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Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Devotion for November 15, 2012

Jacob funeral procession Bible
"Jacob's Funeral Procession", illustration from The History of Joseph and His Brethren by Owen Jones, 1869



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer for the Morning

Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.


Prayer for Grace and Strength

Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,


Community of Prayer

Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Devotional painting of Jacob and Joseph Reunited
Jacob and Joseph Reunited, artist unk.

”Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 50:1-14 (ESV)

Joseph Buries His Father

Then Joseph fell on his father's face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

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, ‘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.’” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.”

Jacob Bible story, funeral processions
Jacob's Funeral Procession
(James Tissot)

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, 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. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company.

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. 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; it is beyond the Jordan.

Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 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. 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.

Notes on the Scripture

And so end the days of Jacob, called Israel, father of the twelve tribes that still bear his name today, over 3,000 years later. Joseph mourns and buries him like a prince of Egypt, embalmed by the best-known embalmers of all time and mourned for over two months. It was fortunate for Joseph, actually, that the Egyptians were so adept at embalming, because he had promised Jacob to bury him near Hebron, which meant a long journey through a hot climate; and such a journey with a raw corpse would have been -- well, fragrant.

There is a puzzle to the route taken, because they cross the Jordan River, overshooting their goal, before they turn north. Mamre, a very ancient spot near Hebron (southwest of Jerusalem) is far to the west of the Jordan. The most likely explanation is that the company was huge and had a considerable military escort. If they had marched straight up into Canaan, it would have looked like an invasion.

So they take a roundabout route, due east across the Jordan and then up the east side of the Dead Sea, until they reach a spot, now unknown, identified only as the "threshing floor of Atad". This would have been a large clear area out in the open air. There they mourned him, and the Canaanites were convinced that this was indeed a funeral procession. The event was sufficiently impressive that they named the spot "Abel-mizraim", which means "the meadow of Egyptian mourning".

At that point, the Egyptian retinue again shows its reluctance to enter Canaan and stops. The brothers transport Jacob west across the Jordan, to the tomb of Abraham and Sarah. (They would have gone 30 miles southeast, back towards Egypt, practically circling the Dead Sea - see map.)

Oddly, this is the same indirect route that Moses will take from the Sinai into Canaan 300 or 400 years later. Moses, like Jacob's Egyptian honor guard, would never cross over into the "Promised Land", but would die on the east bank of the Jordan.

endless knot

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