Reading through the Bible together
And the rest is history, as they say. The book of Genesis concludes with a son honoring his late father’s last request. It must have been quite a testimony to the Canaanites when the Israelite and Egyptian mourners arrive back home and bury Jacob in the cave of the field of Machpelah which has been the family burial place for generations. It is a moment of intense mourning, but at the same time a positive way to process the grief by actively saying goodbye to the loved person. And the whole community shares in this process. I remember a brother from Africa once expressing this to me powerfully: everybody who has come to mourn with you takes away a little stone of your big mountain of grief when he leaves, and in this way the mountain will become smaller and smaller. Let’s carry each other’s burdens even, or especially, in times of mourning.
Joseph’s brothers are somewhat concerned if Jacob’s death will open the way to some form of retribution, but Joseph is consistent and reassures them of his forgiveness. He has learned one of life’s greatest lessons that God can turn what has been intended for evil into something amazingly good.
Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology
Southern Adventist University