Joseph fell on his father’s face, wept on him, and kissed him. Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were fulfilled for him, for that is how many the days it takes to embalm. The Egyptians wept for him for seventy days.
When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the house of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am dying. Bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come again.’”
Pharaoh said, “Go up, and bury your father, just like he made you swear.”
One thing that I notice about Genesis is that people do a lot of weeping. The Bible tells us that we cry because of sin. When sin is taken away, so will crying. Even though we cry in this life, we can be encouraged because a day will come when God will take away all of our tears.
This is a very interesting part of the Bible for historic reasons. Here we are told that the Egyptians had a forty-day embalming process. I have never studied this fact, but I know that it is true because it is recorded here. It provides yet another fact that can be verified about this time in Egypt.
It is interesting to me that the Egyptians wept for Jacob. This surprised me at first because we learned earlier that they tended to separate themselves from from Hebrews and shepherds. It would appear that Jacob and Joseph were dearly loved by this time. This makes sense because it shows the genuineness of what we read in chapter 47 verse 25 where it tells us that they were thankful to Joseph for saving their lives. They were not angry with Joseph for taking their money or for not just giving them their food instead of making them pay for it.
There had been a lot of suffering in Egypt, but because of God’s help through Joseph, many people were thankful to Joseph and His God. So, Joseph was allowed to go and bury his father in Canaan.