The Life of Joseph - Lesson 48, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 49:27, Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Saul the first king of Israel was from the tribe of Benjamin.
Those that came to the aid of David were from the tribe of Benjamin.
1 Chronicles 12:1-2, Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war. They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saulís brethren of Benjamin.
And Asaís army, one of the good kings of Israel, consisted of men of valor out of the tribes of Judah and of Benjamin.
2 Chronicles 14:8, And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.
And also as part of the heritage of the tribe of Benjamin, the Apostle Paul was from this warrior tribe.
Perhaps this reveals why Paul was such a willing fighter of spiritual warfare and why he uses so many military terms in his epistle writings.
Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
So with Benjamin Jacob completes his last words with his sons.
Genesis 49:28, 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.
Each son was to be the head of a tribe in Israel, and would carry the covenant of their father Abraham forward.
Though some would be more favored than others each was blessed to be a part of Godís plan because unto them were committed the oracles of God.
As Paul, the Benjamite, records in the book of Romans.
Romans 3:1,2, What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (an utterance of God) of God.
So on this sense Jacobís pronunciations certainly were blessings even though it appears that some of his sons were passed over and some were elevated to leadership and double blessing.
Jacob had taken the dispositional trait of each son, he had included the highlights of each sonís history, and had by the power of the Holy Spirit projected this into the latter days in the history of the nation that God was calling into being.
Joseph and Judah were brought to the front of the tribes, Joseph, given a double portion through Ephraim and Manasseh and Judah was given kingship.
So the promises made to Abraham are now to be channeled to these tribes, all sharing in some way according to their lives and traits.
So a lesson for us is that on the basis of the lives of these sons, God though Jacob, endowed rewarding positions in the future land for their descendents.
The principle is that the actions of believers determine their future portion in the sure blessing of God, and in the case of those in the body of Christ their future portion in the kingdom of Christ.
That which is revealed in the physical relative to Israel is a picture of what takes place in the spiritual to those in Christ.
Genesis 49:29-32, 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.
Recall that Joseph had already been placed under oath to see to it that Jacob was to be buried in Canaan.
Jacob does not rest alone on this pledge but he now charges all of his sons to see to it that this is done.
There is no doubt that Jacob knows that he is dying but he also here recognizes that he will be gathered unto his people.
He will now join Abraham, and Isaac and his beloved Rachel and we learn here, Leah.
Leah did not then come to Egypt with Jacob and his sons for she is buried in Canaan.
But we see in this passage that Jacob does not regard Abraham, Isaac, and Leah as gone in the final sense for he is to be gathered unto his people.
Jacob is a believer in the life to come.
Jacob carefully defines where the cave of burial is, the extent of the property and how it came to be in the family.
No doubt the sons had known this and they no doubt knew exactly where the cave was for they had buried Leah there and probably most if not all had attended the funeral of Isaac.
Genesis 23 carefully provides the details.
Sarah was the first to be buried there for she died at age 127 in Kirjatharba, or Hebron as we know it.
It was at this time when Abraham, the stranger and sojourner spoke unto the sons of Heth and after some discussion purchased the field of Ephron the Hittite which was in Machpelah and which contained a cave for burial.
Although Ephron the Hittete offered to give the field and cave to Abraham, Abraham insisted the he purchase the property and the purchase price was established as 400 shekels of silver.
It is natural to want to be buried at the home place but this desire in Jacob was built on something deeper than a natural desire.
Jacob knew the promises of God concerning the land and he desired that each tribe have placed deeply within them the knowledge that Canaan is a land that is owned by Israel, with the title deed given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by God himself.
All three patriarchs wanted their children to have clear testimony that they had believed Godís promises also in reference to the land that was theirs and that they would ultimately occupy.
This is the heart of every Jew even unto this day!
Genesis 49:33, 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.
So Jacob gave his last word and his last will.
His mission from God was complete.
He had ordered his body to be buried with his loved ones and now he departs to be with them himself.
His last strength is used in bringing his feet into the bed, perhaps he covered himself with his blanket for a last warmth, his hands loosed their grip of his staff of authority, his last words spoken and his heart moved its last beat.
Jacob, the patriarch, the man who wrestled with God, the man to whom God spoke, was dead and gathered unto his people.
He was with Abraham his grandfather, with Isaac his father, with Rebecca his grandmother, with Leah and with his beloved Rachel.
Jacob was gone and all that was left was his old weather beaten body with its struggles all past, and all battles over.
His sons viewed his mortal remains as they stiffened, 147 year old remains, not much on the outward to show for 147 years.
But God does not look on the outward, thank God for that.
For God saw in Jacob what he loved to see, God saw faith and he was pleased.
Well Done thou good and faithful servant!
Genesis 50:1-3, And Joseph fell upon his fatherís 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.
We are here given a glimpse of the extent of Josephís power and influence in Egypt.
Jacobís death had such an effect on Joseph and through Joseph on all Egypt that the whole land took part in mourning Jacob.
As was the custom for dignitaries in Egypt Jacobís body was embalmed.
This custom of mummification and burying the dead was a big business in Egypt and had its root in the belief of an afterlife.
It took 40 days for the process of embalming to be accomplished. because it was a very exacting procedure.
First the brain was drawn out of the skull through the nostrils.
Then through a incision made in the side of the body the vital organs were extracted.
The body was then cleansed with palm wine and purified with pounded incense.
The hollowed out body was then filled with spices and perfumes-pure myrrh and cassia-and similar items and soaked in nitron for weeks.
After saturation the body was washed and wrapped in strips of fine linen, smeared with gum the Egyptians used for glue.
When ready the body was placed in a wooden case fashioned in human shape and taken to the sepulcher.