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Genesis  ◦   Chapter 50

1Joseph, overcome with grief, threw himself upon his father, kissed him and wept uncontrollably. 2When he finished crying, he directed the specialists in burial preparation to embalm his father. And so they embalmed Israel, 3taking forty days to complete the process, for that is how long embalming takes. And the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days.

4When the time of mourning was complete, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s officials, “Please take this message to Pharaoh for me: 5‘When my father was alive, he made me swear an oath, saying, “I am about to die. Promise me you will bury me in the tomb dug for me in the land of Canaan.” So, please let me fulfill my oath and go and bury my father; then I will return.’”

6Pharaoh said, “Yes, go bury your father, as he made you promise you would do.”

7So Joseph went to Canaan to bury his father, and high-ranking officials from every branch of Pharaoh’s government – dignitaries of the royal court and leaders from all regions of Egypt – went with him. 8Joseph’s family, brothers and their families, and members of his father’s household also went with Joseph. Only their children, flocks and herds were left in Goshen. 9A retinue of chariots and horsemen providing security traveled with him. It was a huge procession.

10When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan river, Joseph held a passionate and public memorial service for his father, lasting seven days. 11When the local Canaanites saw the mourning service being held at Atad, they said, “This is a solemn mourning site for the Egyptians.” So they called the place Abel Mizraim (which means ‘Egyptian mourning’).

12So Jacob’s sons did as he had instructed them: 13They carried him to Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, that Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 14After burying his father, Joseph and his brothers, and all the others who had gone with him, returned to Egypt.

15After their father had died, Joseph’s brothers began to worry, fearing that Joseph was as selfish as they had been, and they said, “What if Joseph resents us and holds a grudge against us and plans to pay us back for the harm we did to him?” 16So they sent a message to Joseph, “Before your father died, he gave us these instructions: 17‘Go to Joseph and say to him: I, your father, ask you to forgive your brothers their sins and the wrongs they committed against you.’ So please brother, forgive us, your brothers and the servants of the God of your father, for our sins against you.” When Joseph heard their message, he wept.

18Then his brothers came in and threw themselves down before him and said, “We are like your slaves, completely in your power and at your mercy.”

19But Joseph said them, “Brothers, don’t be afraid. Am I to overrule God? 20While your actions were selfish and intended to harm me, God permitted it for good – to preserve the avenue for the Messiah and to save many lives. 21So you don’t need to fear; I will provide for you and your families.” And he reassured and comforted them.

22Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived to be one hundred and ten years old 23and had the joy of seeing the third generation of Ephraim’s children. He also held the children of Makir, son of Manasseh, upon his lap and blessed them.

24Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am going to die soon. But God will keep watch over you and lead you out of this land to the land where he promised to fulfill his oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will keep watch over you and lead you out of this land, and then you must carry my bones from this place and place me with my fathers.”

26So Joseph was 110 years old when he died; and they embalmed him and placed his body in a coffin in Egypt.