joseph made himself known to his brethren but now their father is dead they still are concerned that Joseph will treat them roughly. They did not understand what full forgiveness after repentance really means. We run the risk of being like the brothers. Our God is willing to forgive us if we are repentant -- however much we still doubt.

Gen 50:17

WHEN THEIR MESSAGE CAME TO HIM, JOSEPH WEPT: "If anyone had a good excuse to bear a grudge and had the opportunity to pay his brothers out for causing his grudges, it was Joseph. He had been thrown into the pit, had his life threatened, been chained, sold as a slave, spent years in prison and been separated from his father and family for half his life.

"So now that Jacob was dead and Joseph was the most powerful man in Egypt, he had every opportunity to get back at his brothers for all the misery they had put him through. Joseph's brothers thought that way, so they sent an urgent message to Joseph pleading for forgiveness. But bearing a grudge and getting revenge had not even crossed Joseph's mind and when he received their message he wept. He had already forgiven them. He had realized that all that had happened was for God to accomplish his plan and so Joseph held no grudge at all- - only love.

"Most of us have less reason to bear a grudge or to pay someone back for our grievances than Joseph did. Joseph learnt to forgive, accept and love. We must follow his example. Accept what has happened in the past, forgive any grievances we might have and turn our hatred into love" (RP).

Gen 50:18

THREW THEMSELVES DOWN BEFORE HIM: Bowing, as also in Gen 42:6; 43:26,28; 44:14.

Gen 50:19

AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD?: "God with us" (Mat 1:23).

Gen 50:20

Psa 105:17: "God sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold for a slave." Cp the principle in Act 2:22-24.

Gen 50:22

An entirely Jewish end to the life of Joseph. No mention of his Egyptian honors.

Gen 50:24

"Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself" (Act 15:14). How would Joseph know this? From the promise to Abraham in Gen 15:13,14 that his seed would be afflicted in a strange land for 400 years, and afterward would "come out with great substance'. Prob this promise would have been made known to Joseph. Also, there was the initial fulfillment of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's seed possessing the land in the future (Gen 12:7; 15:18; etc). Some OT passages see this as a partial fulfillment of some of the promises (Neh 9:7-8; Jos 21:43,45; 23:14).

Gen 50:25

"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones" (Heb 11:22). Israel wishes to be buried in Canaan, due to associations of PAST esp (Gen 47:28; 49:29). But Joseph particularly looks to FUTURE!

Gen 50:26

SO JOSEPH DIED...: "Hidden away from human knowledge, in far-off Shechem, still rest the remains of a great man of God. He lived, as few others have ever lived, a God-centred life. Humbly he acquiesced in many an undeserved hardship. His faith in the ways of God's providence never faltered. In everything his unfailing philosophy was: 'God knows best!' Was there ever a servant of God with a more forgiving nature? You who read of all the good and ill that befell him, and of the noble spirit with which he met every testing situation, spare a minute to ponder his fine example and to thank God for the inspiration he imparts to your own life. Especially learn from him faith in God's promises concerning the Land -- 'Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel' [Heb 11:22]. Learn also faith in the eternal purpose in Christ which will one day bring saints of God forth from the grave to the life everlasting -- 'he gave commandment concerning his bones'. Here was the Christian faith long before Christ, exhibited in the Jesus of Genesis, and written for your learning" (WJos 89).

A COFFIN IN EGYPT: "For 40 years those bones [would be] a source of encouragement, and a silent exhortation, to those who would hear -- and his faith had been fully vindicated. God had brought them out, and He brought them in.

"We do not follow a coffin: we know of an empty tomb, which speaks eloquently of resurrection. We follow not a dead man's bones: we follow the living Lord Jesus Christ, who, by his death, has brought us out. One day he will return, and by his grace, he will bring us into the rest that remains for the people of God. Until that day we must endeavour to follow the example of Paul in Phi 3:13,14; 'Forgetting those things which are behind (Egypt), and reaching forth unto those things that are before (the Kingdom), I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' Can we possibly do less?" (A Harvey, Xd 138:256).

Genesis outlines man's fall from grace: It begins with God, and ends with a "coffin in Egypt". But...

COFFIN: Sw commonly translated "ark". The "Savior of the world" was at the last put into the "ark" of God!

"Under God's guiding hand, and with tremendous effort, this spectacular character, Joseph, son of Jacob, had set the stage for the great and long trek out of Egypt. He did not wish for an Egyptian monument, or pyramid, which would have been considered appropriate for a man of his position. So his death state, and the manner of his burial, in its impermanence, reminded the Israelites of their impermanence, and honored his God, to the Egyptians. Although dead, his mute witness to the Israelites stood through the testing times, and gave the Israelites courage, until they took him with them under Moses, all those years later, back to Shechem (Josh 24:32) after the 40 years in the wilderness" (BRus).

"Joshua, who like Joseph, has no sin recorded against his name, and who led the children of Israel into the land of promise, also died at the age of 110 years. Joseph's faith was such that he knew that his brethren's sojourn in Egypt would come to an end, at which time, he requested, his body then be interred in the Land of Promise. Joseph perhaps typifies Jesus in his mortality, whilst Joshua typifies Jesus in his triumphal immortality" (CY).
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