Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Kissing
him, as it was then the custom, in testimony of an ardent affection. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Physicians,
whose business it was to embalm dead bodies, with a composition of myrrh, &c., in order to keep them from putrefaction,
(Menochius) as the Egyptian mummies are treated. (Haydock) --- The entrails are taken out, &c., by the embalmer during
30 days, and the body is left in salt and various drugs, for other 40, in all 70 days, as Herodotus informs us, (B. xi. 86,)
and as Moses here insinuates, ver. 3. This was an honour peculiar to the kings. Before any person was buried, his praises
were rehearsed; and it was lawful on this occasion to declare, what evil even the kings themselves had done; which sometimes
caused them to be deprived of funeral honours. We have several funeral canticles preserved in Scripture: 2 Kings i. 18; iii.
33; 2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 25. (Calmet) --- The Lamentations of Jeremias were perhaps of this nature, on the death of King
Josias. The usual time for mourning among the Jews, was 30 days for people of eminence, (Numbers xx.; Deuteronomy xxxiv. 8;
Procopius) and seven for the rest, Ecclesiasticus xxii. 13. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Expired.
Before the corpse was interred, Joseph could not lay aside his mourning attire, in which it was not lawful to appear at court.
Ver. 5. Digged,
in the sepulchre which Abraham had purchased. This circumstance, and the exact words here used by Joseph, are not mentioned
Ver. 7. Ancients;
chief officers. (Calmet) --- This is a name of dignity; like our aldermen. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Atad,
which was so called, from being encompassed with thorns. (Calmet) --- Beyond; with relation to Moses, (Haydock)
or on the west side of the Jordan. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Mourning:
Hebrew, "Ebel Mitsraim beyond the Jordan." On this occasion they fasted till the evening: perhaps they also cut their flesh
and plucked their hair, according to the manners of the Egyptians, which customs (Leviticus xix. 28; Deuteronomy xiv. 1.)
were prohibited to the Jews. (Tirinus)
Ver. 16. A
message; perhaps by Benjamin. (Menochius) --- They hope thus to obtain pardon for the sake of their deceased father, and
for the sake of their common God.
Ver. 17. Wept,
that they should entertain no doubts respecting the reconciliation, which had taken place seventeen years before. (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Resist,
&c. Hebrew, "Am I not subject to God; or, Am I a God," to oppose his will. Septuagint, "I belong to the Lord."
You see that your designs against me have turned to our mutual advantage. Can I, therefore, think of punishing you? Repent,
and obtain pardon of God: I certainly forgive you. (Haydock) --- Thus God drew good out of the evil, in which he had no share.
(St. Augustine, City of God xiv. 27; St. Chrysostom, hom. 67.)
Ver. 22. And
ten; consequently he had been governor of all the land eighty years; God having made him abundant recompense, even in
this world, for a transient disgrace! (Haydock) --- Knees. Joseph adopted the only son of Machir. See chap. xxx. 3.;
or, according to the Samaritan, "in the days of Joseph" he was born. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Visit
you with various persecutions; or will fulfil his promises. --- Carry my bones. He would have them to keep his
bones till the time of their departure, as an earnest that they should certainly obtain the land of Chanaan; and thus his
bones were visited, and after death, they prophesied, Ecclesiasticus xlix. 18. Perhaps the Egyptians would have been
offended, (Worthington) if the corpse of Joseph had been removed out of the country immediately, as that of Jacob was; and
they might have taken occasion hence to envy and persecute his brethren. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Embalmed,
like the Egyptian momies, or mummies, which is a Persian word, signifying a dried corpse. Some of them are very magnificent,
adorned with golden letters and hieroglyphics, various bandages, &c. They are laid in coffins. Some pretend that Joseph
was afterwards adored in Egypt, under the names of Serapis and Osiris: but the grounds of this supposition are only a few
uncertain etymologies and emblems, which might agree with him as well as with those modern deities: (Calmet) at least it does
not at all appear probable, that he was adored in Egypt before the departure of the Israelites, as the king who persecuted
them did not know Joseph, Exodus i. 8. His greatest glory was, to have prefigured Jesus Christ in so wonderful a manner during
the course of his life, and to have been replenished with all the graces which could form the character of a great man and
a saint. Some think, that the history of Joseph has been imitated in the fable of Proteus, or Cetes, king of Egypt. See the
True History of Fabulous Times, by Juerin du Roche, a virtuous and learned ecclesiastic, who was put to death for his faith,
at Paris, September 8, 1792. See also Rollin's Abridgment. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The mourning for Jacob, and his interment. Joseph's kindness
towards his brethren. His death.
1 And when Joseph saw this, he fell upon his father's face, weeping and
2 And he commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father.
3 And while they were fulfilling his commands, there passed forty days:
for this was the manner with bodies that were embalmed, and Egypt mourned for him seventy days.
4 And the time of the mourning being expired, Joseph spoke to the family
of Pharao: If I have found favour in your sight, speak in the ears of Pharao:
5 For my father made me swear to him, saying: Behold I die; thou shalt
bury me in my sepulchre* which I have digged for myself in the land of Chanaan. So I will go up and bury my father, and return.
6 And Pharao said to him: Go up and bury thy father according as he made
7 So he went up, and there went with him all the ancients of Pharao's
house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt.
8 And the house of Joseph with his brethren, except their children, and
their flocks and herds, which they left in the land of Gessen.
9 He had also in his train chariots and horsemen: and it was a great
10 And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is situated beyond
the Jordan: where celebrating the exequies with a great and vehement lamentation, they spent full seven days.
11 And when the inhabitants of Chanaan saw this, they said: This is a
great mourning to the Egyptians. And therefore the name of that place was called, The mourning of Egypt.
12 So the sons of Jacob did as he had commanded them.
13 And carrying him into the land of Chanaan,* they buried him in the
double cave, which Abraham had bought together with the field for a possession of a burying place, of Ephron, the Hethite,
14 And Joseph returned into Egypt with his brethren, and all that were
in his company, after he had buried his father.
15 Now he being dead, his brethren were afraid, and talked one with another
: Lest perhaps he should remember the wrong he suffered, and requite us all the evil that we did to him.
16 And they sent a message to him, saying: Thy father commanded us before
17 That we should say thus much to thee from him: I beseech thee to forget
the wickedness of thy brethren, and the sin and malice they practised against thee: we also pray thee, to forgive the servants
of the God of thy father this wickedness. And when Joseph heard this, he wept.
18 And his brethren came to him; and worshipping prostrate on the ground,
they said: We are thy servants.
19 And he answered them: Fear not: can we resist the will of God?
20 *You thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he
might exalt me, as at present you see, and might save many people.
21 *Fear not: I will feed you and your children. And he comforted them,
and spoke gently and mildly.
22 And he dwelt in Egypt with all his father's house; and lived a hundred
and ten years. And he saw the children of Ephraim to the third generation. *The children also of Machir, the son of Manasses,
were born on Joseph's knees.
23 After which he told his brethren: *God will visit you after my death,
and will make you go up out of this land, to the land which he swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
24 And he made them swear to him, saying: God will visit you, *carry
my bones with you out of this place:
25 *And he died, being a hundred and ten years old. And being embalmed,
he was laid in a coffin in Egypt.
5: Genesis xlvii. 29.
13: Acts vii. 16.; Genesis xxiii. 17.
20: Genesis xlv. 5.
21: Genesis xlvii. 12.
22: Numbers xxxii. 39.
23: Hebrews xi. 22.
24: Exodus xiii. 19.; Josue xxiv. 32.
25: Year of the World 2369, Year before Christ 1635.