King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Genesis 50

The mourning for Jacob. (1-6) His funeral. (7-14) Joseph’s brethren crave his pardon, He comforts them. (15-21) Joseph’s direction concerning his bones, His death. (22-26)

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The mourning for Jacob

1 And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.

3 And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

5 My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.

6 And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.

His funeral

7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,

8 And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.

9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.

11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.

12 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:

13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

Joseph’s brethren crave his pardon, He comforts them

15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Joseph’s direction concerning his bones, His death

22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.

23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.

24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Kissing him, as it was then the custom, in testimony of an ardent affection. M.

Ver. 2. Physicians, whose business it was to embalm dead bodies, with a composition of myrrh, &c. in order to keep them from putrefaction, (M.) as the Egyptian mummies are treated. H. — The entrails are taken out, &c. by the embalmer during 30 days, and the body is left in salt and various drugs, for other 40, in all 70 days, as Herodotus informs us, (B. xi. 86,) and as Moses here insinuates, v. 3. This was an honour peculiar to the kings. Before any person was buried, his praises were rehearsed; and it was lawful on this occasion to declare, what evil even the kings themselves had done; which sometimes caused them to be deprived of funeral honours. We have several funeral canticles preserved in Scripture, 2 K. i. 18. iii. 33. 2 Par. xxxv. 25. C. — The Lamentations of Jeremias were perhaps of this nature, on the death of K. Josias. The usual time for mourning among the Jews, was 30 days for people of eminence, (Num. xx. Deut. xxxiv. 8. Procopius) and seven for the rest. Eccli. xxii. 13. H.

Ver. 4. Expired. Before the corpse was interred, Joseph could not lay aside his mourning attire, in which it was not lawful to appear at court. C.

Ver. 5. Digged, in the sepulchre which Abraham had purchased. This circumstance, and the exact words here used by Joseph, are not mentioned elsewhere. H.

Ver. 7. Ancients; chief officers. C. — This is a name of dignity; like our aldermen. H.

Ver. 10. Atad, which was so called, from being encompassed with thorns. C. — Beyond; with relation to Moses, (H.) or on the west side of the Jordan. C.

Ver. 11. Mourning: Heb. “Ebel Mitsraim beyond the Jordan.” On this occasion they fasted till the evening: perhaps they also cut their flesh and plucked their hair, according to the manners of the Egyptians, which customs (Lev. xix. 28. Deut. xiv. 1.) were prohibited to the Jews. T.

Ver. 16. A message; perhaps by Benjamin. M. — They hope thus to obtain pardon for the sake of their deceased father, and for the sake of their common God.

Ver. 17. Wept, that they should entertain no doubts respecting the reconciliation, which had taken place seventeen years before. H.

Ver. 19. Resist, &c. Heb. “Am I not subject to God; or, Am I a God,” to oppose his will. Sept. “I belong to the Lord.” You see that your designs against me have turned to our mutual advantage. Can I, therefore, think of punishing you? Repent, and obtain pardon of God: I certainly forgive you. H. — Thus God drew good out of the evil, in which he had no share. — S. Aug. de C. D. xiv. 27. S. Chrys. hom. 67.

Ver. 22. And ten; consequently he had been governor of all the land eighty years; God having made him abundant recompense, even in this world, for a transient disgrace! H. — Knees. Joseph adopted the only son of Machir. See C. xxx. 3.; or, according to the Samaritan, “in the days of Joseph” he was born. C.

Ver. 24. Visit you with various persecutions; or will fulfil his promises. — Carry my bones. He would have them to keep his bones till the time of their departure, as an earnest that they should certainly obtain the land of Chanaan; and thus his bones were visited, and after death, they prophesied. Eccli. xlix. 18. Perhaps the Egyptians would have been offended, (W.) if the corpse of Joseph had been removed out of the country immediately, as that of Jacob was; and they might have taken occasion hence to envy and persecute his brethren. H.

Ver. 25. Embalmed, like the Egyptian momies, or mummies, which is a Persian word, signifying a dried corpse. Some of them are very magnificent, adorned with golden letters and hieroglyphics, various bandages, &c. They are laid in coffins. Some pretend that Joseph was afterwards adored in Egypt, under the names of Serapis and Osiris: but the grounds of this supposition are only a few uncertain etymologies and emblems, which might agree with him as well as with those modern deities: (C.) at least it does not at all appear probable, that he was adored in Egypt before the departure of the Israelites, as the king who persecuted them did not know Joseph. Ex. i. 8. His greatest glory was, to have prefigured Jesus Christ in so wonderful a manner during the course of his life, and to have been replenished with all the graces which could form the character of a great man and a saint. Some think, that the history of Joseph has been imitated in the fable of Proteus, or Cetes, king of Egypt. See the True Hist. of Fabulous Times, by Juerin du Roche, a virtuous and learned ecclesiastic, who ws put to death for his faith, at Paris, Sept. 8, 1792. See also Rollin’s Abridgment. H.