Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by John Gill, [1746-63], at sacred-texts.com
gen 50:0INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 50
This chapter contains a short account of what happened from the death of Jacob to the death of Joseph, and is chiefly concerned with the funeral of Jacob; it first gives an account how Joseph was affected with his father's death, of his orders to the physicians to embalm him, and of the time of their embalming him, and of the Egyptians mourning for him, Gen 50:1, next of his request to Pharaoh to give him leave to go and bury his father in Canaan, and his grant of it, Gen 50:4 and then of the grand funeral procession thither, the mourning made for Jacob, and his interment according to his orders, Gen 50:7 upon the return of Joseph and his brethren to Egypt, they fearing his resentment of their former usage of him, entreat him to forgive them; which they said they did at the direction of their father, to which Joseph readily agreed, and comforted them, and spoke kindly to them, and bid them not fear any hurt from him, for whatever were their intention, God meant it, and had overruled it for good, Gen 50:14 and the chapter is concluded with an account of Joseph's age and death, and of his posterity he saw before his death, and of the charge he gave to his brethren to carry his bones with them, when they should depart from Egypt, Gen 50:22.
gen 50:1And Joseph fell upon his father's face,.... Laid his own face to the cold face and pale cheeks of his dead father, out of his tender affection for him, and grief at parting with him; this shows that Joseph had been present from the time his father sent for him, and all the while he had been blessing the tribes, and giving orders about his funeral:
and wept upon him; which to do for and over the dead is neither unlawful nor unbecoming, provided it is not carried to excess, as the instances of David, Christ, and others show:
and kissed him; taking his farewell of him, as friends used to do, when parting and going a long journey, as death is. This was practised by Heathens, who had a notion that the soul went out of the body by the mouth, and they in this way received it into themselves: so Augustus Caesar died in the kisses of Livia, and Drusius in the embraces and kisses of Caesar (w). Joseph no doubt at this time closed the eyes of his father also, as it is said he should, and as was usual; see Gen 46:4.
(w) Vid. Kirchman. de Funer. Rom. l. 1. c. 5.
gen 50:2And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father,.... Which he did, not merely because it was the custom of the Egyptians, but because it was necessary, his father's corpse being to be carried into Canaan to be interred there, which would require time; and therefore it was proper to make use of some means for the preservation of it, and these men were expert in this business, which was a branch of the medicinal art, as Pliny (x) and Mela (y) suggest; and of these Joseph had more than one, as great personages have their physicians ready to attend them on any occasion, as kings and princes, and such was Joseph, being viceroy of Egypt. Herodotus (z) says the Egyptians had physicians peculiar to every disease, one for one disease, and another for another; and Homer (a) speaks of them as the most skilful of all men; though the Septuagint render the word by the "buriers", such who took care of the burial of persons, to provide for it, and among the rest to embalm, dry, and roll up the bodies in linen:
and the physicians embalmed him; the manner of embalming, as Herodotus (b) relates, was this,"first with a crooked iron instrument they extracted the brain through the nostrils, which they got out partly by this means, and partly by the infusion of medicines; then with a sharp Ethiopian stone they cut about the flank, and from thence took out all the bowels, which, when they had cleansed, they washed with palm wine (or wine of dates), and after that again with odours, bruised; then they filled the bowels (or hollow place out of which they were taken) with pure myrrh beaten, and with cassia and other odours, frankincense excepted, and sewed them up; after which they seasoned (the corpse) with nitre, hiding (or covering it therewith) seventy days, and more than that they might not season it; the seventy days being ended, they washed the corpse, and wrapped the whole body in bands of fine linen, besmearing it with gum, which gum the Egyptians use generally instead of glue.''And Diodorus Siculus (c), who gives much the same account, says, that every part was retained so perfectly, that the very hairs of the eyebrows, and the whole form of the body, were invariable, and the features might be known; and the same writer tells us, that the expense of embalming was different; the highest price was a talent of silver, about one hundred and eighty seven pounds and ten shillings of our money, the middlemost twenty pounds, and the last and lowest were very small. The embalmers he calls and says they were in great esteem, and reckoned worthy of much honour, and were very familiar with the priests, and might go into holy places when they pleased, as the priests themselves.
