The Closing Years of Joseph

Genesis

The Closing Years of Joseph

September 14th, 1958 @ 8:15 AM

Genesis 45-50

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him. And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die. And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt. And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zerah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul. And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron. And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three. And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli. And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel. These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls. The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife; Joseph, and Benjamin. And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard. These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen. And the sons of Dan; Hushim. And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven. All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten. And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive. And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families. And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s. And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head. And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem. And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed. And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
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THE CLOSING YEARS OF JOSEPH

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 45-50

9-14-58     8:15 a.m.

 

You are sharing with us the services of the early morning hour in the First Baptist Church of Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the morning message, based upon Genesis 45 through 50.  It is entitled, The Closing Years of Joseph.

For over twenty years, Jacob had mourned over Joseph as dead.  In the forty-fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, the strange ruler of Egypt reveals himself to his brethren, and lo, it is none other than Joseph.  When his brethren looked upon him, they did so in terror.  Their hearts were verily paralyzed with fear, and they shrank away.  But Joseph said, "Come nigh, come nigh.  It is I, your brother" [Genesis 45:4].  And he kissed them, and they wept together [Genesis 45:15].  And now with sacks full of corn, with arms laden with presents, with wagons and empty vessels to take back to the land of Egypt all that Israel possesses, they come to Canaan, unto Jacob their father [Genesis 45:23-25].  And they tell him, "Joseph is yet alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.  And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not."  It was too good to be true.  "And they recounted to him all the words of Joseph: and when Jacob saw the wagons that Joseph had sent for him, the spirit of their father was lifted up: And Israel said, It is enough; my son Joseph is alive: I will go down and see him before I die" [Genesis 45:26-28].  And that closes the forty-fifth chapter of the book.

Now we begin in the forty-sixth chapter the tremendous transition from the land of Canaan, from a nomadic tribe, to the land of Egypt, where, in a fiery furnace, the nation was built, and its sinews of steel and devotion were welded together.  Had it not been for Egypt, I would think that Israel had remained like the Bedouins that you see today: nomads, pasturing here, tending their flocks yonder, wandering over the sparsely settled and arid lands of the Arabic peninsula.  But Egypt turned them, Egypt changed them; in the fire of that furnace, they became a nation.  It’s a funny thing about the Jewish people: to this day in their home country, they are farmers, agricultural people.  Outside of the land they are merchants and traders and financiers; but when they go back to the land of Palestine, they’re farmers, they’re agricultural people.  They are to this day.  That’s one of the strangest things you’ll ever observe if you ever go around and look at all the nations of the world: how Israel, in every land and every city, Dallas and everywhere else, are merchandising people, except in Palestine where they till the soil.

In forty-six, chapter 46, you have this tremendous, vast transition.  "So Israel took his journey, and all that he had, and came to Beersheba" [Genesis 46:1], that was the last halting place before the wide stretch of wasting sands that separated between Canaan and the land of the Nile.  And there he had one last interview with God.  His heart drew him down to Egypt to be with his son Joseph; but the memory of the tragic experiences of his ancestors, his forefathers, made him hesitate.  And he paused at Beersheba, and there where his father Isaac had built an altar and there where his father Isaac had digged the well, there he paused for one last interview with God:

And the Lord spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.  And he said, Here am I. 

And God said, I am the Lord God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:

I will go down with thee into Egypt; I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. 

So Jacob rose up from Beersheba: with his sons and his sons sons, their little ones, the wagons, which Pharaoh had sent to carry them. 

They took their cattle, and their goods . . . and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him

[Genesis 46:2-6]

 

And they arrived in the land of Goshen [Genesis 46:28].

Now the forty-seventh chapter; in the forty-seventh chapter, we shall speak of the seventh through the tenth verses.  In the forty-seventh chapter of Genesis, you have described one of the meaningful, interesting, historical incidents, one of the most significant that you could find in all history.  "And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh."  Could you imagine a more interesting, significant situation than that?  And how fraught with meaning, as we look upon life and its meaning: Pharaoh [Genesis 47:7], the king of the grandest, greatest empire in that world, no more power in any throne, no more wealth, and no more grandeur to be found in the earth than right there; and Pharaoh, the king, and this wayworn, weary, decrepit, old man Israel, face to face.  Now you have to remember what kind of a man Israel was.  He was a sheepherder; and all of his life he had spent out in the pastures keeping sheep, in tents, a wayworn pilgrim, and now limping, decrepit, aged, and the only reason for his presence in Egypt was because of ruinous losses brought on the by the famine [Genesis 47:4].  Now can you imagine those two together, the Pharaoh, with his chariots of gold?

