And that’s a wrap for the Book of Genesis! We not only see the end of Jacob’s life, but we see the end of Joseph’s, too. Both men were buried according to Egyptian custom. In fact, when the family went back to Canaan to bury Jacob, the native Canaanites thought the whole group was Egyptian! “This is a place of deep mourning for these Egyptians,” they say in verse 11. Joseph still knows, though, that even though they look like Egyptians, talk like Egyptians and walk like Egyptians (I had to do it.), and let’s face it, that wasn’t such a bad thing – they are not Egyptians! And they will not stay in the land of Egypt forever. He holds this promise so deeply in his heart that it is the last thing he speaks about on his deathbed. He even makes his brothers (either he died young, or these are his brothers’ family members) promise to take his bones back to Canaan when they return. I can sort of relate to having a peacefulness about where your body and bones will lie for as long as nature will allow them. My dad was like that. It was very important to him that he be buried in his hometown amongst his family members. For me, it’s not such a thing, but I do understand it. And Joseph probably knew by that time that his body actually carried some significance, as did his father Jacob’s. It’s by grace that these bodies were preserved as they were, just as this text was preserved for us to absorb this beautiful, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble (I stole that from the Pokey Little Puppy children’s book) beginning to the incredible world we see today.
Writing prompt: lingering question
We didn’t even talk about Joseph’s brothers STILL being afraid of their little bro after Jacob had died and could no longer be the glue that held the fam together. Joseph shows complete forgiveness and says, “Hey, that’s between you and God. Let’s just be brothers.” And that’s how forgiveness works, isn’t it? Forgiveness isn’t about letting someone else off the hook: it’s about letting YOURSELF off that hook. Don’t try to bear the weight of un-forgiveness. It’s probably exactly what the other person wants – to bring you down! Let those people contend with God. You’ve got bigger fish to fry, as my Grandma Mabel would say. But my lingering question is: DID JACOB EVER KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED??? Or did the brothers just make all that up to make Joseph think he knew? What do you think? Answer my lingering question today!