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50 As his father passed on, Joseph threw himself onto his father’s face, crying and kissing him. Then Joseph told the physicians in his service to embalm his father and prepare him for the journey. So the physicians embalmed Israel. It took 40 days to embalm him because that’s how long it takes to embalm a body properly. And the Egyptians paid their respects by mourning and weeping for him for 70 days.

When the time of mourning had passed, Joseph addressed Pharaoh’s household.

Joseph: If I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh on my behalf. My father made me swear an oath. He said, “I am about to die. I want you to bury me in the tomb I made for myself in the land of Canaan.” So I ask that you allow me to go out of Egypt to bury my father. When I have honored his request, I will return to Egypt.

Pharaoh: Go up to Canaan, and bury your father as he made you swear to do.

So Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father. And all of Pharaoh’s servants went with him in a long procession that included the elders of Pharaoh’s household and the land of Egypt. Joseph’s own household, his brothers, and his father’s household joined in the solemn march. Only their children, flocks, and herds were left in the land of Goshen. Both chariots and charioteers accompanied him as well. It was a grand procession. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad near Canaan but still beyond the Jordan River, the great company of mourners paused to observe seven days of mourning for Joseph’s father. The weeping and lamentation grew so loud that 11 the people who lived there, the Canaanites, could not help but notice the profound grief expressed on the threshing floor of Atad.

Canaanites: The Egyptians must have experienced a terrible loss to mourn so deeply.

This is why this place of mourning that lies beyond the Jordan was renamed Abel-mizraim.

12 So Jacob’s sons carried out his last instructions as he had directed. 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite so he could have a place to bury his family. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph gathered his brothers and the vast company of mourners who had journeyed with him to bury his father, and they all returned to Egypt.

15 When Joseph’s brothers began to realize the implications of their father’s death, Joseph’s brothers began to worry.

Joseph’s Brothers: What if Joseph still bears a grudge in some way against us and decides to pay us back in full for all of the wrong we did to him?

16 So they sent a message to Joseph.

Joseph’s Brothers’ Message: Your father gave us this instruction before he died. 17 He told us to say to you, “Please, I beg you. Forgive the crime of your brothers and the sins they committed against you. They were wrong to treat you so badly.” So please do what your father asked and forgive the crime that we, the servants of the God of your father, committed against you.

Joseph cried when they spoke these words to him. 18 And his brothers approached and fell at his feet.

Joseph’s Brothers: Look! We are your slaves.

Joseph: 19 Don’t be afraid. Am I to judge instead of God? It is not my place. 20 Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it only for good, and through me, He preserved the lives of countless people, as He is still doing today. 21 So don’t worry. I will provide for you myself—for you and your children.

This same sentiment is expressed in Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:28). God can take even the meanest intention and make it work for good for His devoted followers.

So Joseph reassured them and continued to speak kindly to them.

22 Now Joseph remained in Egypt for the rest of his life—he and all of his father’s household. He lived to be 110 years old, 23 long enough to see Ephraim’s children down to the third generation. Joseph adopted the children of Machir (Manasseh’s son) and brought them up as his own. 24 One day, Joseph told his brothers,

Joseph (to his brothers): I am about to die, but God will someday come to you, lead you out of this land, and bring you back to the land He swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

25 At that, Joseph made the rest of Israel’s sons swear to him an oath.

Joseph: When God comes to you, you must take my bones along with you out of this place and back to our homeland.

26 Then Joseph died. He was 110 years old, and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

The story of Joseph ends with the children of Israel living in Egypt. They live there in peace and security through many generations knowing that their future is not in Egypt; their future is in another land, a land of promise, a land most of them have never seen.

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