(x) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 37. (y) De Orbis Situ, l. 1. c. 9. (z) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 84. (a) Odyss. 4. (b) lbid. c. 86. (c) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 81, 82.
gen 50:3Forty days were fulfilled for him,.... Were spent in embalming him:
for so are fulfilled the days of those that are embalmed; so long the body lay in the pickle, in ointment of cedar, myrrh and cinnamon, and other things, that it might soak and penetrate thoroughly into it: and so Diodorus Siculus (d) says, that having laid more than thirty days in such a state, it was delivered to the kindred of the deceased:
and the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days; during the time of their embalming him; for longer than seventy days the body might not lie in the pickle, as before observed, from Herodotus. According to Diodorus Siculus (e), the Egyptians used to mourn for their kings seventy two days: the account he gives is, that"upon the death of a king, all Egypt went into a common mourning, tore their garments, shut up their temples, forbid sacrifices, kept not the feasts for seventy two days, put clay upon their heads (f), girt linen clothes under their breasts; men and women, two or three hundred together, went about twice a day, singing in mournful verses the praises of the deceased; they abstained from animal food, and from wine, and all dainty things; nor did they use baths, nor ointments, nor lie in soft beds, nor dared to use venery, but, as if it was for the death of a beloved child, spent the said days in sorrow and mourning.''Now these seventy days here are either a round number for seventy two, or two are taken from them, as Quistorpius suggests, to make a difference between Jacob, and a king of theirs, who yet being the father of their viceroy, they honoured in such a manner. Jarchi accounts for the number thus, forty for embalming, and thirty for mourning; which latter was the usual time for mourning with the Jews for principal men, and which the Egyptians added to their forty of embalming; see Num 20:29.
(d) lBibliothec. l. 1. p. 82. (e) lbid. p. 65. (f) Vid. Pompon. Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 9.
gen 50:4And when the days of his mourning were past,.... The forty days before mentioned, in which both the Egyptians and Jacob's family mourned for him. An Arabic writer (g) says, the Egyptians mourned for Jacob forty days, which was the time of embalming; but the text is express for sventy days:
Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh; to the court of Pharaoh, the principal men there; so the Targum of Jonathan and the Septuagint version, to the great men or princes of the house of Pharaoh: it may seem strange that Joseph, being next to Pharaoh in the administration of the government, should make use of any to speak for him to Pharaoh on the following account. It may be, that Joseph was not in so high an office, and in so much power and authority, as in the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine; and it is certain that that branch of his office, respecting the corn, must have ceased; or this might have been a piece of policy in Joseph to make these men his friends by such obliging treatment, and by this means prevent their making objections to his suit, or plotting against him in his absence; or if it was the custom in Egypt, as it afterwards was in Persia, that no man might appear before the king in a mourning habit, Est 4:2 this might be the reason of his not making application in person: moreover, it might not seem so decent for him to come to court, and leave the dead, and his father's family, in such circumstances as they were: besides, he might speak to them not in person, but by a messenger, since it is highly probable he was now in Goshen, at a distance from Pharaoh's court; unless it can be supposed that these were some of Pharaoh's courtiers who were come to him in Goshen, to condole his father's death:
saying, if now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh; however, as these men had the ear of Pharaoh, and an interest in him, Joseph entreats the favour of them to move it to him:
saying, as follows, in his name.
(g) Elmacinus, p. 43. apud Hottinger. Smegma, c. 8. p. 380.
gen 50:5My father made me swear, saying, lo, I die,.... Having reason to believe he should not live long, he sent for Joseph, and took an oath of him to do as follows; this Joseph would have observed to Pharaoh, to show the necessity of his application to him, and the reasonableness of his request. The words of dying men are always to be regarded; their dying charge is always attended to by those who have a regard to duty and honour; but much more when an oath is annexed to them, which among all nations was reckoned sacred:
in the grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me; it was usual with persons in their lifetime to prepare graves or sepulchres for themselves, as appears from the instances of Shebna, Joseph of Arimathea, and others, and so Jacob provided one for himself; and when he is said to "dig" it, it is not to be supposed that he dug it himself, but ordered it to be dug by his servants, and very probably this was done at the time he buried Leah. Onkelos renders it, "which I have bought", possessed or obtained by purchase; and so the word is used in Hos 3:2 but the cave of Machpelah, in which Jacob's grave was, was not bought by him, but by Abraham; for to say, as some Jewish writers (h) suggest, that he bought Esau's part in it with a mess of pottage, is without foundation; it is better to take the words in the first sense. And now, since it was Jacob's desire, yea, his dying charge, to be buried in the grave he had provided for himself, the mention of this to an Egyptian king could not fail of having its desired effect; since the Egyptians, as the historian (i) says, were more careful about their graves than about their houses:
now therefore let me go up, I pray thee; to the land of Canaan, which lay higher than Egypt:
and bury my father; there, in the grave he has provided for himself:
and I will come again: to the land of Egypt; this he would have said, lest it should be thought he only contrived this to get an opportunity of going away to Canaan with all his wealth and riches.
