Death and Burial
After his father’s death, Joseph fulfilled Jacob’s request to be buried in the same cave in which Abraham and Isaac had been entombed at the time of their deaths. Joseph, who had sworn to take care of this, did as his father had asked, along with his brothers and even the Egyptian elders and the servants of Pharaoh. Mourning the death of Jacob with Joseph as they would for Egyptian royalty illustrates the great respect the Egyptians had for Joseph, the man whom God had used to save them from famine and by whom their nation was greatly enriched.
Joseph also wished to eventually be buried in the land of his fathers. Knowing that God would later bring the children of Israel out of Egypt and back to Canaan, he made them swear to “carry up my bones from here” (verse 25). However, as a national figure in Egypt, he was first put in a coffin in Egypt rather than being buried in his homeland right away. That Joseph anticipated his burial in Egypt and the Exodus as well is clear from the obligation he bound on the descendants of Israel. Moses would make good on the oath more than 200 years later by taking Joseph’s bones out of Egypt during the Exodus (Exodus 13:19 Exodus 13:19And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and you shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
American King James Version×). The bones remained with the children of Israel until they entered the Promised Land and were eventually buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32 Joshua 24:32And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
American King James Version×).
The bones of the patriarchs being buried in the land of Canaan may well have symbolized their future inheritance of the Promised Land, itself representative of God’s coming Kingdom—and indeed that is where they will awaken at the inauguration of God’s Kingdom when Jesus Christ returns. Of course, regardless of where our bones might be buried, the saints of God will all be awakened at Christ’s return to establish the true Promised Land, God’s Kingdom, over all the earth.