Aug. 29. Joseph Forgives His Brothers Before His Death

Gen. 50:1-26

After Jacob’s death, he was embalmed. This was a forty day process in which the body was completely dried. It was wrapped tightly in cloths and placed in a coffin. Thirty more days of mourning later, a great procession of Jacob’s family and Egyptian dignitaries made the journey into Canaan for the burial. Seven additional days of mourning were observed in Canaan.

The brothers of Joseph reasoned that he had been kind to them during the previous seventeen years because of respect for his father. Their father was gone; time for revenge for the great harm that they had committed against their brother. This sin had been gnawing at them for nearly forty years.

Messengers were sent by the brothers to beg for Joseph’s forgiveness. Upon hearing their plea, Joseph again wept. The brothers then appeared before Joseph and fell down at his feet and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”

One of the greatest tragedies in life is the failure of families to live together in harmony. Forgiveness is one of the happiest things that can occur. Joseph repeated the statement that he had made to them seventeen years earlier that they meant evil against him, but that God meant it for good in order to save their lives (to preserve the lineage of Jesus). “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”

Joseph lived one hundred ten years—ninety-three of which were in Egypt. He also requested that his bones would be returned to Canaan when they left Egypt many years later as God “swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”