When I Rest with My Fathers,
Carry Me Out of Egypt

47:27-31

DIG: What was the significance of Joseph putting his hand under the thigh of Jacob? When was this done before? Why did Jacob make Yosef swear an oath? In what way did Joseph foreshadow the life of Christ?

REFLECT: Does it make any difference where you are buried? Why was this an act of faith on Ya’akov’s part? What was his hope? What is your hope?

78. Both Joseph and Yeshua settle the children of Isra'el in a land of their own. Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number (47:27). Goshen was the best of the land of Egypt (45:18b, 47:6). Pharaoh had told Yosef and his sons not to worry about their belongings because the best of Egypt would be theirs (45:20). The result was that the Israelites would live in peace and multiply (Exodus 1:8). So Palestine will be the best part of the earth during the Messianic Kingdom where the wilderness will rejoice and blossom (Isaiah 35:1-2), where the riches of the nations will be brought to the Israelites (Isaiah 60:1-16) and where they will live in peace (Ezekiel 34:25-29).

After the remaining five years of famine, the Nile River began to overflow its banks once again. The land began to flourish once more. With at least one hundred and fifty people having entered Egypt (46:8-27), they would leave with over two million (Numbers 1:46 counted over six hundred thousand men older than twenty years of age). So ADONAI blessed His people according to the promises He made to Abraham. They were becoming a great nation, as God worked behind the scenes. He blessed Pharaoh because he had blessed the descendants of Avraham with the best land that Egypt had to offer. But later, during the time of Moses, when another Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites, the LORD dealt harshly with him, thus fulfilling ADONAI’s promise to Abraham: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse (12:3a).

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years. That was the same length of time that Joseph had lived with his father in Canaan before he was sold into slavery. Consequently, the time period of seventeen years serves as bookends to the Joseph story. The first seventeen years of his life was spent with his father, and the last seventeen years of his father’s life was spent with him. When Ya’akov was a hundred and forty-seven years old, he was ready to die (47:28).

He called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness” (47:29a). As seen earlier in 24:2b, this is a euphemism for the holding of the genitals, which are the source of life. It was a symbolic gesture that if the oath were not carried out, then Israel’s other descendants would avenge Yosef’s unfaithfulness. He had one final request, and who better to make sure that his wishes were carried out than Joseph? He asked Yosef to swear to him that he would not be buried in Egypt (47:29b). He continued: When I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where Abraham and Isaac are buried in the cave at Machpelah (23:3-18). Joseph said: I will do as you say (47:30).

But Ya’akov needed more assurance, andinsisted that Joseph’s word be cemented with an oath. Jacob pleaded: swear to me. Why was this necessary? Yosef had just promised to do as his father had said! However, Jacob knew that if Joseph took an oath, it would reinforce in Joseph’s memory his promise to his father. Not only that, the oath would make Yosef directly accountable to God and His wrath if he were to go back on his promise. Then Joseph swore to him.

Isra’el had talked to Joseph while sitting upon his bed. When Yosef swore to bury him in Canaan, Isra’el turned and bowed himself on the head of his bed worshiping ADONAI, thanking Him for granting his last wish (47:31 NKJ), just as David also worshiped upon his bed (First Kings 1:47-48).738 According to the writer of Hebrews, this was an act of faith because Isra’el knew that his descendants would not be in Egypt forever and would one day return to the Promised Land (Hebrews 11:21b). Egypt was to Isra’el and his family what the ark was to Noah, a temporary shelter from the disaster on the outside.739The hope of the TANAKH was an earthly hope. Abraham believed that he would be raised from the dead in Canaan and he wanted to be buried there. Isaac believed the same. Now Ya’akov is expressing the same faith. You see, the hope of the TANAKH was not to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and enter the city of the New Jerusalem, which is the final destination of the Church. The hope of the righteous of the TANAKH was in God’s Kingdom that will be set up on this earth (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:6-9, 65:18-23; Jeremiah 31:12-14, 31-37; Ezekiel 34:25-29, 37:1-6 and Chapter 40-48). That is why Jacob had faith in the resurrection from the Promised Land. If Jacob had no faith or hope in ADONAI’s promise to him, why would it matter where he was buried? The promise of the messianic Kingdom was why he did not want to be buried in Egypt.

It took all of his remaining strength for Jacob to raise himself and utter the prophetic words of Chapters 48 and 49. But he received both his strength and his inspiration by faith, still trusting in the absolute certainty that, though he himself would not live to see it, God would give his seed the land of Canaan and that, someday, all peoples on earth would be blessed through him (12:3b).740

For those who believe in, and follow Messiah today, it makes no difference where we are buried. At the time of the Rapture (see my commentary on Revelation By – The Rapture of the Church), wherever we are, we shall be raised either from death or from life. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will be raised first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (First Thessalonians 4:16-18). So it won’t make any difference if we are buried in Egypt, in Canaan or in Timbuktu. The living in Christ and the dead in Christ all over the world will be caught up to be with Him. We don’t need a launching pad to take off from. No, our hope is a heavenly hope.741 We wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Yeshua Messiah (Titus 2:13). As Paul said to the believers at Thessalonica: Therefore, encourage each other with these words.

 

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