(h) R. David Kimchi Sepher Shorash. rad. Ben Melech in loc. (i) Diodor. Sic. Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 47.
gen 50:6And Pharaoh said,.... To Joseph, by the courtiers that waited upon him at Joseph's request, who having delivered it to him had this answer:
go up, and bury thy father, as he made thee swear; the oath seems to be the principal thing that influenced Pharaoh to grant the request, it being a sacred thing, and not to be violated; otherwise, perhaps, he would not have chosen that Joseph should have been so long absent from him, and might have thought a grave in Egypt, and an honourable interment there, which he would have spared no cost to have given, might have done as well, or better.
gen 50:7And Joseph went up to bury his father,.... According to his request; having obtained leave of Pharaoh, and being desirous of paying his last respects, and doing his last office to so dear a parent, with all the honour and decency this service could be done with:
and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh; a great number of them, some must be left to wait upon him; who these were the next words explain:
the elders of his house: his senators and counsellors, his courtiers and principal officers of state:
and all the elders of the land of Egypt; governors of provinces and cities, the chief officers, civil and military; all which was done by the orders of Pharaoh, out of respect to Joseph and his family, and to make the funeral procession grand and honourable.
gen 50:8And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house,.... Joseph and his two sons, and his servants, and his eleven brethren and their sons that were grown up, and as many of his father's domestics as could be spared attended the funeral:
only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen; there must be some servants left, though they are not mentioned, to take care of the little ones, and of the flocks and herds; and these being left behind, plainly show they intended to return again, and did not make this an excuse to get out of the land.
gen 50:9And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen,.... Which was done both for the sake of honour and grandeur, and for safety and defence, should they be attacked by robbers in the deserts, or opposed by the Canaanites, and be refused the use of the cave of Machpelah, and the right to it disputed:
and it was a very great company; both for quantity and quality; the attendants at this funeral were very numerous, and many of them great personages, and upon the whole was a very honourable company, as the word (k) signifies, and made a very great figure and grand appearance:
or a very great army (l), consisting of chariots and horsemen fit for war; if there should be any occasion for it: and the Jews (m) pretend that Esau came out with a large army, and met Joseph at the cave of Machpelah, and endeavoured to hinder the burial of Jacob there, where he lost his life, having his head struck off with the sword of Chushim, the son of Dan: some say it was Zepho, the grandson of Esau, with the sons of Esau, that made the disturbance there, on which a battle ensued, in which Joseph was the conqueror, and Zepho was taken captive; see Gill on Gen 36:11, the Jews (n) give us the order and manner of the above procession thus; first Joseph, next the servants of Pharaoh, or the princes, then the elders of the court of Pharaoh, then all the elders of the land of Egypt, then the whole house of Joseph, next to them the brethren of Joseph, who were followed by their eldest sons, and after them were the chariots, and last of all the horses.
(k) "honorabilis"; so Abendana. (l) "exercitus ille"; Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Schmidt. (m) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 1. Targum Jon. in ver. 13. Pirke Eliezer, c. 39. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 5. 1. (n) R. Bechai apud Hottinger. Smegma, c. 8. p. 381.
gen 50:10And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad,.... Which was either the name of a man the owner of it, or of a place so called from the thorns and brambles which grew here, and with which the threshingfloor was surrounded, as Jarchi says, see Jdg 9:14 and it was usual to make a hedge of thorns round about a threshingfloor (o), that it might be preserved; mention is made in the Talmud (p) of the wilderness of Atad, perhaps so called from the thorns and brambles in it: Jerom says (q) it was three miles from Jericho and two from Jordan, and was in his time called Bethagla, the place of a circuit, because there they went about after the manner of mourners at the funeral of Jacob. This, according to some (r), was two hundred and forty miles from On, where Joseph was supposed to live, sixteen from Jerusalem, and forty from Hebron, where Jacob was buried: nay, Austin (s) says it was above fifty miles from that place, as affirmed by those who well knew those parts:
which is beyond Jordan; as it was to those that came out of Egypt:
and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation; being now entered into the country where the corpse was to be interred; and perhaps they might choose to stop here and express tokens of mourning, that the inhabitants might be apprised of their design in coming, which was not to invade them and make war upon them, only to bury their dead: this mourning seems to be made chiefly by the Egyptians, which was done in an external way, and it may be by persons brought with them for that purpose; since both the name of the place after given was from their mourning there, and the mourning of Joseph is next observed as distinct from theirs:
and he made a mourning for his father seven days; which was the time of mourning, afterwards observed by the Jews, see Sa1 31:13, this Joseph ordered and observed after he had buried his father, as Aben Ezra says, is affirmed by their ancient Rabbins, and perhaps might be at this same place upon their return.