Have some of you been in that museum in Cairo?  And have you seen all of the magnificence that attended King Tut?  And King Tut was just an insignificant ruler; and he died when he was about seventeen or eighteen years old.  Why, there’s nothing like that that I’ve ever looked at in creation; the chariot he drove in made out of gold, every bench he sat on, every chair he sat on made out of gold, all the things that are with him, multitudinous, are of fine gold, studded with gems.  I tell you, the magnificence of those ancient Oriental rulers and Egyptian kings, beyond anything we think of today.  Today we use our tax money for foreign aid. Then they used their tax money to glorify the throne.  And this man Pharaoh, this king, covered in jewels, walking in sparkling gems, with gold and silver, with chariots and horses, with soldiers and priests, with retinue, everything, can you imagine it?  And then before him, is set, you notice how the Scriptures say it?  "And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him" – I suppose, being already crippled, in his decrepitude and age, he was invalid – and Joseph set his father before Pharaoh" [Genesis 47:7].

Now could I make this comment in passing?  Don’t you think it a wonderful trait in Joseph that he was proud of his father?  Would have been very easy for that brilliant young prime minister to keep his father in the background.  When they came down into the land of Egypt, they went to Goshen, straight, immediate; from Canaan to Goshen [Genesis 46:28].  Now the capital was at Memphis, and Joseph didn’t have to present his father; he could have just left him down there in the land of Goshen.  But he didn’t.  He presented with great pride his father to the king [Genesis 47:7].

I read this last week in preparing this message, I read about a grand vizier, who in his great palace had a little room, into which no one but entered except him.  And he entered once a day; every day he went into that little room.  For, said this story, he had been a humble shepherd when he was a youth; and in that little room, he had the crude, rude, simple furniture that he knew when he was a shepherd boy, and also there, the humble tools of his calling.  And the grand vizier, the prime minister of his nation, went into that room every day to meditate and to be reminded of the days of his humble childhood.  You know that was good.

And this is good: he did not forget from whence he came; and though now prime minister of the great empire of the Nile, he still remembers the tent, and his old father, and his people.  So the two are there together [Genesis 47:7].  Now, could you think of a more interesting thing than to contrast them?  Which one was the greater?  One is a king; he’s a king by the adventitious circumstance of birth.  He just happened to be a king.  But the other is a king too, but of how different a kind.  There are three things that made Jacob royal.  One was prayer.  Jacob knew the Lord.  Jacob was the one who made his way back to Bethel [Genesis 35:1-15].  Jacob is the one with whom Bethel is identified.  Prayer!  There’s a second thing that made Jacob royal: suffering.  Suffering ate away his old nature; and a new Israel was born [Genesis 32:28].  A third thing made Jacob royal: he met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face; and he called the place Peniel, "the face of God," and He wrestled with him [Genesis 32:24-31].  That was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Jehovah, our Lord.  Ermine doesn’t make a judge.  A golden crown doesn’t make a king, nor does station and birth and rank make a great man.  Israel is royal; he’s a king because of his walk before the Lord.

There the two are.  I do not even know for sure the name of that Pharaoh.  I’ve tried to find out, and some say one thing, and some say another thing; doesn’t matter.  But we all know the name of this grand, great, old man Israel.  And there they are before him, Joseph and Jacob in the presence of Pharaoh [Genesis 47:7].  "And Pharaoh says unto Jacob, How old art thou? [Genesis 47:8].  And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage" [Genesis 47:9] – strangers and pilgrims in the earth; "By faith they looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" [Hebrews 11:10] – "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life" [Genesis 47:9].  Few, that seems strange to us that he’d call it "few," but no: Terah lived to be two hundred five years of age [Genesis 11:32], Abraham lived to be a hundred seventy-five [Genesis 25:7], Isaac lived to be a hundred eighty [Genesis 35:28].  When he speaks of a hundred thirty, he calls them few.  "I have not attained," he says, "unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."  Then he says, "evil," "few and evil" [Genesis 47:9].  Compared to his brother Esau, Esau, head of a great kingdom then, the father of twelve dukes, the progenitor of a long line of kings, Esau knew nothing but prosperity and affluence from the beginning [Genesis 36:1-43]; but Jacob, Israel, knew sorrow, fleeing from his brother Esau, the years of service in Padan Aram under Laban, his uncle, the flight back to Canaan, the terrible sorrow at Shechem, the disappointment in Reuben, all of the sorrow that attended the death of Rachel his beloved wife, and above all, the grief attended upon the loss of his beloved son Joseph [Genesis 27:41-37:35], why, all of his life was one of tears, and regret, and disappointment, and despair [Genesis 47:9].  "Few and evil," and yet, Scriptures say, "And Jacob blessed Pharaoh" [Genesis 47:10].  And in the Book of the Hebrews, it says, "Without contradiction the less is blessed of the greater" [Hebrews 7:7].  Of those two, the Pharaoh, the king, and Israel, the humble sheep rancher and pilgrim, there is no doubt – I don’t think anyone would question it – the greater is Israel.  So, they went out from the presence of Pharaoh [Genesis 47:10].

