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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 3610 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #338 on: October 13, 2019, 07:27:25 am »
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● Gen 49:27 . . Benjamin rends in pieces, like a wolf-- in the morning he consumes the prey, and in the evening he apportions the booty.

That is hardly the picture of a peaceful, agrarian society. Israel used to be a land of milk and honey (Ex 3:8) and you have to wonder what on earth happened that caused the transformation of a tribe of herders and farmers into human predators.

As a testament to the cruel nature of the tribe of Benjamin, Israel's first king-- ego-driven, selfish Mr. Saul --came from there. (1Sam 9:1-2)

The nightmarish events of Judges 19 and 20 took place in Benjamin's borders and led to the tribe's decimation in a brief civil war.

● Gen 49:28 . . All these were the tribes of Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.

Numbering the tribes of Israel is tricky because Jacob has twelve birth sons, and two adopted sons; which adds up to fourteen. But the tribes are always listed so that the numbering comes out to twelve. Compare the list at Rev 7:5-8 where everybody but Dan and Ephraim are named so that the number again comes out to twelve. The same strange numbering system was employed in counting the Lord's apostles. Even after Judas was eliminated, they were still referred to as the twelve. (1Cor 15:5)

● Gen 49:29-33 . .Then he instructed them, saying to them: I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave which is in the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site-- there Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried; and there I buried Leah --the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.

. . .When Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his kin.

The phrase "gathered to his kin" is an action separate from being buried side by side with kin in a cemetery. Jacob was gathered to his kin immediately upon expiration, but wasn't buried with them till more than seventy days after his demise. 

According to Christ, though Jacob's flesh expired many centuries ago in Egypt, he continues to exist somewhere else.

"But now, as to whether the dead will be raised-- even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to Yhvh as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. So He is the God of the living, not the dead. They all live unto Him." (Luke 20:37-38)

There is a region in the netherworld where faithful Israelites were at one time warehoused waiting for the resurrection of their bodies. (e.g. Luke 16:19-31, cf. Matt 17:1-9)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #339 on: October 14, 2019, 07:45:26 am »
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● Gen 50:1 . . Joseph threw himself upon his father's face and wept over him and kissed him.

It almost looks like Joseph smothered his dad; but in reality that scene was probably a bit difficult to put in writing because there's so much emotion. I think what we're actually looking at there is a one last cheek-to-cheek farewell with Joseph clutching his father's hand; and I would not have liked to be in the room when it took place because Joseph was terribly broken up by his dad's passing.

The word for "wept" is bakah (baw-kaw') and means not just to weep, but to bemoan; which Webster's defines as: to express deep grief and/or distress. Deep grief is what people undergo when they experience loss.

If there is one salient characteristic of Jacob's family, I would have to say it was a lack of affection. Joseph seemed the only one in the entire home who was truly bonded with his dad. His siblings were somehow detached; and I think that the multiplicity of their mothers might have something to do with that.

When I found out that my own dad had two sons besides me by two other women, it destroyed any notion I had of feeling special in my own home; especially when the only son my dad was ever really proud of was one that didn't even live with us; but with whom my dad stayed in contact over the years without telling me.

● Gen 50:2 . .Then Joseph ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Israel.

It is apparently well known that mummification, with all its elaborate ritual, played a crucial role in Egyptian religion and was bound up with the cult of Osiris and concepts of the afterlife. Survival of death was taken for granted by the Egyptians. Central to this notion was the belief in the importance of the physical preservation of the deceased's body. They took meticulous care to prevent the putrefaction of the corpse in order to ensure the right of the dead to immortality.

I seriously doubt Egypt's religion played a role in Joseph's decision to embalm his dad. His reason was simply one of practicality. The body was to be transported to Palestine for burial, and if care wasn't taken to preserve it, poor old Jacob would be in a terrible state of decay by the time they arrived; and very smelly too.

Joseph's own personal physicians performed the task rather than professional morticians, thus assuring nobody would come around to defile Jacob with pagan rituals, garments, and/or enchantments and spiritual potions. Jacob's life, and afterlife, were fully consecrated to Yhvh; and no pagan deities were permitted an attempt to claim a share of his future. (cf. Jude 1:9)

● Gen 50:3 . . It required forty days, for such is the full period of embalming. The Egyptians mourned him seventy days

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the bewailing wasn't mandatory like that of North Korea's when Kim Jong Il passed. Citizens of that country are not only denied the freedom of speech, but they don't even have the freedom of tears.

There exists no information about embalming procedures from Joseph's era but there is some available from the fifth century BC and from the late Hellenistic period. Herodotus (Histories 2.86) reports that bodies were soaked in niter (potassium nitrate) for seventy days.

Diodorus of Sicily (Histories 1.91) describes a thirty-day dressing of the corpse with oils and spices and seventy-two days of public mourning for a king. That practice probably corresponds to the American flag being raised at half mast for deceased dignitaries and notable personages.

Jacob was afforded royal honors no doubt brought about by Josephs' influence, and his connections with Egypt's aristocrats; sort of like John F. Kennedy Jr's burial at sea from the US Navy's Spruance class destroyer USS Briscoe.