(o) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Aruch in voc. fol. 39. 4. (p) T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 40. 1. (q) De locis Heb. fol. 87. G. (r) Bunting's Travels, p. 79, 80. (s) Quaest. is Gen. l. 1. p. 54. "inter opera ejus", tom. 4.
gen 50:11And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,.... Who were at this time in the possession of the country where the threshingfloor of Atad was: when they
saw the mourning in the floor of Atad; for so large a company of people, and such a grand funeral procession, brought multitudes from all the neighbouring parts to see the sight; and when they observed the lamentation that was made, saw their mournful gestures and actions, and heard their doleful moan:
they said, this is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians; they concluded they must have lost some great man, to make such a lamentation for him:
wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan; they changed the name of the place, and gave it another upon this occasion, which signifies the mourning of Egypt or of the Egyptians, they being the principal persons that used the outward and more affecting tokens of mourning; though the whole company might be taken for Egyptians by the Canaanites, because they came out of Egypt.
gen 50:12And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them. Not only Joseph, but all the sons of Jacob were concerned in the burial of him, being all charged by him with it, and who were obedient to his commands as follows; see Gen 49:29.
gen 50:13For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan,.... That is, they took care that he was carried there, as he desired to be; for it cannot be thought that they carried him on their shoulders thither, in like manner as the devout men carried Stephen to his burial, Act 8:2.
and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, &c. the very place where he chose to be buried, Gen 47:29.
gen 50:14And Joseph returned into Egypt,.... As he promised he would, Gen 50:5.
he and his brethren; the eleven sons of Jacob; for though they had not made the same promise, nor Joseph for them, yet they returned, having left their little ones, flocks and herds, in Egypt:
and all that went up with him to bury his father; the elders and great men of the land of Egypt, with their attendants:
after he had buried his father; in the land of Canaan, which, though given to the seed of Jacob, the time was not come for them to possess it, nor the time of their departure out of Egypt thither, which was to be a good while hence, and after another manner.
gen 50:15And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead,.... And buried; for this and what follows were after their return to Egypt, from the burial of their father; though some think it was before, and as soon as they saw their father was dead, when they thought it a proper time, while Joseph's heart was tender and affected with his father's death, to compromise matters with him: but there is no reason to invert the order of the narration, for this "seeing" is not to be understood of their bodily sight, but of the contemplation of their minds; they considered with themselves that their father was now dead and buried, they had lost an affectionate parent, who was concerned for the welfare and peace of all his family, but what a turn things would now take they knew not:
they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him; their sin came fresh to their remembrance, guilt arose in their consciences and flew in their faces, and this caused fear and distrust where there was no reason for it, and led them to treat Joseph's character very ill; who was far from being of such a temper and disposition suggested by them, as if he retained hatred in his breast, and was of a revengeful spirit, only hid it during his father's life, because he would not grieve him.