Now the latter part of chapter 47, then 48 and , you have in those three chapters, you have described three visits of Joseph to his aged father.  In each visit, apparently, Israel is dying; and Joseph comes from his palace in Memphis, down to Goshen, in order to visit his father.  And there were three visits.  Now the first one is contained in these last few verses in the forty-seventh chapter of Genesis.  "Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years."   He was a hundred thirty when he came to Egypt; he lived in Goshen seventeen years.  So Jacob died when he was a hundred forty-seven years old.  "He lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years [Genesis 47:28].  The time drew near that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh" [Genesis 47:29].  Remember when Abraham made Eliezer, his steward, do that, swear to him he would not find a wife for him from the daughters of the Canaanites, but he would go to his father’s house in Padan Aram, and find a bride for Isaac there, remember that? [Genesis 24:1-4].  "If now," says the old Israel, "I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me."  Now, of all the requests, guess what?  Of all the requests, listen to it: "Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers," in the cave of Machpelah, "and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burial place.  And Joseph said, I will do as thou hast said.  And Jacob said, Swear unto me.  And he sware unto him.  And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head" [Genesis 47:29-31].

Now there’s a meaning in that.  Seventeen years Jacob had lived in Egypt [Genesis 47:28].  And in those seventeen years, he had opportunity to be acquainted with a people who magnified their burial places beyond any people who has ever lived.  You stand and look at those ancient pyramids: to this day there is not a building a man has erected that even begins to approach the size of those pyramids.  And the splendor and grandeur of those tombs of the kings, he had lived to see, Jacob had, all of the accouterments by which that ancient people magnified the memory of their dead.  Jacob saw all of those obelisks, Cleopatra’s needles; he saw those great pyramids; he saw those tombs; he was acquainted with all the obsequies voted by the state.  And yet, when time came for Israel to die, and his son prime minister could have given him any burial that the wealth and power of Egypt could have afforded, the aged Israel said, "Son, swear, swear to me that when I die, you will not bury me in a mausoleum, or in a pyramid, or among the tombs of the kings; but take me back to that humble cave in the land of Mamre before Hebron, where Abraham and Sarah are buried, where I buried Leah, and lay to rest my body there" [Genesis :29-31, 50:13].  I wonder why?  Because God had said, "I will bring them back out of the land of Egypt" [Genesis 15:14]; and Israel believed God.  And when the trumpets sounded, and Israel marched out of the land of Egypt, back into the Promised Land of Canaan, Jacob wanted to be buried in the land where God, by covenant promise forever, had promised a home to His children and His children’s children [Genesis 35:12].  And he believed the promises of God and made Joseph swear, when he dies, he will be buried in the land God has promised to His people [Genesis 47:29-31].  You know that’s been a long time ago; that promise was unconditional.  After two thousand five hundred years, God is still faithful to that promise.  The land is being given to the children of this aged Jacob.

Now the second – we must hasten – this second interview, in the forty-eighth chapter of the book, Genesis 48: "It came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.  And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel revived" [Genesis 48:1-2].  This aged man dying, just to mention the name of Joseph, and he revives.  And there Joseph is visiting his father the second time, with his two little boys, Manasseh, the older, and Ephraim.  So the forty-eighth chapter is the story of Jacob’s talking, visiting with Joseph, a very tender interview.  And while the old man talks, his mind wanders back.  You know, the way these stories are written down is an amazing thing.  Right in the middle of his talking, his mind will wander back a hundred twenty years before.

