1. FUNERAL PREPARATIONS 1-6 a. Last respects. Most of us can sympathize with Joseph in the first sentence of chapter 50. His father is gone and Joseph falls on his father’s face and weeps on him and kisses him. Joseph displays all affection that he had for his father. Though the deceased do not know the tears and lamenting of those they leave behind it is good and right to honor those who have meant so much to us and have impacted our lives. Even though Joseph was in such a high position in the country it was good for him to honor his father in this way. b. Preparation of the body. Joseph commands the physicians to embalm his father. As you know, it was common practice in Egypt to embalm the body for burial. We have all probably have heard of the mummification process that the Egyptians would perform. We are not told what practices were specifically performed on the body of Jacob but the embalming process would take 40 days. Our bodies are amazing creations, but once the soul has departed, the corpse left behind quickly deteriorates. Remember the story of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha who had died. They were concerned when Jesus asked to open his tomb after only a few days because of the stench. Since Jacob was to be buried in Canaan, something would have to be done to preserve the body for transport. c. A time of weeping. For seventy days the Egyptians wept for Jacob. The seventy days is usually thought to have included the forty days to prepare the body and so you would have seventy days after the death of Jacob that the nation spent time in mourning. This was probably done out of respect for Joseph not only because of his position in the government but also in gratitude for saving their lives during the famine. It is right for us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). d. Permission for burial. After the time of weeping is over, Joseph speaks with the household of Pharaoh and asks them to take a message to the Pharaoh. Many assume that it was not proper for Joseph to go before the Pharaoh in his time of mourning and so he would have to ask permission to leave through a mediator. In the message Joseph tells the Pharaoh that Jacob made him swear to bury him in the tomb that he had hewed for himself in Canaan. Joseph’s reason for leaving is to fulfill an oath to his father. Most societies recognized the importance of oaths and the necessity of keeping them. This is something that God implanted into the conscience of humanity. All people feel the sting of broken promises. The Pharaoh recognizes Joseph’s oath and replies to him, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.”