Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
(Sunday April 17th entry.)
Genesis 50:1-3 (NIV)
Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
Genesis 50:1-3 (MSG)
Joseph threw himself on his father, wept over him, and kissed him. Joseph then instructed the physicians in his employ to embalm his father. The physicians embalmed Israel. The embalming took forty days, the period required for embalming. There was public mourning by the Egyptians for seventy days.
“Then Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him [tenderly]. Then Joseph ordered his servants the physicians to embalm (mummify) his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel (Jacob). Now forty days were required for this, for that is the customary number of days [of preparation] required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept and grieved for him [in public mourning as they would for royalty] for seventy days.” -AMPLIFIED
We find that once Jacob drew his final breathe Joseph was overcome with grief. He threw himself upon his father’s body and wept. Death is part of the cycle of life, but it is still our enemy; especially when it happens to someone who is near and dear to us. Mourning for someone we love is quite normal and weeping is to be expected.
Nothing is said in Scripture of how the other eleven brothers handled their grief, but we find that Joseph was quite overcome and in fact, we find the Egyptians also mourning Jacobs’s death for 70 days. The Bible Knowledge Commentary shares this bit of information that really conveys the respect and honor that was being given to Jacob and Joseph at this time. “The Egyptians mourned for Jacob 70 days – two and one-half months – just two days short of the normal time of mourning for a Pharaoh. This showed the great respect the Egyptians had for Joseph. “When Jacob, a patriarch of God, a refugee to Egypt died; strangely all of Egypt mourned him. This though was a demonstration of their love and respect for Joseph.
How important is it to live your testimony for Christ before others? We find it is extremely important. Joseph had lived his life for Jehovah in a land full of pagans; yet they respected him, even honored him. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)
It is important for us all to remember that we are to be lights in this World illuminating the path so that others can find their way to Jesus. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV) One way that Joseph was able to make the distinction between the One True God and their pagan practices was to call the physicians to embalm his father, instead of the religious embalmers. This was to be sure that there would be no religious, pagan rituals involved during the embalming process; which was the norm when someone was embalmed.
Joseph saw the need to preserve his father’s body in for the family to transport it, but he wanted to be sure that it would be done in such a way that even in his death Jacob’s testimony would not be compromised. We see a loving son showing respect and honor to his dearly departed, but equally loving father.
Joseph pays his last respects to his father with tears, kisses and the highest honor that he can give his father; the carrying out of his last dying wish. The body has been prepared and the last part of Jacob’s earthly journey takes place. “So Joseph left to bury his father. And all the high-ranking officials from Pharaoh’s court went with him, all the dignitaries of Egypt, joining Joseph’s family — his brothers and his father’s family. Their children and flocks and herds were left in Goshen. Chariots and horsemen accompanied them. It was a huge funeral procession. Arriving at the Atad Threshing Floor just across the Jordan River, they stopped for a period of mourning, letting their grief out in loud and lengthy lament. For seven days, Joseph engaged in these funeral rites for his father. When the Canaanites who lived in that area saw the grief being poured out at the Atad Threshing Floor, they said, “Look how deeply the Egyptians are mourning.” That is how the site at the Jordan got the name Abel Mizraim (Egyptian Lament). Jacob’s sons continued to carry out his instructions to the letter. They took him on into Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought as a burial plot from Ephron the Hittite.” –Genesis 50:7-13 (MSG)
Lord, I am so thankful that Death is not the end of who I am, but it is just part of the journey. You have triumphed over Death; you are victorious! May my life be a testament to you; a living testimony, I pray.