gen 50:16And they sent a messenger unto Joseph,.... Not Bilhah, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, nor her sons, Dan and Naphtali, as Jarchi, grounding it on Gen 37:1 though it is not improbable that some from among themselves were deputed, who were most interested in Joseph; since it is not very likely they would commit such an affair to a stranger or to a servant; and the most proper persons to be sent on such an errand seem to be Judah and Benjamin, the latter as having had no concern in the affair of selling him, and was his own brother by father and mother's side, and very dear to him; and the former, because he saved his life, when the rest, excepting Reuben, were for shedding his blood, and had endeared himself also to Joseph, by his tender concern both for his father and his brother Benjamin; however, they thought fit first to sound Joseph by a messenger, how he stood affected to them, before they appeared in a body in person, to whom they gave a charge, as the words may be rendered, "they commanded unto Joseph" (t); that is, they commanded those that were deputed by them to him:
saying, thy father did command before he died; some think, this was no better than a lie, which their fear prompted them to; and that they framed the following story, the more to work upon the mind of Joseph, and dispose it in their favour; seeing it is a question whether Jacob ever knew anything of the affair of their ill usage to Joseph; since otherwise it would have been, in all likelihood, taken notice of in his last dying words, as well as the affair of Reuben, and that of Simeon and Levi; and besides, had he been apprised of it, he knew such was the clemency and generosity of Joseph, that he had nothing to fear from him, nor could he entertain any suspicion of a malevolent disposition in him towards his brethren, or that he would ever use them ill for former offences:
saying, as follows:
(t) "et mandaverunt ad Joseph", Montanus; "nuntio misso", Pagninus; "aliquos ad Josephum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
gen 50:17So shall ye say unto Joseph, forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin,.... Their very great sin, and therefore more words than one are used to express it: unless this repetition should be intended, and signifies that their crime was a trespass against God, and a sin against their brother; and however they are directed to ask forgiveness for it, and urge the relation they stood in to Joseph, in order to obtain it, which they were ready to acknowledge as a very great evil, and of which they repented:
and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father; they urge not only the common relation they stood in to Jacob, but what they stood in to the God of Jacob, being his servants, his worshippers, as Joseph also was; and therefore, being his brethren not only in nature but in religion and grace, they hoped he would forgive their trespass:
and Joseph wept when they spake unto him; by their messenger; being troubled that they should be in such anxiety and distress of mind, which he had a fellow feeling with, and that they should have no better opinion of him, but entertain such distrust of him, notwithstanding all the kindness he had shown them, as to imagine that he should ever deal hardly with them for their former ill usage of him, which was forgiven and forgotten by him long ago.
gen 50:18And his brethren also went,.... The messengers being returned to them, and acquainting them with what Joseph had said, they took courage and went from Goshen to Joseph's house or palace, be it where it may:
and fell down before his face; in an humble suppliant manner:
and they said, behold, we be thy servants; they were content to be so, would he but forgive their sin, and not resent their ill behaviour to him; thus they further fulfilled his dream of the eleven stars making obeisance to him, Gen 37:9.
gen 50:19And Joseph said unto them, fear not,.... That any hurt would be done by him to them, or that he would use them ill for their treatment of him:
for am I in the place of God? to receive such homage from you, that you should be my servants, as Saadiah Gaon gives the sense; or rather to take vengeance for injury done, which belongs to God alone: or, "am I not under God" (u)? subject to him, a servant of his, and why should you be mine? nor is it in my power, if I had a will to it, to change his purposes, to alter his providences, or contradict his will, and do hurt to those whom God hath blessed; and so may have regard to the late patriarchal benediction of his father, under the direction of the Holy Spirit: or, "am I in the place of God?" and under him a father of them, as he had been a provider for them, and a supporter of them, and still would be.
(u) "annon enim sub Deo sum?" Vatablus.
gen 50:20But as for you, ye thought evil against me,.... That must be said and owned, that their intentions were bad; they thought to have contradicted his dreams, and made them of none effect, to have token away his life, or however to have made him a slave all his days:
but God meant it unto good; he designed good should come by it, and he brought good out of it: this shows that this action, which was sinful in itself, fell under the decree of God, or was the object of it, and that there was a concourse of providence in it; not that God was the author of sin, which neither his decree about it, nor the concourse of providence with the action as such supposes; he leaving the sinner wholly to his own will in it, and having no concern in the ataxy or disorder of it, but in the issue, through his infinite wisdom, causes it to work for good, as follows:
to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive; the nation of the Egyptians and the neighbouring nations, as the Canaanites and others, and particularly his father's family: thus the sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ, which, notwithstanding the determinate counsel of God, they most freely performed, was what wrought about the greatest good, the salvation of men.
gen 50:21Now therefore, fear ye not,.... Which, is repeated to dispossess them of every fear they might entertain of him on any account whatever:
I will nourish you, and your little ones; provide food for them, and their families, not only for themselves and their sons, now grown up, but their grandchildren and even the youngest and latest of their families should share in his favours:
and he comforted them, and spake kindly to them; even "to their heart" (w); such things as were quite pleasing and agreeable to them, served to banish their fears, revive their spirits, and afford comfort to them. Just so God and Christ do with backsliding sinners, and would have done with his own people by his servants; see Isa 40:1.
