The Burial of Jacob

Funerals for God’s servants are often solemn affairs. However, at times when I attend one, I am struck by a strange kind of irony. After a lifetime of ministry supposedly focused on grace, we bring the poor soul to his grave with eloquent eulogies and high tributes that wer … More

The Egyptians were a very demonstrative people. They tore their clothes, smote their breasts, threw dust and mud on their heads and chanted funeral songs with the accompaniment of the tambourine. It was an astonishing sight for the local people. Warren Wiersbe said, “When Jacob died he left behind a great nation and the testimony of what a great God can do with an imperfect man who sought to live by faith.” After weeping over his father’s dead body Joseph commanded 
his servants to prepare his father for burial (vv. 1-3). In Egypt the period for embalming was seldom less than a month and normally 40 days. When the Egyptians mourned 70 days this showed the great respect they had for him.

After the time of mourning Joseph asked Pharaoh and got permission to go bury his father in Canaan. Joseph left with a large company of servants, family and Egyptian dignitaries to take Jacob’s body back to Canaan (vv. 4-6).  Following a seven-day period of mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, which is North of the Dead Sea, Jacob’s body was placed in the cave of Machpelah.

Nowhere else in Scripture do we have such a full description of a burial (vv. 7-14). Except for the smallest children (v. 8), Jacob’s whole family traveled from Egypt to Canaan to pay their last respects to the founder of the family. He was buried with full military honors and not like a nomadic shepherd who had wandered into Egypt late in life.

It is really a shame how so many people will do detailed planning for a vacation or business trip  but will literally ignore making any preparation for the last and most important trip to their eternal home in heaven. This is especially true when the trip has already been paid for by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.


I pray that I will finish my life well, with a genuine compassion for lost souls, experiencing the power of God on my life as never before and sharing the gospel with simplicity, humility and boldness.

Genesis 50:1-14 (English Standard Version)

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