1. Jacob, now dead, is now in Egypt, cared for by Joseph and is about to be transported and buried in the land of Canaan, the land of promise given to Abraham many years previous. Joseph received permission from the king to bury his father and as a large number of people come from Egypt to the land of Palestine, the people take note and are impressed that a great man was buried in their “own” homeland. Three great patriarchs are buried in this land. The events surrounding Jacob’s burial is significant; we read of more surrounding this burial than we do of Abraham and Isaac.
2. Ridden with guilt and apprehension the brothers of Joseph appeal to him, via their father (50:16), to forgive them of the dastardly deed many years previous. Joseph reassured them and even instructed them on an important point: Joseph does not have the arbitrary right (authority) to extinguish life. If life is to be taken, let there be just cause (cf. 9:6). Another point worth notice is that what evil the brothers of Joseph intended, the Lord turned it into good.
3. Application: there are two points to make in this application. First, it is evil that a government can arbitrarily take the right of another person’s life. Just as evil dictatorships have killed the innocent, in our country evil rulings have authorized the taking of innocent life (abortion). Christians are to beware: are they guilty of voting into office those who subscribe to this evil? If so, they are complicit in this evil. Second, no matter what evil may befall a person, the Lord can turn it into something good. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for doing nothing evil, but a good came out of that.