The junior Kennedy never served in the US military, nor in any Federal civil service capacity whatsoever; ergo: he certainly did not merit burial at sea from a US Navy vessel; but the Kennedy dynasty is very influential, and well connected; and has been for a good many years beginning with patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. That just goes to show that there's undue advantages to being connected in this world.

Anyway, under his son Joseph's auspices, Jacob's was the most grandiose funeral of any of Israel's primary patriarchs, including Abraham the paterfamilias of the entire family.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #340 on: October 15, 2019, 07:43:46 am »
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● Gen 50:4a . . and when the mourning period was over, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh's court

It's curious that Joseph didn't meet with Pharaoh in person; I mean, after all, Joseph was second in command over the entire country of Egypt, and certainly outranked all of Pharaoh's courtiers. It's guessed by some that in the Egypt of Joseph's day, a dead man's close kin were deemed unfit to approach a Pharaoh. Whether it was for religious reasons, or just simply customary propriety is unknown.

● Gen 50:4b-5a . . saying; Do me this kindness, and lay this appeal before Pharaoh: "My father made me swear, saying; I am about to die. Be sure to bury me in the grave which I made ready for myself in the land of Canaan."

Apparently some time in the past, prior to his immigration to Egypt, Jacob spent some time in Abraham's cemetery preparing a spot in it for his own burial so that his surviving kin only had to take him there-- no muss, no fuss, no money problems, and no legal hassles. It's a good idea for people to make arrangements for their own burials rather than leaving it all up to the inconvenience of their kin.

● Gen 50:5b . . Now, therefore, let me go up and bury my father; then I shall return.

It's quite probable that Joseph's assurance of his return anticipated Pharaoh's anxiety that Joseph might stay back in the land with his brothers if permitted to leave the country and thus The Man would lose the services of not only his kingdom's best cattle ranchers but also the services of an extraordinarily capable bureaucrat.

● Gen 5:6 . . And Pharaoh said: Go up and bury your father, as he made you promise on oath.

Pharaoh's choice of words, though inadvertent, were quite appropriate. Travel to Israel is to go "up" and to leave it is to go down. Israel is biblically regarded as the top of the mountains. (Isa 2:2-3)

● Gen 50:7-8 . . So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the officials of Pharaoh, the senior members of his court, and all of Egypt's dignitaries, together with all of Joseph's household, his brothers, and his father's household; only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the region of Goshen.

Leaving the children and the flocks back in Egypt was not only a practical consideration but served to reassure Pharaoh that Joseph and his family fully intended to return as he had promised; which sort of reminds me of a scene in Goodbye Girl when Richard Dreyfuss leaves his guitar behind when he goes to a new acting job to assure Marsha Mason he'll be back.

When people pick up and move; lock, stock, and barrel; you pretty much know they aren't coming back; which is probably why a later-to-come Pharaoh wouldn't let Moses go to worship with everything his people possessed. (Ex 10:24)

Precisely why Pharaoh's courtiers, and all of Egypt's dignitaries came along is hard to understand unless protocol and custom demanded they pay their respects because of Joseph's rank. Though he wasn't really a home boy, Joseph's marriage to the daughter of the priest of On, and his Pharaoh-given name of Tsophnath Pa'neach, made him a naturalized Egyptian; and he was entitled to just as much of the nation's respect afforded its native sons.


NOTE: I've heard it said that the reason half of us go to funerals is to pay our respects to people we avoided when they were alive.

● Gen 50:9 . . Chariots, too, and horsemen went up with him; it was a very large troop.

The unit of fighting men was likely for safeguarding all the dignitaries. Palestine was a frontier in those days; and a caravan of aristocrats would be a really tempting target for brigands.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #341 on: October 16, 2019, 07:27:03 am »
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● Gen 50:10 . .When they came to Gorena ha-Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and solemn lamentation; and he observed a mourning period of seven days for his father.

A geographic location described as "beyond the Jordan" suggests the east side of the river but the term is ambiguous and can just as easily mean west (e.g. Deut 3:18-20).

The Hebrew word for Gorena is goren (go'-ren) which identifies smooth places; e.g. threshing floors or any cleared space like a parade ground. Judging by the size of Joseph's cortege, I'd have to say Gorena ha-Atad comprised some appreciable acreage.

Seven days became a traditional period of Jewish mourning (e.g. 1Sam 31:13, Job 2:13)

● Gen 50:11 . . And when the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at Goren ha-Atad, they said; This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians. That is why it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.

Abel-mizraim means Meadow of the Egyptians. Unfortunately, it's precise location has been lost in antiquity.

● Gen 50:12-14 . .Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. His sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham had bought for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

If Joseph and his brothers were aware of the prediction Yhvh made to Abraham back in Gen 15:13-14, then they probably returned to Egypt with heaviness knowing in advance the slavery and the oppression  in store for their progeny.

● Gen 50:15 . .When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said: What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrong that we did him?

Where did they get the idea that Joseph was bearing any grudge at all, let alone "still" bearing a grudge? You know what they did? They did just what Laban did to Jacob back in chapter 31 when he threatened Jacob with Divine retribution if he abused Rachel and Leah or dumped them for other women.

