And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
Genesis 50 is the concluding chapter of the book of Genesis. In this chapter, we read about the aftermath of the death of Jacob (Genesis 49:33).
Immediately following Jacob’s death, Joseph (and his brothers) mourned for their patriarch father (Genesis 50:1). Because Jacob’s wish was to be buried in the land of Canaan, Joseph received special permission from Pharaoh to leave Egypt temporarily to bury his father in his homeland (verses 5-6, 13-14).
Interestingly, when the family returned to Egypt from burying Jacob, the brothers feared that Joseph had only been showing kindness to them because Jacob had been alive. They now feared that Joseph would kill them because their father was dead. They even tried to take preemptive measures to be at peace with Joseph.
Joseph’s response was what we would expect of this man of character: “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (verses 19-20).
Joseph understood two important truths:
- Murder is a sin. He could have easily killed his brothers at any time in retribution for their treatment of him decades earlier. He had that power. But Joseph understood the value of human life. It was not his place to determine when their lives would end. God, as the Creator of humankind, has the right to take a physical life. Joseph understood the principle of the law later codified as the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
- God has a bigger plan for those He’s working with. Though the circumstances that took him to Egypt were painful and tragic, the ultimate result was the preservation of many human lives. Not only that, Joseph’s position allowed the children of Israel to have a safe place to grow into a nation. Christians should always remember that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
Not only did Joseph preserve the lives of his brothers, but he was kind to them—promising to provide for them and their children. Joseph demonstrated three godly characteristics that we can learn from today:
- Forgiveness toward those who wronged him (Matthew 6:14; Romans 12:20-21).
- Doing good for others (1 Thessalonians 5:15; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:8).
- Kindness (Ephesians 4:32; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Luke 6:35).
The book of Genesis concludes with the end of Joseph’s life. Joseph lived a long life to the age of 110 years. He even had the blessing of seeing his great-great-grandchildren (Genesis 50:23).
Like his father, Joseph prophesied at the end of his life. Joseph revealed that someday in the future, the children of Israel would return to the land of Canaan. But they would have to spend over 200 years in Egypt—part of that being in captivity. The next book of the Bible, Exodus, records the history of the remarkable fulfillment of Joseph’s prophecy—the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery!
This concludes our series on the book of Genesis. We began this series on June 17, 2013. It took us nearly 10 months and 166 Daily Bible Verse Blog posts to cover the entire book. We have covered many of the major doctrinal and narrative topics in this important book of beginnings. These commentaries will be preserved on Life, Hope & Truth for future reference and study. We hope you have found this study of the book of Genesis both instructive and inspiring!
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Christ’s Fervent Desire.”