(w) "ad cor eorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, &c.
gen 50:22And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house,.... Comfortably, quietly, and in great prosperity, not only he, but his brethren and their families, as long as he lived:
and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years; and all but seventeen of them in Egypt, for at that age it was when he was brought thither: thirteen years he lived in Potiphar's house, and in prison, for he was thirty years of age when he was brought to Pharaoh, and stood before him, and fourscore years he lived in the greatest honour and prosperity that a man could well wish for.
gen 50:23And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation,.... His great grandchildren's children; and which shows, as most interpreters observe, that Jacob's prediction, that Ephraim should be the greatest and most numerous, very early began to take place:
and the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up upon Joseph's knees; Machir had but one son by his first wife, whose name was Gilead; but marrying a second wife, he had two sons, Peresh and Sheresh; see Ch1 7:14 who might be born before the death of Joseph, and be said to be brought up upon his knees, being educated by him, and often took up in his lap, and dandled on his knees, as grandfathers, being fond of their grandchildren, are apt to do.
gen 50:24And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die,.... Some time before his death he called them together, and observed to them, that he expected to die in a little time, as all must:
and God will surely visit you; not in a way of wrath and vindictive justice, as he sometimes does, but in a way of love, grace, and mercy:
and bring you out of this land; the land of Egypt, in which they then dwelt:
unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; meaning the land of Canaan, which he swore to those patriarchs that he would give to their posterity.
gen 50:25And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel,.... Not of his brethren only, but of their posterity, as many of them as were now grown up, that so it might be communicated from one to another, and become well known to that generation which should depart out of Egypt:
saying, God will surely visit you; which he repeats for the certainty of it, and that it might be observed:
and ye shall carry up my bones from hence; when they should go from thence to Canaan's land; he did not desire them to carry him thither when he should die, which he knew would give umbrage to the Egyptians, and they would not be so able to obtain leave to do it as he had for his father. This was accordingly done; when Israel went out of Egypt, Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, and they were buried in Shechem; see Exo 13:19.
gen 50:26So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old,.... The exact age assigned him by Polyhistor (x), from Demetrius an Heathen. The Jewish writers (y) say, that he died the first of the twelve patriarchs, though he was the youngest of them; he died, according to Bishop Usher (z), in the year of the world 2369, and before Christ 1635:
and they embalmed him; his servants, the physicians, according to the manner of the Egyptians, and as his father Jacob had been embalmed; see Gill on Gen 50:2,
and he was put into a coffin in Egypt; in an ark or chest, very probably into such an one in which the Egyptians had used to put dead bodies when embalmed; which Herodotus (a) calls a or chest, and which they set up against a wall: in what part of Egypt this coffin was put is not certain, it was most likely in Goshen, and in the care and custody of some of Joseph's posterity; so Leo Africanus says (b), that he was buried in Fioum, the same with the Heracleotic nome, supposed to be Goshen; See Gill on Gen 47:11, and was dug up by Moses, when the children of Israel departed. The Targum of Jonathan says, it was sunk in the midst of the Nile of Egypt; and an Arabic writer (c) says, the corpse of Joseph was put into a marble coffin, and cast into the Nile: the same thing is said in the Talmud (d), from whence the story seems to be taken, and where the coffin is said to be a molten one, either of iron or brass; which might arise, as Bishop Patrick observes, from a mistake of the place where such bodies were laid; which were let down into deep wells or vaults, and put into a cave at the bottom of those wells, some of which were not far from the river Nile; and such places have been searched for mummies in late times, where they have been found, and the coffins and clothes sound and incorrupt. And so some of the Jewish writers say (e) he was buried on the banks of the river Sihor, that is, the Nile; but others (f) say he was buried in the sepulchre of the kings, which is much more likely.
(x) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 21. p. 425. (y) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 4. 1. & T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 2. (z) Annalea Vet. Test. A. M. 2369. (a) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 86, 91. (b) Descriptio Africae, l. 8. p. 722. (c) Patricides, p. 24. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. c. 8. p. 379. (d) T. Bab. Sotah, c. 1. fol. 13. 1. (e) Sepher Hajaschar, p. 118. apud Wagenseil Sotah, p. 300. (f) In T. Bab. Sotah, ut supra. (c. 1. fol. 13.1.)