Jacob had worked for Laban, on his ranch, up close and personal for twenty years and never gave Laban one single reason to either believe, or suspect that Jacob might do unkind things to his wives. In other words: Laban projected; that is: he assumed everyone was like himself. Now that's an ego!

Joseph's brothers had a wicked conscience. It wasn't beyond them to project their own base motives upon everybody else and assume everybody else would do the very same things they themselves would do in their place. They totally brushed aside the gracious reception they received in Joseph's house back in chapter 45 and replaced his hospitality with their own corrupt imaginations; not to mention the seventeen years just past when they lived a very good life in Egypt under Joseph's generous auspices.

Nobody's reputation is safe in the hands of people like that who fail to take into consideration someone's impeccable track record.

● Gen 50:16-17a . . So they sent this message to Joseph: Before his death your father left this instruction: So shall you say to Joseph; Forgive, I urge you, the offense and guilt of your brothers who treated you so harshly. Therefore, please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father.

That is one of the most bold, bare-faced lies in the entire Bible. If Jacob had desired Joseph to let his brothers off like they said, he would have met with Joseph and said so himself in person rather than elect the brothers as his messengers posthumously.

● Gen 50:17b . . And Joseph was in tears as they spoke to him.

The people referred to as "they" were not the brothers, but rather, the messengers they sent. I've not doubt whatsoever that Joseph suspected the message was a lie concocted by his brothers as a desperate measure to save their own skins. His disappointment in them for not trusting him must have been overwhelming. Joseph had never done even one single thing in his entire life to deliberately injure his brothers and this is how they react?

● Gen 50:18-21 . . His brothers went to him themselves, flung themselves before him, and said: We are prepared to be your slaves. But Joseph said to them: Have no fear. Am I a substitute for God? Besides, although you intended me harm, God intended it for good, so as to bring about the present result-- the survival of many people. And so, fear not. I will sustain you and your children. Thus he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

They say repetition is an effective teaching aid; and it's probably because some people just don't pay attention. Joseph had already made a similar speech to his brothers once before already in chapter 45 and here he is having to do it all over again. Their lack of trust in his word as a man of honor and integrity is just unforgivable.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #342 on: October 16, 2019, 07:38:35 am »
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1Thess 5:8 . . Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

The "hope" of salvation speaks of a specific element of the overall plan.

"If only You would hide me in sheol and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only You would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come." (Job 14:13-14)

"You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy one see decay." (Ps 16:10)

"Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin: My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." (Acts 23:6-7)

"We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (Rom 8:23-25)

"We will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." (1Cor 15:51-53)

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

. . . 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 rise 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. Therefore encourage each other with these words." (1Thess 4:13-18)

When I was young and strong, the resurrection of the dead wasn't very meaningful. But now that I am old and my body is undergoing the ravages of the aging process, it is very meaningful; along with being very comforting to know that when this body of mine finally goes down the drain, it isn't a permanent loss. I have second body waiting for me even better than the first.

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

. . . For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2Cor 5:1-6)

This "hope" isn't a wishing hope, nor is it a hope-for-the-best hope, nor a cross-your-fingers hope. The  Greek word is elpis (el-pece') which means to anticipate with pleasure and confident expectation.

Anticipation is way different than wishful thinking. When a daddy loads up the car with wife and kids for a day at Six Flags, his family is no longer wishing he'd take them there. No, they're in the car and on the way. They no longer wish, but are now looking forward to having a day of great fun, food, and excitement. That's elpis hope; and when people have it, they have peace of mind as regards their afterlife future.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #343 on: October 17, 2019, 08:19:17 am »
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● Gen 50:22-26 . . So Joseph and his father's household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph lived to see children of the third generation of Ephraim: the children of Machir, son of Manasseh, were likewise born upon Joseph's knees.

. . . At length, Joseph said to his kin: I am about to die. God will surely take notice of you and bring you up from this land to the land that He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. So Joseph made the children of Israel swear, saying: When God has taken notice of you, you shall carry up my bones from here.

. . . Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Josephs' "coffin" was likely an ornate mummy case; and kept in storage above ground in a special location sort of like a shrine or a memorial. As they say: Out of sight, out of mind. Keeping Joseph's remains perpetually on view would make it difficult for the people of Israel to forget him.

Did Joseph ever make it back home again? Yes; he finally did.

"Now the Israelites went up armed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, who had exacted an oath from the children of Israel, saying: God will be sure to take notice of you; then you shall carry up my bones from here with you." (Ex 13:18-19)

"The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought for a hundred kesitahs from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, and which had become a heritage of Joseph's progeny." (Josh 24:32)

Genesis records Jacob purchasing the property (Gen 33:17-20). But Stephen said it was Abraham's transaction (Acts 7:15-16) which strongly suggests that the county recorder in the community of Shechem was a bit careless with his paperwork and let Abraham's deed slip through a crack; necessitating Jacob pay for the lot all over again; likely at a higher price the second time around.

-- The End --
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 08:29:40 am by Olde Tymer »

 

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