Genesis 50

GENESIS:  
“The Gospel According to Torah” 
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Summer Reading 2018

THE END OF THE BEGINNING
Reading Week from July 29
Garret Talk Tues July 31
Genesis 49-50: Mon July 30 to Sat Aug 04 

 

Tuesday July 31: 

Genesis Chapter 50

One more reiteration of Yaakov’s death and burial, and one more account of Yosef’s response in and among and with the Egyptians, and one more attempt to reclaim a reconciliation among the brothers, or at least the submission of the 10 to Joseph, ties up the loose ends of Genesis.   

This operatic funeral matches the oratory of Yaakov’s deathbed blessings on his children.  Imagine the procession of all the leadership of Egypt and Israel, heading to Machpelah, and stopping at the threshing floor of Atad.  If you share my suspicious nature, you might see hints of an armed escort for the men of Israel, and the families held hostage in Goshen to prevent flight.  Compare earlier stories, and subsequent ones! 

Reconciliation among the brothers requires some recognition that Joseph has power and a legitimate grievance – somewhat as had Esav against Yaakov.  They confess, claiming Yaakov told them to do so and told Yosef to forgive – and Yosef restates the idea that their sin was necessary to this providential end.  Imagine how that might be heard in every generation from David to Hezekiah to Babylon to the Second Temple.  There’s always something to forgive, and fit into God’s wider providential frame. 

Finally, Yosef himself dies, seeing the future of Exodus, and charging his people to bring up his bones with them when they leave (less demanding than his fathers’ disposition!)  This is the hinge already taking us to the beginning of Exodus and beyond.  You’ve done it – read and heard the entirety of Genesis again, as if for the first time!  Tomorrow, I’ll refer you to places in this blog where we’ve read Exodus before – then Thursday, I may offer notes on Leviticus, and by rights, should conclude with Numbers and Deuteronomy. 

Next week – Romans: the gospel according to Paul…. 

Genesis Chapter 50

NRSV

Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; 3they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him for seventy days. 

4 When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, ‘If now I have found favour with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: 5My father made me swear an oath; he said, “I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.” Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.’ 6Pharaoh answered, ‘Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.’ 

7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company.  

10When they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father for seven days. 11When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing-floor of Atad, they said, ‘This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians.’ Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 

 12Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. 

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ 16So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17“Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’  

Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’19But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them. 

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived for one hundred and ten years. 23Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees. 

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ 25So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, ‘When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.’ 

 26And Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.