For example, in that third verse: his mind goes back to Bethel, when the Lord God Almighty appeared to him in the land of Canaan and blessed him [Genesis 48:3]; that was a hundred twenty years ago, and he remembers it as though it happened yesterday.  Now look at that seventh verse: right in the midst of his talking to Joseph, and his mind goes back to that sorrowful day, when Rachel died by the way, when as yet they were but a little way from Ephrath, "And I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; which is Bethlehem"; never forget the sorrow of the tears of that day [Genesis 48:7].  Then as he talks to him, he takes the two boys, Manasseh and Ephraim, and he says, "These God hath given thee in Egypt are mine, as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.  And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance" [Genesis 48:5-6].  That is, Joseph was to have a double portion in Israel.  There are two tribes given to Joseph: Manasseh and Ephraim.  Now that’s what is meant over here in 1 Chronicles 5, where it says:

 

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn . . . but his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. 

For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler.

[1 Chronicles 5:1-2]

 

Jesus the Messiah, "but the birthright was Joseph’s" [1 Chronicles 5:2].  The birthright that was given to Jacob and not Esau, the birthright is given to Joseph; and Joseph is to have two tribes: the tribe of Manasseh, and the tribe of Ephraim, named after Joseph’s two sons; he’s to have a double portion.  "They are to be mine," says Jacob; that is, they are to head tribes.  "They are to be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are mine.  And thou shalt have a double portion in Israel" [Genesis 48:5, 22].

Now, in the story here, when Joseph brought the two boys to be blessed of Jacob, why, he brought them so that Manasseh would be before the right hand of Jacob, and Ephraim the younger before the left hand of Jacob, so the older boy would have the greater blessing.  But when old Jacob blessed them, he crossed his hands like this, and put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, the older one, and his right hand upon Ephraim’s head, the younger one.  And Joseph greatly resented it.  Joseph said unto his father, "Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head"  And his father refused and said, "I know it, my son, I know it: he also, Manasseh the older, shall become a great people, and he shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations" [Genesis 48:14-19].  So Ephraim, according to the old prophet Israel, Ephraim shall be the greater of the two.  And of course, the after story, the story of Israel, the ten tribes, is the story of Ephraim.

Now we hasten to the close.  That beautiful and precious interview closed with a gift:

And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. 

Moreover I give to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

[Genesis 48:21- 22]

 

And Jacob gave to Joseph a parcel of land before the city of Shechem or Sychar [John 4:5].  Now, isn’t it an unusual thing?  Long time ago that little parcel of land that Jacob gave to Joseph had reverted to its former owners.  Jacob is down in Goshen; all the family, the seed, their cattle, their substance, are in the land of Egypt.  Yet Jacob says to Joseph, "One portion I give thee above thy brethren, that little piece of land that I bought before this city of Shechem, before the city of Sychar, I give to you, Joseph; it’s to be yours forever" [Joshua 24:32].  Isn’t that strange? Down there in the land of Egypt, so beautifully situated, with all of the luxuries of the court and the best of the land, and multiplying and flourishing; "No, your home is to be up there in Canaan, in the land of promise.  And that little extra portion, that little piece, Joseph, I give to you" [Genesis 48:22].

"Then cometh He to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  And Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well" [John 4:5-6].  Who would ever have thought it, over thousands of year?  Don’t be discouraged.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding ev’ry hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flow’r.

["Light Shining out of Darkness"; William Cowper]

 

You may not see it in your lifetime.  Your children’s children may not see it in their lifetime.  God may take a thousand or a thousand thousand years to bring it to pass; but He abideth faithful.

Back there, Joseph, back there, in Canaan’s land, in the Promised Land; this is not our home, we are strangers and pilgrims here [Hebrews 11:13].  Our home is in heaven [Philippians 3:20].

While we sing our song, somebody you, give his heart to the Lord; somebody you, put his life in the church; while we sing the song, would you come and stand by me?  "Pastor, I give you my hand; I have given my heart to Jesus."  Or, "We’re putting our lives in the church."  While we sing this song, as God shall open the door, would you come?  While we stand and while we sing.

THE CLOSING YEARS OF JOSEPH 

Dr. W. A. Criswell 

Genesis 45:26 

9-14-58

 

I.              Jacob mourned for Joseph for twenty years; Genesis 45:25-28

II.            Jacob’s final interview with God; Genesis 46:1-7

III.           Joseph and Jacob in Pharaoh’s court; genesis 47:7-10

IV.          Joseph’s first visit to his dying father; Genesis 47:27-31

V.           Joseph’s second visit; Genesis 48:1-22

VI.          Joseph’s third and final visit; Genesis

VII.         Death of Joseph; Genesis 50:22-26