Observe, 1. The comfort Jacob lived in (Gen. 47:27, 28); while the Egyptians were impoverished in their own land, Jacob was replenished in a strange land. He lived seventeen years after he came into Egypt, far beyond his own expectation. Seventeen years he had nourished Joseph (for so old he was when he was sold from him, Gen. 37:2), and now, by way of requital, seventeen years Joseph nourished him. Observe how kindly Providence ordered Jacob’s affairs, that when he was old, and least able to bear care or fatigue, he had least occasion for it, being well provided for by his son without his own forecast. Thus God considers the frame of his people. 2. The care Jacob died in. At last the time drew nigh that Israel must die, Gen. 47:29. Israel, a prince with God, that had power over the angel and prevailed, yet must yield to death. There is no remedy, he must die: it is appointed for all men, therefore for him; and there is no discharge in that war. Joseph supplied him with bread, that he might not die by famine; but this did not secure him from dying by age or sickness. He died by degrees; his candle was not blown out, but gradually burnt down to the socket, so that he saw, at some distance, the time drawing nigh. Note, It is an improvable advantage to see the approach of death before we feel its arrests, that we may be quickened to do what our hand finds to do with all our might: however, it is not far from any of us. Now Jacob’s care, as he saw the day approaching, was about his burial, not the pomp of it (he was no way solicitous about that), but the place of it. (1.) He would be buried in Canaan. This he resolved on, not from mere humour, because Canaan was the land of his nativity, but in faith, because it was the land of promise (which he desired thus, as it were, to keep possession of, till the time should come when his posterity should be masters of it), and because it was a type of heaven, that better country which he that said these things declared plainly that he was in expectation of, Heb. 11:14. He aimed at a good land, which would be his rest and bliss on the other side death. (2.) He would have Joseph sworn to bring him thither to be buried (Gen. 47:29, 31), that Joseph, being under such a solemn obligation to do it, might have that to answer to the objections which otherwise might have been made against it, and for the greater satisfaction of Jacob now in his dying minutes. Nothing will better help to make a death-bed easy than the certain prospect of a rest in Canaan after death. (3.) When this was done Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head, yielding himself, as it were, to the stroke of death (“Now let it come, and it shall be welcome”), or worshipping God, as it is explain 6e2 ed, Heb. 11:21; giving God thanks for all his favours, and particularly for this, that Joseph was ready, not only to put his hand upon his eyes to close them, but under his thigh to give him the satisfaction he desired concerning his burial. Thus those that go down to the dust should, with humble thankfulness, bow before God, the God of their mercies, Ps. 22:29.
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