Jacob's Body Is Taken to Canaan. Watercolor painted by James Tissot.
English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio Bible
29 Then he commanded them and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites." 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.
4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 My father made me swear, saying, 'I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.' Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return." 6 And Pharaoh answered, "Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear."
7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company.
10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians." Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim [mourning (or meadow) of Egypt]; it is beyond the Jordan.
12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
A man who wrestled with God, Jacob, wanted a blessing. Jacob lived believing his son was dead & he lived a time of a great famine in the land promised to Abraham. Yet Jacob, we read in yesterday's passage, believed profoundly in the spoken words of a blessing.
Jacob went out as a great man. His funeral astonishing the people, his neighbors, he left during famine.
When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
What is the fruit of Jacob's life today? His tomb is the "second holiest site" for Jews (after the Temple Mount) and Christians and Muslims. All these faiths say by tradition the Cave of the Patriarchs is the burial place of three biblical couples: Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebecca; Jacob and Leah.
Burial of Sarah, by Gustave DoreExcavations of tombs, made honoring and copying Abraham's tomb. Outside of Hebron.
Without a doubt Jacob/Israel was an extraordinary man. A man of tremendous faith. A portrait of family forgiveness. Jacob lived with his sons after finding they lied about Joseph's death. He blessed them at his passing. The Scriptures never record the sons asking Jacob for forgiveness.
What did Jacob see beyond this life? Beyond the temporal, beyond the Jordan? A Homecoming. Not to lie dead and useless. No. A gathering. Jacob says he is being gathered to his people. His blessings for his sons indicate he expects them to be gathered as well in Genesis 49.
When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:29 - it is important to know the Scriptures and the Power of God.
And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.
Jacob believed in the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:15
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
In the words of Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.