Joseph lived in Egypt, he, and his father’s house. Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am dying, but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
I have found that, most of the time in this life, it is a mistake to take an oath. To promise that something will happen or a promise to do something can easily be disrupted by any number of common things that happen in life. As humans, we simply do not know the future; except for when God tells us.
Joseph gives a prophesy here in the form of an oath. He promised that God will visit the Hebrews and bring them up out of the land of Egypt and take them back to Canaan. God had made it clear to him, as He did to his father Jacob that they were to leave Egypt someday and go back to the land that was promised to their fathers. So, Joseph made them promise to take his bones back with them. I imagine that this became a source of hope for the Hebrews later as we learn in the next book of the Bible: Exodus.
After living 110 years and seeing some of his great-grandchildren, Joseph died. With the death of Joseph we come to the end of the first book of the Bible. Genesis has answered many questions about our lives here on earth. It has explained how we got here and why. It explained why there is pain and suffering in the world. It explained that there really is a God and that He cares about us even though we are a fallen race. We also learn that God has promised to save mankind someday. This book provides us the background for why mankind needs salvation and starts us on the journey to uncover God’s plan to save the us.